Specialized Fast Trak S-Works Tire: Update

Editor’s Note: This report was filed by Captain Bob from the Mid-West.

A while back we reported an “Out of the Box” on these Specialized Fast Trak S-Works tires. It’s time for me to chime in on some impressions that I have on them. I have been running these with tubes on the Easton XC-One SS wheels. Ok, here’s the skinny. First off…….they are skinny. In fact the skinniest tires I have ridden on any 29″er, which dates back to about three years ago. I have to admit I was a bit uncomfortable right at first with the lack of tire when compared to let’s say, a 2.4 width tire. It’s weird how I got use to having that extra inch of width rolling underneath me. I never gave it much thought that it might affect me when downsizing to a narrower tire.

Fast Trak front

Once rolling though, I quickly realized how much easier these Fast Traks were to steer. Must be that there is so much less tread contacting the ground that makes it easier to steer. Rolling resistance is pretty low with this S-Works model and I suppose that is due to the dual compound. Gravel roads are a place where I appreciated this center, firmer part of the tires. With the low weight and low rolling resistance I was able to get up to speed rather quickly and keep rolling without the tires slowing me down between pedal strokes. They grip pretty good too when cornering on gravel. When they did let go a little it was predictable and was more of a drift versus a wash out. I don’t have but around 10 miles of gravel road miles on these so I cannot really comment much more. Rolled and cornered well. Nuff said.

Fast Trak Rear

I have two good rides off road with the Fast Traks. They were the real test for me. I had the wheels and tires mounted up to the Soul Cycles Dillinger which is my play bike. Meaning I like to drop off things with it and roll over log piles without neccesarily picking the best line. So, I needed to know if they would hold up to the beating that might occur and also provide me with enough grip when things get sketchy.

Shooting up the first climb I could tell that the tires were biting into the ground quite nicely. Through all of my off road rides the tires performed just great in all climbing situations. I was impressed actually how well these skinnies dug in. After the first climb there is a killer section of off camber switchbacks that were pretty much covered completly with fallen leaves. Under that was a somewhat tacky to slippery trail. Clearing these switchbacks was as difficult as always for me but the tires held on just great. I actually I felt like the Fast Traks might have done a bit better job of bitting through the leaves than if I were on my other tires. I didn’t even have to put my foot down. With the tacky trails I did get the tires to pack up a bit with mud, but it seemed to shed it rather quickly. Even when packed pretty good they didn’t really loose their bite.

The quicker steering I felt was still noticed on the trail. However, it caused the bike to feel a bit twitchy at times. A little more than I am use to. I also missed the comfort that you get from a 2.2 or a 2.4 tire when rolling over rocks and roots. With the lower volume I did take bit more of a beating than normal. I should note that I started out with about 28 psi front and rear but by the end of my ride I was at 20 psi rear and 19 psi front. Might have been a bit low, I know because I could feel the rim hitting quite a few of the roots I was banging over. The sidewalls are much stronger than I was expecting, so I think that helped me with being able to run lower pressures. The sidewalls are still looking like new too.

So far I really ony have one nit pick. With the narrower tire I felt like I was less able to just roll down the trail making my own line. The S-Works seemed to follow the lines of the trail that were already there. I know I could get use to this rather quickly though. I just need more time on them. The name “Fast Trak” is very fitting though.

So, it seems like my next report will be on how well the Specialized Fast Trak S-Works fare in the snow covered trails and gravel roads. I should have some thoughts on that after the 1st of the new year.

Captain.

Editors Note: Grannygear out in SoCal lent a tester our other set of Fast Trak S-Works tires to run at the recently held 12 Hours of Temecula. Here’s what he had to say about the tires performance in that desert venue:

” The tires performed admirably, I thought, given the dry and loose
conditions. In a non-race situation, I probably would have opted to run
a tire combination with a wider and more open footprint, and some taller
knobs. However, the tires never let me down! After I adjusted the air
pressure, I was able to scramble up every short, steep power climb
without the rear tire breaking loose. I never suffered a flat, and
these tires roll quite well. The course offered up one section of
singletrack (Tunnel of Love) where you could really get off the brakes
and let the bike cruise through the desert scenery, and the tires just
railed the terrain. I can only imagine what these tires would be like
on some tacky, fine-grained dirt!”

Stay tuned for more Specialized tire updates coming soon!

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No Responses to “Specialized Fast Trak S-Works Tire: Update”

  1. Mike Says:

    Holy moly! Is that a fork for a 36″er? A baby could fit above the tire!

  2. agu Says:

    Is this tire listed as a 2.1? 2.2?

  3. captain bob Says:

    Mike. It’s 100mm adjusted from Soul Cycles. It is tall.

    Agu. It is listed as 2.0

  4. Mike Says:

    “Mike. It’s 100mm adjusted from Soul Cycles. It is tall.”

    Wow, that’s a big lever. How does it ride? I would imagine it is pretty flexy fore-aft. Sorry for taking this off-topic. Maybe a review of how various rigid forks, in varying lengths, ride could be apropos.

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Mike: I’ve ridden that fork, and I also have a Badger custom with a 495mm axle to crown Columbus bladed fork. The Dillinger rides really sweetly with that fork. Not flexy/noodly, but enough give to smooth out a lot of chatter. My badger’s fork is stiff actually. Not as much give as the Soul Cycles fork.

    Also- those tires are pretty anemic looking! Almost cyclo-cross-ish in that frame, but they do a good job for the intended use here, which is racing. In our tests, we are using them beyond that as a trail tire, and they still hold their own. 🙂

  6. jimmythefly Says:

    I’m guessing much of the reason they’re “easier to steer” is because they have less rotational inertia due to less mass. They really are mathematically less resistant to a change of direction. (think I got those terms right -it’s been a while)

    What’s the actual width of the tires as shown? I’ve got an old touring bike that I turned into a monster cross rig, using Bontrager DryX 29×1.75 tires, wondering if I could get these to fit.

    Funny how you talk about missing the wider tires, that’s how I felt when going from a 5″ travel full-sus bike to a hardtail 29er with 100mm fork! Had to re-learn how to actually choose a good line through stuff -and had to re-learn again when riding the monster-cross!

  7. sthrnfat Says:

    On their 26ers the S-works versions are a little narrower than the Control models for a given size to keep the weight low, so the Controls may be a little larger. Was surprised by the traction when I first tried Fast Traks. Looking at the tread I didn’t expect them to hook up as well as they did. Makes a good rear tire mated with a little more beefy front.

  8. bob Says:

    “I have two good rides off road with the Fast Traks.” Is that *really* enough to base a review on?

  9. Guitar Ted Says:

    bob: Usually we entitle this phase of our review process “First Impressions”. I think Captain Bob, and myself for that matter, have had enough time on these to give you an impression of their performance. (I have ridden on them at least a couple of times too.)

    Added to that is our testers report from the 6 Hours of Temecula, which tends to agree with our findings, and I feel that we have a solid “Update” here.

    Just to let you know…….we’re not finished with these yet! Normally our reviews can encompass three to six months of use, depending upon the circumstances, so I think by the end of it all, you’ll have a great picture of how these tires stack up over a long period of time.

    Thanks for reading………:)

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