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Kamloops 05-10-14 07:14 PM

Specialized All Condition Armadillo Elite Tires - Century ride and commuting
Hello all, new to the forums (but been lurking for a while :) ). I wanted to know general thoughts about this tire. I've had my Trek 1.5T for 4 years now and never needed to replace the tires despite averaging 150 miles/week of commuting on the road.

Last week I blew my back tire out. My LBS suggested I get these tires as they are much more flat resistant than the stock tires I had. He also told me I'd be faster with the armadillos, which didn't make sense to me but I had them install both tires anyway.

Now I'm wondering if I made the right decision. I'm doing the Windmill Century in Santa Maria this July and I'm not sure if this tire will do well for such a long ride. I'm also concerned it'll be a rough ride and that I'll have to put in more effort than a thinner tire to go the same speed.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

bikejrff 05-10-14 09:00 PM

I used to ride the Armadillo Elites and I never had a flat. Typically they lasted 6,000 miles and still looked like there was alot of wear left. After I switched to Conti GP4000S I realized how heavy the Armadillos were and how poorly they rolled. The Contis last about 5,000 miles for me. What tires were you using on your Trek? If they lasted that many miles for 4 years why not stick with them?

raqball 05-10-14 09:07 PM

It's a great tire!

I run them on my bike and won't use any other tire..

If you are not racing then the extra weight of the tire means nothing.. I don't find that they slow me down any, maybe they do but honestly I don't really care as I am not trying to set any land speed records..

You made a good choice as it's an awesome tire!

Kamloops 05-10-14 11:21 PM

Unfortunately I never took note of my previous tires. I have yet to ride on the Armadillos (planning to when I go to work on Monday).

When you mentioned they rolled poorly, are you referring to the fact that once you stop pedaling you lose momentum faster?

GravelMN 05-11-14 05:56 AM

You are correct that the Armadillos are heavier and stiffer than many tires but for non-competitive riding it isn't going to make a huge difference. You'll notice it on climbs and if you sprint, but for long, steady paces they'll be just fine. I'm not sure what tire you replaced, so I can't say if your armadillos will be faster but if speed is your thing, you aren't going to like them. The weight penalty is offset by the Armadillos extreme flat resistance. I have yet to have a flat and I'm on my second set and have ridden a lot of crappy roads. I'm not getting the 6,000 miles that bikejrff is, more like 3,500 miles, but the set I replaced is still usable and I keep them for backup, perhaps they have another 1,000 to 1,500 in them. I frequently ride alone far from home on isolated back roads, sometimes at night or in foul weather, so the peace of mind is worth the extra weight for me.

Because I like the All Condition Armadillo Elites in 25mm, I decided to try the Hemisphere Armadillos (no Elite, wire bead) in 38mm on my touring bike that I use both on and off pavement. Holy crap these things are heavy. I'll use them for touring and training, but for an actual event, I'm going to need something else.

jdon 05-11-14 06:29 AM

I predict higher speeds as the Specialized tires try to escape the Trek frame.

Actually though, the tires are excellent for training and commuting. I normally use Armadillos in the winter and early spring when the roads are littered with sand and gravel. I have ridden century rides on them but they are not my favorite for that. I far prefer the GP 4000S.

Rolling performance of the Armadillos is fine. You won't notice a difference between them and GP's but the GP's handle better and dampen the ride a little more which is nice on a century.

I do a ride every summer from Kelowna to Stump Lake on 97C and 5A. I haven'y been let down by either tire on that route.

Retro Grouch 05-11-14 07:20 AM

I've never used that particular model Armadillo tire. I'm thinking they are probably not the same as the ones we used a decade or so ago. Back then, Armadillos had a reputation for being all but bullet proof, but were so stiff and heavy that they rode like wooden cart wheels.

As a general rule, tire manufacturers produce bicycle tires with a variety of puncture resistance characteristics. Longer wearing and more puncture resistant = more rolling resistance and worse handling. For me the problem is that, since bike tires are fairly expensive, I don't get the opportunity to try enough different models to determine which model fits my "sweet spot" between performance and durability.

etw 05-11-14 07:39 AM

They are good tires that would probably work well for century or commuting. I would probably be more concerned with durability than a little bit of weight.

chaadster 05-11-14 08:03 AM


Originally Posted by jdon (Post 16747790)
I predict higher speeds as the Specialized tires try to escape the Trek frame.


berner 05-13-14 05:17 PM

I don't like then as they provide a very harsh ride. I bought one with a wire bead and took it off the wheel after one ride last year. I just mounted a Conti Gatorskin which has a rep for good durability and the ride is fine - almost as good as as the 4000s.

Kamloops 05-15-14 08:00 AM

So I've been riding on them everyday this week on my 30 mile round trip commute. They definitely feel durable but I do feel slower. I can't explain it but I don't feel "light" as with my previous tires. The thing is, I ride on roads in the Bay Area with bike lanes and for the most part there isn't debris. I'm thinking to switch these tires out as I'm concerned my century won't be as fun. I don't know it may just be in my head :)

I ride a Trek 1.5T and as mentioned average around 150 miles/week. I honestly don't care that much and flat resistance. What do you all recommend? I'm by no means a pro cyclist but I do care somewhat about speed.

halcyon100 05-15-14 10:18 PM

I really like the armadillo elite tires. I have them in 28mm. I have had a couple sets or armadillo's over the years, road and mtb. I did find that the mtb version performed poorly for mountain biking. I live in the bay area and keep the armadillo's on all the time, for commuting and general road rides. I even take my carbon fiber road bike on a flat fire roads on a regular basis - no flats at all since I put the armadillo's on. When I first got my road bike, I had gatorskins on and I got a slash in the sidewall on the second ride. I haven't noticed much difference in ride quality/speed between the gatorskins and armadillo's.

No debris in bay area bike lanes? Where are you riding?

Kamloops 05-16-14 11:13 AM


Originally Posted by halcyon100 (Post 16763005)
No debris in bay area bike lanes? Where are you riding?

My usual ride is from Saratoga to Mountain View. It's not as if the road is completely clean, but I rarely come across metals, glass, etc. This was the first tire blow out I had on this bike in like 3 years. I've had small punctures that were easily patched, of course.

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