When I started cycling, I couldn’t understand why people paid up to 50 euro’s per tyre. I always bought cheap rigid tyres until a friend let me try a pair of Challenge Criterium folding tyres on my road bike. A whole new world opened up for me: they were so comfortable and had much grip. Ok, they didn’t last as long as my cheap rigid tyres and weren’t puncture proof either. But they had opened my eyes. Since then tyres became a thing for me.
After trying many different brands and sizes I found my favourites on the road bike. But when I started graveling, I needed to find the perfect tyre all over again. Not an easy thing to do because of all the different road surfaces. In my search for the perfect tyre I ran into the Specialized Roubaix Pro 2Bliss tyre. According to Specialized this tyre has everything I demand: it’s fast, comfortable and puncture proof. Although Specialized tyres never have let me down, this almost sounded too good to be true. But I got triggered so I bought a pair at my local bike shop. I’ve been riding them for a while now and I have to say: I’m impressed.
First things first. The Roubaix Pro is a folding tyre that has been around for awhile. The current version is the widest tyre in Specialized’s range, measuring in at 700×30/32c. The “/” indicates a 30c treaded section on a 32c casing. Theoretically this means it provides the comfort of a wider tyre, without having more rubber in contact with the ground. The fact that this Roubaix Pro has “2Bliss” added to its name means you can run it tubeless. Riding tubeless means you can run even lower pressures without having to worry about getting a flat, and get better grip and comfort. But they work just fine with a tube as well.
Although it’s a bit of a clash, I’ve installed -which was very easy- the Specialized tyres on my Cannondale Caadx. But luckily I didn’t ran into the fashion police while testing them.. The tyres look mean and ready to eat cobbles due to their size. The fact that they’re tan-walled is an extra bonus in my opinion.
Casing & protection
The high tread-count of the casing (120TPI) combined with Specialized’s Gripton compound makes the Roubaix Pro a very grippy and comfortable tyre. The casing easily conforms to the road surfaces and gives you as much grip as possible. It gives a lot of confidence while cornering at speed. To test its off-road capabilities I tried them on gravel roads and even on the mountainbike course of Apeldoorn (Netherlands). They handled pretty well, considering its a road tyre. Of course it’s riding differently off-road then a tyre with little knobs, but I never had the feeling of losing control even though I pushed hard around corners.
Puncture resistance has also been impressive. I’ve had some “Oh no!” moments when I couldn’t avoid some broken bottles in Germany. But I survived those moments, and also a lot of dirt roads without getting a flat. Luck might have got something to do with that, but so does the Blackbelt protection layer. Specialized uses that protection layer on many different tyres. At first I was a bit sceptical, because compared to a Schwalbe Marathon, you don’t really feel a protection layer, but I’ve tried different Specialized tyres now, all without getting a flat.
Not for weight weenies
You might wonder if there aren’t any downsides. Well there might be one: The Roubaix Pro 2Bliss isn’t a tyre for weight weenies. With its 375g is pretty heavy, almost double of a normal road tyre. But compared to a Challenge Strada Bianca or a Clement Strada LGG it’s not that bad either. And frankly I can’t say it bothered my while riding.
All that said, there is plenty to recommend this tyre. The Specialized Roubaix Pro (2Bliss) is a tyre that not only eats cobbles for breakfast, it will get you fast and comfortable over some gravel roads too. It isn’t the cheapest tyre around ((€39,90) and if you’re looking to reduce your chance of getting a flat to almost zero, there are better options available like the Schwalbe Marathon. But if you’re looking for a fast rolling and comfortable road tyre that also can handle gravel, than the Roubaix Pro might be the tyre you’re looking for.