Specialized's New BLCK DMND Tire Casing - EWS Petzen-Jamnica 2018

Jun 29, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  
Specialized BLCK DMND

Curtis Keene and Jared Graves will be riding on new versions of the Specialized Butcher and Hillbilly this weekend at the fourth round of the Enduro World Series, tires that were created based specifically on their requests. According to Wolf VormWalde, who heads up Specialized's tire development, “We started last year with Jared and Curtis approaching us and saying, 'We don't have the right tires. We either have the Grid tires, a reinforced trail version, but it's not tough enough, or we have the DH version, but it's too heavy, so we need something in between.'”

The result is the new 120 tpi BLCK DMND casing (apparently there was a vowel shortage when they came up with the name), which uses an exclusive design that was developed in conjunction with the tire factory Specialized works with. The casing has one ply that wraps all the way around, and a second ply that stops just under the shoulder knobs. This helps to keep the crown of the tire flexible in order to adapt to the shape of the ground, while still maintaining plenty of sidewall support. There's also a rubber apex layer that's thicker around the bead area, and then thinner towards the shoulder knobs, a design that's intended to help prevent pinch flats by protecting the tire's sidewall from being sliced if it bottoms out against the rim.

Specialized BLCK DMND

Specialized BLCK DMND
Specialized BLCK DMND
The tread pattern of the Butcher and the Hillbilly remains the same, but the rubber compound and casing construction are all new.

The actual tread pattern of the BLCK DMND tires is the same as the current versions of the Butcher and Hillbilly, but the rubber compound that's used is slower rebounding to help the tire stick to the ground. “When you want grip, and you want the tire to stick to the ground, that's what you want," says VormWalde. “It doesn't need to be super soft, but it needs to come back slowly.” The new tires will be available in 2.3” and 2.6” version for both 27.5 and 29” wheels, along with a 27.5 x 2.8” Butcher.

In addition to the new casing option, Specialized is also launching their own line of tire sealant. It's not radically different from other options on the market, but they wanted to be able to offer a sealant they were confident would work well with their tires and wheels.

Specialized BLCK DMND

It's looking like it could be a wet and wild two days of racing on the Austrian / Slovenian border, a perfect proving ground to see how the new tires hold up - check back for videos, photo epics, and results throughout the weekend.



MENTIONS: @Specialized



131 Comments

  • + 69
 Soooo Jared will flat on the first stage and then "borrow" Curtis's wheel for the rest of the race. Calling it now.
  • + 10
 Yeah, I was thinking along those same lines. With all the flats that @jaredgraves gets, I'm afraid to try them.
  • + 5
 So the new tires didn't help them ................................ Wink
  • + 60
 Guess the missing letters. I'll go second. Bollocks demand
  • + 13
 Pat, I'd like to buy a vowel
  • + 6
 Bullcock damned.
  • + 6
 Ballsack Dominated?
  • + 3
 Butthole Destruction
  • + 26
 im actually really glad to see this. i love specialized tires and their gripton compound but the hard blocky rocks round here arent conducive to running anything besides their dh casing and its not dhland around here. glad to see a new middle ground.
  • - 15
flag richierocket (Jun 29, 2018 at 19:28) (Below Threshold)
 Looks like a"tire."
  • + 41
 @richierocket: looks like a law suit, how dare black diamond bikes and black diamond equipment reference this tire in advance of specialized's rights to the name?
  • + 30
 Sck! Ths r prtT cl lkn! Gld 2 fnll hv nthr ptn
  • + 16
 @scary1: Crts Kn nd Jrd Grvs re vry gnrly dds.
  • + 10
 @dtax: and all the black diamond trails the world over. The big S probably made and patented them too.
  • + 2
 @dtax: hahahaha that comment didnt go quite the way i was expecting, touche.
  • + 16
 Ill get all excited about a new tire when companies will start offering a HARDER compound ... Freaking “sticky “ rubber is useless in the park when thing gets dry /loose and wears out in no time ... unless you’re racing mili seconds or riding wet conditions ( we already have a million tires for that) a hard compound is where is at.Low rolling resistance and doesnt need to get replace every 2 weeks
#bringbackmaxxpro #60Acompoundplease
  • + 22
 Magic Mary Bikepark?
  • + 3
 True in a way. My MaxxPro Minions wear out the rocks in bikeparks. Perfect for the rear.
  • + 1
 WTB has a compound that is pretty tough. By the end of the summer and last day at the park youll start to get low on the knobs. (Depending on how much you like to pull that skid trigger?)
  • + 3
 Check out Michelin wild rocker gum x compound. This tire is my favourite reinforced tire for the rear. After one week in finale Ligure and Molini the tire looks like new.
  • + 3
 Maxxis agressor
  • + 1
 Michelin did a great job producing a slow rebound rubber without making it a really soft compound. Best combination of grip and wear I have used. I have the grid griptron butcher in 2.6 not many miles as a front and the side knobs are already under cutting so hopefully this new compound holds up better
  • + 2
 I've found the Gripton to wear really well.
Run Purgatories on the rear, a 2.6 Butcher up front and recently got a Butcher/Slaughter equipped weelset too.
The first Purg died from punctures and the tread still looked hardly used
  • + 1
 Crazy talk. Ride harder in Finale on Madonna, Rocche Bianche, Pinna Morta. That place eats tires for breakfast. Sooooo rad.
  • + 1
 Agree there should be a MaxxPro/Terra hard compound Minion in DH casing... best you can do is DHR II and HRII in DH casing single compound that lasts a bit better as a rear. Magic Mary Bikepark is another option if you want bulletproof rubber and don't rear brake on the rock rolls in the bike park Smile .

I just run MaxxGrip/SuperTacky or Addix MM's that I get online for $50-60ish CAD and call it a day. Experimenting with a SuperGravity MM in orange/soft out back right now.
  • + 1
 HR2, yo!
  • + 1
 Yep, apart from the MM bike park I haven't found anything... But 1500g in 27" is a bit much, it's on my enduro Bike so I pedal a lot with it.
The Michelin rockr2 gumX is not bad, but still wishing there was a more durable compound with a 1100-1200g casing...

Surprise that is so hard to find...
  • - 1
 You are totally wrong
  • + 18
 Can I ride them on blue trails?
  • + 11
 double black only. i only ride double blacks.
  • + 17
 @jtayabji: you dbl blcks
  • + 63
 @jtayabji: so does your mom :p
  • + 14
 Wait for the BL DMND versions
  • + 5
 @jtayabji: once you go black, you never go back...
  • + 0
 #blckdmndtyresmatter
  • - 3
 @poah: savage!
  • + 17
 maxxis for life
  • + 29
 Maxxis are great tires but super pricey. Specialized make great tires that are little less pricey.
  • + 5
 @jaydawg69: Cheng Shin Tire owns the maxxis brand and manufactures Maxxis tyres in their factory in Taiwan... which also happens to be where specialized tyres are manufactured by Cheng Shin Tire.
  • + 4
 @jaame: that's all fine and dandy but Maxxis tires are way more money. Tires in general are over priced imo.
  • + 13
 @jaame, I don’t think Cheng Chin is involved anymore: www.specialized.com/us/en/stories/tire-factory
  • + 2
 @jaame: and maxxis tyre designer now works for specialized
  • + 9
 Recently switched from Maxxis to Specialized when I couldn’t find a Maxxis tyre with half decent casing for less than £50. So far I really like the Spesh tyres and they were £35 each for basically a DHF and SS Grid casings. I think the TPI is lower than the Doubke Down tyres so they feel stiffer but are lighter than Maxxis DH casings due to folding bead. Also inflated tubeless incredibly easy.
Sorry Maxxis, I’m not paying £50+ for my bicycle tyres Maxxis. You’re just not THAT good.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: cool, thanks for the link. I stand corrected.
  • + 1
 I got 2 Butchers 2.8's for $90, which is less than the price of 1 DHF 2.8 @ $101.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (Jun 30, 2018 at 7:13) (Below Threshold)
 @jaame: which would be irrelevant anyways since they use different tread patterns and rubber compounds.
  • + 1
 @jaydawg69: I rode a Butcher/Purgatory combo which was quite good, but switched to a DHRII wt/DHRII combo. The Maxxis tires are a little slower rolling, but the traction on the wet is better (and that's even with Spesh's new rubber compound)
  • - 1
 @rrolly: I went from Butcher/Slaughter to Minion DHF/SS combo and the difference in cornering grip is night and day regardless of conditions.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: you have me worried. I have basically gone the opposite direction (Maxxis to Spesh) and so far like em as above but I’ve only really ridden em in dust so far where there’s not a lot of grip either way. I do like the feel of em...but I suppose I haven’t really tested them grip wise yet Confused
  • + 2
 @iqbal-achieve: Few years ago I had a 2 year break from maxxis, having been riding DHF 60a at the time. Then i switched to Spec and occasionally Schwalbe. Then I got DHF 2.5 EXo MaxxGrip and Sweet Jesus I felt like I have wasted all years running hard crappy tyres. When you feel like you could grab the front brake in the middle of the turn to do a slight nose wheelie - you know you are dealing with something exceptional.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I came off DHR2 super tacky on the front for the last 2yrs...sheet. If only there was some actual dirt here to get out and really test but it’s all just blowing in the wind right now. In the meantime I’ll just try to remind myself how much money I saved!
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: does anyone actually test tire traction? I wonder how much is psychosomatic. Having just spent two days at a dry, blown out Angel Fire on Magic Mary Bike Parks, I found I could corner as hard as I thought I could corner. It's not like I ever slid out. Sure I was drifting here and there, but what I felt dictated how I rode, not any know limits to the tire. I always blame my technique first.

It would be interesting to set up some back to back tests. Maybe take the brakes off some identical bikes with different tires and go to progressively steeper berms, off cambers, and rocky/rooty sections to see which tires keep the riders on the trail the longest. Would cost allot in medical bills though.
  • + 1
 @pcmxa: it may surely be psychosomatic to some degree and some tyres will suit certain riding styles, but in my Strava days I did get close to the edge of what is possible on some of my local trails and there were turns to be taken brakeless. No way on Spec tyres, I tried and ate sht. Then got on Minions and they were suddenly easy to do.
  • + 1
 You will need 2 as you will puncture both....only company I’ve seen offer 3 month replacement warranty on tyres....@Thustlewhumber:
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Thanks. Good to know. I'm a good 15-20% of what is possible according to Strava. (excited to be only 13 seconds behind Batty on a couple of runs though) So probably not pushing it to where these things make a difference.
  • + 1
 @pcmxa: There are a number of reasons why Batty is fast and I assume she'd kill it on most stuff out there. Apart from trained Wattage output, she does a lot of skills practice with her hubbie who is also a good rider, so they surely push each other. But if we were to speak about the tyres, she is on Bontragers, Those are really, really good. I treat them as equal to maxxis, actually in XC department I prefer Bonties. I have the XR2 which is a fantastic tyre since it is letting go in a predictable manner, for comparison the actual grip of Hans Dampf may be better but it breaks off abruptly therefore I don't trust them. XR2 breaks off slowly. unless I go bananas I will have time to react, as a result I am faster on XR2 than on Hans Dampfs - I know exactly what I can do with them, whereas HD can bite me anytime. But if you want to save money Bontragers are a really good choice, I haven't ridden a bad tyre from them. I have G5's for lift/ shuttle days and they are absolutely on par with DHR2 but at least here in EU, they are 30% cheaper than Maxxis. I hope they introduce their own version of Double Down Super Gravity casings.

I also found that Strava works only if you and your target opponent(s) have done many runs. One or three attempts cannot count. I did so many attempts where I fkd up and still got a better result than a clean run. Must go with the average and balance it out to 5-10 seconds.
  • + 12
 weight??
  • + 1
 Some 1200g for 29x2.6 they said this weekend talking to them.
  • + 5
 I guess my Spesh 26" bike doesn't deserve your new tire compound. What ever will I do? Maybe keep running my Maxxis DHFs... seriously though what about us who still have 26" wheels? F&@kers!
  • + 4
 26" standard sizes are dead as a whole in the greater portion of the industry. It would be too costly for too little returns to make the full line of 26" sizes. Just be happy you have options at all
  • + 6
 Schwalbe still cater for 26. Latest HD is even available in 24" isn't it?
  • + 1
 Hust get some CST Rock Hawks. They are fantastic for my old Kona.
  • + 1
 @GarrettStacker: Really, no shit!? Thanks, Tips. I am glad you told me, I would never have known otherwise. I would like to think the tire manufactuers still have tooling to make 26" tires, so making even a select few for the market wouldn't be that costly. Maybe I am psychic, because I bought tires awhile back before they became scarce. Back to my original statement, it's called sarcasm wrapped with a blanket of apathy.
  • - 1
 theres obviously not enough demand for 26 inch tyres or they’d be making them. They’re not doing it to be mean they’re doing it because there is no money in making 26 inch tyres anymore.
  • + 2
 @Drewnose: not that scarce. My local(ish) bike park stocks tires in 26, 650b and 29. Maxxis.
  • + 1
 @yzedf: So does mine, just not a huge selection...
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: Obviously, obvious, if it is so obvious why point it out... The whole industry shifted, which I am fine with.
  • + 1
 @thenotoriousmic: If they were doing it to be mean and I found out. I would go tell in them...
  • + 2
 I recently got some new Schwalbe Nobby Nic 26x2.35" in the rear and Continental Trail King 26x2.4" in the front. These are both modern tires and I expect these dedicated tire brands to continue making them. People have been saying it is "dead" for so long, they have lost their credibility.

I would actually have expected Specialized to make a 26" front and 24" rear tire.
  • + 3
 Good move. The Grid this year is thinner than the previous gen Grid. I think Maxxis lovers should give them a try, they are very decent and have a nice feel, and alimony half the price. But they collapse a lot easier than EXO, so a more supportive casing is a must. And that bead protection is a plus if you drive bead rims through your tire Wink
  • + 3
 I think the previous gen grid were too heavy and wooden. Maxxis exo is better, which I guess is why specialized went lighter
  • + 3
 @jaame: i feel the opposite, really like the old grid as it was burlier than EXO but not quite SG. Really like the new gripton compound but the Grid Purgatory is just a bit thin.

With these new casings everybody can be happy.

Also really like the understated monocrome graphics, MAXXIS lettering is just a terrible with 9 tech logos and bold yellow.
  • + 1
 @feeblesmith: to each their own. For me personally, Maxxis exo is a little bit better. Also the price in Taiwan is almost the same at $1400 each for specialized, and $1600 each for Maxxis. The most compelling reason to buy specialized is usually the price... but local prices for Maxxis are so reasonable the point is moot, so you just go for whatever you want. Or in my case, what Danny Hart uses.
  • + 1
 @feeblesmith: I used to tear through GRID tires like a knife through hot butter, but EXO has held up well for me. For some reason I always found the same casing weaker on the Purgatory than the Butcher but then again I only ever ran the Purg as a rear so it saw more abuse.
  • + 1
 @pacificnorthwet: I had the exact opposite problem. Was in Maxxis exo for two years and never will it the tread off a tire. Ripped sidewalls and huge holes through the tread was the norm. Switched to specialized and haven't killed a tire yet but with out a few.

I think allot of that is also just my skill in the bike getting better. I also ride basically the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of trail surface with rocks, more rocks and dust being the norm.
  • + 7
 Bontrager se5 all day long groms
  • + 3
 The SE4 is also a great tire. Very underrated
  • + 3
 @dchill: SE5 Front SE4 rear. Best trail/AM/Enduro setup I have ever run. G5 is also a great front to DH/FR/E
  • + 3
 There's some funny spelling right there. No vowels and a tire guy who sounds like a villain from Harry Potter. My 2 6 Butchers have held up well in 6 months of light to medium use. Wear is good and no flats. Cant say the same for a pair of Schwalbe snake skins on my other bike both of which have had pinch type punctures that required stitching to repair ..
  • + 1
 I'm curious if the tread pattern width will be altered as well? Currently the 2.6 butcher grid is far too square on a 35mm rim. It's like spesh made the casing bigger but intended it for the same narrow rims. Hopefully there is a wider tread pattern like what maxxis does with WT.
  • + 3
 So this is why Specialized was offering the buy one get one free tires last month. They needed to move stock to make way for this new casing lol
  • + 5
 26”! Please. Did they forget how to make this size?
  • - 1
 What they didnt forget is how important profit is and maintaining a separate size for a dwindling market doesn't make sense.
  • + 4
 @thesharkman:

Wheel Size for the Whistler Opening Weekend 2018

29 inch 6.00%
27.5 inch 49.00%
26 inch 44.83%
24 inch 0.17%

44.83% is not what I would call dwindling
  • + 3
 Running minions they slowly wear over time, Running currnet DH Butchers they're good for a bit...then one day all the knobs just shread off....
  • + 1
 Knocking on wood as I type this but have about 500 miles on 2.6 Buthcher GRIDs (on both 27.5 and 29 bikes) and they're holding up fairly well (in Grand Junction, CO and probably 250+ miles has been at Lunch Loops)
  • + 4
 I think I'll stick with Double Downs....
  • + 3
 Did they figure out how to make tires to size? The 2.6 tires are 2.35 actual.
  • + 2
 Using their 2.6s in 27.5 and 29er and they all measure right at 2.5, with the 29er version appearing slightly smaller
  • + 1
 I’m surprised I haven’t heard more about that. First to second generation 2.6’s...completely different sizes! Pretty strange. I brought one in after I mounted it up to show the local Speclized dealer, and they had no idea what was going on.
  • + 1
 @Sammy77: I also have a pair of previous gen butcher 2.3s @ 57mm actual. I have ground control grid 2.1s @ 56mm actual. Something is amiss!
  • + 1
 Not this year's tires. Same goes for Maxxis in the EXO casings.
  • + 3
 So pretty much the same as Maxxis DD tyres? I like it. Will give them a try when my current tyres wear out.
  • + 2
 And the weights? The current 29 x 2.6 grid is a nice front tire. It's not strong enough for rear use so this could be good.
  • + 1
 These REALLY look like my Hutchinson DZO's, and very similar to Squale's...
  • + 2
 you mean sam had the wrong tires when he was at spesh?
  • + 1
 That was DH, different casing.
  • + 1
 These look like front tyres to me. Would be more interested in this casing on the rear personally.
  • + 1
 when are they available?
anyone with experience withe hillbilly versus the shorty?
  • + 2
 yep! Shorty is better in soft/loose conditions but the hillbilly is grippier on wet roots/rock. Although I've not tried a shorty in maxxgrip yet as they don't do a 29er version which isn't dh casing
  • + 3
 $140 tire ????
  • + 1
 Bah. I seriously just bought a 2.6 butcher grid today. Stupid internet. @iamspecialized
  • + 5
 Unless you're 80kgs or ride at Graves speeds, Grids are probably better.
  • + 1
 Bring back Ground Control Extreme, and call it GRND CNTRL XTRM.

But historically accurate 26" X 1.95 and 2.5 only please.
  • + 3
 yeah but is it enduro
  • + 0
 Not just Enduro it’s.... Super Endro Plus
  • + 2
 High speed rebound, low speed rebound, now rubber rebound.
  • + 8
 Has always been around. Slow Reezay.
  • + 1
 @jclnv: I can't wait until sram comes out with a tire and does the opposite. "we only care about compression" (Like they did for a while with their suspension offerings. 2 stage rebound, and 1 stage of compression if you were lucky.)
  • + 2
 @MikeAzBS Yeah, long hanging fruit to make a joke....but... when you try a tire that has tons of grip, good weight-to-puncture-resistance but its rough and with no damping, you just wonder WHY THE F*CK... yeah, its with you @ContinentalMTB .... your der baron comes to mind...
  • + 1
 Yes but can you tweak the Knobs?
  • + 2
 Would like to get the whole suitcase
  • + 1
 So when can we expect these to hit the market ?
  • + 1
 No 26 missing a huge section of the market
  • + 1
 You have to be brave to run Specialized tyres
  • + 2
 Once you go BLCK....
  • + 1
 What’s weight on these?
  • + 3
 Yeah, kinda weird for Spesh to do a press release that references weight but doesn’t actually list it.
  • + 2
 BLoCK DeMaND?
  • + 1
 Looks like a good e bike tyre, not had any problem with grid tyres
  • + 1
 Hillbilly for rear.
  • + 1
 CUSH CORE!!!!
  • - 3
 so firstly ”S” copied orbea and now continental apex and black chilli??
those tyres are 100% proprietary and will work only on roval rims.
  • + 5
 Haha, still on the “Big S”copied Orbea kick. You realize the Demo 8 has been on the market for Three Year’s now??
  • + 1
 @Trudeez: Rule #345 of the Biking Industry: Big Companies copy; Little Companies get "inspired."
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