Sign up for our newsletter


Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres review

31 Jan 2018

Ridden on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix & later around the lanes of Surrey, the Specialized Turbo Cotton 700x28c looked good & rode well

Cyclist Rating: 
Excellent handling from a fast tyre than looks great
Cut more easily than some rivals so save them for the summer

Buy Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres now from Tredz

A decent tyre can be the difference between long happy miles or cutting a ride short after your third puncture. Getting the balance right between speed, handling, comfort and puncture resistance is an art form that manufacturers strive to master, but the Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres tick many of the boxes.

Although some features are stronger than others.

Different riders have different motivations when choosing their tryes, but my own - probably unfashionable - opinion is that puncture resistance trumps almost all else.

If a tyre helps me knock 30 seconds off my favourite training loop then great, but if it punctures even once in that ride when a slower sturdier tyre would have coped fine, then that small time gain pales into insignificance.

Such considerations and potential compromises weren't at the forefront of my mind when first riding the Specialized Turbo Cotton 28mm tyres.

These new additions join the 24 and 26mm versions and are now on sale, but I got hold of a pair before a couple of days on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix and was very impressed.

Bouncing over ruts and missing cobbles and covering a total of around 60km on the pavé over two days of riding (without resorting to using the gutters), the Specialized Turbo Cotton 28mm tyres shrugged off everything that was thrown at them.

Photo: Specialized / Leon van Leeuwen

The width, along with the supple 320TPI polycotton casing made for as comfortable a ride as you can probably expect on the cobbles, while the Gripton tread compound and Black Belt flat protection did what they were supposed to do and kept the tyres inflated.

Specialized has worked to reduce the rolling resistance of these latest tyres, bringing speed and comfort together in an excellent offering. The packaging them come in proudly states that they are the 'World's fastest tyre'.

The tyres glided along the tarmac roads that connect the secteurs, and this is in part thanks to being able to run at higher pressures than might normally be the case on the cobbles, so little speed is lost on normal roads.

Riding a Specialized Roubaix Expert bike with a FutureShock front suspension also helped with the comfort and taking some of the impact of the cobbles.

The tyres are good on any bike, as I found running them on Dura-Ace C35 rims, but are even better when coupled with a bike and wheels from the same manufacturer.

Photo: Specialized / Leon van Leeuwen

Away from the cobbles of Northern France, I got hold of a new pair of the tyres from Specalized UK and, as mentioned above, added them to a pair of Shimano Dura-Ace C35 wheels in a Ridley Helium SLX.

What was probably already the best handling bike I've ridden was further improved by the addition of these tyres.

I was confident about throwing the bike through corners in a way that I would be happy doing on few other tyre-wheel-bike set-ups.

What's more, the on-trend tan sidewalls look great and worked excellently with the grey, black and orange of the Ridley.

Grip and handling are the key strengths of these tyres, but such pros come with their own cons. The perhaps single but not insignifcant gripe I've got with these tyres is their durability and as a result puncture resistance.

After a few rides on the less than ideal surfaces on my usual weekend routes the tyres started to show signs of wear, with cuts of varying severity visible along the tread.

Taking it easy during RideLondon after illness, my already slow ride was slowed further when a bit of flint made its way through the rear tyre.

It wasn't just any bit of road grit, but the offending piece of stone probably wouldn't have made such a slice in some Michelin and Continental tyres I've used on worse surfaces.

My first puncture in five outings at RideLondon was annoying but it would be harsh to base the whole perception of the tyre on that one event.

This year's mass participation event around the roads of Central London and Surrey took place on roads that had sustained hours of heavy rain and were awash with debris; reminiscent more of winter lanes that main roads in August.

It's this that leads me to my conclusion about the tyres: on dry summer roads these tyres are truly excellent. I'll mention again just how well they handle, I love how they look and would gladly use them time and again.

However, deep into Autumn and staring into a wintry abyss these will be put away until Spring finally makes its reappearance next year.

Buy Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres now from Tredz


Read more about: