The Specialized S-Works Turbo Tire (24 & 26mm)
This review is going to go to a dark place with the S-Works Turbo tire, even though it’s the nicest, fastest tire I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding on, and with a retail/bike shop price of just $55 each, they’re a fantastic bargain for a race tire.
Normally I give a 4,000 mile review of tires, but I couldn’t get one over the 2,000 mile mark without a fatal meeting with a rock or some other miscellaneous chunk of debris. The rubber is so soft (and thus, sticky in corners) that hitting a rock takes a chunk of rubber off the tread. I went through three tires in the space of a few months.
If I could afford 2,000 miles a set, believe me, I’d never ride anything else. Unfortunately, I’ve got the Venge, my 5200, and my wife’s Specialized Alias to worry about as well… and we ride about 9,000 to 10,000 miles a year, each. We’d be looking at $600 a year in tires, after taxes. That’s simply too steep. So, other than longevity, and having ridden both the 24 and 26mm options, they’re spectacular, supple, fast, sticky and comfortable (if I had to bet, it’s the supple part that takes away from longevity).
The Specialized Turbo Pro tire (24 & 26mm)
So the S-Works tire leads me to the Turbo Pro. I easily get 4,000 miles out of a set of the Turbo Pro’s. It lacks some of the suppleness of the S-Works edition, but what they lack there, they make up in longevity – and the only reason I noticed the difference is I ran Turbo Pro’s for years before switching to the S-Works tire (and then switched back).
The Turbo Pro feels every bit as fast on the flat as it’s big brother, it’s just a shade less grippy in the corners and a bit less supple due to the harder compound (almost unnoticeable). I’ve ridden everything from Conti’s to Michelin’s to Bontrager’s, and I always come back to the Specialized tire. The flat protection is great, the wheels roll fast, and I get good longevity – especially because I rotate the tires).
Finally, there’s a bit of an X factor that comes with the Specialized tires… They’ve got about a millimeter more give than most tires, so they’re easier to install, especially on tough rims.
The S-Works edition, if you’re rolling on great pavement, is phenomenal. Anything less than great, I choose the Turbo Pro every time, with a smile on my face (and an extra $30 in my pocket per set).