Specialized has just updated its Pathfinder gravel tyre, making it faster, grippier and lighter.
The current Pathfinder Pro model has already been described (by Specialized) as the "winningest tyre in gravel." Sure enough, it does claim multiple victories at Unbound, including first and second place at the 2021 edition. under Ian Boswell and Laurens ten Dam.
Looking to further build on this success, Specialized is has now introduced the S-Works Pathfinder 42mm. It retains the tread pattern and tubeless compatibility, whilst shaving a claimed 105 grams off the weight of each tyre and "reducing rolling resistance significantly."
These improvements to the weight and rolling resistance come principally from a reduction of the volume of rubber in the carcass. Specialized has also switched to a new "dual Gripton" compound, putting the faster rolling T5 compound down the centre and a grippier T7 compound on the shoulders.
In terms of the tread pattern, Specialized's perfectly satisfied with the knob spacing of the current Pathfinder, finding it a good balance between straight-line speed and cornering grip – once banked over onto the shoulder knobs.
Particularly in the world of gravel racing, there's no point in optimising so hard for speed that puncture resistance is sacrificed – a couple of flats will lose you more time than any speed gain from a faster rolling tyre.
To that end, Specialized has developed a new "Grid Race" cross-woven polyamide sidewall reinforcement layer, which is designed to improve tear and puncture resistance – without making tyre feel wooden or deadened over small, chattery bumps.
Coming in only a 42mm x 700c width, the S-Works Pathfinder weighs a claimed 435 grams and is said to be 20 percent faster than any gravel tyre Specialized has yet produced. Pricing stands at £50/$60/€60.
The Pathefinder Pro Gripton misses out on the T5/T7 compound of the S-Works model and swaps the "Grid Race" for the Endurant Casing. It's avaible in a much greater range of sizes, though, spanning 38 and 42mm x 700c and 47mm x 650b. More details can be found on Specialized's website here.
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Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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