By dropping the weight of a road bike tire off their combined rotating mass, the already-very-fast Specialized S-Works Pathfinder gravel tires are looking to notch even more wins.
What’s surprising is how much stays the same, with the same tread pattern and 42mm width, same Blackbelt puncture protection, and same tubeless compatibility.
Where it differs is in the amount of rubber surrounding that casing, and the switch to their dual-density Gripton T5/T7 rubber compounds. And an all-new GRID RACE sidewall casing.
The original Pathfinder tires had a three-layer Endurant casing, which provided great protection, but… three layers. That gets heavy.
Specialized says the new S-Works Pathfinder uses a lighter GRID RACE casing with a supple cross-woven polyamide reinforcement that protects against cuts without being heavy. Or stiff. Which means the tire should be more supple.
For the rubber, the center section’s smooth-rolling solid strip gets the firmer, faster T5 rubber. Shoulder knobs get the softer, grippier T7 compound.
We’ve really liked these compounds on their mountain bike tires, as well as those tires’ ability to hold shape while still conforming to the ground, so we’re excited to see how these changes translate to gravel.
Side by side with the Pathfinder Pro (right), the S-Works model’s (left) tread depth looks slightly shallower, which would be surprising since the extra rubber means extra weight, and these are meant as a race tire.
The new S-Works Pathfinder tire comes in at a claimed 435g for 700×42, the only size available. Retail is $60 (€60 / $95AUD).
The original Pathfinder Pro carries over with a 540g (700×42) single-compound Gripton rubber, the Endurant casing, and three sizes. Sport and Sport Reflective models are also available.