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Specialized debuts trio of new 'cross tubulars at USGP

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The new Specialized Tracer tubular is based on its Renegade mountain bike tire and uses a similar array of small, tightly packed knobs for a fast roll and good grip in most conditions.

The new Specialized Tracer tubular is based on its Renegade mountain bike tire and uses a similar array of small, tightly packed knobs for a fast roll and good grip in most conditions. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized's new Terra uses tall, aggressive knobs and an open pattern for grip in mud and snow.

Specialized's new Terra uses tall, aggressive knobs and an open pattern for grip in mud and snow. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Stated width is 33mm in keeping with the latest UCI rulings but if anything, team rider Todd Wells says they'll measure slightly on the small side to ensure they're legal on race day.

Stated width is 33mm in keeping with the latest UCI rulings but if anything, team rider Todd Wells says they'll measure slightly on the small side to ensure they're legal on race day. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Trigger is the fastest of Specialized's new 'cross tubulars with a central file pattern that gets progressively taller as it approaches the aggressive side knobs.

The Trigger is the fastest of Specialized's new 'cross tubulars with a central file pattern that gets progressively taller as it approaches the aggressive side knobs. (Image credit: James Huang)

Specialized factory team riders Todd Wells and Ned Overend arrived at the Fort Collins round of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross with three brand-new tubular cross tires from the big S, designed to cover the full range of possible conditions.

The new Trigger is the fastest of the three with a progressive central file tread similar to what we've seen in Clement's LAS but with aggressive side knobs for reassuring grip in corners. Moving up a notch on the grippiness scale is the intermediate Tracer with a tightly packed array of low profile, rectangular knobs similar to Specialized's Renegade mountain bike tread. Finally, there's the aggressive Terra pattern with taller and more openly spaced knobs for low-traction conditions like loose gravel, snow, and mud.

All three tires are built with 260tpi polycotton casings, glued-on rather than vulcanized treads, and single-compound 62a rubber, giving a balanced mix of suppleness, grip, and tread life. In keeping with the UCI's recent technical rule changes, stated casing width is 33mm and according to Wells, actual casing dimensions will err on the smaller size to guarantee they're legal. Tucked inside each tire is a latex inner tube while a nylon breaker beneath the tread aims to ward off punctures. Claimed weight is around 400g for all three designs.

When Specialized's new offerings are taken in combination with other bigger manufacturers getting into the 'cross tubular game like Schwalbe (and maybe even Continental), things are looking good for racers seeking high-end options that are easier to source and a little less care-intensive.

Don't get too excited just yet, though, as Specialized says its tires won’t be readily available until next season. There's also no word yet on if we'll see these tread designs in clincher form.