Specialized Fast Trak Pro 29"er Tire Impressions

Editors Note: This is a first impression written up by a test rider named Rob Walters. Rob is an accomplished off roader, a veteran finisher of the Chequamegon Fat Tire event, and a new 29″er fan. Rob will be contributing his insights from time to time on products and bikes here on Twenty Nine Inches.

Just recently I decided to buy a pair of Specialized Fast Trak Pro tires. I was seeking a fast rolling tire that would still give me plenty of traction when I needed it. I have always liked Specialized tires. I rode the Fast Traks on a friends 26in. mountain bike last summer and was surprised at how fast they rolled. They label this tire as a dual compound. You can definitely feel the difference in the knobs. The center is hard and the sides are soft. These are 2.00 width and in my mind they are an accurate measurement. They are noticeably wider than my old Specialized Rockstars 1.90. They also seemed rather light in weight.

Mounting the tires went as hoped. Easy, like it should be. Most of the week I rolled around my yard & gravel driveway. I noticed immediately that they rolled much faster than my Bontrager XR’s. The Fast Traks were a little narrower than the XR’s too. The weather has not been all that great lately so getting a real off road ride in has been impossible. Finally, I was able to make it to Camp Ingwanis for a real test. I am also getting my first off road ride in on my new Salsa Mamasita. So, I was really hoping to have a great time.

When I arrived at camp the temps were still below freezing so that kept the mud frozen. The ride started out great. I was running about 30lbs. pressure front & rear. I like low pressure but it’s a real balancing act with me being 220lbs. I did roll over some pretty nasty roots & smacked right into a rock with a sharp edge, hit the rim quite a few times, but no pinched flats. Thankfully, as I forgot my pump at home. The trail starts out on a gravel logging road. After about 1/4 mile the trail turns steep, twisty and more technical than I prefer at the beginning of a ride. The tires gripped well and provided good shock absorbsion. I am running rigid up front.

I was pretty amazed how well the tires were gripping the decomposing leaves that were covering the frozen mud. After about 30 min. the sun started to melt the trail, a bit, and things started getting really greasy. Sure enough, the tires packed up with mud. I was relieved to see that they didn’t pack too much. I could almost always see the shape of the knobs under the mud. I was even more surprised that I was still getting good (and sometimes great) traction. Even on some pretty steep climbs, I could feel the rear tire slip but then I shifted my weight back and it locked up again. The pal I was riding with had a little more aggressive tread and his rig was almost impossible to ride. We stopped three times to clean off his tires as it was clogging up the chainstay bridge so bad you couldn’t roll the tire.

So far I am very pleased with the hard packed rolling performance of this tire. I am pleasantly surprised at the mud performance though. One thing to keep in mind is that the mud was never really more than 1-2 inches deep. The majority of the mud was around 1/2 inch deep, but really greasy. We didn’t damage the trail either.

As soon as I get some more miles in on the gravel, & hopefully dry single-track, I will let you know if my first impressions have changed.

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No Responses to “Specialized Fast Trak Pro 29"er Tire Impressions”

  1. Jerry Says:

    I have used my fastraks (on a Fisher Paragon) on the road & in the very loose
    sand and gravel we have in NM. They hook up well & travel fast. Cornering is
    a breeze. Excellent all purpose tire.

  2. drool Says:

    So when is a puncture resistant version coming out like they have on the 26 inch tire?

    Oh please oh please oh please.

  3. Cloxxki Says:

    Thanks for posting Rob, good to have you here!

    For some time, I used the FT as my “don’t know what to expect today, and riding to the race” front tire. It handled various conditions nicely, and didn’t disappoint me until recently.
    I like how Fast Traks seem to roll better than other tires that size, in terms of riding characteristics, especially as a front, I consider the cheaper Bontrager XR quite a bit better. The FT warns before letting go, the XR just doesn’t let go at that point yet.
    I wish FT’s came in the S-Works compound, I heard from 26″ riders that that makes a significant difference. And since I usually like a 29″ version of a 26″ tire much better, I don’t think professional racers would love the FT as much if it only came in PRO level.
    Tight corners on hardpack didn’t work out for me recently with an FT as a front. Simialr condition, XR front, performed much better a week later.

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