When it comes to training, choosing a set of tires that best suits your riding conditions is a daunting task these days with so many different companies providing a large array of high quality tires. Training in Southern California at the base of the foothills gave me an opportunity to really test my Specialized Roubaix Pros.
When it comes to a training tire I look for a few mandatory features:
First, the tire must be durable. Specialized really out did themselves by including their Endurant and Blackbelt technology to give riders an all around high level of flat protection. From bead to bead you are covered. Knowing this gave me piece of mind that when I was far from civilization up in the mountains or on long group rides in an unknown area and I was never worried that I would be left stranded.
The second thing I look for is comfortability. Racing at a high level requires a lot of time on the bike and on a long ride fatigue can lead to poor decision making and the inevitable feeling of giving up. The engineers at Specialized have figured out a brilliant way to cut down on rider fatigue by bulking up the tire with a 25c while the tread that makes contact with the road surface is only a 23c. When I first looked at the box before mounting my Roubaix Pro tires I thought how does that work. After one ride I was convinced these tires are by far the most comfortable tires I have ever ridden and I really wanted to test this by finding some of the roughest roads in my area. With the flexibility of the larger side wall they absorbed the rough road making my aluminum bike feel like I was riding a high quality carbon frame. With most tires you get either a hardened flat protection tire, or a smooth rolling tire but both have been accomplished with this amazing tire.
The next feature sought out by a poor bike racing college student is longevity and durability. I’ve got about 4 weeks and about 1,200 miles on my tires and they look as if I just bought them. They are showing no sign of squaring unlike most of the tires I have used. Again with the Endurant technology, Specialized has figured out a way to cheat death and give their tires a longer life. Also integrated in the tire are two wear dots allowing for riders to visually see when it is time to replace their tires.
The last and most important feature to a self proclaimed sprinter and adrenaline speed junky is acceleration and high speed cornering. Well, these tires rip and grip. After a few rides with a few tight fast corners, I was ready to make these tires fly down the famous Glendora Mountain Road. I could not believe how confident I felt taking the twisty descent at such a high rate of speed on tires I did not have much experience with. I never had to give up any speed in any corners due to the hardened casing which usually gives a slipping feeling at high speeds. However, you can feel the tread giving a slight bumpy feeling, but I never felt like I was going to lose traction.
Weighing in at 260 grams the Specialized Roubaix Pros are about 60-80 grams heavier when compared to performance rated tire. So, if weight is something that is a concern on your training bike or wheels then going with the Turbo Pro or S-Works maybe be a better option. However, for a training tire I would recommend the Roubaix Pros to every level of rider. Retailing for $55.00 per tire they are a little more on the pricey side but worth every penny.
The Specialized Roubaix Pro tire can be found at Incycle and other Specialized dealers
By Andrew Bosco