The Specialized S-Works 26mm road tire is, without question, the nicest, fastest, smoothest tire I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding. They make my Venge feel like butter, even on chip-seal roads. I love them like there’s no tomorrow.
I started out with the 24’s, then graduated to the 26’s just to see if all of there was anything to the hub-bub about wider tires being “faster”. There is, but not because they make the bike faster, they make the ride better so the cyclist can push harder on the pedals more comfortably, in turn making the cyclist faster. They’re so much better I won’t go back to 23’s or 24’s in the case of Specialized’s tires on the Venge. In fact, not only do the 26’s ride better, they last longer before developing that telltale flat patch on the center of the tire that contacts the road (same with the Turbo Pro’s).
If this leaves you a little befuddled as to the Title of the post, it should. Specialized swung for the fences on the design of their tires and they knocked it out of the park. Deep. The pitcher didn’t even turn around, deep.
Here’s the problem: I’ve gone through three tires in the last 3,000 road miles due to cuts in the rubber – all three from hitting rocks (not glass or metal). Two gashes on the center, contact tread and one on the sidewall, just Saturday. The two gashes across the center tread being the most troubling – the puncture to the sidewall was just one of those unfortunate things. All three tires died before their time.
The point is, I just can’t afford to go through the S-Works tires like this. $160 for tires used to be the budget for my wife and I for most of a season – I’ve blown that by myself in half the time. The problem, I think, is that the S-Works tires are more of a supple race tire than an all-around training tire. Specialized’s Turbo Pro tires are much more reasonable in terms of resilience so I’ll be switching back to them, and it breaks my heart.
We simply have too much debris in our roads to ride the S-Works tires.