Flow’s First Bite: Specialized Ground Control and Purgatory Tyres

Words by Chris Southwood | Images by Flowtographer

The not-so-minor details

Product

Specialized Purgatory and Ground Control tyres

Contact

Specailized Australia
www.specialized.com

Purgatory weight:

793

Ground Control weight:

723

Positives

Purgatory seems well suited to wide range of surfaces
Ground Control is a zippy companion to the bitey Purgatory

Negatives

A smidgen heavier than claimed

Us

Specialized bikes are a little different in that they often come off the showroom floor with different tyres front and rear; a meaty tread up front with slightly faster-rolling rubber out back.

This mixing of tyres is seen more commonly on the bikes of  experienced riders who know exactly what they want out of their rubber, so it’s pretty cool to see Specialized offering this setup from stock. One of the common pairings on their trail bikes is a Purgatory up front and Ground Control out back, so we thought we’d give this selection a try too.

The Purgatory 29x2.3. Big, openly spaced tread blocks give the tyre the ability to bite into loose surfaces.

The Purgatory 29×2.3. Big, openly spaced tread blocks give the tyre the ability to bite into loose surfaces.

We’ve opted for the ‘Control’ version of both treads, rather than the lightweight S-Works version, as we’ve found the S-Works options a little fragile in the past. The Control versions are said to offer 15% more cut resistance, however the hell you measure this!

Both tyres are 2-Bliss Ready (butyl wrapped tyre bead) and sealed up tubeless very easily on SRAM Roam 50 rims. For a 2.3″ tread, the volume of both tyres seems smaller than we’d anticipated, but that’s probably because the Schwalbe rubber we’ve been using is notoriously oversized. Weights are 793g for the Purgatory in a 29×2.3 and 723g for the Ground Control in the same size.

Specialized Purgatory Ground Control-1
Both the Purgatory and Ground Control are 2-Bliss Ready.

Both the Purgatory and Ground Control are 2-Bliss Ready.

We’ve done around 15 hours on the treads to date and we’re completely sold on the Purgatory in particular thus far. We’ve been running pressures in the mid 20s (far lower than the stupidly high 35psi recommended on the sidewall) and while we’ve burped the front tyre once, the grip is excellent. Testing conditions so far have included lots of rock and sand, but also a smattering of dark root trails. The Purgatory has proved both supportive and tacky enough to hold an edge on the rocks, but also sensitive enough to find grip on the roots.

The Ground Control features lower-profile centre tread blocks and runs a faster-rolling and more durable 60a compound across the entire tyre.

The Ground Control features lower-profile centre tread blocks and runs a faster-rolling and more durable 60a compound across the entire tyre.

The Ground Control feels great too, rolling nice and fast with a 60a compound. We’ve pinged the rear rim a few times so far without any damage to the tyre, so that’s a good sign in terms of durability.

We’ll continue to run these treads for the next couple of months to get a better idea of their performance once some wear sets in.

While you’re here, check out some of the other tyres we’ve reviewed recently!

Bontrager XR4
Rubena Scylla
Maxxis Ardent
Bontrager XR2

Them

The Purgatory is the standard bearer for All-Mountain tire performance. By applying FE Analysis to the Purgatory, we’ve optimized the tread to result in a faster, grippier tire for any All-Mountain excursion.
  • Casing: 420/D1 for 15% improved cut resistance
  • Bead: foldable
  • Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
  • Center Compound: 60a / Shoulder Compound: 50a
  • 26″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 685g
  • 29″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 755g
The Ground Control is an exceptionally versatile XC trail tire. We’ve optimized the tread using FE Analysis, resulting in a tire that rolls fast and provides increased grip and traction in all conditions.
  • Casing: 420/D1 for 15% improved cut resistance
  • Bead: foldable
  • Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
  • Compound: 60a
  • 26″ x 2.1; psi 35-65; approximate weight 585g
  • 26″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 610g
  • 29″ x 2.1; psi 35-65; approximate weight 660g
  • 29″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 720g
close