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Specialized reengineered their mountain bike tires. Here is our quick take on four:

Left to right: Fast Trak, Ground Control, Purgatory, Butcher


OVERALL: Light, fast and now more built up on the shoulders for better cornering traction, the Fast Trak is an athletic ride. This tire is perfect for everything from gravel grinding, to smooth flowy single-track, and of course its' design muse:  XC race courses. 

PRO: You can ride for miles and miles with this tire on single track, gravel, or even pavement and still have fun, which encourages imaginative adventure days. The Fast Trak is the liveliest of Specialized's mountain bike tires—just like that energetic friend who greets you with a perky smile before coffee in the morning, it's always ready to go.

CON: The Fast Trak intentionally has a thinner compound than other tires. The purpose is for light, quick performance but on rough, chunky terrain, you may be looking at less traction and more flats. 


OVERALL: A versatile lightweight trail tire, the Ground Control covers a lot of terrain and can be ideal for Front Range riding. The new tread pattern has taller inner blocks to grab soil for stability and handling while the angled sidewall structure adds grip and supports the inner blocks for increased speed. Designed with long days on changing ground in mind, this tire is a high performer on technical trail while maintaining pedaling efficiency.

PRO: A higher traction XC style tire means more security on rolling dry, rocky, or changing terrain, and ideal for Colorado. Its' light weight low roll-resistance will have you enjoying climbs rather than wishing for death.

CON: The Ground Control has a thicker compound than the Fast Track but it still prioritizes efficiency, so it is less ideal for steep or shreddy trail. Think: "Jack of  all Trades, Master of None."


OVERALL: The Purgatory is the tire with the biggest overhaul of Specialized's redesigned rubber. Updates include reinforced sidewalls for durability and a new tread design with square lugs for better grip on soft soil while retaining support for hard-pack. Altogether a more burley tire than its predecessor, the new Purgatory excels at its' goal of a perfect medium between rolling and grip. 

PRO: The Purgatory is better than ever. This tire is made for trail—up, down, roots, rocks, and soil. The redesign offers increased dampening and grip for confidence while maintaining agility. The technical performance and versatility make the Purgatory an excellent option for all-mountain trail bikes, at a great price point. 

CON: As the Purgatory evolves it becomes bigger and bigger. This latest iteration is closer than ever to its' cousin, the Eliminator, while still not submerging fully into the title of "aggressive". At this point, Purg lives in the realm of "rear tire" verses earlier versions that veered towards grey zone versatility, which was a nice option on either wheel.


OVERALL: We're into full on shred-zone mountain bike tires now, the kind you mix and match for enduro-style trails. The Butcher is treaded to bite and grip in any conditions, on any surface. The center and sidewall sawtooth pairing are designed for excellent traction and accurate steering while still releasing from features. 

PRO: The classic pairing is a Butcher on the front and an Eliminator on the rear which will not disappoint for holding a line while also offering safeguard if you lose your line. Both tires are intensely treaded, begging to go downhill, and can make the scariest obstacles fun. The GRID casing  redesign has also proven to have 30% fewer puncture flats from their previous version.

CON: The Butcher is heavy and thick which is a bit of a drag on climbs, especially long gravel roads, steep trail, or high altitude. This is a tire that goes on a rack until you're at the trailhead and unless there is a chair lift, it makes you earn any lap.


You may have noticed more tan sidewalls popping up on mountain, gravel, and road bikes all around and we are stoked the aesthetic is regaining popularity, but these ones are a little extra special. 

The tan sidewalls on the newly released Specialized trail tires are partnered with Soil Searching. Soil Searching is "a movement to recognize, celebrate, and support the trail builders who help shape our sport and our stoke". A subsidiary of Specialized, the community/movement funds trail builders, maintainers, and big-dig days all over the globe from Brazil and Jamaica to South Africa and Japan. Soil Searching celebrates the quieter folks who ensure a friendly growth of mountain biking and protecting the land needed for trail, as well as trails themselves. A portion of the profits sold from the tan sidewall Soil Searching tires goes toward their funding.