Project 24.2 First Look: Specialized’s 2012 Fast Trak Control 2Bliss tires

See all of our Project 24.2 posts here!

Going fast is all about trust.  Trusting that your stem is tight, your frame and wheels won’t explode, and that your tires will hold the ground until breaking loose in a predictable, manageable fashion.  A trail rider by nature, I often have a hard time trusting many fast and race-oriented tires.  Sure, they’re light and roll fast, but when it comes time to carry that speed into a corner things can get a bit dicey.

The second of their tires to take advantage of Finite Element Analysis during development, Specialized’s new 2012 Fast Trak is claimed to offer better grip and lower rolling resistance than its predecessor.  After a month of riding the new tire, has it earned my trust?  Hit the jump to find out.

Weighing in at 515g in the 26×2.0 size with a desert-friendly Control casing, the Fast Traks (like the Roval Control Trail SL wheels they’re mounted on) are considerably lighter than their 580g claimed weight.  On the 25mm wide rims, they measure just over 2.0in (51mm) wide after a month of use.  Suggested retail is an awesome $50 and 29er versions are available.

Having used- and loved- everything about the first generation Fast Traks but their paper-thin casing, I was excited to get some miles on the new version.  You can see Tyler’s article about Specialized’s Adaptive Tread design (linked above), but in short the revised tread features wide-based knobs designed to decrease both flex (squirm) and rolling resistance.  The wing and shoulder knobs are siped to provide additional biting edges under pressure.

Regardless of the thinking behind the 2012 Fast Trak, these tires rail.  Though the light weight of our Project 24.2 bike’s wheel and tire combination certainly contributes to the feeling of speed, the Fast Traks hold speed not unlike a 29er.  On the loose-over-hard conditions of Albuquerque’s foothills- similar conditions to the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo course- the Fast Traks are easily among the best tires I’ve ridden.  specialized 2012 ground fast trak bike tire finite element analysis designIn most conditions, the Fast Traks have held as far as I’ve dared to lean them.  In really loose corners, the tires will break free, but it’s always been with a bit of warning and ultimately recoverable. In damp conditions and packed snow, they’re even better.  Though not a mud tire by any stretch, the tapered knobs don’t seem to hold onto mud, either.

Unlike most soft, race-oriented tires, the Fast Traks’ knobs are in excellent condition after a month’s hard use (see image above).  I really should pull them off to save them for the race- but I’m having too much fun going fast.

marc

www.specialized.com

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Comments

MissedThePoint - 01/10/12 - 9:07am

Where does this fit in the tire line up? Looks like it shares a spot with the Captain, maybe even replacing it. I didn’t like the Captain when things pointed down, as it seemed sketchy, especially when things got a little too fast, but it worked alright everywhere else. I understand it’s not a DH tire, but it was a smooth fire road descent that I got the sketchy feeling on, as if it was trying to fishtail on both ends.

boobie - 01/10/12 - 11:29am

I agree, the captain is a great tire, but lacked in braking performance.

I found it interesting that IBIS was so impressed with these tires, they put them on the rear of the very versatile Mojo, and I think even the HD?

But i’d say the intended purpose is a fast XC/trail bike – not sure about AM?

They look very interesting, as do the new Ground Control tires. I’m going for one of the two as my next rear tire on a Blur LTC in Northern California.

Greg - 01/10/12 - 1:18pm

The Fast Traks definitely do not share a spot with the Captain. I’m no expert on Spec. tires but my guess would be this:

Renegade
Fast Tracks
Ground Control
Captain

in order from lightest, raciest tire to most versatile, durable trail tire.

Joshua - 01/10/12 - 1:19pm

The Fast Track is intended to fall between the Renegade (XC Race) and the Captain (Trail). I’ve found success with the Fast Track as both a slightly grippier race tire and a light duty trail tire.

Joshua - 01/10/12 - 1:23pm

That’s right, the Ground Control is next to the Fast Track. That’s what I meant, not Captain.

Marc - 01/10/12 - 8:44pm

Guys,

Having had experience with the FastTrak, Captain, Ground Control, and Purgatory, I’d say that the FastTrak is a good race set or front or fast trail rear. The 2012 Ground Control makes both the Captain and Purgatory obsolete. It corners better at its limits than the either while rolling faster than the Captain. It’s a killer XC/trail tire.

marc

Josh - 01/11/12 - 3:24pm

I recently purchased a 2012 29er Fastrak and like everything about it except the low volume casing. With my previous tires (Racing Ralph 2.25 and Maxxis Ikon 2.2) I could run 21-23 psi, but the FastTrak isn’t nearly as tall and I was constantly bottoming out until I upped the air pressure to 26psi. I’ve also used the previous version of the FastTrak and knew it was a low volume tire as well but was hoping the new version would have a larger casing. It doesn’t. Even the 1.95 Renegades I’m running seem to have more air volume than these.

This tire would be in a winner in a 2.2 with a tall casing, but the tiny 2.0 casing just plain looks dinky compared to other XC race tires I’ve tried and it can’t absorb trail chatter the way I’m accustomed to due to having to run higher pressure. It’s been relegated to backup status.

john - 01/11/12 - 6:04pm

I love the fast track tires! A different feel and control than ever before!

RM - 04/27/12 - 9:05pm

I’ve been riding the new 26″ Fast Trak 2.2 (R) and Ground Control 2.3 (F) for a month. Both have very round profiles and less volume that I expected based on their sizes.
Ground Control: the GC’s very round profile (lack of aggressive side knobs) makes it fast but a bit skatey (front end wanders and follows ruts) and lacks the side knob height to truly dig in on off-camber loose over hard surface I ride in SoCal. The thin sidewalls are light but wallow some when run at low pressure. Think this would make a better rear tire on a 26″ trail bike. Will be trading the GC in for a Purgatory.
Fast Trak: Good, nothing exceptional but don’t expect that much out a rear tire. Feels about as fast as a Larsen TT with (perhaps) better traction but less volume. Might swap the GC to the rear and return the FT.

[...] And to Sedona.  Project 24.2 came around and, unable to find anything lighter, I mounted a pair of Fast Trak 2.0s and trained and raced half of a 24 hour race on them.  The Project 24.2 frame went back to Canada [...]

Bee-El-Bee - 09/10/12 - 12:48pm

Quality Rubber.
In UK for £30 a pop you can get a pair for approximately the same weight, grip, rolling speed if not faster than say 1 schwalbe Racing Ralph of the same spec…

Couples awesome with S-Works Renegade for faster acceleration on the rear or as a pair for maximum climbing/cornering grip, note the Renegade DOESN’T roll faster it DOES Accelerate up (and down) faster (about 70-80 grams lighter on 29″ dia. is noticable but easier to spin on climbs and lose traction) but straight line speed the S-Works Fastrak is identicle in roll resistance, some guy on some forums also proved it in some testing ;)

Only use S-Works but weighing 60kilo myself they barely show wear after 1000 miles front and 700 miles rear. Renegade was burnt after 300 miles. The grip on them is immense and setup easy peasy tubeless with a pump.

The new S-Works Fastrak kinda makes the Control Renegade redundant since it weighs around the same for a same rolling one vs the Control version they put on the stock rear 2012 epics but the Control Renegade is only as tough as a S-Works Fast Trak.

Basically it rolls the same weighs the same and grips less than the fastrak and lasts about 1/10th the wear. Might be why they pulled the Renegades from the 2013 Epics =)

Front and Rear S-Works Fastraks are awesome. (coming from someone at home on 26″ S-Works The Captains)

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