Category: specialized tires

Clipping or cutting tires

This is a quick post to explain to John Harrington (facebook discussion on 24 August ) about clipping tires.


(There is more, but I couldnt screen shoot the whole thing- was born in the 70s)


These Specialized Captain 2.00 tires  clogged with mud at XTERRA Vermont in 2009 (Read more about the race, rotten foot and tire story here)  Not knowing Vermont, I didnt bring real mud tires, so I had to make do, so I used a sharp wire cutter and clipped every 2nd knob out of the center line of knobs. Which would help the mud shed (fling off) the tire easier when speed increase.

Real mud tires are narrow (sinks to the bottom of the mud where the real traction is) with few, but tall knobs. Tall knobs provide more grip (like paddles or spikes) and few because, too many knobs will let the mud pack onto the tire  and make a thick sausage like the pic above.

Downhill racers are famous for cutting tires to suit certain courses.


Off course, a rainy pre race taper allows for plenty of cutting time, so here is my product. Cant see on the pic, I clipped every 2nd knob out of the center row  of this Specialized Captain for better mud clearing.

Of course, its a tedious job, it takes seemingly hours and 1 slight mishap and you can throw the tire in the garbage.

Before the new fast rolling  Specialized Renegade  tire the Specialized Factory Team (especially Susi and Burry) used to cut the Fast Trak knobs shorter for less rolling. (and less stopping/cornering 🙂 ) But now they’d cut Fast Trak tires for more grip on somewhat muddy courses. If it gets real muddy, they’ll go with a full on mud tire. Except Burry. He just sticks to low knobs and goes with the sliding- I saw it 1st hand at Sani2C…

Getting technical- bike set up for XTERRA Waco


I’m very lucky to have a full quiver of Specialized bikes to chose from!

After watching a few youtube videos on the Waco course, I decided to travel to Waco with my 29er Epic (Aluminium)- it loves rocky, rooty and twisty.  But 30min into pre riding the course on wednesday I had to call a friend to ship me a kiddie bike. (with 26inch wheels) Its true, TV (and youtube) makes courses look flat! OK, my legs were also seriously dented from training, but this course has about 20 short, granny gear climbs and I think the number of times your speed falls below 5mi/h was a lot, a lot. In other words, there was a lot, a lot of acceleration from almost stand still– the one 29er drawback. The (only) other shortcoming to this 29er is weight- the white bike is 5 lbs more than the one in the white wrapping. For now…

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The perfect XTERRA bike. Specialized Epic S-works.

Conrad Stoltz Specialized Epic S-works

Photo by

My Specialized Epic S-works worked like a dream, and this course on Maui is infamously tough on equipment. A lot of work has gone into the preparation of the bike for this race in particular.

Here are a few highlights:


1 Specialized tires

Specialized has been amazingly helpful in helping me find a tire that is truly Caveman proof. Over the past year we have had 2 extensive tire testing camps. We tried numerous prototypes and found a casing that works exceptionally well. It weighs roughly 630g, rolls well at low pressures, the casing is cleverly assembled to make it supple, but most importantly it is very, very strong. In 8 months of testing I have had 2 flats: One at XTERRA Idaho where a 5 inch nail went through both sides and once when I rode over a broken bottle bottom. The tire will be called the GRID and will come in Fast Track LK, The Captain and some of the free ride tire tread patterns. Importantly, the GRID will also be available in 29″…

Because these sidewalls are so strong, you have to run really low pressure to provide a good, comfey ride. I rolled 23.5psi in the front and 27.5psi in the rear. (on “normal” courses I would go 23 and 26.5psi)

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XTERRA USA Champs race report, Ogden Utah. Rather late than never

2009 XTERRA USA Championship Weekend
All pictures by Nils Nilsen

My dad is right- one can count a humans’ age like a tree- by the number of rings it has.  My dad says he is at the age where you can count the rings around his knees. One can count the number of USA XTERRA Titles I have won by the number of rings I have when smiling and squinting into the sun… (its 7, if you cant bother to count)

Seriously, check out why my dad will kick your dads ass HERE.

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The Caveman Cometh (and he’s on a 29er)

So, you are a trail mashing mofo; gnarliest of the gnar. Yes, you are a fit machine and can ride. You have skills. Skills, eh? How about swimming, mountain biking and running — as in consecutively… in one day… at race pace?

Whaddya say? That off-road triathlon stuff — Xterra — isn’t for true mountain bikers? It’s so easy even a caveman could do it?

Straight-up fact: The Caveman does make it look easy. And the Caveman will make it look easy as he smokes you out on some technical singletrack — on a big-wheeled bike, no less.

Conrad Stoltz

He isn’t racing Xterra — yet — on a 29er, Conrad Stoltz rides his Specialized Epic 29er the rest of the time. CHECK OUT MORE PHOTOS IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW Photo by Seth Lightcap

A couple of weeks ago I did an interview and shoot with editor Jamie Bate (and photoman Seth Lightcap) in Truckee. We talked 29er, kicked some ideas around and I have to say I’m quite stoked with the result. This website has some real meat to it. Informative, technical material for the serious trail rider.

Here is the complete article from

Visit for my 29er manifesto




Story Time

Cavegirl on the way!!!

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18 races, 1 World Title (ITU Cross Tri), my 10th XTERRA USA Series title, 10 victories, 16 podiums and many many special memories. My sporting highlight was winning my 2nd ITU Cross Triathlon World Title in Pelham Alabama, USA. a Personal highlight was sharing the entire year and all the remarkable experiences with my gorgeous […]
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