We’re constantly updating our reviews on Bike perfect to keep them relevant, and sometimes that throws up some interesting and important information that a brand hasn’t talked about. That’s exactly what happened when we were checking the prices of other rubber as a benchmark for a new Vittoria review. Flicking onto the Specialized UK site we discovered that they’d significantly slashed the prices of all their best mountain bike tires and when we checked it’s not just a short term shift, it’s a permanent price change.
That’s awesome news as their range of XC downcountry tyres was already one of our favorite speed selections. Even at £45, we’d described the pricing as “even more savagely competitive than performance too.” Now however those same tires start at £30 for the Fast Trak Control 2Bliss Ready T5, with most of the high performance Grid carcass models at £37.50. Even the hyper light, race-ready S-Works models only cost £45 – well under basic models from other brands.
It’s not just the XC/downcountry whippets who get a benefit to their wallet either. Specialized’s excellent, Butcher Grid Trail T9 and Eliminator, Purgatory and Butcher Grid Trail T7 tires have dropped to £37.50 too. That’s an absolute steal for tires that Specialized spent three years developing, coming up with a new floating layer carcass and a 15 ingredient rubber recipe molded together in collaboration with a new manufacturing partner. You do have to pay more (£45) for the skin wall ‘Soil Searching’ version of the Butcher T9 but most of that extra money goes towards trail building projects anyway.
As to the why, we asked Specialized UK for a comment and they told us, “There's no shying away from the fact the tire market has become extremely competitive. In a world of rising prices we wanted to give back to the riders to make our rubber as high value as we can. We reviewed our top selling models and bench-marked against the market to ensure we hit the mark on price, performance and availability to ensure our riders have the best option possible.”
So there you go, there’s no change in the construction, no dumbing down of damping hysteresis, no letting slip of grip (you get the idea). These are the same really sorted tires, just for less cash than before.
Its important to note that the changes only apply if you spell tire with a ‘y’ though. If you’re using an ‘i' then you’re still paying the previous reasonable, but not radical - price. Maybe the UK initiative will spread worldwide if it proves a success though, so keep checking prices local to you just in case.