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The Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 is a superb tyre that is grippy, fast and easy to set up on tubeless rims. The tan walls also look great. It looks a strong contender to make our best road bike tyres buyer's guide.
The Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5 is the second in the hierarchy of Specialized's new S-Works tyres, focusing on both race-readiness and club runs.
Not only is this a tyre with split personality, but thanks to its use of both T2 and T5 it also has a split construction. A slick central strip (T2) is designed to reduce rolling resistance and allow you to accelerate quickly and hold top speeds more easily. On either side Specialized has used the grippier T5, which gives the tyres better stability in tight corners and on rougher surfaces.
What Specialized has come up with is an excellent tyre that manages to find a really effective balance between speed when you want it and grip when you need it. At this time of year, it wasn't hard to test both almost simultaneously as wet mornings gave way to sun, combined with riding on some poorly maintained country roads.
They corner very impressively, giving you a real sense of security and confidence, even at high speeds. Acceleration is also impressive, with these allowing you to spin up quickly and get power onto the tarmac too. Spesh claimed that you get a 6-watt boost over the previous versions, although the road.cc lab is currently being requisitioned by CERN, so I am unable to say for sure whether this is the case.
Specialized has also used its Blackbelt puncture protection under the tread, which is claimed to increase puncture protection by 8% over the previous version. I couldn't verify whether this was the case, but when running tubeless I didn't have any punctures and there was an absence of noticeable sealant blobs that would have indicated a potential puncture, so I have no reason to doubt it.
Having these set up as tubeless meant I could run them at relatively low pressures, so with all the rain we've been having I was generally running them at about 50-70psi without any issues. It means that they are comfortable and smooth for long rides – something great for knocking off the winter miles.
As mentioned, I ran these tyres tubeless throughout the review period although you can fit tubes if you want to run them as clinchers. They were easy to set up and I not only managed to get them onto the rim by hand, they even managed to hook the rim using a regular track pump.
As anybody who has set up tubeless on more than one set of wheels knows, this is most often down to how well the tyre and wheel play together, but it is still a good sign. Specialized has used a Zylon-reinforced bead too, which it claims exceeds required hookless burst pressure by 200%. Again, lab, CERN, unable to verify but I've no reason to doubt the claims.
I was running the 28mm tyre, but it is also available in 26 and 30mm sizes, with both the 28 and 30mm tyres available with tan walls. I found the tan walls on the tyres I tested were easy to wash clean and didn't appear to look dirty after washing, which is often an issue with tan walls. Unlike many others the tan wall doesn't feel like a separate part of the tyre, more a continuation of it, which sounds daft, but is a nice touch.
The 28s hit the scales at 295g each, which is a smidge more than some of its competitors around this price. The Vittoria Corsa NEXT that Aaron reviewed are 250g, while the Pirelli P Zero Race 4S Pirelli P Zero Race 4S that Ash tested comes in at 263g for the same sizes. Although this isn't a huge amount, if you really are looking to save every single gram then perhaps you'd be better off looking elsewhere. For me they didn't feel sluggish going uphill at all, so I wouldn't necessarily choose something else for weight alone.
One thing that is really going for the tyre is the price – £55 is cheaper than both the Vittoria Corsa NEXT (£64.99) and the Pirelli P Zero Race (£62.99). This is pretty good for a tyre that is this smooth, fast and grippy.
Overall, I was really impressed with these tyres. It's 'interesting' to test new tyres at a time of the year when we generally have the most slippery roads and the most changeable conditions, and these Specialized tyres excelled in everything I put them through.
They're grippy in corners, fast on the straight, and despite ceding a little weight to their rivals, they're no slouch when the road goes upwards too. I tried to find something I didn't like about these, but I genuinely struggled.
Fast, grippy, easy to set up, and a fairly good price too
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized S-Works Turbo 2BR 2Bliss Ready T2/T5
Size tested: 700 x 28
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?
When tubeless performance on race day is mandatory but durability for rough roads all season is just as important the S-Works 2BR delivers – from cobbled classics to your daily lunch ride. Our all-new Gripton T2 compound is the fastest, most efficient compound we've ever created. We've combined this with the legendary grip of our Gripton T5 compound on the shoulders to the Turbo 2BR more grip, speed, and durability than ever before – six watts faster vs the previous 2BR and just 260 grams for a 26mm tire.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Casing: 120 TPI
Bead: Foldable 2Bliss Ready
Dual Compound: GRIPTON® T2/T5
Flat Protection: BlackBelt
Well made, easy to get on the rim and simple to set up as tubeless too.
Very good, and their grip on the corners gives you confidence and stability to hit turns at speed, while also giving you fast straight-line speed.
Set up as tubeless I didn't get any punctures or any signs of sealant plugging. Specialized claims 5000km on the back and 6000km on the back and from my riding experience I have no reason to doubt those claims
Not the lightest in class, but still fairly respectable.
It's pretty well priced against its competitors, coming in at £55 compared to more than £60 for others in the same category.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, with the combination of grip and speed, it's a year-round tyre that would offer strong performance in a variety of conditions.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip on the corners – after the first couple of rides I definitely felt more confident hitting corners I am used to at noticeably higher speeds.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing major springs to mind.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Cheaper than both the Vittoria Corsa NEXT (£64.99) and the Pirelli P Zero Race (£62.99). For a tyre this smooth, fast, and grippy the price is pretty good. However, the Vittoria Corsa NEXT weighs just 250g, while the Pirelli P Zero Race 4S tyre comes in at 263g for the same sizes, compared with 295g for Specialized.
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 strong performer from Specialized, offering excellent grip, straight-line speed and they're easy to set up. It's cheaper than its main rivals too, although there is a slight weight penalty.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.