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Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres review

9 Mar 2018
Verdict:

Supremely comfortable but not as puncture resistant as hoped, still a bargain

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£29
For 
Comfortable, good grip in the wet, easy to get on the wheel
Against 
Not the most puncture-resistant

Let's be honest, most of us don't really sweat about the speed of our tyres. Yes, we would all love to go faster but we will not obsess over a tyre's rolling resistance in terms of its watt-saving capabilities.

Obviously some buck the trend like crit racers and time triallists but they are in the few, not the many. What we really want is something that is cheap, comfortable, doesn't puncture on a whim and doesn't have us like Bambi on ice in the rain. 

For that 'all-rounder' approach, the Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres have attempted to tick that box. After clocking the 1,000km mark on these tyres I was left with some mixed opinions.

Buy the Roubaix Pro tyres from Hargroves Cycles here

Creature comforts

I always thought that changing your tyres for comfort was something of a myth. A 25mm tyre at 80psi is a 25mm tyre at 80psi no? Well, with the Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres my eyes were somewhat opened.

To wear the rubber in, my first ride on these tyres was an easy 40km loop, pretty flat and pretty fast. As is usual in Kent, most of the road surfaces on this loop are pretty poor and cause for uncomfortable riding.

Yet half way through this loop on the Roubaix Pro tyres, I noticed that the vibrations of the road were not reaching my wrists as usual. This is all thanks to the in-house Gripton compound used within the wall of the tyres.

It offers the tyres some bounce, absorbing the energy from the road and adapting to changing surface. Sometimes it feels like you are running a flat but that's only because the tyre is so effective at not feeling harsh and this doesn't affect speed.

The crown of the tyre doesn't share the same compound as the tyre walls and is therefore more rigid allowing for lower rolling resistance.

At no point did I feel laboured because of tyre choice and while these are clearly not as fast as a Vittoria Corsa for example, they are impressively nippy for a tyre labelled as an 'endurance all-rounder'.

Grippy

In terms of grip, the Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres also excel. Even on their first ride they planted me firmly on the tarmac as I swept through corners and not once did I feel a wobble of uncertainty, and that was even in wet conditions.

This mix of speed, grip and comfort is also helped by the way Specialized sizes its tyres. I rode on a set of 25/28 which correlates to the casing depth being 28mm with the tread width at 25mm. In layman's terms, this means that the tyre can combine the comfort of a 28mm tyre with the speed of a 25mm, which is impressive.

It also means that bike frames, like my beloved Orbea Orca, can fit 28mm tyres when usually this would be a width too far.

The dreaded P word

My only drawback from these tyres is that I had issues with the p word, punctures. The Achilles heel of so many promising sets of rubbers.

Fitted with an endurant casing and 'BlackBelt', it is promised that the tyre resistance should be second to none yet my experiences beg to differ. Two punctures, one in each tyre, within a week annoyed me.

Ridden at the same pressure, in the same set of wheels on the same roads, a set of 25mm Vittoria Rubinos managed to go unpunctured for almost a year. While this could be bad luck for the Specialized tyres, it does certainly raise scepticism.

Giving these tyres the benefit of the doubt in terms of punctures, I feel like the Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres give you what you want in terms of an 'all-rounder'. They stay comfortable, roll well and keep you upright in the corners.

Buy the Roubaix Pro tyres from Hargroves Cycles here

Even better, these tyres are very well priced. Although officially £29rrp each a quick search shows that you can pick up a pair of these tyres for under £40 if you are savvy which is bargain, and make this a solid choice for a set tyres that can keep you rolling all year round.

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