Strengths: Great handling in the corners, low rolling resistance, good all-around tire for dirt singletrack.
I have these on my 29er and I love them. I live in Iowa & they have lasted for 2+ years and I'm just now needing to replace the rear tire. While they perform great on dirt, they aren't great in mud or if the trails are extremely hard, dry and dusty.
You can really rail the corners on these, they hook up great, and I've leaned into some corners pretty hard, started sliding slightly, then if I shift my weight just a bit, they hook right back up and keep rolling. They are low resistance tires & roll fast. They are perfect all-around tires.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Fast Trak LK, WTB weirwolf, WTB velociraptor
Bike Setup: Specialized Stumpjumper Marathon 29
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2012
Strengths: Excellent on the road
Weaknesses: Horrible on mountains
I've owned the Specialized Rockhopper 29' comp for approximately 6 months. Extremely horrified by the "Captain" tires. These tires are horrible on a standard mountain, poor traction while claming hills. The bike is great, but these tires were really designed for the road.
Strengths: Excellent grip in corners. Handles most conditions well. Will turn with a little input or will rail if leaned aggressively.
Weaknesses: If used for it's intended purpose, none.
The Captain is a great all-condition tire. It does not excel in any one category but it does very well in most. If you don't like swapping tires to suit the terrain you're riding these will not disappoint. If you are a Cat 3 racer that is still developing handling skills this tire will give you the confidence you need throughout the season.
The center knobs make it roll nicely while the outer knobs bite aggressively when leaned. As a front tire, the Captain requires a bit of practice before you can exploit its strengths. You must learn to lean the bike a little so that the outer knobs can bite. If you try to corner on the margin of the transitional knobs and the center knobs the results are unpredictable. But if you stick your outside foot down and drop into turns the Captain rewards you will G inducing cornering. As a rear tire, the Captain rolls relatively fast for a knobby. It's strength is seen when you ride off camber, roots, rocks, mud, etc. If it ever slides it quickly catches when you reach the outer knobs. Climbing on steep grades, the Captain does very well on most terrain. But when on wet or loose terrain, you'll want to distribute your weight smartly, as with most tires. The thing is that the closely spaced center knobs cause this tire to spin if too much torque and little weight are applied. Ignitors have been more forgiving of such mistakes.
I've ridden on dry, loose, wet, rooty, and rocky terrain with these. They have done well in all of the above. However, as my handling improves and my need for speed grows, I find that I can use less grip. This is not to say that these are slow tires. But, of course, there are tires that compromise in some aspects for the sake of speed. I am now ready to make the compromise. Although my race setup for dry weather will not include the Captains next season, I know that these will be my go-to tires whenever I go on adventures to unknown places. Others have made mention of sidewall issues but I have not experienced any issues. I've scuffed the tires plenty of times on rocks with no ill effects. They seal easily on Stans Flows wheels with just a scoop or two of sealer.
Favorite Trail: All of White Clay and Middle Run, Fair Hill, and Iron Hill... I can't choose.
Duration Product Used: About a year.
Purchased At: Wooden Wheels
Similar Products Used: Kenda Nevegal, Panaracer Rampage.
Bike Setup: 2011 GT Zaskar Expert, Stans Flows rims.
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2012
Strengths: Great traction over a variety of terrain. Huge improvement over the stock tires that were supplied with my Specialized Epic.
Weaknesses: Sidewalls! Competed in my first Xterra (1st race ever on a mountain bike) last weekend. Sidewall ripped while downhilling and somewhat rocky section. Tire AND Rim is now garbage since I couldn't stop fast enough.
Good for traction, crap for sidewall durability.
a All Mountain Rider
Date Reviewed: April 30, 2012
Strengths: Worked well for about 10-months.
Weaknesses: Sidewall failure, and warping
This came as the rear tire on my '11 Stumpjumper FSR Comp 29'er. When I initially switched them over to Tubeless with Stan's, they did fine, and kept doing fine for about 8 months.
They did burp a couple times, but were relatively solid. Then, I landed a bit sideways off a small jump, and tore the sidewall. I patched them from the inside, and rode for another few weeks.
Then, on the same small jump, I landed a bit sideways again, and warped the tire. I thought at first my rim was warped, but I put it on a truing stand and the rim was perfectly true, but the tire was skewed. I tried re-mounting them, and to no avail.
They gave me a good ride while they lasted - but between the sidewall hole and the warping, I won't be going back to The Captain.
Bike Setup: Mostly Stock '11 Specialized FSR Comp 29er
a Cross Country Rider
from SA, TX, USA
Date Reviewed: July 15, 2011
Strengths: great tread design, great traction in the rock and dry dirt
Weaknesses: terrible sidewalls, its suppose to be "2bliss" and ready to add stan's or other tubeless sealants. but the sidewalls keep weeping? I've had to re fill this tire 3 times now with sealant! each just keeps weeping out the sidewalls. I'm going to take it back and see how good specialized is at their warrenty
great tread design for the dry and rocky terrain that I ride, horrible sidewalls, should not be rated "2bliss" maybe the armadillo models will be better with their reinforced sidewalls...
Similar Products Used: kenda, WTB, Maxxis, Panaracer
Bike Setup: sweet
a Weekend Warrior
from Rockwall, TX
Date Reviewed: May 28, 2011
Strengths: Weigh, runs tubeless with stans, pliable casing, great grip on climbing and cornering.
Weaknesses: Nothing yet
I was looking for something that gripped like the Captain Control Armadillo's but was lighter and had a more pliable casing with less rolling resistance. My LBS recommended buying these non 2 bliss standard Controls in a 29x2.0 and I couldn't be happier.
Everything I loved about the previous tires and everything I wanted out of my next ones, great. The weight is about 100 grams lighter than the armadillo 2 bliss they replaced, and the more pliable casing grips great on climbs and handles high speed loose over hard single track great, just load up the outside pedal and lean into it. Still experimenting with pressures but fr 28 and rr 30 this morning was great.
Similar Products Used: Fast Trak LK 29x2.0, Captain Control Armadillo 2bliss 29x2.2
Bike Setup: Niner EMD, 1x9, all SRAM X9, flows
a Cross Country Rider
from Fairfield, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: May 27, 2011
Strengths: SWorks Captain 29 x 2.0"
These tyres actually roll really well on road for knobby tires. The center tread design keeps rolling resistance down when the bike is upright.
Weaknesses: sidewall threads show thru after a long period of use
I built my Titus 29er with these tyres thinking the center tread design would allow them to roll quickly on road. Many of my training rides consists of several miles on road until I hit the dirt. I set pressure at 30# front & rear & go. These tyres have impressed me all terrain types, both dry & wet. I don't change tires based on the terrain or season, rather ran these all year long for 2 years. Pump them up to 45#, hook up the Burley Solo & I'm towing our 4 year old on a family ride. They actually roll on road impressively well!
These tyres grip really well when leaned over at speed in the dirt, roll quickly up fire road climbs & handle the abuse of technical rock gardens. Although the sidewall threads showed thru almost since the beginning. I never had a problem as described by others that the "sidewalls blew out after only a few rides..."
I like the challenge of very steep technical climbs, which the Captains have handle without much wheel spin. When I wore my pair our, I bought a pair of 2.2" Nobby Nics, which also produced superb grip. Almost too much, in that I'm already thinking about switching back to either a 2.0" or 2.2" Captain. Coincidentally, the 2.2" Nobby Nics are very similar in design, however, they have a smaller volume than the 2.0" Captains.?., which is why I switched to the 2.2" Nobby Nic.
If you're the XC to aggressive XC type, I think these are the perfect tire for you. I've ridden Fast Trak LK's, which felt a tad faster, but the Captain's provided much better grip when leaned over in the loose.
Weaknesses: None for cross country riding and racing. If it's it super wet or smooth and dry, use a different tire, but for in b/t those extremes this tire is perfect.
This my first review. Thought I'd chip in my $.02 as I'm a believer in this tire. I've used the same 2.0 Captain with the Control casing on my front wheel in the BC Bike Race, Creampuff 100, and multiple 50 miles races and rides and it's still going strong. Amazing.
Similar Products Used: Too many to list. I've also tried the S-Works Captain and these just didn't hold up. I tore up the casings straight away. Too light for anything but perfectly groomed courses.
Bike Setup: Turner Flux
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, GA
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2011
Strengths: Consistancy, traction and durability.
Weaknesses: A bit heavy
Coming from Road/Tri background I don't have much experience on MTB tires, yet my first race was a 6 hr endurance ride in 35* weather, thru mud, rocks and roots. The tires kept their grip and kept me upright when other were falling. Have since used on very rocky terrain and no issues with punctures. I'm 6' / 175lbs and run PSI @ 32 F&B with tubless set up. As the weather gets better I will most likely put a faster/lighter tire on the back, yet for the front - this tire works and keeps me upright...can't get any better than that!
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: March 1, 2011
Strengths: Decent rear tire
Weaknesses: poor feeling front tire
After tearing the sidewall on my second set of Crossmarks, the LBS talked me into replacing my ruined front crossmark with "The Captain". Mounted it up tubeless and did a couple local loop. Right away I didn't much care for the feel it had...kinda sketchy compared to the very neutral feeling crossmark. Almost like the tire felt like it was going flat. I put a bit more air in it which helped but I still didn't care for the feel. I switched it to the back and have been using it ever since. Works okay in the back but once it wears out I wont be getting another.
Bike Setup: Superfly 100, Edge Rims, Chris King hubs, Tubes
a Cross Country Rider
from Palm Spings, CA
Date Reviewed: February 2, 2011
Strengths: seem to provide good traction and cornering but I can't really comment as I this is the only set using my 29er.
Weaknesses: lots of flats and very weak sidewalls
These came with the bike. Have less than 500 miles and have gone through 6 tubes patched many times. Just tried to go tubeless but there are so many holes and tears in the rear it wouldn't hold tubeless Slime. Looking for replacement - definitely won't get these again.
from Running Springs, CA
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2011
Strengths: Good grip, even in loose conditions. Seals well with Stans NoTubes. The tire draws a good compromise between light weight, durability, and traction.
Weaknesses: A little pricey, as is everything with the big S.
Good traction, and the tire carcass is tough. I've got a year of riding and racing this tire at Rim Nordic, and never suffered a sidewall tear. Nuff said. With Stans, it seals well and loses very little air between rides. It ain't the lightest tire, but it's light enough. I've had terrible luck with S-Works tires, but after switching to the Control series, no more sidewall tears. I'll gladly trade a few grams for piece of mind.