MTB Tire Test: Specialized S-Works Fast Trak

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  • Specialized S-Works Fast Trak
Performance compared to all other MTB tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - highest - strongest)
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Specialized S-Works Fast Trak road bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

The Specialized Fast Trak is a mountain bike tire that fits the medium knob height class and competes with tires like the Schwalbe Racing Ralph, Conti Race King, and Maxxis Ikon. I'm testing the S-Works version of the Fast Trak which is the most expensive version and should be the fastest Fast Trak available. The S-Works Fast Trak comes with a 120 TPI casing, 2 Bliss Ready (Tubeless Ready) bead and a 60a compound.


At the moment of this writing, the mountain bike section (overview) is dominated by Schwalbe and Continental. I'm testing the Specialized tires to see if they can compete with the top offerings from those brands. Because the S-Works versions of the Specialized mountain bike tires are priced similar to the top of the line tires from Schwalbe and Conti, they should be compared to the Evolution (Schwalbe) and RaceSport/Protection (Conti) tires.


Next to the S-Works version, the Fast Trak is available as Control (15% improved cut resistance), GRID (38% improved cut resistance), Armadillo (cheaper + stronger), and Sport (cheaper) versions. I can't test all versions of the Fast Trak, but I feel the S-Works will, at least, give an indication about how the rest of the Specialized mountain bike tires perform.


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Manufacturer Specifications


Manufacturer Specs
Brand Specialized
Model S-Works Fast Trak
Year 2016
Supplied By Bought in store
New or Used New
Mileage 0 km
Price Range High
Buy At
Manufacturer part number 0012-4056
TPI 120
Compound 60a
Bead Folding
ETRTO 55-622
Size Inch 29"
Width Inch 2.20
Specified Weight 570 grams
Max Pressure
Made In Taiwan
Available Sizes 29 x 2.30
29 x 2.10
27.5 x 2.30
27.5 x 2.10
26 x 2.30
26 x 2.10

Specialized S-Works Fast Trak Test Results

Specialized S-Works Fast Trak  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine

Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements


Size, Weight, and Thickness Measurements (Bike Wheel: 622-17C, Pressure: 35 psi / 2.4 bar)
Specified Weight 570 grams
Measured Weight 588 grams
Measured Width Carcass 53 mm
Measured Width Tread 54 mm
Measured Height 52 mm
Measured Knob Height Center 2.5 mm
Measured Knob Height Edge 3.1 mm
Measured Total Thickness Sidewall 0.50 mm
Measured Total Thickness Center (excluding knobs) 1.70 mm

Specified weight of the S-Works Fast Trak is 570 grams; my sample comes in at 588 grams. The measured width of the casing comes in at 53 mm, the knobs stick out a bit further resulting in a maximum width of 54 mm. The measured height is 52 mm. All of these measurements seem to be in line with other 2.2/2.25 rated tires.


Knob height at the center of the tread is 2.5 mm. At the edge of the tire, the knobs have a height of 3.1 mm. These measurements fit right in between the Schwalbe Racing Ralph (2.5/3.8) and Continental Race King (2.5/2.5). The measured thickness of the sidewalls is 0.5 mm, which is similar to other tires optimized for a low rolling resistance.


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Rolling Resistance Test Results


Rolling Resistance Test Results (Speed: 29 kmh / 18 mph / 8 m/s, Load: 42.5 kg / 417 N)
Inner Tube Conti MTB 29 (225 gr butyl)
Rolling Resistance 55 psi / 3,8 Bar 22.9Watts
CRR: 0.00686
Rolling Resistance 45 psi / 3,1 Bar 23.4 Watts
CRR: 0.00701
Rolling Resistance 35 psi / 2,4 Bar 24.9 Watts
CRR: 0.00746
Rolling Resistance 25 psi / 1,7 Bar 28.0 Watts
CRR: 0.00839
Use the formula: RR (watts) = CRR * speed (m/s) * load (N) to calculate rolling resistance at a given speed and load

Unfortunately, even the S-Works version of the Fast Trak can't compete with the fastest tires from Schwalbe and Continental in the rolling resistance test. Compared to the Racing Ralph TL-R (read review) and Race King RaceSport (read review), the Fast Trak has close to 4-5 watts more resistance per tire. The good news is the Fast Trak does outperform similar tires from Maxxis, Kenda, and Vittoria.


When we also take the medium priced tires from Schwalbe and Continental into consideration, it looks even worse for Specialized. Although the difference between these tires is small, the Fast Trak gets outperformed by the Performance versions of both the Conti Race King and Schwalbe Racing Ralph. Considering these tires are half the price of the S-Works tires, it doesn't look good.


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Puncture Resistance Test Results

Specialized S-Works Fast Trak  mountain bike tire on a rolling resistance test machine
Puncture Resistance Test Result (higher is better)
Puncture Resistance Tread 6 Points
Puncture Resistance Sidewall 5 Points

In the puncture resistance test, the Fast Trak doesn't make up what is lost in the rolling resistance test. Both the tread and sidewall puncture resistance tests are in-line with other tires in the same class.


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Conclusion


  • Specialized S-Works Fast Trak
Performance compared to all other MTB tires
(100% is fastest - lightest - highest - strongest)

With the S-Works version of the Fast Trak, Specialized takes third spot behind Schwalbe and Continental in the mountain bike category. Third spot sounds good, but when you look at the overview page (overview), you'll see even the medium priced tires from Schwalbe and Continental offer a lower rolling resistance. Compared to the top tires from those brands, rolling resistance of the Fast Trak is close to 4-5 watts higher per tire while providing equal puncture resistance and knob height.


The S-Works Fast Trak isn't a bad tire as it outperforms similar tires from Maxxis, Kenda, and Vittoria. Do consider that for the same price, you can buy faster tires from Schwalbe and Continental that offer a lower rolling resistance, lower weight, and equal puncture resistance.


RATING: 3 / 5
TEST VERDICT:
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