a Cross Country Rider
from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Date Reviewed: February 19, 2011
Strengths: This is the best anti-glass technology I have ever ridden with. heavy but 4 years puncture free at 24,000 km and riding on the broken glass paved roads of teh most alcoholic city in the World -Darwin.
Weaknesses: Heavy, but there is no other way...
If you are living with punctures on a daily basis, this tyre is the cure!
a Cross Country Rider
from Walnut Creek, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: October 9, 2005
Strengths: Nearly thorn proof (see below), good traction on most surfaces, including hard pack, hard pack with loose stuff on top, sandstone, dirt, dried weeds, rock, and pavement. The center ridge really works to lower resistance on pavement. When that’s coupled with the relatively high pressure rating of 80 PSI, going down roads isn’t a chore when you pump them up. (The road bikes will still pass you, but nobody but Lance or Levi is going to blow by.) They’re also rated down to 35 PSI for off-road use, which gives tremendous latitude for tuning to the bike/rider.
Weaknesses: When pumped up they don’t do well in deep gravel, or deep sand. If the tread can’t push through the surface stuff and make contact with something hard the bike feels unstable, twitchy, but they haven’t dumped me yet. I should note that with a full suspension bike I don’t deflate for off road, so their characteristics may change if you lower the tire pressure and get a flatter, knobbier, cross section in the material. The other problem is purely aesthetic- the odd red sidewalls don’t look good on any bike that isn’t black. I know it’s the “Armadillo” trademark, but couldn’t the guys at Specialized come up with something else?
If you get thorn flats get these tires. At the beginning of the year I had 6 flats in 8 rides. We’ve got a new invader in town- Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris) and it’s aptly named. The thorns are wide at the base, sharp, hard, and come off the plant in groups so that at least one point is always sticking up. They seem designed to flatten bike tires. I tried puncture resistant tubes- got a flat on the first ride. I tried slime tire liners- got a flat on the first ride. No matter what I tried I never pulled a Puncturevine thorn from my tires without hearing a hiss until I put on the Crossroads Armadillos. After, in a dozen rides I picked up 8 Puncturevine thorns- no flats. Then, about three weeks ago, I accidentally ran through a dried Puncturevine patch. (It's a distinctive plant, but dried it looks like any other ground hugging weed so watch out.) Without the slightest exaggeration I got 300 thorns in the tires. There was nearly as much thorn showing as rubber. I knocked out what I could with my shoes, then rode like the wind because I couldn’t believe my luck would hold. Seven miles later I was home and both tires were hard as rocks. It took four hours with tweezers to pull all the broken points out of the tires. The next day the rear tire was low- of all those thorns exactly ONE made it through the Armadillo, and it only got through far enough to cause a slow leak. I can honestly say these are the best bike investment I’ve made.
Bike Setup: ’04 Jamis Dakar base model with Zoom adjustable stem, Stomp Pedals, Topeak cargo rack
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: July 26, 2005
Strengths: Great compromise tread for street and occasional off-road Seemingly bullet-proof design. Holds up well to thorns & street debri... So far, more than 100 hours of riding without a flat. Great compromise tread for the riding I actually do (see below).
Weaknesses: Clearly a compromise tread design. Unsure traction in sand/soft dirt. Harsher ride over rocks & roots (perhaps due to higher inflation - I'm keeping around 50psi)
Since I probably spend 90% of my rides on country roads (dirt/paved) and only 10% single-track, I'm content to compromise with tread design. (Now in my 40s, no longer 'hard corps' about running in front of the pack; but instead just enjoying the ride) Honestly, I'm not afraid to take these anywhere off-road, but with them, I do tend to ride more cautiously on soft fireroads downhill.
Similar Products Used: None. Normally have run pure off-road tires.
Bike Setup: DBR titanium (XTR)
a Cross Country Rider
from Petaluma, CA
Date Reviewed: February 22, 2005
Strengths: Guaranteed no flats. Universal replacement policy if you get a flat. Center bead provides low rolling resistance on the road and is good for hardpack, while the knobby sides provide a certain amount of offroad versatility. Pressure rating from 35 to 80psi - gets low enough for good traction/bump absorption on the trail, and high enough to make it worth it to ride on pavement. Slick red sidewalls. Claimed extended tread life (yet to be determined...)
Weaknesses: Not actually flat PROOF (but what is?). Weight. Does pavement and/or trails well, but doesn't really do either EXCEPTIONALLY well.
These tires are perfect for what I need them for. I'm currently running my bike as both my ss trail bike and commuter, and I need the capability to go fast on pavement while still being able to take some off road detours if I want to (hence the flip-flopless dual gear setup). On my commute, I ride a two lane highway for about 8 miles, and the road debris on the shoulder is horrendous - nails, screws, staples, you name it - so I also need exceptional flat resistance to get me to work on time. The Schwalbe Marathons I have on my fixed commuter were AWESOME (though not fit for much off roading), but I decided to try out these for commuting with my mountain bike.
My LBS had them in stock when my IRC's finally went dead (two flats on my commute in three days), and the Bay Area Specialized sales rep even happened to be there to assure me of the no flat replacement gaurantee when I bought them. I figured I couldn't go wrong, until I got a flat about two blocks from my house on my commute two days later (*$%!). But I returned to the shop that day to show them the massive self-tapping screw that caused the flat, as well as the gaping hole in the tire, and they promptly gave me a replacement. Hopefully it doesn't happen again...
Overall, for me, these are spectacular tires. Not the lightest, and not the best for JUST pavement or JUST trails, but when there's a good chance you'll be doing both and you want something that won't be flatting out after every little piece of road debris, these are your tires.
Bike Setup: Diamondback Zetec 4.1 w/ rigid fork and Surly Singleator. Big ring and middle ring on a LX crank up front, two cogs in the back, with about 4 links of removable chain (via two Powerlinks) so I can easily switch between a good high gear for pavement and a good medium gear for trails. On One Mungo moustache bars. Avid SD7 brakes. Original LX hubs (rear silent clutch) relaced by me to black Sun CR18's with black Wheelsmith spokes.