Specialized is getting ready for the heavy part of gravel season and is rolling out some gear that will make you question your setup for race day. After finding success in the classics and gravel races, the Specialized S-Works Mondo tire is hitting the shelves just in time for Unbound, BWR, and your favorite gravel race.
That’s not all, though; we’ve noticed a new 3D saddle floating around the SD-Works and other Specialized sponsored teams, and it’s finally available for the masses — the Specialized Romin EVO Pro with Mirror technology.
Specialized S-Works Mondo Tires
The Specialized Mondo tire is a blend of road, gravel, and exploration design. The team at Specialized looked to create a tire that can perform for longer miles, on rougher roads, in bad weather, and roll on dirt and gravel.
Why not update the Specialized Armadillo? The tire is arguably one of the most well know endurance and trusted puncture-protective, higher-level performance tires around. Well — the team at Specialized decided that puncture protection and long tread life aren’t enough; riders now require a higher level of performance along with the aforementioned.
Plus — when it comes to race day, they don’t want to change out their well-known training tires for ones that aren’t second nature to them. Basically, a tire that will go anywhere, do anything, no “splitting the difference,” just performance and reliability… easy right?
The S-Works Mondo tires have 11% less rolling resistance than the previous class-leading Specialized tire. Like most gains in tire performance, a secret compound is involved, Specialized proprietary Gription.
The updated Gripton compounds run on a scale from ultra-efficient and durable T2 road compounds to the super tacky T9 mountain compound — T5 lands right in the middle as a balanced mix. Most successful Specialized tires employ a mix of the two for efficiency and traction.
For the Mondo, the design team used the dual compound featuring T2 in the center, flanked by the wet and dry grip of the T5 compound on the shoulders. This is the same dual compound that debuted in a World Road Championship, the Specialized Turbo race tires.
The formulation uses a mix of activated Silica and Specialized T2 Gripton, delivering a lively, fast tire, 17% faster than the Specialized T5 compound on in-house rolling resistance test drum tests. For corning grip, the team used the softer activated Silica T5 Gripton compound (which offers 10% more grip than the T2 compound). This compound change allows the Mondo to sink into the road, providing a planted feeling for cornering speed.
Specialized Best Puncture Protection
Blackbelt protection is a common feature on Speclizeds endurance tires. For the Mondo, the tire team updated the protection belt, giving it a dense, strong cross-woven aramid material that delivers 12% more puncture protection than the previous Blackbelt offerings. Just to add a little extra, the team added a new Grid Race protection similar to that on its mountain bike tires.
This dual layer of cross-woven polyamide panels is applied at the side wall, and despite its supple and flexible nature, its high tear strength mates incredible durability with a stable, confident ride at low tire pressures.
Why different materials on the breaker and the side wall? Specialized explains: “It’s because each part of the tire plays a different role in creating the tire’s overall performance. There are hundreds of materials to choose from, and 0.5 mm of too much material, or the wrong material in the wrong place, can destroy a tire’s ride quality or make it vulnerable to flats. Blackbelt, under the tread, must be dense and strong to avoid punctures.”
Does added protection mean additional weight? The S-Works Mondo is 5% lighter than the nearest endurance competition. It runs on a supple 120 TPI casing and tubeless-ready construction, making the Mondo tire a great mix of function and fast.
The new Mondo is hookless ready, and Specliazed claims it’s strong enough for pressures on hooked rims higher than any hookless rims can reach. This is all to ensure riders have the flexibility to run the pressure they feel is right when using hooked rims.
We received an early sample of the S-Works Mondo tire in the 700c x 32mm size. The only bike/wheel combination Zach had that would fit the tires was his Why PR currently fitted with Bontrager Aeolus RSL 62 wheels.
The frame is built with a Whisky carbon road fork, both of which list their tire clearance as 700c x 32mm. Fortunately, that seems to be a very conservative number as the tires grew to 33.96mm after a few days while mounted to the 23mm internal rims. That makes us wonder how big that 35mm tire would really be!
Mounting the tires was fairly straightforward, even if they were fairly tight and resistant to flattening out after being removed from the packaging. A quick blast of air, and they seated immediately without any fuss.
Our initial rides have yielded a tire that seems to get faster with each use, though we’re still dialing in ride pressures to find the sweet spot — stay tuned for a full review.
Specialized S-Works Mondo Tire Specs
- Casing: 120 TPI
- Bead: Foldable 2Bliss Ready
- Dual Compound: GRIPTON® T2/T5
- Sizes: Available in 28, 32, and beefy 35 mm widths
- 700 x 28 mm, psi 70-95, approximate weight 310g
- 700 x 32 mm, psi 50-80, approximate weight 330g
- 700 x 35 mm, psi 50-80, approximate weight 360g
Flat Protection: GRID RACE and BlackBelt
- Price: $80
Available Now at your local shop and online
Specialized Romin EVO Pro with Mirror
Along with releasing the new Mondo tires, the Specialized Romin EVO gets the Pro treatment just in time for summer. The Romin EVO Pro with Mirror now has a nylon, reclaimed carbon fiber shell, and hollow Ti rails. Using this material takes the price down slightly from $450 (S-Works) to $325 (Pro EVO).
The Romin EVO has been a favorite for all disciplines. The design is a traditional long shape designed to help relieve pressure in an aggressive position allowing freedom of movement.
Pair that classic design with the 22,200 struts and 10,700 nodes of 3D-printed comfort of Specialized Mirror technology, and you have a winning combo (for most).
For those wondering — The Romin EVO Pro with Mirror uses the same 3D printed pad as the S-Works version. The only difference is the nylon, reclaimed carbon fiber shell, and hollow Ti rails.
Specialized Romin EVO Pro with Mirror Details
- Sizes: 143 Width: 234g, 155 Width: 237g
- Price: $325
- Available Now at your local shop and online
We’ve had limited time on the Romin EVO Pro, but look out for a full review soon. For more information about the Specliaized Mondo and Romin EVO Pro, check out: Specialized.com.