Specialized Purgatory Grid Tires: Reviewed

Words Jon Harris
Photos As noted.
Date Jul 29, 2014

Too light, too heavy, side walls aren’t strong enough, side walls are too stiff… We are a picky bunch when it comes to tires, myself included, but the Specialized Purgatory with the Grid casing may just be my Goldilocks tire.

My previous experience with the Purgatory was with the Control casing. I ran that tire ’till it wore out but the sidewall strength and stiffness was always a concern for me. The sidewalls very quickly showed wear with the tire threads showing through. Plus it was very easy to get that tire to roll if the pressure wasn’t 33psi or more, which with that high a pressure compromised the tire’s grip in certain situations. Having said that I was otherwise happy with it, as it hooked up pretty well in the conditions on the north shore and rolled nicely for longer rides up in Squamish and the interior.

TIRE PURGATORY CONTROL

The Specialized Purgatory Grid is quickly establishing itself as a great go-to rear tire that combines good braking bite with a steady rolling speed, durability, and low weight. Photo: Specialized

The Grid casing is a slightly beefier casing than the Control and the side walls immediately feel a little more substantial when you pick the tire up. The impressive thing is that the Grid only weighs about 40 grams more than the Control, coming in at 795 grams total (in the 29″ version). The promise here is a tire that won’t need such a high pressure to overcome the slightly wimpy sidewalls.

As per my experience with other Specialized tires, mounting the tire to the rim and getting it to seat and establish a tubeless seal was painless and the tire was immediately holding pressure. I went with the cautious approach and threw in what showed as 35psi on the gauge and went for a ride. All the usual traits of the Purgatory are there. It’s a tire that rolls well, has good drive and braking traction and decent edge grip, but this version feels better damped. One of my main quibbles with the Control casing version of this tire was that when pushing the tire hard into turns, it was so easy to feel the sidewall of the tire collapse and squirm. This casing resists that, even now that I am running just under 30psi.

While the Grid casing is certainly a step up over the Control casing, it still doesn’t quite have the beef to the tire of a Maxxis with the EXO casing. Having said that this tire comes in a 125 grams lighter and rolls better than the 2.3 x 29″ Maxxis HR2 3C for instance. My riding location varies quite a bit but this is a pretty good fit and forget tire which for this Goldilocks is a good thing.

curtis_keene_danbarham

Curtis Keene runs Specialized rubber, including the Purgatory Grid – the Control version comes stock on Specialized’s Enduro and Stumpjumper EVO models (in all wheel sizes), and once that wears out, we recommend you step up to the Grid casing. Photo: Dan Barham/Specialized

Here are the specs for the Specialized Purgatory Grid Tire family:

  • Casing: Additional sidewall protection for exceptional durability and sidewall stiffness for stability. 23% improved cut resistance over Control model
  • Bead: foldable
  • Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
  • Center Compound: 60a / Shoulder Compound: 50a
  • 26″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 730g
  • 650b x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 755g
  • 29″ x 2.3; psi 35-65; approximate weight 795g

What’s your go-to rear tire for AM riding?

 

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Comments

bruccio
0
Bruccio  - July 29, 2014, 2:30 p.m.

now the big questions: DHF + DHR or Butcher + Purgatory? i run minions on my DH sled and i'm happy about them, on my specy enduro still have the Eskars it came with, i'd like to have something with more bite….what do you suggest? riding in the dolomites, so plenty of rocky ground and hard pack with some softer woods in the middle

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tyler-turi-mullett
0
Tyler Turi-Mullett  - July 29, 2014, 2:51 p.m.

I have run both setups on my enduro evo. and even with the control casing on my spesh tires, I am MUCH happier with them than my current Minion DHF & DHR. even for DH the butcher and purgatory were all you can ask for in a tire.

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bruccio
0
Bruccio  - July 29, 2014, 11:40 p.m.

thank you guys for the insights 😉

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jonathan-harris
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Jonathan Harris  - July 29, 2014, 5:19 p.m.

The Butcher is very similar to the DHF in my opinion. I have been really happy with how well mine has lasted up front too. If you want ultimate grip on the rear end, then the Maxxis DHR 2 is hard to beat, but some something that rolls fast, has good grip and is lighter (if that is a concern) the purgatory is a really good bet.

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jason
0
jason  - July 29, 2014, 10:45 a.m.

Sounds like a tire I'd like to try when my current one craps out. What are you running for a front tire?

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jonathan-harris
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Jonathan Harris  - July 29, 2014, 11:01 a.m.

On the front I run a Butcher with the control casing. That combo is excellent for how I like to ride. The purgatory is what I'd term a loose tire in that it is very progressive when it starts to slide. That combined with the butcher up front means I have a bike that likes to oversteer which to me is perfect.

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tyler-turi-mullett
0
Tyler Turi-Mullett  - July 29, 2014, 2:54 p.m.

I can completely vouch for this statement. LOVE these tires.

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ed
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Ed  - July 30, 2014, 9:08 a.m.

Jon, what pressure are you running up front? I ask because I'm currently limping around town after my Butcher Control burped mid-turn on Sunday, sending me OTB. I may have been pushing my like a bit running it at 23psi, but it rides like a dream at low pressure and had given me no indication that it was unhappy with that setup - no squirming or rolling. I think a Butcher Grid may be the solution for me, but am a bit nervous about flirting with that 'low pressure threshold' again in case I actually cross it…

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ed
0
Ed  - July 30, 2014, 9:08 a.m.

*pushing my luck, not my like

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jonathan-harris
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Jonathan Harris  - July 31, 2014, 4:08 p.m.

I will admit that my pressure gauge is it super accurate but my guess is 27psi up front and 29psi on the back. I have never burped either tire, so maybe it is a function of the rims you are running also?

Reply

ed
0
Ed  - Aug. 1, 2014, 5:31 a.m.

The rims are Roval Traverse (the wheelset that came with the bike) - 25mm internal diameter I think, so would be surprised if they're the issue, they are designed for tubeless after all.

Hopefully a combo of Grid casing and a couple more psi in the tyres will keep me rubber-side down. Thanks for a very timely article!

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