What is it
The Specialized Purgatory is billed as the “standard bearer for all-mountain tire performance.” The tire features alternating angled and square shoulder blocks, coupled with low profile center knobs. Specialized claims this blend was developed using finite element analysis to optimize for grip and speed.
The Specialized Purgatory comes standard on the front of various Specialized bikes. It’s available in two casings. The standard 2Bliss version features a 60TPI casing, weighs about 30 grams less (for the same size), and retails for $55. Specialized also offers a GRID version that sells for $5 more, which nets you additional sidewall protection. This version of the Specialized Purgatory has become a popular choice for the rear of all-mountain style rigs. For this Mtbr test, we opted for the GRID version.
- Predictable performance
- Heavier than claimed
Over the years, Mtbr has tested several Purgatory equipped Specialized trail bikes. These tires have easily seated tubeless and we had no issues mounting test samples to our Stan’s Arch rims. When mounted, the Specialized Purgatory measured to 2.25. That’s a touch narrower than the claimed 2.3. Claimed weight for our 29×2.3 tester was 800g. Our sample came in just over budget at 840g.
Compared to most other trail tires, the Specialized Purgatory is on the more aggressive end of the spectrum. In fact, Specialized bills it as an “all mountain tire.” When it comes to trail riding, that enduro inspired vibe has made the Purgatory an Mtbr favorite. It doesn’t roll as fast as something like a Maxxis Forekaster, but it offers excellent traction in virtually every scenario. There is a noticeable transition period between center and side knobs engagement, but it’s predictable.
In terms of durability, we had no issues with the GRID equipped casing of the Specialized Purgatory. We tend to run air pressure in the mid 20s and punctures have been few and far between. In fact, we ran the Specialized Purgatory on the rear during the entirety of this We Are One Agent carbon wheel test and had exactly zero issues.
The standard Specialized Purgatory, without additional reinforcement, is more temperamental. If you’d classify yourself as a hack or frequent rocky terrain, best opt for the extra protection. The other noticeable difference between the two compounds is sidewall support. In our testing, we’ve found the lighter casing tire to feel squirmy under hard cornering. With the tougher casing, we are able to drop pressure without any negative effects.
Bottom line, the Specialized Purgatory is an incredibly versatile tire. With the welterweight casing, it’s the perfect choice for the front end of a slacked out XC rig, like the Rocky Mountain Element reviewed here. For everyday trail duty, the tougher GRID version is our preferred choice. It’s not the fastest rolling option, but offers excellent grip at a reasonable weight. Perhaps the best part, however, is the price. While many competitors in this category start at $70, the Purgatory could be had for around $60.
Rating: 4 out of 5
More Info: www.specialized.com