New Rubber – Specialized Armadillo Elite All Condition

With fall on the way it came time to replace my rear training tire after it became very worn and finally suffered a fatal cut.  For quite a few years I have used Armadillo Elites with great success.  The last rear tire lasted 3572 miles (Yes, embarrassingly enough, I track this), and despite the fatal cut, I did not have a flat, only a long gash separating the <1mm remaining tread from the casing.

Specialized Armadillo Elite All Condition 700x23c

Some complain about the Armadillo’s handling characteristics, and I will surely agree, they ride like a pair of solid rubber wheelchair tires… Not the smoothest rolling, but I am always confident they will have adequate grip, and most importantly, last a long time with few flat tires to interrupt training miles (and the fewer ‘rescue’ calls to the spouse, the better!).

Another tip: Good things are rarely on sale.  You can expect to pay $60 per tire which is about as much as a cheap car tire!  To save on time, money, and effort, when the rear tire wears out, move the front to the back and put the new tire up front.  My last rear may have lasted 3500+ miles, but I’ve had the front tire on the back now for 700 additional miles with plenty left to go.  I have found the cost of good, durable tires to be well worth the time saved in buying more tires and the chance of fixing fewer punctures on the side of the road.

Update March 2011: The tire I had moved to the rear, mentioned above, lasted an additional 1000 miles for 1700 total on the rear and 4300 on the front. The sidewall separated from the casing leading to a fatal blowout (although a bulge warned me of this, I chose to ignore it for a ride on the rollers). There was less than 1mm of tread remaining and I will add the tire had flatted due to a thorn about a month prior. All in all a good life for a tire, so I just bought another just like it.

About Russell

I have been racing bicycles for a decade. This blog will chronicle my efforts as a Category 1 road racer lining up with the pros.
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3 Responses to New Rubber – Specialized Armadillo Elite All Condition

  1. says:

    I sincerely hope you are right. I’m waiting patiently for my LBS to get some Armadillos in stock (should be tomorrow). I’ve had seven flats in the past 600 miles with Contintental Boroughs and enough is enough.

    • says:

      I’m sure you’ve heard all the tips, and it sounds like you’re checking your tires for the source of the flats.

      Don’t forget to make sure you’re rim strips are functioning. Many cheaper stock wheels have a wimpy rubber strip which can
      be pushed to the side exposing the sharp edges of the spoke holes. You are patching your tubes (GREAT!) and I’m guessing you
      would have noticed if all your flats were on the ‘underside’ of the tube from a bad rim strip.

      Sounds like you’re waiting on a specific tire to come in, but if you’re recreationally riding, the Armadillio Elite AC’s come in 25c
      and even 28c width, which may be more comfortable on bike paths with seams, bumpier urban streets, etc.

      If all else fails, you can put tire liners (I’ve used Mr Tuffys) inside the Armadillos. I lived in a different area (more debris) and did
      this for a few years as well. The ride is even worse, but I never flatted with this setup.

      • says:

        Thanks for the great feedback. The Armadillos I am waiting for are 700×38, which is what my shop recommended for my hybrid on “mostly road” use. The rim strips seem ok to me. If there is a problem there, it is a subtle one. I’ve had a ton of spoke/flat problems and I suspect the cause is twofold: I am well over 200 lbs and this places a lot of stress on these components and I have a “relatively” low-end bike. Nine months ago, I would have thought $450 was a handsome price for a bike, but I now understand that I was actually getting a very modest piece of gear. I’ve upgraded the wheel and hopefully the better tires will be the end of most of my problems in this area!

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