Warminsterwobble – Specialized has announced the S-Works Pathfinder, which is claimed to be the brand’s fastest and lightest gravel tyre yet. Specialized says the new S-Works Pathfinder retains the same tread pattern, tubeless compatibility and tyre casing as its popular Pathfinder Pro gravel tyre but shaves a claimed 210g off the Pro’s weight, while reducing rolling resistance too.
According to Specialized, this means the S-Works Pathfinder has a claimed 435g weight and is said to be 20 per cent faster than any other gravel tyre the brand has made before.
With this reduction in weight, one might expect the S-Works Pathfinder to have a limited application and be unable to take on rougher terrain. But Specialized claims the tyre is durable across a variety of surfaces and can withstand harsh impacts. The S-Works Pathfinder is currently only available in 700 × 42mm. It costs £50 / $60 / AU$95 / €60.
Speed and traction
The S-Works Pathfinder gravel tyre uses a dual compound for speed and traction. Specialized says the tread-pattern design “rolls fast, with progressively more bite as you lean into a corner”. However, in a bid to reduce rolling resistance and mass, Specialized says it has used a lower volume of rubber in the tyre.
In order to be fast-rolling and provide bite in corners, the tyre features a combination of Specialized’s Gripton rubber compounds. The middle of the tyre has Gripton T5, which is said to be fast-rolling, while the shoulder of the tyre has the grippy Gripton T7 compound.
Alongside employing different rubber compounds across the tyre, Specialized says it has also used a lower volume in order to reduce rolling resistance and mass.
These factors are what’s behind Specialized’s “20 per cent faster” claim. However, the brand has not provided data to support this claim at the time of writing.
Grid Race sidewall and puncture protection
The tyre is said to be able to withstand harsh impacts and sharp stone surfaces. As well as employing a new dual-rubber compound, the S-Works Pathfinder has a new cross-woven polyamide sidewall called Grid Race, which Specialized says “improves tear and puncture resistance while maintaining good elasticity for a supple ride”.
Despite the sidewall’s lightweight design, it’s said to provide protection from a variety of surfaces, such as flinty gravel and sharp stone, as well as helping prevent tyre collapse in harsh impacts.
Specialized doesn’t just make claims around the sidewall’s protection. It also says Grid Race helps create a “smooth and confident” contact patch.
The S-Works Pathfinder uses Specialized’s Black Belt puncture protection, which is the same technology Specialized uses on its S-Works Turbo RapidAir tyres. This lightweight, woven layer sits beneath the Pathfinder’s tread to further increase the tyre’s durability.