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Specialized 700 x 23c Espoir Sport

August 2012

Just before I went on vacation I bought a couple of new tires.  The previous set, Continental Gatorskins, developed some problems.  The front developed a minor bulge because a few of the belts busted when I hit a raised railroad track.  The back picked up a rock that went right through the kevlar causing a flat and had been glued and retired as a spare, in case of emergency only, tire.  The front was trickier to get rid of because it still worked just fine.  Even at 35+ mph I couldn’t notice a “thump” when the bulge went ’round (it was at slower speeds that the problem was more evident).  Heading down to the mountains called for caution though.  The last thing I wanted was a tire problem out in the middle of nowhere, or worse, heading down a mountain at speed.

I ended up purchasing the Specialized 700 x 23c Espoir Sport with Blackbelt flat protection…  Two run about the same price as one Conti at my LBS so I liked the price tag.  Also, it’s an all season training tire – not a race tire.  Heading to the mountains I was just a little more than nervous about riding in the rain on a slick.

300 miles into them and I’m very happy.  No flats, no picked up pebbles.  No busted belts or any other issue save one…  It’s not a racing tire.  I’ve taken to riding through tight corners sharply – it’s some kind of exhillerating.  Not quite shooting down a mountain at 45 miles an hour, but it’s a lot more fun than taking things slow and steady.  A few days ago, halfway into a hard right turn my front tire slipped a little bit and I had to wrestle it back without crossing into oncoming traffic.  To be fair, it was a dead right turn and I was going a little faster than 25 mph – all of my weight on the left foot and leaning the bike down quite a bit to see how close to the right curb that I could exit the turn.  I was pushing that turn harder than I ever had before.

That said, it handled everything else very well.  If you’re looking for a reliable, yet inexpensive training/all season tire, I highly recommend this one.


  1. […] Posted by bgddyjim on September 30, 2012 Posted in: Cycling. Leave a Comment On August 10th I wrote about a new Specialized tire that I’d installed on my bike, the Espoir Sport with […]

  2. I just bought this tire and put less than 20 miles on it before riding over a huge nail that went in the top and out the side. I will give it another shot. Thanks for the review.

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