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Specialized and FMB team up for Flanders tires

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Specialized and FMB have formally joined forces for team tires at this year's cobbled classics. The hybrid tubulars use FMB's ultra-supple handmade cotton casings and Specialized's Gripton rubber compounds and tread patterns

Specialized and FMB have formally joined forces for team tires at this year's cobbled classics. The hybrid tubulars use FMB's ultra-supple handmade cotton casings and Specialized's Gripton rubber compounds and tread patterns
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized and FMB have made 26, 28, and 30mm-wide sizes available for teams to use this season. A "limited quantity" will be offered to the public, too

Specialized and FMB have made 26, 28, and 30mm-wide sizes available for teams to use this season. A "limited quantity" will be offered to the public, too
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Not all Specialized-sponsored riders have made the switch just yet but that's not entirely surprising given the investment teams have already made in older FMB tires. Regardless, it's easy to spot FMB's traditional file tread pattern relative to the ones produced by Specialized

Not all Specialized-sponsored riders have made the switch just yet but that's not entirely surprising given the investment teams have already made in older FMB tires. Regardless, it's easy to spot FMB's traditional file tread pattern relative to the ones produced by Specialized
(Image credit: James Huang)

Whereas in previous years Specialized-sponsored teams would race on rebadged FMB tubular tires, the two companies have now formally paired up for this year's spring classics campaigns. The new tires use FMB's ultra-supple handmade cotton casings – widely regarded as among the finest in the world – with Specialized's own Gripton rubber compounds and tread patterns.

"This year at the spring classics we have tires that blend the famed FMB cotton casings and our Gripton compound," said Specialized tire product manager Wolf VormWalde. "Omega Pharma-QuickStep raced them already in some run-up races to the classics campaign. Saxo and Astana have them, too."

VormWalde told BikeRadar that the two companies actually started cooperating last spring but the final tires are only just recently making their debut. Our own experience with Specialized's latest clincher tires and FMB's tubulars suggests that the pairing could indeed yield a phenomenal hybrid with an ultra-fast roll, outstanding traction, and unmatched suppleness – exactly what's needed for attacking and surviving the cobbles of Belgium and northern France.

Specialized and FMB have made the tires available to team riders in 26, 28 and 30mm widths. VormWalde said a "limited quantity" will be sold to the public, too. Pricing hasn't been announced yet but interested buyers should certainly be prepared to pay a pretty penny.