Bike components » Specialized Captain Armadillo Elite tires

We asked The Captain himself, Ned Overend, to help us design the perfect tire for control and predictability over any trail. The result is The Captain, with fast-rolling center knobs for exceptional transition and edge knobs to attack any trail. Lightweight, puncture resistant construction and 2Bliss ready.

  • Armadillo Elite technology offers the ultimate in lightweight puncture resistance
  • Casing: 120 TPI
  • Bead: Aramid
  • Center Compound: 70a / Shoulder Compound: 60a

That’s what Specialized says.

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Comments (7)

slimNovember 20th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

I say, this may be close to the perfect bikepacking tire. Here are my requirements for a one:

Large volume: bigger loads and less riding finesse means more air. soft soils means more air. plus wider tires have less rolling resistance off-road (
Super tough casing: out in the middle of nowhere is not a good place for a ripped tire, or a ton of flats.
Fairly lightweight: the camping gear and food is enough extra weight.
Low rolling resistance but good cornering traction
Tubeless ready. To get the punture resistance and lower rolling resistance of tubeless, without the weight penalty, but with reliable bead seating.

The Captain answers those points as follows:

available in 2.2 in both 26 and 29 inches. Specialized runs wide, that’s like some other 2.35’s out there. Still not super common in 29er tires.
Armadillo Elite casing. A lightweight protection that is fantastic at preventing flats. A guy rode 11,000 miles on a road tire with this(granted on the front) with no flats.
120 TPI casing is some of the lightest casings out there, and the knob height is reasonable, it could be a bit lower for us. Armadillo Elite adds very little weight considering how tough it is.
Close center knobs and tall, agressive shoulder knobs make for fast rolling and good cornering.
2Bliss versions have a tubeless bead with butyl re-enforcement but a regular casing.

The tread does pack with mud, not ideal for a bikepacking tire. I will clip the center and transition knobs to reduce this as well as lower the weight and rolling resistance a bit more.

My sample of 1 weighs 780g, slightly more than the listed 17% increase over my S-works(120tpi) of 655 (average of 2). As you know tire weights can fluctuate +-5% easily.

Here’s a review of the regular version:

Tim McCabeNovember 22nd, 2008 at 6:48 am

I used the crossroads with armadillo for my 06 AZT tour and they held up great. I did get some flats but here in AZ flats are inevitable. I did tear off a side knob south of Flag but I was in lava rock at the time so that can hardly be blamed on the tire. The only down side to the crossroads was that it was a little skinny and it seams that is not an issue with this one.

This is perfect timing for me as I just went to a full 29er and was wondering what tire to run for AZT trips. Looks like this with a tubeless set up might just be the ticket.

chrisNovember 27th, 2008 at 11:08 am

and when you rip knobs off or get a flat you can take them back to your friendly local Specialized dealer and get them replaced under warranty! for FREE!!
satisfaction guaranteed

Tim McCabeNovember 28th, 2008 at 4:13 am


I must be missing something does the tire actually come with a warranty!

chrisNovember 28th, 2008 at 6:37 am

I can’t tell if that is sarcasm or not but all Specialized tires have a satisfaction guarantee. that is the best thing about buying a specialized tire. as long as you don’t abuse it too often most specialized dealers are more than happy to swap out a tire or 2 for you if you rip off a knob, got a flat with an armadillo, or just plain don’t like the tread pattern. the shop doesn’t get charged and all they have to do is fill out a little paperwork

Tim McCabeNovember 28th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Well that’s news to me but for the price of these tires it does make some sense and it makes the price alot easier to live with. I guess they never told me this when I bought the tires in 06 and/or I just never asked.

So it sounds like if I buy a pair of these tires and ride from Mexico to Flag and the over all tread is still good but I just happen to have clipped a knob off along the way I can just get a new tire at Ablolute Bikes (the Specialized dealer there).

On the 06 trip the tread was still OK just that one knob cut off and I used it as an excuse to put new lighter tires on for the canyon but if I had known this I would rather have just gotten one new one for free.

Thanks for the info.

slimNovember 28th, 2008 at 8:57 pm

Here’s a review of the regular version:

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