The very best road bike tyres, from a speed and grip perspective at least, tend to also be more fragile than may be optimal for general use. More supple sidewalls, lighter weight, thinner rubber tread to save some grams and smaller puncture protection strips are all common features at the very pointy end of the performance pyramid. Hell, even carcasses are made from cotton, as per the new Vittoria Corsa Pro and Corsa Pro Control.
With consumers more and more demanding race-ready tech for their everyday riding, Specialized has merged together tech from its top-end Turbo range and its endurance Roubaix series to create the Mondo, and what it claims is the lightest and fastest endurance road tyre, with exceptional durability.
Race tech for everyday?
The Mondo does appear to be a hybrid tyre. Not in the sense that you’ll see it on what are now labelled ‘flat bar gravel bikes’ but insofar as the rubber compounds are lifted directly from the latest generation of the brand’s very successful Turbo range, with a fast rolling, more durable T2 compound in the centre, and a softer, more grippy T5 rubber on the shoulders.
The tread pattern too is definitely heavily inspired by the existing ranges on either side of it. A slick centre, as per both the Roubaix and Turbo lines, with parallel striations on the shoulders as per the Turbo, rather than the diamond file pattern of the Roubaix. The stipes are deeper and more pronounced than the Turbo, and at the very extreme edge turn back on themselves by 90 degrees. This is likely a stylistic affectation however for the most part, unless you venture somewhere heavily off camber; to hit that portion of the tyre in general cornering would see a drastic lean.
Under the hood, so to speak is where things diverge from both established models. While the Turbo utilises the Blackbelt casing, and the Roubaix the triple layer Endurant casing, the Mondo features a new hybrid ‘Grid Race’ 120 TPI casing that appears from the details we have to be single-ply as per the Blackbelt, with the same central breaker, but with a more expansive puncture protection strip across the central portion of the tyre, and a pair of strips on the sidewalls to resist sidewall cuts and slashes.
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