Two rides: Specialized Eskar Armadillo Elite 2.3 tires
I’ve been digging Specialized Resolution tires, but as cool as they are, Specialized is superseding them with the new Eskar. I got my mitts on a pair of the new meats, and here’s what I think after two XC rides.
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– The center area has alternating blocks and chevrons. They form a pretty consistent ridge for fast rolling, yet they have lots of edges for other stuff.
– The chevrons form a link between the center and side knobs. This creates a consistent transition from straight to cornering.
– The side knobs are low, well-supported and siped.
– When I leaned into turns, the side knobs and half of the center knobs dug in. That makes two distinct rails of rubbery love. I suspect that a hard pump will squash even more of the center edges onto the ground.
– Rubber compounds: 65a center, 55a sides
– When I wrote the Specialized tire guys to tell them I love the Resolution, but I’m sick of tearing it open on rocks, they said “We have the perfect tire for you.” The Eskar Armadillo Elite employs a new casing material that is reportedly 40% more puncture-resistant than the S-Works, with only 17% more weight.
– Eskar Armadillo Elite: 760g. Eskar S-Works: 650g.
– I’m running 35psi front 40psi rear, with tubes. I typically ran my Resolutions tubeless at 30/35.
Rolling: Compared with the Resolution, the Eskar feels noticeably quicker.
Braking: Very good. The chevrons dig in like crazy.
Propulsion: Ample. Bashing into stationary rocks, there’s a lot more deflection and slippage than with, say, a soft DH tire, but that’s to be expected.
Cornering: Very good. Today I rode very aggressively on some hardpack singletrack, and the Eskars held their edges impressively, with less wiggle than the Resolutions (actually, I felt no wiggle). After I railed one sandy turn that I usually ruin, I went back to check the tracks. The dual rails were digging in the whole way, and when I loaded the crux of the turn, I squashed the whole tire an inch into the sand. Braaap! Next turn …
Hardpack: Awesome. Relatively low knobs, plenty of support, lots of edges. Like I said, these tires held Gs without wiggle.
Loose: Pretty darn good. The sand/gravel I rode today is tricky with any tire. One thing I noticed: Every time the tires drifted, all I had to do was pump, and they stuck. Yeah, BRAAAAP!
Loam: I rode a prototype Eskar in Santa Cruz, and it was ridiculous on the dark stuff. This is where the Specialized tire guys do most of their riding.
Flat resistance: I’ve survived two rides without ripping any sidewalls. So far so good …
After a full season on Resolutions, my Enduro SL feels very different with the Eskars. Quicker. A bit more nimble. Maybe less planted. But very braaapable. I’ll keep rolling the new tires and tell you how it goes. Winter is coming …
Nice to hear about these and other tire reviews, keep ’em coming! I wondered why you rode these tubed, when you have UST rims? The way I understood it all of Specialized’s 08 tires are tubeless ready (tubeless bead but require sealant for max air retention) ?
Thanks for the great website and book!
Hmm … didn’t know that.
My rear 823 is dinged up. Let’s see if it’ll hold air …
Sorry about that. I looked it up today, and despite the fact that S. says that ‘all’ their new tires are tubeless ready, the armadillo versions are not. The ‘control’ versions are and are still tougher than last years casing, but not so great as Armadillo. I run Armadillo’s on my road bike and it rocks! I have ridden through glass over and over again.
Thes are the tyres I’m after for the UK, hope they arrive here soon.
need 2 x 700 x 23 ( 27″ x 1.25″) specialized armadillo. Can you help. Thanks. Chris.