Review: Specialized Roubaix Road Tubeless bicycle tires

specialized roubaix road tubeless tires

I just got my new Specialized Roubaix Road Tubeless tires delivered, so I set them up on my also brand new Dura Ace WH-9000 C24 tubeless wheels and took both the wheels and the tires on their first ride. I first tried to buy these at my local bike shop, but they only had Bontrager 23 mm tires and some Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires, and none of the new tubeless Specialized. So I ordered directly from Specialized online. They cost $90 per tire.

On the mountain biking side, I was pretty late to tubeless, just having converted last year. But my experience with tubeless was so great that when I started looking at my next set of wheels that I plan to use for road biking and also some cyclocross and gravel grinders, I decided to go tubeless there too.

You can run cyclocross tubeless on just about any wheels with tape, because the tire pressures are low. But with high pressure road tires, you need to stick with wheels and tires that are both “road tubeless” compatible for safety. Otherwise you risk a catastrophic failure. Keep that in mind if you are considering riding road tubeless.

Deciding to go the road tubeless route led me to the new 2013 Dura Ace C24 wheels, which have a road tubeless option.

But back to the tires….

The first thing I noticed about these tires is that they aren’t really 700 x 25 tires like I originally imagined them to be. It’s some weird 700 x 23 / 25c hybrid size, where supposedly the tire is 23 mm, but the body is 25 mm. I’d personally prefer a full on 25 mm tire, but oh well.

The next thing I noticed on the package was that they were made in Japan. That gave me a little bit of extra confidence that the quality control was going to be there, even though it is Specialized’s first road tubeless tire. I wonder if IRC (also in Japan) makes these tires for them, or what the story is there.

One of the reasons I didn’t go with Hutchinson Fusion 3 25 mm tires is because I’ve heard from two different people about a road tubeless tire and a cyclocross tubeless tire that was so hard to get off the rim and fit so tight that they either broke several plastic tire tools in one case, or ended up giving up and actually cutting the bead to get them off the tire in the other case. Both of these stories concern tires from a year or two ago, so maybe this isn’t an issue anymore. But it spooked me, because I don’t want to have a flat and be stuck somewhere, unable to get my tire off to put in an emergency tube.

specialized roubaix road tubeless tires inflated

Why am I telling you all that? Because I was able to get the Specialized Roubaix road tubeless tires on my rims with a single Pedro’s plastic tire lever and my hands. I feel like if I had normal strength hands and not baby hands that only type at the computer all day, I might have been able to get them on with no lever at all. That was a relief to me.

After I got the first tire on, I ran to the back of the house and got out my Topeak Joe Blow Pro floor pump and started pumping. What would happen next, I wondered?

With my 29er tubeless tires, I always require a compressor to get my tires seated and sealed up. And even then, sometimes I have trouble. But I figured with such a small volume tire, a floor pump might be enough.

And what do you know, they sealed up almost instantly and started inflating! I heard a little bit of air leaking and started to freak out, but it was just that my presta valve wasn’t screwed all the way tight and air was leaking at the base of it. I gave it a quick turn, and the tires pumped up all the way to 115, the listed max.

When I got to around 90 pounds, I heard the tires make that noise where you know they have snapped into place. I bounced them, and they made one more popping sound as the bead slid into the hook, and they were done.

“What about sealant?” you might be asking.

I put on the tires inside the house, and didn’t want to make a giant Caffelatex mess. So I didn’t use any sealant at all yet. But the tires held air all night without any sealant, regardless. (I plan to remove the valve core and add sealant in the next day or two.)

Putting on the other tire was similarly straightforward and without incident.

I took the tires on a quick 20 mile spin the next day, without sealant, and found them to be comfortable and grippy. I ran them at 95 pounds.

I run my Continental Grand Prix 4000S tires (in a 25 mm) at 95 pounds already. So I can’t say that I noticed that going tubeless provided a noticeably plusher or grippier ride than that set up.

But I would say that I feel confident on these tires, and I am happy with them.

One of the biggest questions I have about these tires is why Specialized decided to call them an “Endurance” tire instead of just a competition road tire? They are in the same weight range as other road tubeless tires, at 295 grams. The tread looks close enough to any other road tire. And they are only 700 x 23, which isn’t really the kind of tire that you would go gravel grinding with. They seem clearly intended for regular road riding to me.

I’ll follow up with a future post after I’ve ridden them for a few hundred miles and also added sealant.

If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll see if I know the answer for you.

Road Tubeless Tires: the available options for 2013

I’m about to purchase a new set of Dura Ace wheels that are road tubeless compatible, which gives me the option of riding with standard road clinchers and tubes, or riding with road tubeless tires and sealant.

I am a latecomer to tubeless in general, just having discovered it in 2012 and using it on my 29er mountain bike, and on my cyclocross bike. I haven’t suffered a single flat with either bike, although I did suffer through a little bit of burping air loss with the cyclocross bike when I was trying to determine how low of a pressure that I could run. Once I stopped going too low on the pressure, it has worked flawlessly for me.

One of the first things I have noticed with tubeless tires in general is that your choices get pretty limited. With mountain bikes, you have a lot of options, because that’s where tubeless got big first. With cyclocross, the number of options starts to narrow. And with road tubeless, you are SERIOUSLY limited in choices for tires.

The worst part, to me, is that most of the road tubeless tires only come as a 700 x 23 option, while I greatly prefer a 700 x 25 tire. I understand that you can run road tubeless at 85 to 95 pounds and get a fairly comfortable ride that way. But I really like having the extra little bit of rubber on the road. Only a few manufacturers currently offer 700 x 25 options that I could find, and I have heard complaints that the Hutchinson “25” actually just measures 23.5.

As long as I did all the research, I figured I might as well share it with everyone else who is looking into tire options for road tubeless.

If I have left anything out, or if you have opinions and feedback about any of these tires, please leave a comment and share!

Hutchinson Road Tubeless Tires

Hutchinson is the current leader in road tubeless, with more experience and more models than anyone else. They currently make three different road tubeless tires. The Atom, the Fusion 3, and the Intensive.

hutchinson atom road tubeless tire review

The Hutchinson Atom tire is the racing road tubeless model. It is the lightest tire that they make, at 270 grams. It only comes in 700 x 23.

  • Single compound for lightweight performance
  • Slick type competition profile delivers a very fast tire
  • Slick competition tread
  • Performance 127 tpi casing
  • Carbon beads provide ride flat safety

hutchinson fusion 3 road tubeless tire review

The Hutchinson Fusion 3 is slightly heavier, at 290 grams. It also only comes in a 700 x 23 option. It is designed to wear a little better than the “competition only” Atom tire, so it should theoretically last longer.

  • Competition slick profile
  • Triple Compound: Excellent compromise between output/grip/longevity
  • 127 TPI
  • Carbon beads for maximum safety

hutchinson intensive road tubeless tire review

The Hutchinson Intensive is the “heavy duty” tire of the three road tubeless options, and the only one that comes with a choice of 700 x 23 or a wider 700 x 25. It weighs 320 grams in the 700 x 25 option.

  • Thermoplastic Reinforced compound for maxiumum wear
  • Slick competition tread
  • Performance 127 tpi casing
  • Carbon beads for ride flat safety

Bontrager Road Tubeless

bontrager TLR road tubeless tire review

New to the road tubeless tire market in 2012 or 2013 is Bontrager, with the introduction of their TLR tire, which stands for Tubeless Ready Road. It is available in a 700 x 23, and also a 700 x 25. I found a review of the tire on the Slow Twitch site, which was positive. I could not find the weight on it.

  • TubeLess Ready (TLR) Road tires increase ride comfort and reduce fatigue
  • TLR Road tires improve cornering traction
  • TLR Road tires remove the fear of pinch flats due to the lack of tubes
  • Integrated sub-tread puncture protection (Hard-Case Lite)
  • Light and supple casing provides low rolling resistance
  • Optimized for use with Bontrager TLR Sealant
  • Covered by Bontrager’s Unconditional Performance Guarantee


Schwalbe Road Tubeless

schwalbe ultremo road tubeless tire review


New for 2013 is Schwalbe’s first tire in the road tubeless category. It’s a tubeless version of their Ultremo tire. It comes in one size, 700 x 23. But it comes in several color options, if colors are important to you. This is the tire that I would have loved to go with in a 700 x 25, but alas, not this year. Weight is reported as 295 grams, with a pressure range of 85 to 130 psi.

Maxxis Road Tubeless

Maxxis Padrone Road Tubeless tire review

This is one that I had never heard of, although it has been around for a while. The Maxxis Padrone road tubeless tire comes in 700 x 23 only, at 295 grams.

  • I-MAX
  • Silkworm Puncture Protection
  • High-strength carbon fiber bead
  • Dual Compound Tubeless Technology

IRC Tires Road Tubeless

IRC Tires is a brand that I was not familiar with, and they have just come out with four different new road tubeless tire models for 2013. These tires are made in Japan.

IRC Tires Road Tubeless tire reviewThe Roadlite model is the heaviest model, with the thickest tread. It comes in both a 700 x 23 and a 700 x 25 size. They weigh 310 and 345 grams, respectively. The 700 x 23 model comes in red, white, and black. The larger one in black only.

Formula Pro X Guard road tubeless tire review

The Formula Pro with X-Guard belt is the puncture resistant racing tire. It comes in a 310 grams, and only comes in 700 x 23.

IRC road tubeless RBCC tires

The Formula Pro Tubeless RBCC  tire tries to find a balance between light weight, grip, and wearability. It weighs 290 grams, and comes in 700 x 23 only. It comes in gray and red options.

IRC Tires Formula Tubeless Pro tire review

The Formula Pro Tubeless Light is the lightest tire in their lineup, and one of the lightest road tubeless tires on the market, at 240 grams. Save it for race day!

Specialized Road Tubeless Tires

specialized road tubeless roubaix endurance tire review

Specialized only makes one road tubeless tire, and it’s a 700 x 23 or 700 x 25 “endurance” road tire called the Roubaix Road Tubeless. It’s in the normal range of road tubeless tire weights at 295 grams, so I’m not sure why they call it endurance. This is a tire I will consider training on, if I can find it available anywhere.

In the end, I’m probably going to choose between the Bontrager and the Specialized tire, and go with a 700 x 25.

Did I miss anything? Have you ridden any of these tires? Leave a comment!