I have written before about how much I like Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires, and almost a year later I feel the same: These are my favourite tires for commuting. Happily, we have now finally installed them on my Pashley Princess.
I know, my tastes are so predictable! - but how can you beat this gorgeous crème de menthe look? See here for the "before" picture.
Because the Pashley originally came with Marathon Plus tires and I rode it with them since last summer, I thought that the change provided a good opportunity to compare the two tires and to explain why I opted to switch to the cream Cruisers.
One key difference between the Marathon Plus and the Delta Cruisers, is the level of puncture protection they provide: The Marathon Plus are basically the bestest/toughest/kevlarest tires you can get. Delta Cruisers still have plenty of kevlar protection; they are just not the absolute best in this respect. As a result of all that extra armour, Marathon Plus are almost twice as heavy as Delta Cruisers. Additionally, some report that Marathon Plus tires feel sluggish and "leaden" when they roll (I agree) - whereas Delta Cruisers have a zippy, racy quality to them. Delta Cruiser tires are also somewhat balloon-like: cushy and better at swallowing potholes.
Pashley's wheel with the new tire. Removing and re-installing the front wheel was fine, but the rear wheel was a different story. The chaincase was actually pretty easy to deal with, but the custom coaster-brake hub took some figuring out.
Upon removing the chaincase, we were shocked to discover how clean the chain was. This bicycle lived through a snowy winter! I guess the chaincase really works.
With the wheels successfully re-installed and the coaster-brake hub adjusted (thanks to the Co-Habitant - who can do anything when he has the time for it!), I immediately set off on my daily errands.
Mmmm, yummy cream Delta Cruisers!
In terms of the ride quality, I could feel an immediate difference. The Delta Cruisers are indeed both zippier and cushier than the equivalently sized Marathon Plus. On a bicycle where I have been trying to maximise speed and maneuverability, that is a major benefit. To me, this factor is more important than the super-extra degree of kevlar protection of the Marathon Plus - which for me is overkill anyhow.
Whether you prefer the Delta Cruiser or the Marathon Plus tires, really depends on your needs. Do you consistently puncture all of your tires - even those with kevlar belts? If so, get the Marathon Plus and that is the end of it. On the other hand, if you prefer a faster ride, love cream tires, and are fine with a degree of kevlar protection that is "only" excellent and not unbelievably excellent, then ditch the extra weight and go with the Cruisers.