Specialized Factory Racing riders Todd Wells and Ned Overend arrived at the Fort Collins stop of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross with three new tubular tire designs from the big 'S' designed to cover the full range of possible conditions.
The Trigger is the fastest of the three, with a progressive central file tread similar to Clement's LAS but aggressive side knobs for reassuring grip in corners. Moving up a notch on the grippiness scale is the intermediate Tracer with a tightly packed array of low-profile, rectangular knobs similar to Specialized's Renegade mountain bike tread.
Finally, there's the aggressive Terra pattern with taller and more openly spaced knobs for low-traction conditions like loose gravel, snow and mud. All three tires are built with 260tpi polycotton casings, glued-on rather than vulcanized treads and single-compound 62a rubber for a balance of suppleness, grip and tread life.
In keeping with the UCI's recent technical rule changes, stated casing width is 33mm and according to Wells, actual casing dimensions will err on the smaller size to guarantee they're legal. Tucked inside each tire is a latex inner tube while a nylon breaker beneath the tread aims to ward off punctures. Claimed weight is around 400g for all three designs.
With these new offerings from Specialized, and other big manufacturers like Schwalbe (and maybe even Continental if they can ever get their act together) getting into the 'cross tubular game, things are looking rosier for racers seeking high-end options that are easier to source and a little less TLC-intensive. Don't get too excited just yet, though, as Specialized's tires won’t be readily available until next season. There's also no word yet on whether we'll see these tread designs in clincher form.