The S-Works Turbo tyre has been a fixture in Specialized range for quite a few years but we've never reviewed the fashionably wide 28mm option before, a tyre width all the cool kids are riding. It's a fast-rolling, easy tubeless and durable tyre that is a good upgrade if your bike has space for them, at a price that won't make you weep.
Wide tyres have been in fashion for a few years now and most modern road bikes are being designed with such tyres in mind – even the sleekest race bikes have a minimum of clearance for a 28mm tyre. The benefits outweigh any negatives; wide tyres roll faster and are more comfortable than narrower tyres.
Construction for the S-Works Turbo 2Bliss Ready tyres revolves around a 120tpi casing with a BlackBelt lining to resist punctures. The folding bead is wrapped with butyl to make it tubeless-ready, or 2Bliss in Specialized speak. The tyre has a claimed weight of 285g – 283g on our scales – which is favourably comparable to other 28mm tubeless-ready tyres.
As the tyre sidewall says, 'go commando, ride tubeless', so I duly dispensed with inner tubes and fitted the tyres to some tubeless wheels. On they popped with no hesitation, just a single tyre lever needed to encourage the final section of tyre onto the rim. Inflation was a breeze, the tyres popping up with no air leakage and the beads snapping into the rim bead with a reassuring crack or two.
Daily inspection has revealed the pressure loss to be at best a few psi, so you can go the best part of a week if you want without topping up the tyres. Word of warning when it comes to installation, Specialized says the tyre should only be used on hooked rims, not hookless types.
Out on the road, the tyres zip along very nicely, with a satisfying feeling of speed, whether cruising along at a steady pace or chasing people half your age in the local chain gang... Inflated to about 65-75psi (to suit your body weight and road conditions; it's always worth experimenting to find what works for you) the tyres do a decent job of smoothing badly surfaced roads with cracks and potholes to contend with.
It's extremely hard making comparisons with tyres, as the differences are often very slight, but the S-Works Turbo tyres don't feel like they give much away to pricier clincher tubeless tyres I've been testing recently like Continental's new GP5000s and Vittoria's Corsa Speeds to name a couple. They also feel fast compared with skinnier tyres – there's no sense the wider tyres come with any penalty other than on the scales.
The S-Works Turbo 2Bliss aren't quite as supremely supple feeling as the posher Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres and their 320tpi casing, but those are near twice the price!
Wider tyres provide a boost in confidence, especially when wrapped up with a grippy rubber compound, which is the case with these tyres. Grip levels are very good in the dry and wet, and every road condition in between. Some tyres are fab in the dry but skittish and nervous in the damp, but many modern tyres are now very good in such intermediate conditions. These Specialized tyres fall into that camp, with confidence in their traction continuing even as the saturation levels increase.
The BlackBelt puncture protection does its job, adding to puncture resistance when used in a tubeless configuration, but I suffered no flats during the test period which involved a full mix of weather and road conditions. Durability has proven to be decent with no cuts or slashes to any part of the tyre, and the shoulder dimples are still showing good life. For day-to-day duties interspersed with racing or training rides, these appear to be a very suitable choice.
At £35 RRP, but cheaper if you shop around, these are a worthy upgrade from a cheaper entry-level tyre or a good entry into the tubeless world if you're fed up of punctures. They're easy to install, and on the bike are fast, grippy and reliable.
They're really good value too, if you look at some rivals: there's the Goodyear Eagle All-Season tubeless tyres which are very good but cost £60, the Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL but they cost £70, or the Pirelli Cinturato Velos, which are a nudge more than the Turbos at £47. It goes without saying that shopping around might reveal lower prices for all these tyres.
So, they're fast, grippy, durable and easy to fit tubeless, and they're great value. They only grudge I have against them is that they're not available with tan sidewalls, but I guess you can't have it all.
Great tyres that just work well at a decent price, there's a lot to like
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized S-Works Turbo 2Bliss Ready tyre
Size tested: 700x28C
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Specialized says, "The S-Works Turbo 2Bliss Ready tire sets the standard for how a modern day performance road tire should be. It's fast, light, and supple. It features extremely low rolling resistance and superior cornering traction. And with its 2Bliss Ready design, you're able to run lower pressures for more grip and traction, while all but eliminating the risk of pinch flats. So no matter if you're climbing with the best of them or descending like a rider possessed, this is the tire for anyone who demands nothing short of the best."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Casing: 120 TPI
Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
Flat Protection: BlackBelt
700 x 28mm, psi 85-95, approximate weight 285g
* Should only be used on Crotchet Type Rims (hooked), and not Straight-Side Type Rims (hookless).
Wider tyres are more comfortable!
It's cheaper than some other rivals mentioned in the review.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Fast, durable and comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy to fit tubeless and provide good road feel and rolling speed.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No tan side wall option...
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're competitively priced and cheaper than some other popular tyres in this sector.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A very good tyre that is fast, grippy, durable and easy to fit tubeless at a thoroughly decent price.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.