Specialized have reworked their mountain bike tire lineup in order to make it easier to tell how much grip and puncture protection a certain model will offer. It's not just a name change though – new rubber compounds have been added that are designed to be extra-grippy for maintaining traction in challenging conditions.
If you looked at coverage of the new Stumpjumper EVO
, you might have noticed that Specialized's Butcher and Eliminator tires said T9 or T7 on the sidewall. That 'T' number is an indication of how much damping the rubber compound is supposed to provide. The higher the number, the slower the rubber rebounds, which should help keep the tires sticking instead of slipping.
At the moment, T9 is as high as the numbers go, and that compound is available for the Butcher and Hillbilly tires. A faster rolling T5 compound will be used for Specialized's more XC-oriented offerings.
The Eliminator tire, a slightly quicker rolling options that works well in the rear when paired with the Butcher up front, is available with a T7 / T9 dual rubber compound. T7 rubber is used for the center tread, with the grippier T9 compound on the outer knobs for cornering traction.
There are two choices of tire casings for the Butcher, Eliminator, and Hillbilly – Grid Trail and Grid Gravity. The BLK DMND casing and its missing vowels is no longer in the lineup, and Grid Gravity is now the way to go for DH riders and others who want a thicker casing for more puncture protection.
There are 27.5" and 29" options for all three models, in either 2.3" or 2.6" widths for the Butcher and Eliminator, and 2.3" for the Hillbilly. The 2.3" tires on the Stumpjumper EVO I reviewed measured 2.4", so keep that in mind when deciding which width to pick.
More information: specialized.com