The big S has their eyes firmly set on the more adventurous rider with their new Roubaix Pro 2BR. It promises to eat all the tarmac and most of the loose surfaces you throw at it.
Words and images - James Raison
Critical tyre stats are; 30/32mm wide (30 referring to the tread width and 32 mm referring to the tread+casing width), tubeless ready, and made of Specialized’s GRIPTON compound. There’s plump tread strip keeping out the pointy interlopers and a thinner sidewall to give you some flex on the bump and rough stuff.
Their 370g weight is very respectable for a tyre of this width. Anyone looking for a feathery wide tyre can look to the Compass Stampede Pass at 280g.
Mounting the tyres onto my Curve CC38 tubeless rims was surprisingly easy for my non-muscular thumbs. I managed to coerce them on without the need for levers. That good news gets better when I was able to bed them tubeless with just a track pump. Tubeless users will appreciate what a big deal that is. Quality tyres on a quality rim mean tubeless setup doesn’t have to be painful.
The Roubaix Pro 2BR has a lot of strings to its bow.
On tarmac it rolls willingly and doesn’t have any of the lethargy than can creep in with heavier tyres. Anecdotally it didn’t feel like it rolled much slower than my Continental GP4000 SII - my benchmark road tyre. Ride quality is very good considering the flexy sidewall strip is quite small. It tunes out road vibrations exceptionally well and is un-phased by bumps. You can confidently drop the pressure quite low and enjoy the cushy feel because the tread strip is so wide. There’s a very low risk of the thin sidewalls hitting road.
Deviate to some gravel and the tyres come alive. I’ve ridden numerous slick tyres on gravel and these have much more grip and slip much less on the climbs. There is a subtle texturing on the tyres either side of the slick tread centre. That grips the dirt roads a better than a pure slick. Running these suckers at low pressure gives a wide footprint to enjoy that extra grip. It’s nice to see that wide tread strip wrap so far around the tyre. That gives pointy things less thin sidewall to slice through and force you into a walk of shame.
I spent time with the tyre set tubeless and tubed. Their ride quality is very good with tubes, and exceptional without them. My benchmark tyre for smoothness is the Compass Bon Jon Pass 35mm. The Roubaix Pro isn’t quite as comfortable, but it’s still excellent. Comfort is substantially better than a more touring-focused tyre like the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme.
Puncture protection was a non-issue. I got one puncture when a pin shot straight through the tread strip and into the tube. No tyre will stop that sort of puncture and it would have easily sealed if set tubeless. I had zero concerns about these tyres on any terrain.
Specialized has done a really fantastic job with the Roubaix Pro 2BR tyre. It fills a void in the tyre market for 32 mm tyres that are fast, rugged, and tubeless compatible. They’re rubber for the disc brake era where frames have bigger clearances and riders are getting more daring with surface choice. Cycling is changing technically and rider attitudes are changing. Specialized have responded well with this tyre. Those looking for 32 mm road slicks finally have an alternative to heavy touring-style tyres, and something cheaper than boutique offerings from brands like Compass. The Roubaix Pro 2BR is a quality tyre at a very good price of only $60 AUD.