Review: Specialized S Works The Captain 2.2 29er mountain bike tire

 Specialized The Captain 2.2 29er tire review

I’ve been riding a Specialized S Works The Captain 2.2 since last summer, and I completed the Leadville 100 on it in 2012. I use it as a front tire, and use the Specialized Control level Ground Control 2.0 as my back tire.

I run The Captain tubeless, with Caffelatex as my sealant. I have not had any flats since I installed this tire, and I haven’t heard the sealant ever plug anything up during a ride, which tells me that I have probably been puncture free. I have around 1,200 miles on my tire, and it’s still in very good shape. Granted, I do train on the road with my mountain bike more often that I ride it off road, so I’ve probably worn it down a lot less than someone riding it on rocky trails.

I purchased this tire last year when I was preparing for Leadville. I rode a 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Carbon Comp dual suspension 29er, which came with a Purgatory front tire that is designed more for trail riding than XC. The Purgatory was a totally terrific, grippy, confidence inspiring front tire. But it was heavy, and it didn’t seem to roll very fast on smooth surfaces, so I didn’t think it was a good choice for such a long, relatively non-technical ride like the Leadville 100.

One thing that drew me to The Captain in the first place is that Ned Overend had a hand in designing it. If Ned had anything to do with it, it HAD to be good.

I actually started out with The Captain 2.0 as my front tire. But I am a very timid descender, and I felt kind of fearful on the long downhills when I went to Leadville for a Carmichael training camp in advance of the race. I decided that I would go bigger in front, and bought a 2.2 Captain. The weight isn’t listed on the Specialized site, but I’ve seen it elsewhere at 595 grams for the 2.0, and 665 for the 2.2, which is pretty good for a 29er tire.

I don’t know if it was just mental or if the 2.2 really grips that much better than the 2.0 in front. But either way, I felt a gigantic boost in confidence on the 2.2 and was very happy that I made the switch and went bigger.

The Captain in action at the 2012 Leadville 100.
The Captain S-Works 2.2 in action at the 2012 Leadville 100.

Here’s what Specialized says about the tire:

The Captain is the perfect tire for control and predictability over any trail. Along with sharp-edged center knobs and a tightly spaced knob sequence providing traction and speed, there are stable shoulder knobs which allow aggressive cornering. An open transition space makes self-cleaning a great trait when Mother Nature gets angry.

  • Casing: 120 TPI

  • Bead: Foldable

  • Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready

  • Center Compound: 70a / Shoulder Compound: 60a

The Captain tread view 2.2 s-works

Overall, I am very happy with this tire. Good grip, good weight, rolls fast, tubeless compatible if you want to run it that way, and no punctures for me so far. What’s not to like? I’m using it again this year for the Austin Rattler 100k qualifier for Leadville, and I’ll use it for Leadville again too, if I get in and go this year.

Questions or comments about this tire? Let me know below.

Leave a Reply