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Specialized Espoir Sport 4,000 mile Review

July 2013
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That’s right, 4,000 miles on a $30 tire, and I’m not close to done with them yet. If you’re wondering how one gets 4,000 miles out of a bike tire (23mm of course), I rotate them.

So here’s the report:

Perfect. No flats, 4,000+ miles. Not one. I’ve ridden in rain, sleet, a little snow – even on a few dirt roads. Not even fresh chip seal roads could flat these tires. My previous set of tires cost 2-1/2 times more, were lined with Kevlar, and are now sitting in my office… They’re my winter ‘bike trainer’ tires because they flatted too often (every time I rode in the rain).

I’m a light cyclist for my height, at about 160 pounds (currently 164 – vacations, sheesh) and I run my tires right at (or slightly above) the recommended 125 psi and I pump them up before every ride. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I rotate the tires every thousand to fifteen hundred miles and store my bike indoors (not in the garage, in my home or office). Finally, I do wipe my tires if I ride through an area that has fine loose gravel covering the road (an inherently dangerous process). I mention this only to illustrate that I take proper care of my tires to get that kind of mileage out of them. Also, if one were heavier, one would naturally expect that their experience may be different.

Last August I wrote an equally glowing 1,500 mile review of the Espoir Sport tire, this is simply an extension of that post, and my initial 500 mile review. The Espoir Sport has vastly exceeded my expectations – and is the reason that I’m considering a new Specialized bike after I’ve worn out my current bike. If they put as much care into their high-end bikes as they do their reasonably priced tires, I can’t help but win.

I, of course, am not claiming that the tire won’t flat, I am passing along my experience – and that they have not for me. Not once.

I paid full price, minus my club discount, for the tires at my LBS. this review is unsolicited.

UPDATE: I bought a new Specialized Venge that came with Specialized Turbo Elite tires… I did suffer one flat – I hit a rock that was hidden by a leaf. No damage to the tire. Otherwise, they performed excellently as well and they are much more suited to hard cornering. An excellent tire and fantastic value.

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17 Comments

  1. magnuminsp says:

    How does one wear out a bike? 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Lots and lots of miles. My road bike is 14 years old. I’ve put almost 10,000 miles on it since I bought it, used, a year and a half ago (including trainer miles). The components, while they still operate flawlessly, are wearing out. I can either drop $2,000 for new ones or buy a new bike. I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning toward the new bike. 😉

  2. magnuminsp says:

    I would probably go the new bike route as well and hang the old one on the wall as art! 🙂 From my experience with homes and cars, retrofitting new parts to an old frame takes more time and is usually twice as expensive as replacing something! 🙂

  3. fizzhogg says:

    Great post. Whenever I hear riders talk about all the flats they have, I often find that they don’t take proper care of their tires. I’m over 1K miles on my Maxxis Re-Fuse and love them. I hope I can manage 4K. Impressive!

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks man… I think the main three biggest problems are not inflating the tires before every ride, not rotating them and then not inflating them to 125 (a lot of people go several pounds lighter for a cushier ride). All of those are death for a tire as you wind up with a flat spot down the center of the tire, or worse, a pinch flat. Finding the right tire is a big battle too. Thanks for the input.

  4. fizzhogg says:

    Agreed. Before I dropped all my weight, I always inflated (before each ride) to 125. Now that I’m down to sub-180, I am trying 115. But yeah, always before each ride, rotation, and indoor storage. I will try the Espoirs sometime based on your review. I love Specialized, but was severely disappointed in their Armadillos when I tried them.

    FWIW, my next bike will most likely be a Specialized.

  5. I agree, I have them on my Tarmac. A great value tyre. However, I have noted that mine dont look that great – patches of rubber appear to blister and are chewed up by grit. I’m surprised they havent flatted.

    My only bugbear, is that they dont have the ‘soft feel’ like their more expensive bigger brothers.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I haven’t had any blistering with mine and I ride on some gnarly roads… I wonder if that’s not a defect in the set you’ve got.

      The soft feel that you long for is absent on this tire, there’s no doubt about that. They corner just fine but I’d never use these for racing. On the other hand, because of the side channeling, they handle rain and puddles excellently. In other words, they’re great for sportives, but this is no racing tire.

      I’d try taking the blistered tires back for a new set.

  6. serenitypond1977@charter.net says:

    Looking forward to your talk Sat night.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Laura, I am too… I’ve got the first two minutes down pat… The next 49 or so will be free-wheeling. 😉

      It’ll be good to see you guys! What’s it been three weeks now?

      Jess and I are taking the girls up to her mom’s and we’re riding Pere-Marquette together Saturday morning so I won’t see you at the house but I’ll be there Saturday night. Looking forward to seeing you.

  7. windsor says:

    My 2013 Sirrus Pro came equipped with the Espoir Sport tires with 2x Blackbelt protection (size 700×28). I’m a fairly new cyclist and didn’t realize that I needed to keep an eye on my tires and rotate them periodically. I’m sure if I’d done that I’d be getting even more miles out of them, but that’s not the point of this comment.

    So yesterday I learned that I need to inspect my tires periodically and that the rear tire tends to wear sooner than the front. I have 2,700 miles on these tires and it’s finally time to replace the rear one. The front tire still looks very good. During this time I’ve been riding on gravel trails and lots of roads (i.e., rainy Seattle, complete with glass and debris) to train for the Seattle to Portland ride. Never once have I gotten a flat tire!!!

    My local dealer doesn’t have my size in stock. They’ve tried to say that there are other tires that are just as good and chastised me somewhat for being insistent that I still want these particular tires. Too bad, I’m not willing to go with anything else so I’ll be special ordering a new set.

    I just couldn’t be happier with these tires. And now that I’ve learned more I’ll be taking better care of the new set. ;+)

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks for commenting! They’re good stuff for sure. I just bought a Venge and that has Turbo Elite tires (same black belt protection) . They’re proving to be just as good and much sticker – cornering with them is fantastic. Of course with the rain you get over there, you’ve got the right tire.

  8. T says:

    I just bought the Espoir sport after running over a sharp piece of glass that left a nice hole in my vittoria zaffiro slick. So naturally i ask the local bike shop for the cheapest tire. After reading the reviews I’m considering buying another one for the rear. I ride a Raleigh Revvenio 1.0. Fantastic bike. But the stock vittorias it comes with are horrible. Flats within the first week of having the bike. Thanks for posting updates on the specialized tires.

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