Most cycling fans would fail to endorse the concept of subtlety when describing the the cobbled sections of Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix Spring Classics. When grit, power, athleticism, and boldness are generally defining characteristics associated with race favorites, it is easy to see why. And yet some of the most crucial decisions teams and riders historically have had to make are related to wheels and tires. With frames and tires (even saddles and bar tape) becoming more technically advanced, many riders now ride mid section aero wheels. Gone are the days of the 32 hole 3x alloy wheel choices, which means tire selection plays a much larger role, and remember while the cobble sections are crucial to success, there is plenty of pavement and connecting track to be dominated as well before reaching the finish. Enter the Specialized Turbo Hell Of The North Cotton Road Tire, a clincher option which does, in fact offer measurable performance and real subtleties that make the design effective and competitive in the worst "road" conditions a cyclist can face.
There is no doubt that the heart of the tire is the 320 TPI polycotton casing. This incredibly supple foundation not only offers great feel from it's flexibility, but is the product of master craftsmanship, leading to a truly round and consistent basis for the tread rubber and protection belt. The suppleness allows the tire to more easily roll over and make smoother, faster transitions from one odd shaped surface to the next, crucial for cobbles. Clinchers often struggle with these conditions, due to pinch flat risk, but the right casing slithers over more easily, contorting faster and taking the pressure off edges. Of course, a cotton based casing is an old technology in the bike world, but it is back in vogue now because protection belts, such as the Black Belt version used here, have become more effective and more importantly, more flexible, so as to better match the casing's capabilities. When you add a more advanced rubber compound and proven tread design, the Turbo Hell Of The North Cotton Road Tire truly comes to life.
Specialized believes their GRIPTON rubber compound is the among the best, if not the best available today. We prefer to stay out of that debate, but we agree it is pretty darn special. It has the qualities you need and desire: excellent native grip in wet or dry conditions, inherently low rolling resistance; and still allows for road feel and some base small puncture protection. It also has an excellent wear rate but still feels flexible and connected to the road surface. The tread pattern itself is not only the beneficiary of the casing/rubber combination, but it takes full advantage of the design as well. The tread itself is a decades-old, well-proven set-up with what amounts to a fine file tread in the center, and medium diamond file tread on the shoulders. You keep the speed you need, have grip for dusty corners, but also traction and control on those nasty cobble, dirt, cobble, cobble, cobble transitions that a cyclist must endure section after section through the rough Classics.
If the tire isn't flexible, it can't offer as much grip or control. If the rubber is too hard or won't grip, the suppleness of the casing won't matter much, but in the end if you have the right rubber and casing, the tread is the subtlety that can most affect performance. Watch Roubaix and see how the riders are both on-slope and off-camber on the crowned cobble sections, watch as the tires slide, slip and conform to the shapes- then take into account that these same tires have to be fast and in control on pavement at high speeds, wet or dry. The feathery, utmost capability of a single tire design effective for all such conditions ultimately comes down to where the rubber meets the road, and the tread is that contact point. With this tire it maximizes and completes the old tech cotton casing design and the new tech rubber compound into a functional tire ridden in a dysfunctional event. The tire becomes a truly integrated entity, each aspect improving and relying on the others to achieve maximum performance.
This integrated design supports you with more traction and comfort, and in the end, will give you more speed compared to other tires. Remember what we know now about rolling resistance, tire pressure, and continual surface engagement. Specialized rates that the supple 320 TPI cotton casing supplies you with a 15% improvement in damping, and with the help of the GRIPTON® compound, offers 20% less rolling resistance over previous tires used on rough roads. That is real performance, which aids the rider in so many ways- from saving energy, delivering more confidence, and reducing the chance of flats or falls. While you may not ever race the Classics, or even your regional versions, you may well ride a combination of rough pavement, hardpack dirt roads, chip seal or mild gravel on your regular quest to avoid cars and populated areas. If you feel you need a tire with more overall capability, but still want great ride quality, the Specialized Turbo Hell Of The North Cotton Road may well be your next purchase. And if you are racing or taking on a mixed surface gran fondo with some competitive frenemies, invest in some latex tubes for optimal results.Return to Top
- Clincher road tire optimized for the roughest road conditions of the pro cycling calendar
- Suppleness, with premium rubber compound and ideal tread pattern combine to define performance
- Optimal ride quality and performance with a latex road tube
- Mild diamond file tread on shoulders and edge handles surface transitions and challenges with control
- Fine file tread on center for faster pavement and accelerations, effective wet or dry
- Features reliable grip in normal wet or dry conditions, with an informed road feel that induces confidence
- GRIPTON® rubber compound has extremely low rolling resistance and superior cornering traction
- Black Belt Protection is supple under tread offers very good puncture protection
- Ultra-supple 320 TPI polycotton casing requires meticulous craftsmanship to ensure round, consistent shape
- Option: 700x28 / 260g / 85-95psi range
- Color: Black/Transparent Sidewall