How to fit a Schwalbe Marathon Plus

How to fit a Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Ok you’ve found this page because you’ve just spent several hours trying to mount a Schwalbe Marathon Plus onto your bicycle wheel and this seemingly simple 10 minute job has left you exhausted, possibly bleeding and probably a little hoarse from screaming “GET ON YOU FUDGING BAR STEWARD, MOTHER LOVING SACK OF SUGAR” at an inanimate object.

What you may have found on embarking on this endeavour is that you get the bead of the tyre onto 90% of the rim and then spend the next two hours chasing the last 10% of the tyre around the rim bending your tyre levers on the way. Before you jump up and down on your wheel or march back to your local bike shop and shout at a spotty teenager for selling you the wrong size tyre, I have two words for you.

Cable Tie


You may know this trick, but if you don’t it works very well with Schwalbe Tyres, some of which are an absolute pig to get onto a rim, Hans Dampf I’m talking about you. Here are the steps:

  • Get one side of the bead of the tyre on the rim. Ensure you have the arrow pointing in the direction of travel.
  • Put the inner tube in, inflate it a bit if this helps you.
  • Get as much of the other side of the bead on as possible and then wrap a cable tie around the rim a and the tyre keeping it in place.
  • Working the rest of the bead onto the rim towards the cable tie. You’re done.

Hope this tip saves you some time and energy.

4 Responses »

  1. Get back on that Games console and build them playstation thumbs back up!
    – With all but the tightest of tyre/rim combo’s you should be able to fit and remove tyres without any tools other than your hands.

    Step one: having checked the tyre and rim tape is sound, line up the tyre direction and logo’s accordingly and start to fit the first side of the tyre with your hands. Once you get to that last tight bit go back to the opposite end and push the tyre to the centre of the rim, as it is concave this will slacken that last bit up so you get in on without levers.
    Step 2: Slightly inflate the tube to the point where it holds it’s shape and doesn’t flap about, now starting with putting the valve into the valve hole, tuck the tube into the tyre.
    Step 3: let some of but not all of the air back out of the tube so that it no longer takes up too much space within the tyre. Now, starting from the valve start fitting the other side of the tyre checking visually that the tube doesn’t get pinched between the tyre and the rim.
    Step 4: Once again you will get right near to the end of fitting the tyre and it will get a bit tight, so go back to the valve and start pressing the tyre towards the centre (and smallest) part of the rim. This should have slackened tyre up enough for you to flip that last bit of tyre on.

    Step 5: Now inflate the tyre checking visually that everything stays in place, do this before installing the wheel back on the bike and allow the wheel to move with the pump so that you don’t damage the valve by bending it about. if using a hand pump don’t rush it like a madman on Speed you’ll wear your arms out before you’ve finished. pump it right up to max pressure recommended on the tyre or on the rim if it lower than the max pressure stated on the tyre to properly seat the tyre – this may need some “gentle persuasion” with your hands on the tyre then back the pressure off till it’s suitable for the bike, rider and riding style.

    Trust me this technique once dialled works on pretty much any bike tyre and rim combo including road bikes – marathon Plus tyres are definately harder/tighter due to the thickness of the carcass as is the case with dual ply DH tyres on tubeless rims but they are doable. I have used this technique for over twenty years and have had many a dumbfounded a look from customers who inform me that what just took me seconds gave them nearly an hour’s worth of grief before they gave up came to the shop. have a couple of toe straps to hand to make things easier but if can avoid using tyre levers you can also avoid damaging the tube in the final stages of fitting.
    The hardest tyre i’ve had to fit was a solid Eco tyre to a wheelchair erm wheel which i did have concede and use a couple of toe-straps and a DH tyre lever but there was no tube damage so i don’t count those.
    PS people: Stop being tight and get folding tyres – they are by far the easiest type of tyre to fit they are lighter/faster and the extra tenner you spend will be more than saved being able to fit the thing yourself rather than paying me to do it for you and again every time you get a flat. 😉

    • Thanks for the write up John, you sound like a wise old bike sage, I’m picturing you with a long beard and a pointy hat, having long and intricate discussions about optimum spoke length with the ghost of Sheldon Brown. Thanks also for being the first comment on this blog that isn’t a spammer telling me my cock is too short and I need surgery or one of my mates. These are sometimes one and the same.

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