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Brompton Tire Guide

  • Tuesday 27 / 07 / 2021 0
Brompton Tire Guide

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Schwalbe Marathon

Brompton’s stock tire is the Schwalbe Marathon Racer. It has a good balance of ride quality and puncture resistance and is what we recommend for the typical rider. There are three versions of Schwalbe Marathon tires, and all of them are a trade-off between ride quality and puncture resistance. The Marathon Racer is the fastest and lightest but is a softer compound that will wear faster and may not provide the puncture resistance you need. When durability and flat protection is more important, we recommend Marathon tires, especially for touring. The Marathon Plus will be more puncture resistant at the expense of ride quality. You could roll over a thumbtack and not get a flat.

Two black tires, one on top of the other, one with the Schwalbe Marathon logo and one with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus logo

With the additional weight you will be carrying, we recommend the Marathon or Marathon Plus for touring.

Two black tires, one on top of the other, one with the Schwalbe Marathon logo and one with the Schwalbe Marathon Plus logo

The Marathon is more puncture resistant than Brompton’s default tire, the Marathon Plus even more so.

A black tire with a Schwalbe Marathon Racer logo on it on a raw lacquer Brompton in kickstand mode

With tires, high puncture resistance comes at the expense of ride quality. For Brompton, the Marathon Racer is that sweet spot.

Close-up of a black tire with a light blue and grayish white Schwalbe Marathon Racer logo on the sidewall

The Marathon Racer is what we recommend for typical city riding.

Another version of the Schwalbe Marathon Racer was released in 2019 on the Brompton Explore. The tan sidewall Schwalbe Marathon Racer is a folding bead tire vs a wire bead tire like the standard Marathon Racer. Where steel wire is used in Brompton’s stock tire, this version uses flexible kevlar. This allows the tires to be folded. It’s a lightweight tire that will fit in your saddle bag.

A wire bead tire cut in half shows a cluster of metal wires

The Schwalbe Marathon tire has a wire bead and Schwalbe’s “GreenGuard” puncture protection layer.

A folding bead tire cut in half shows a cluster of kevlar strands

The Schwalbe One tire has a kevlar folding bead and Schwalbe’s "V-Guard" puncture protection layer made from a high-tech cut-resistant fabric.

The Schwalbe Marathon Winter tire is designed to keep you rubber side down in icy conditions, with a special winter compound and little metal pins embedded in the tire that dig into the ice and give you traction that only a studded tire can. They grip the ice best when run at minimum pressure. When run at maximum pressure, they can be ridden on ice-free roads with minimal road noise and therefore left on all season.

Schwalbe Kojak

Another tire that is easy to pack is the Schwalbe Kojak folding tire. Like the tan sidewall Marathon Racer, it has a kevlar bead and can be folded. Though less puncture resistant than the Marathon tires, it is the lightest Brompton tire available. The Kojak is the choice for speed demons as it is a slick tire (tread-free, grippy, low rolling resistance). The Kojak also comes in a wire bead version. It’s heavier and of course won’t fit in your bag but costs less.

Black, treadless tire with white Schwalbe logo leaning up against a wall

The folding Kojak is a light and fast tire, with a reflective strip to help with side visibility.

Schwalbe One

Black tire with light tread, tan sidewall, and Schwalbe One logo on a silver rim with black spokes

The Schwalbe One was made specifically for Brompton’s limited edition Chpt3 bikes. They were available to the rest of us for a short time until the production run sold out, though they may come back at some point. The fastest, lightest, and grippiest tire ever made for Brompton, the Schwalbe One was a more sporty option. Though not inexpensive, it had great ride quality, durability, and flat protection. It was slightly wider than the Kojak, with close-to-smooth tread. It had a folding bead, like the tan sidewall Marathon Racer.

Black tires with tan sidewalls on a Brompton with silver rims, shiny black fenders, a red front light, and a fire red front frame

Schwalbe Ones on a Brompton Chpt3 Omakase, a combination of our Omakase Brompton and the Brompton Chpt3.

Black tire with light tread, tan sidewall, and Schwalbe One logo on a silver rim with black spokes

Characterized by low rolling resistance and high grip, the Schwalbe One was only around for a short time.

Marathon Racer, Marathon Winter, Kojak
Level of Puncture Protection: 4
RaceGuard double layer of Nylon fabric under the tread

Marathon
Level of Puncture Protection: 5
3 mm thick GreenGuard puncture protection layer

Marathon Plus
Level of Puncture Protection: 7 (highest)
5 mm thick SmartGuard puncture protection layer

Brompton Electric

We recommend the Marathon and Marathon Plus for the Brompton Electric as they wear longer and are less prone to flats. The Marathon Racer comes standard on the Brompton Electric.

A worn tire and a brand new tire leaning against a light green wall

A Marathon tire will usually last between 6000 and 12000 kilometers, or 3728 and 7456 miles. Mileage is affected by a number of factors including tire pressure, load, road surface, temperature, and the rider.

A worn tire and a brand new tire leaning against a light green wall

A professional mechanic will let you know when it’s time to replace your tires. By keeping your tires properly inflated, you can increase their life.

Inner Tubes

All Bromptons use the Schwalbe AV4 or SV4 tube. AV and SV refer to the valve type. AV tubes have a schrader valve, and all the SV tubes have presta valves. Schrader drilled rims come standard on all Bromptons. If you have aftermarket rims, they might be drilled for presta. If they are, then they would not be compatible with the AV4 tube. Presta valves will fit into any rim, but they are a little skinnier than schrader valves. If you want to use a presta valve tube with Schrader drilled rim, it’s a good idea to use a valve adapter (sometimes called rim saver) to fill the space and prevent premature failure of the tube where it attaches to the valve.

Pump

A bike pump comes with all steel Bromptons, except the B75. This high pressure (for road tires) hand pump is housed in the rear triangle part of the frame and was made specially for Brompton by the French company Zefal. While it is no substitute for a floor pump, it’s good enough for the unexpected flat. The pump won’t fit in the rear triangle of superlight titanium Bromptons or any pre-2003 Bromptons. It will only fit bikes that have the built-in cradle for holding the head of the pump.

A black hand pump stored in the rear triangle of a folded red Brompton

The Brompton Zefal High Pressure Pump on a folded Brompton.

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