The not-so-minor details
Specialized Renegade 2.3" tyres
Big bag = comfort, control and traction. Lightweight for such a big tyre. Surprisingly tough!
Big size rolls around on narrow rims a little.
The Renegade tyre has been around for a couple of years now – it’s a fast-rolling, cross country race tread with more grip than its meagre knobbage would suggest. However it was only recently that we clapped eyes on this particular variant of the Renegade in a 29″ size with a whopping big 2.3″ width.
It’s a big, fat tyre and we were excited about the possibilities as soon as we saw it, so we filed it away in the ‘must test ride soon’ drawer.
The perfect opportunity to put this tyre to test came recently at a 100km marathon race. We’d decided to ride a singlespeed hardtail and wanted some rubber that would roll quickly but offer plenty of forgiveness for our back and body. The 2.3″ Renegade fit the bill.
We opted for the ‘Control’ level of the Renegade, which weighed in at 620g . There is an S-Works version available too, a paltry 495g affair, but unless you’re really counting grams or going for the win, we’d encourage you to run the more robust Control tyre. 620g is very light for a 29er tread of this girth anyhow!
As with other Specialized 2-Bliss tubeless ready tyres we’ve used, the tyre sealed up quickly and easily on our Stan’s Crest rims, requiring only minimal amounts of sealant to hold air. How much pressure to run was a big question. After much experimenting we settled on figures that sounds awfully low – 24psi in the rear and 22psi up front.
The tyres do look big, dwarfing the narrow profile of the lightweight Stan’s rims, and you’ll want to check the rear clearance on some cross country bikes. We expected the huge bag of the tyres to roll around a lot, but it really did not prove to be much of an issue, though bigger riders will definitely want a little more air than this 63kg test rider.
We couldn’t have been happier with the choice of these tyres for the racing conditions in the end. They roll really well (very important on a singlespeed where momentum is key), humming along on hardpack, even with the low pressures, and the huge air volume added a new level of compliance to the ride that we loved.
Cornering performance and climbing traction was great too. There’s a massive contact patch with the trail, providing traction galore in dry conditions. When really pushed hard the tyres slide with predictability that you’d expect from their rounded profile and stout knob shape – they don’t squirm or suddenly let go.
We were pleasantly surprised when we pinged the front rim so hard on a rock it almost blew our hands off the bars. Surely the tyre would be sliced – but no, all was good, and there was no sign of damage. Impressive stuff!
We’re going to be running these treads for a long time, we think. They’re holding up very well and the way they ride is just ideal for the purpose (even more so now that we’ve gone to a rigid fork on the singlespeed).