“It’s striking to see that four of the top five tires in our test come from Specialized.” – Lennard Zinn from VeloNews reporting the results of their independent tire test at Wheel Energy
If you read VeloNews, you’ll have seen that they’re saying something that pro athletes and we at Higher Gear have known for a while now: Specialized makes the world’s fastest tires. Period.
The second largest constituent of drag, after wind resistance, is rolling resistance. So, Velonews set out to separate marketing hype from science and find out exactly which tires had the lowest rolling resistance. In Nastola, Finland, in the labs of Wheel Energy Oy, in the best facility in the world to evaluate rolling resistance, VeloNews tested 34 tire models. And Specialized tires were the big winners. Here’s what VeloNews found:
|1||Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless||Tubeless||28mm||280g||31.6||$100|
|2||Specialized Turbo Cotton||Open Tubular||24mm||220g||31.7||$80|
|3||Specialized S-Works Turbo||Vulcanized Clincher||26mm||220g||32.8||$55|
|4||Continental GP 4000S II||Vulcanized Clincher||25mm||230g||34.0||$70|
|5||Specialized S-Works Turbo Road Tubeless||Tubeless||24mm||280g||34.9||$100|
Making a world-beating race tire isn’t just about finding a compound that offers the least rolling resistance. Specialized tires are fast, but they also offer incredible cornering grip, supple casings and protection against flats — because there’s little point making such a fast tire if it washes out on a hairpin or gives up at the first sign of road debris.
The tires’ success is down to Specialized’s proprietary Gripton compound, which is the latest heir to their legacy of tire development. (The first thing Specialized ever made was a road tire, by the way.) Within engineering circles, tire compound development is regarded as more like a dark art than a science. Gripton’s particular alchemy depends on a labor-intensive and delicate three-stage process that mixes synthetic rubbers and silica dioxide in closed Banbury containers, with long cooling periods between steps. There’s no way of rushing a batch of Gripton, because any changes to the process will leave you with an inferior compound.
The result — as VeloNews’s testing procedure and pro riders will attest to — are tires that run cooler, smoother and more efficiently than the competition.
Trickle Down Tech
Fast tires are fun, but Specialized also makes Gripton tires that’ll get you through the winter miles. The same team behind the award-winning Turbo line also brought their know-how to our full range of tires. No matter your style of riding, you’ll find the right tires for you — whether you’re railing corners in criteriums or enjoying the scenic route over rough and ragged roads.
Going the Distance
When you’re five hours into a seven hour ride, the last thing that you want to worry about is having to stop to change a flat. Specialized flat-resistant endurance road tires are designed to keep you riding all day, while also providing ample traction and performance — no matter what the road looks like.
Through Thick and Thin
A good all-condition and training tire needs to be tough, grippy and last for ages. That’s exactly what Specialized has designed their tires to do. Engineered with plenty of performance and durability, All-Condition Tires allow you to focus more on building-up your off-season base mileage, and focus less about spare tubes and hitching home.
VeloNews found that, “While supple and wider tires roll fast, tread compound is paramount.” Their advice: “If you’re looking for a fast tire, don’t be afraid to go wide and don’t have blind faith in conventional wisdom about compounds and tubes. The fastest tire in our test — the Specialized S-Works Turbo Tubeless Light — was vulcanized and full of sealant.”
Specialized makes the fastest and second fastest tubeless tire, the fastest open tubular and the fastest vulcanized clincher.