From what I hear, The Mondial’s are Schwalbe’s response to the discontinued, but legendary Marathon XR’s. Pretty much everyone I met on the road, had Montials on their bikes or were planning to get them when their tires run out at some point.
I started my touring life with Marathon Dureme’s and after 17,000 Km in Asia and N America, I decided to get a change of tires. The pair of Duremeg were fantastic, but had some serious issue with traction off road. So when I had an opportunity to buy new tires, I hunkered down and bot me some Mondial’s. They were more expensive than the Dureme’s, but given the discounted prices I got online at Star Bike, I couldn’t complain.
First up, the reason I went with the Mondial’s was for off-road traction. I should say it was a definite step up from the Dureme’s and it felt great with positive response on mild off road. If and when I got into some serious amount of mud, it didn’t help matters much. So I’d say for good long stretched of gravel on otherwise asphalt roads, the Mondial’s were an absolute delight compared to the Dureme’s. However, I might not take them out on technical mountain trails. On road though, the road buzz from the fresh Mondial’s was pretty obvious. for the first few months, I’d have to contend with the noise of the treads rubbing on asphalt. It annoyed me a lot. And riding Mondials on asphalt ate thro the tread pretty soon and my rear tires were reasonably bald within the first 5000 km. Bummer.
I really enjoyed these tires for their versatility, but I think I picked up a few more punctures than I did with the Dureme’s. The tires had a couple of deep gashes from bits of glass and after 8000 km, I decided to retire the rear tire and donated it at the Casa Ciclista in Tumbaco, Ecuador. WhenI had an opportunity to resupply on tires, I had a hard time thinking about the pro’s and con’s of Mondial’s vs Dureme’s, particularly with my route heading South from Ecuador where I expect to encounter a lot of dirt roads. Monday’s would be an ideal chope for the terrain, but I loved the durability of Dureme’s. Eventually Cost won out and I picked up Dureme as my tires for the next leg.
Overall, I am pretty happy with the Mondial’s. They are pretty strong tires with a lovely tread pattern that makes off road traction realistic and at the same time, is pretty decent on Road. I would prefer them to last longer than they did (especially with nearly double the life I managed to extract froth Dureme’s). But I suppose if one takes care in cycling (sic) the tires between front and back regularly, the life can be extended much longer.