New, improved Specialized Eskar tires

I’ve been rocking the Specialized Eskar Control tires on my Stumpy since they were wee prototypes, and I’ve really liked them. They roll pretty quickly, they corner well, and they haven’t been flatting. All in all a good trail tire.

Now they’re better.

Eskar v1.0.

The issue
If you were to complain about the Eskar, you’d say there was a vague spot between the center and side knobs. If you leaned the tire aggressively, it hooked like a champ. If you sort of apologized your way through the turns — especially if they were loose or off camber — there was a bit of sketch factor.

As some designers say, it was an “expert” tire.

The change
Our man Chris Wyatt, Specialized’s tire genius, made the Eskar’s side knobs taller. By my tape measure, they’re about 2mm taller. Everything else about the tire seems the same — but the taller side knobs make the tire look much fatter. More DHish.

Says Chris:

“Basically we enhanced the side knobs so the rider makes contact with the shoulder knob earlier in the lean angle, and this taller knob will provide better bite in a variety of terrain. The tire is more on the XC side of All Mtn, but we wanted to improve its All Mtn cornering performance. The Name will stay the same.”

The new version should be available this July.

The ride
I’ve been rocking the new Eskars at the dirt jumps and play spots here in Boulder, and they’ve felt great. Just as quick as before, but more sticky and less vague in the turns.

The real test came Friday at Hall Ranch in Lyons, CO. The 75-minute ride has a good mix of smooth flow and rocky gnar.

I’ve ridden this trail on my Stumpjumper with the original Eskars many times. Changing just the tires yields a solid experiment.


– The bike rolls just as fast as before. Not as fast as dedicated XC tires, but pretty fast.

– That vague spot is gone. The bike feels like it hooks at all lean angles. It’s amazing how much more secure the entire descent felt without that moment of transitional drift. I know this trail and my bike very well: The difference was noticeable.

– The ultimate cornering traction feels at least as good — probably better.

– The new version is a clear improvement on an already sweet tire. I’ll keep pushing, and I’ll keep you posted.

Also read
Followup: Specialized Eskar Tires
Two rides: Specialized Eskar Armadillo Elite 1.3 tires

Enhanced side knob braaap!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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12 replies
  1. Greg says:

    Hi Lee; I’ve been using Kenda Nevegal 2.1 DTC with tubes on Mavic rims for a couple of seasons now. luckily I’ve only had one pinch flat in that time. It seems to be difficult to get the non UST Nevegals to work with Stans on the Mavic rims and the UST Nevegals are rather heavy which to my mind defeats the weight savings of the Mavics, so this new version of the Eskar, which I understand can be run 2Bliss, is interesting news to me. Any word on how heavy the new tire is relative to the old one. And you are talking about the Eskar Control vs the S-Works version right? I have to admit I get a bit confused as to the combination of names Specialized uses at times. Cheers

  2. Mr. P says:

    Sounds great! This will now better fit local conditions. It’s great to hear about companies listening to customers.

    Any pics?


  3. leelikesbikes says:

    Yes, I am talking about the Control version. According to Wyatt, the original Control is 40% more puncture-resistant than the S-Works, with about 17% (100 grams) more weight.

    BTW: S-Works is full-bore race style. Control is more durable. I’m all about the Controls.

    The new tires have more rubber on ’em, so they’re heavier, but the difference must be slight (10 or 20 grams?). Heck: Braaap some rocky trail and you’ll rub those extra grams right off!

    Photos: I shot comparison photos of both versions — getting ready for a sweet infographic — but I can’t find ’em. Poo.

    — — —

    Speaking of poo, I just got back from a demo at a diaper service. Rocking cloth baby!

  4. leelikesbikes says:

    Ha! Nice.

    Given the same amount of support, taller knobs will squirm more than shorter ones. So far these tires don’t feel squirmy — but I’ll keep testing.

  5. brendon says:

    I’ve been on the Eskars for the last year an this is the only improvement that I would have made. Rallying berms will be much easier than before since you won’t have to nearly get upside down in the berm to find the side knob.

  6. Martyn says:

    Hi Lee, I’m holding out for the new Eskars to come over the pond to the UK and with what your promising will be well worth the wait. I’m also considering the Clutch SX 2bliss front for grip on my 3rd Enduro SL to give me the best grip overall with something like a faster rolling Eskar on the rear, doe that make sense. Also thinking of a second cheaper Specialized bike to complement the enduro for when the night draws in again and I get my lights out. And ideas. HT light or heavier cheaper FSR stumpjumper? PS got the book back from my brother and i’m getting better again.

  7. Martyn says:

    I had ordered a Clutch SX up front for those days when I want to pin it. It’s down to a chep Rockhopper but the more I look at a P2 AM the more I like. That bike wasnt on my radar till now.

  8. martyn says:

    The place I ordered the Clutch from sent me the the DH version, their error, so I have to order again from somewhere else.

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