New Specialized Tires - The Hillbilly and the Butcher

Jul 8, 2010 at 0:09
Jul 8, 2010
by Jordan Holmes  
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Specialized Bikes has been putting in some serious time to develop not only their bikes, but their tire line up as well. With big name riders like Sam Hill, Brendan Fairclough, and Curtis Keene putting in time on the new products, Specialized's R&D Department must be super busy, but the new products are looking awesome.

Here is a look at the all new Hillbilly and Butcher tires from Specialized...

We were out at Silver Star resort with Specialized R&D rider Curtis Keene, and he informed us that he was rocking out on the new HillBilly and Butcher tires from Specialized. Specialized Bikes has been investing lots of time into the development of not only their bikes, but their tires as well.

Views: 8,655    Faves: 32    Comments: 10

Silver Star offers a vast amount of terrain, but it is the loam that sets it apart from other resorts. Our trails of choice were a trail called Flow and another called Dags Downhill. Flow was more rooty and loose terrain where Dags Downhill was more hardpack and rocky terrain. Curtis chose to run the Hillbilly tire on both tracks due to the conditions, so here is some information about it.

Working along side Sam Hill and his mechanic Jacy, Specialized added this new tire to the line up as a dry conditions, spike tire. The reasoning behind this is that a fair amount of World Cup level riders were spending time cutting down mud tires, as a lot of courses feature loose, wet dirt mixed in with mud. The full size spike tires were providing too much rolling resistance, so after some research, development, and designing, Specialized came up with the Hillbilly, a pre-cut down, dry spike tire designed to do one thing, shred loam!

In addition to making the knobs shorter Specialized also added in a secondary center row for improved rolling efficiency. According to them "if you look close you will notice on the center knobs that there are grooves that indicate where to cut if you want to have the custom cut tread patter exactly how Jacy prepared the tires for Sam Hill and Brendan Fairclough". Specialized has also added this to the Storm DH tire, making it easier to cut the tire in shorter time.

It's constructed with a specific Race DH casing. It's beefed up compared to the SX with a 2 ply casing and an additional insert of Butyl to reduce pinch flats. It's only offered in 26" x 2.3" and weighs in at 1150 grams. The cost on the Hillbilly is going to be $70 USD.

In addition to the Hillbilly, Curtis had a couple of the new Butcher tires with him, but did not end up riding on them due to extra loamy trails. We were still able to get the low down on the new tread. This is Specialized's offering for an open tread design, and was created in conjunction with the Monster Energy Specialized team. It is offered in two casings, an SX casing which uses a 50sA center compound and a 45sA shoulder for improved cornering. It's lighter compared to the DH casing, but doesn't feature the Butyl insert in the side wall to help prevent pinch flats. For the DH compound the focus was for maximum grip, although you may be surprised by how durable it is.

The Butcher is offered in two size options, 26" x 2.3" which weighs 950 grams for the SX casing and 1250 grams for the DH casing. It's also offered in 26" x 2.5" which weighs 1000 grams for the SX casing and 1260 grams for the DH casing. The Butcher will cost $70 USD for the DH casing and $60 USD for the SX casing.

For more information on the new tires and all the new Specialized products visit their website at
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  • + 23
 Specialized now work with the former Continental developer "Wolf vorm Walde" to make the new tires. He did a very good job at Conti so I'm looking forward in testing these Specialized-Tires. tup
  • + 1
 have you ever tried Contis? they got an awesome grip but I have never had so many flat tyres before....
  • + 1
 I ride a set of kaiser and a set of rainking. Grip and durability is just awesome but as you said flat tyres are a problem. You really have to run the minimum of pressure which is recommended by conti. The rubber is sticky enough to still get you a big amount of grip. But all in all it could be a a little bit saver regarding pinches...
  • + 5
 that hill billy is just perfect for winters in California as well as dusty summers. super sick.
  • + 1
 Are Sam and Brendan really going to be riding Specialized tires, or will they still be running minion DHF's like everyone else? I think Spesh tires are great, but most pro's seem to run minions regardless of their tire sponsor. These tires are still $70. If they were less, I would consider running these instead, but they are priced similarly to minions, so why bother messing with perfection. I thought the new GEAX Neuron would be a great replacement because they basically copied the minion tread pattern, but retail for $45 each. Turns out they have a more round profile, and do not work as well.
  • + 1
 Sam and Brendan have been running specialized tires for almost 2 years now..

unfortunately not always true - close up photos of their bikes at races have shown "blacked out" Maxxis tire (you can still see the logo under the marker pen) - this is very common, the Athertons (sponsored by Commencal) have done this have plenty of other pro riders riding for Kenda, etc.

personally I really like Specialized tires, but I am not a World Cup DH racer, so cannot comment on how they perform in those conditions

for my recreational DH and FR the Clutch SX is a brilliant tire setup with a Stan's No-Tubes (tubeless conversion) system so I don't get pinch flats or punctures

the Clutch SX with its 1.5 ply, is coming in a whopping 1lb lighter (per tire) than a Maxxis High Roller 2-ply of the same size

I am a big fan of their all-mtn tires like Purgatory, Eskar and their XC tires like Fast Trak LK and Captain

the new Hillbilly and Butcher look very good, and the Storm DH tire is probably the best mud specific tire on the market, based on feedback we've had from customers we sold them to, who were previously on Wet Screams and Swamp Things
  • + 0
 post pics and dates of these blacked out tires ion Specialized bikes if it's true. Step up.
  • + 1
 post pics and dates of these blacked out tires ion Specialized bikes if it's true. Step up.

this is not exactly "new, news"...look over any UK / US DH forums the past 2 seasons?

we recently tried to sell one of our customers a pair of Clutch tires, for his Mythic Legend Mk II custom build, as we could not get Maxxis High Rollers within a reasonable time frame

without naming "names", let's just say this customer knows a particular, young UK rider who is riding for SBC, asked his advice as he was not familiar with the Clutch tire, and this rider told our customer "nah, they are sh*t"

when my boss found out, let's keep this simple and just say the news went straight up the "chain" to SBC UK and onto SBC USA, who were not too happy...if their own rider is telling a retail customer not to ride this tire, what does it say about the performance of that tire?
  • + 1
 I can guarantee that Sam and Brendan have been on Specialized tires at every single event this season, and most of last season (since the first tires arrived.) Sea Otter they would have been on something else, as well as possibly the first and second World Cup.
  • + 1
 The problem I have right now with specialized tires is the casing & duro combinations. The DH casing is only offered in the extra soft duro, for my riding, I really want to run the 50/45 duro. However, the 50/45 duro is only offered in the SX casing, which I don't want because there is no butyl insert for pinch-flat protection. If they would offer all of their tires in the 50/45 duro compound, with the DH casing, I would ride nothing but Specialized tires, because I really like their tread patterns. Until that happens, I'll keep rolling on Intense and Maxxis tires.
  • + 2
 Sam and Brendan have been running specialized tires for almost 2 years now... The butcher is a great tire, I have been riding it for over a year.
  • + 1
 Well,those tiogas and the minions are copies of the first true downhill tires: michelin dh16 for the minions and michelin mud3 for the tioga.
  • + 1
 its great specialized tires are becoming much bigger but its annoying that one of the only shops where i am that carries them over charges by at least 150%
  • + 3
 tempting, Really like the look of the new butcher tire. Should be a gooder
  • + 10
 Call me crazy but looks like a rip off of a Minion DHF to me.
  • + 1
 looks like more of their clutch sx design then the minion.
  • + 2
 No, it really doesn't look like a clutch, its an exact copy of the minion
  • + 1
 the hillbilly looks a lot like the old tioga factory DH from 8-10 years ago... hopefully lighter than those, and less balloon-y, tho the tiogas rarely ever pinch-flatted.
  • + 2
 That Hill Billy looks mint, but no tubeless option?
  • + 1
 liking the look of the hillbilly, looks like i don't have to cut down wetscreams anymore Wink
  • + 1
 i am in love with speshy tires... i can't wait to get ahold of some butchers
  • + 1
 one of them looks like geax sturdy, other looks like a bont...
  • + 0
 That whole video was just pinned! Hm, I wonder if he's ever ridder there before??? ^^
  • + 1
 lol its the same tire as 6 years before (Y)
  • + 1
 Butcher sorta reminds me of Eskar with shorter knobs-should be great too!
  • + 1
 What's the Storm DH tire mentioned in the article?
  • + 0
 YEP! Getting um!
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