Weaknesses: Bad grip on turns/angles. Difficult to make tubeless. Waaaay to much $$$ for the quality.
Very hard to make tubeless (I could not do it in 2 hours, bike shop could not do it in 2 more hours... replaced tire with Kenda Nevegal which went tubeless in less than 2 minutes). I've had the tire slide out on tight turns (not with the Kenda) and I've had the tire slide out on angled banks (again, not the Kenda). If you notice the people who race, they do not race this tire. My guess, slides out too much.
Cost is too much. S-works makes great bikes, seats, shoes, and helmets... but not tires. I would not suggest this tire to anyone.
Best tire in the world --> Depends on where you live/what terrain you ride. Go talk to some guys who go out locally and find out which tires they've used, which they like best... and you probably want a different front tire from rear. I'm using Kenda Nevegal front and Kenda Slant Six on rear for my terrain, which is dirt, lil mud, some sand, lots of roots, quite a few rocks.... works great in this environment.
Strengths: Great traction on everything except wet roots, Great Cornering ability, Rolls pretty fast, In short everything you want in a tire.
Weaknesses: Not the best in sand but what tire is?
I have the control casing of this tire. I am also coming from Specialized's Fast Trak which is a pure xc race/ hardpack tire so take that into account. I actually found that I was faster with this tire front and rear because I could pedal out of the saddle w/o worrying about spinning out. Going up gravel strewn hills this things will spin for 1/2 a second and then find traction again. The cornering is terrific. The casing has suffered a few punctures but I was riding in an area where sharp, metal pieces are probably the culprit. As for trail related hits I've never been disappointed. For XC-light trail this tire rocks, I will probably get another set after this one wears out.
Bike Setup: 2008 Specialized Hardrock, clipless pedals
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2012
Strengths: Good wear, had no issues with sidewalls at all. I probably run a bit more air pressure than most though. Very light. Really like it on the rear. Very fast rolling.
Weaknesses: Didn't like the tire at all as a front. Price is higher than comparable tires too.
Had very good luck with the tire when used as a rear. Didn't like it at all as a front. Got around 1000 miles out of the rear, pretty much rode it down to nothing. Never had any issue with sidewalls and all the areas I ride are very rocky. Good tire but I've found a few I like better for less money.
a Weekend Warrior
from Colorado Springs
Date Reviewed: March 10, 2012
Strengths: Grip, weight, rolling resistance, tubliss
Weaknesses: Sidewall sucks!
I've enjoyed these tires until today. I recently switched the front over to tubliss. It took a while to seal the sidewalls, but they finally did. Today, as I went down a steep section of slickrock that went level at the bottom I watched in disbelief as the sidewall blew out at the bottom of the rock. I was going slow, weight back, not on the front brake so as not to endo too! There was no abrasion. No puncture. The sidewall literally just popped like a balloon. And the stans was never able to seal the hole.
After walking (hoping it would seal) and pumping it up 3 times I gave up and put in a tube.
After mountain biking for almost 25 years including many trips on that same trail with tubed Panaracers I've NEVER blown a sidewall. Yeah, it's light, but that's unsat!
a Cross Country Rider
from mission viejo
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2011
Strengths: Lot of traction on paved road
Weaknesses: Sidewall, got flat tire on dirt trail everytime.
Made a big mistake purchaing the Specialized Captain S work to replace my 10 years old Kenda tire. The Captain S work gave me flat tire almost immediately on the dirt road the first day riding it(part of the trail is dirt road). Fixed the flat tire and only got another flat the next day. Fixed the flat tire again and got another flat the day after that. I did google the tire and realized this tire is known for weak sidewall that has lot of negative reviews because of the flat that riders experienced with this tire. Brought tire back to the store luckily the agreed to replace the captain swork with another pair of my choice since I have only got this tire for a week. I selected the Panaracer XC pro tire since this tire has good reviews and can resist dirtroad with sharp rocks.... I have not gotten any flat tire with the Panaracer XC pro since then not to mention I crossed my bike on that dirtroad many times now with the panaracer XC pro tires.
a Cross Country Rider
from Rochester, MN, USA
Date Reviewed: October 6, 2011
Strengths: The high thread count and thin rubber of the S-Works casing provide for very light weight and wonderfully low rolling resistance.
The Captain tread pattern has incredible lateral traction; it goes where you point it.
Weaknesses: None really.
Just a few words regarding price.
At 65 bucks each, these are expensive!
But it easily made my bike $65 better, so it's hard to complain.
I had a tendency to push the front out in fast turns.
So I needed a front tire with more lateral traction.
Conventional wisdom has you choose between speed and control.
But this tire gives me the best of both worlds.
Yes, the sidewalls are thin and fragile.
(I don't even let the scrub brush touch them.)
But it's the tradeoff for light weight and low rolling resistance.
It's a cross-country tire.
I recommended The Captain to my brother and to Mrs. not-real-fast.
They run it in the more durable and less expensive Control casing.
Favorite Trail: Lebanon Hills, Eagan, MN (it's where I get to ride most often)
Duration Product Used: 1 Year
Purchased At: Bicycle Sports, Roch
Similar Products Used: Specialized S-Works FastTrak LK
Bontrager Jones AC
Continental Leader Pro
Bike Setup: 2009 Specialized Stumpjumper Marathon 29er
Completely stock except I replaced the front FastTrak LK with The Captain.
35 psi front and rear.
from Des Moines, IA
Date Reviewed: May 24, 2011
Strengths: excellent traction
Weaknesses: Sidewalls are a disappointment. Ridden these tires about 700 miles in the 4 months of riding conditions. Terrain they have encountered are; Lumberjack 100 in MIchigan - excellent for the sand based trails, Iowa trails-very nice grip for dry and wet conditions. Kansas City trails - good grip but they took their toll there. Got home and the sidewalls showed threading. The next time out, two sidewall punctures and a hike-a-bike experience. For the record, I tend to run 40 lbs.with tubes. I've read other posts, and I agree that these tires are light, fast, grip like crazy glue, but if you're looking for a tire to last more than half a season, this is the tire for you.
I will be buying a new set of tires this week and will be looking for a bit more rubber on the sidewalls. I am not a rider who needs to save a few ounces on their tires. If that was a concern, I would have one less beer after a long ride. Love the dirt...and stay out of the ivy.
Similar Products Used: S Works Fastrack has the same issue with sidewalls
Bike Setup: 2010 Specialized Epic
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 11, 2010
Strengths: Very high level of traction both braking and power
These tyres are superbe I can see what they mean by saying the tyre was designed for the stumpjumper, I have done over a 1000 miles with these tyres on ALL surfaces from family trail routes to downhill sections in the Alps and I run low presures alot of the time even down to 25psi.
I believe that alot of the problems people are experiencing could be down simply to a poor choice of line through sections, you need to ride light!
My captains are near the end of their life now but there is no question what boot the stumpy will be wearing!!
Similar Products Used: Specialized adrenaline, panaracer cinder .....
Bike Setup: stock 09 stumpy
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 30, 2010
Strengths: Light and fast
Weaknesses: very thin sidewalls
I received these tires on my bike when I purchased- personally I think they are GREAT tires but they have their intended use. They are for RACE ONLY. I punctured my first sidewall today (just recreational riding) on a little rock section. I went my LBS and they gave me a brand new one free!!!
I did end up buying the regular Captians Bliss2 (not S-Works) for more sidewall durability. I will save the S-Work tires for racing only.
Similar Products Used: maxxis crossmax, maxxis larsen, ect.
Bike Setup: 2010 Epic Marathon 29er
from Minneapolis, MN
Date Reviewed: July 14, 2010
Strengths: Very predictable, good traction on a variety of surfaces, light, low rolling resistance
Weaknesses: Fairly thin sidewall- the threads are showing through
In my experience, these tires are great. I've had them for about 10 months and so far ridden these about 400 miles over various terrain. About three fourths of my riding has been done on trails, and a large percentage of that has been fairly aggressive cross country racing. These tires have been through many rock gardens, sand, snow, epic mudfests and anything else imaginable, even a few downhill races, and always came out intact. Granted MN terrain isn't the craziest, but these tires are definitely capable of surviving more than a few miles of dirt roads. The cornering and general traction is great, barely any slippage ever. If you ever do break traction in a turn, these tires are predictable enough for executing a nice two wheel slide. The durablilty is also great. When I ride on road I like to push my physical limits, meaning sprints up hills, hard accelerating, fast turns, etc. Despite this type of abuse the tread is still almost all there and still going strong. However, things to keep in mind are that I only weigh 140, I haven't put very many miles on the tires, and the sidewall threads are beginning to show. Only time will tell how good these tires really are, but so far they have been more than satisfactory.
a Cross Country Rider
from Golden Colorado, USA
Date Reviewed: June 9, 2010
Strengths: Good grip with reasonable pressures, grip at all lean angles. Lots of volume for for rim protection at the 2.2 size. Good on loose over hard.
Weaknesses: S-works side wall is not as durrable as tires with more protection designed in (Armadio, snakeskin, protectiion, ect). But that's how you get a supper light weight tire.
Select a casing strength that matches your local terain, S-works is not for sharp rocks.
The S-works 2.2 size run with a tube has held up heroically for about 6 months now. The 2.0 size did not fair as well and got a sliced side wall fairy quick. I ride Front Range Colorado trails, loose over hard, rocky, technical, smooth and sharp rocks, decomposed granite surface (think kitty litter over hard), the tire works well in these conditions. I have also used this tire for longer backcountry rides.
I've run these tires with a tube at 30 psi front, 35 psi rear (I weight 185 with gear). I have great grip at all lean angles, and for drive traction. Better drive traction than the Ardent 2.25 with 60a rubber, but worse braking traction. Much better rim / pinch flat protection than the Ardent. More volume too.
Six reasons I like this tire.
1. Good rim protection for technical riding.
2. Do not need to run ultra low pressures to get grip, so the bike is much more stable on steeps, impacts to rocks, ect. This is a big benefit.
3. Grip at all lean angles. Great if you don't want to lower your seat for the decent.
4. Knobs don’t fall off on the rocks.
5. Rolling resistance is decent. Not as bad as Nevagal, not as good as a racing tire. Good compromise between grip and rolling resistance.
6. Dual compound tire available in 4 different casing options, including full UST for only $45.
A note on the casing: I have not tried running the S-works tubeless. IMO the sidewalls are too thin for tubeless duty. In fact, this is the lightest casing tire I have ever owned. I’ve expected durability to be less than it has been due to thin casings, could be I’m just lucky? The control, armadio or UST casing will likely be a better match for the majority of users out there.
I recently purchased the Grig full GRID UST casing and find it very durable.
Similar Products Used: Ardent, Racing Ralph, Rocet Ron, Nevegal, Crossmaxx.
Bike Setup: 09 stumpy. 120 front, 120 rear. Mavic Crossmax wheel. Run with tube at 30 psi front, 35 psi rear.
a Cross Country Rider
from Veldhoven, The Netherlands
Date Reviewed: May 23, 2010
Strengths: Grippy on anything but the heaviest mud and ice...
Low rolling resistance
Weaknesses: Nothing serious, maybe hard to fill with Stans (?)
I run it on the front (Fast Trak in the rear, both 2.0") with Stans and we don't have sharp rocks 'round here so no sidewall or puncture trouble for me. For the rest I've ridden them on anything from snow and ice to fat mud and loose sand. They behave very well in the range of intended use. Especially good on loose sand, they don't dig in but stay on top. From the reviews I was worried about the Epic's default tires, but I'm happy I kept them: a great pair in not too extreme weather.
Similar Products Used: several Schwalbes, Specialized Rockster
Bike Setup: 2010 Specialized Epic Expert
a Cross Country Rider
from Fairfield, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: January 1, 2010
Strengths: These tyres have a good mid 500 gram weight for 2BLiss capability & sidewall durability. The 2Bliss bead locks onto the Mavic SLR rim tight & is great tubeless. These tyres would be great for aggressive cross country riding. I like to climb standing as opposed to the sit & spin method commonly taught; the Captains still stick even when the back tyre is unweighted a bit from standing.
Weaknesses: Haven't found any weaknesses for my riding style yet!
Specifically, I'm writing of a very recent production SWorks Captain 26" x 2" tyre. I've read about the many problems encountered with sidewall weakness. However, it appears Specialized may have listened to riders & beefed up the sidewalls of the SWorks models. The SWorks tyres were intended to be light, sacrificing a little in the durability dept. Prior SWorks tyres I've ridden did show sidewall threading, but I've always been able to seal them up with Stans or Caffe Latex. This newest version tangibly has more rubber on the sidewall & you can't really see sidewall threads. This would enhance sealing up when using sealants & enhance sidewall durability, as well.
I've been running SWorks Captain 29x2" on my Titus Fireline 29er & they provide great climbing traction, good corner holding & slip predictably. They're light to boot! So I decided to change out the 26" SWorks Fast Trak LK's on my Epic for Captains, because its been raining around here. Yesterday I took the 26x2" Captains up a super steep climb of rutted sticky, though hard packed dirt/mud; that back tyre did not slip one bit. That was done standing & the back tyre didn't slip. I was impressed. The back tyre packed up with dirt a little, but I was able to climb steep stuff with no slip.
I run both 29r & 26 Captains at about 27# front & rear. I get the cornering stick that give me confidence to lean the bike over. They climb rocky steep technical hills as well as hard packed steep hills with no major problems.
I can tell you this, I'm not a fan of Asian built frames only because I'd rather support a US frame builder, i.e. Titus. Therefore, the Taiwan built tyres would be a turn off. But, with an engineering background, I was looking for a tyre that provided a specific set of handling qualities for my style at a low weight. This apparently newest version of the SWorks Captains are the ticket for me.
Front tyre weighs 551grams, I put the lighter 537g on the rear.
I don't know why there's been such bad luck with Captain's in the past for others. The sets of Captains I've been running have been great for me & I've tried the highly vaunted Nevegals & wasn't impressed with their greater weight. In comparison the Nevegals did stick, but they rolled slower on the road (I ride on road to my local trails) & they're about 100grams heavier per tyre.
Heck my next 29er bike project will probably wear Captain's too! No lie guys & gals, these tyres are great. I don't work for the big S & only go MADE in the USA now.
Similar Products Used: 2007 SWorks Fast Trak LK 26", 2009 SWorks Captain 2" x 29er, Kenda Nevegal 26 x 2.1"
Bike Setup: factory 2007 SWorks Epic build, XTR, CrossMax SLR's, Fox RLC 100, Ritchey 10 degree flat bar (awesome bar), Formula Oro Puro's with 160mm rotors F&R, Brain shock set at 110# for my 190# full battle rattle weight, EggBeater SL's upgraded with Ward Industries VeryShort Ti spindles