Mountain Bike Action Product Test: Specialized Butcher & Eliminator Tire Combo


Butcher & Eliminator Tires


Tire compounds are not usually the first topic of conversation to come up with your trail buddies. In fact, many riders neglect to think about rubber compounds much at all. There are a few factors to consider when choosing the right rubber for your riding style and terrain, including rolling resistance, casing durability and tread pattern. Now, Specialized has a newly designed compound to address another concern: the amount of rebound the tread will have. The concept is similar to adjusting the slow/fast rebound setting on your suspension. When the rebound is set too fast, the ride quality may feel springy. That’s where the all-new Specialized T9 and T7 rubbers come into play.


The “T” stands for “tread” compound, while the number that follows signifies the level of grip and damping. As the number goes up, it indicates more grip and slower rebound. The T9 and T7 compounds can be found on the latest Butcher and Eliminator tires.

The T9 compound is for aggressive riding where traction is key to maximize control. The tackier T9 versions are widely available with Grid Gravity casing; however, the Butcher/Eliminator is also produced with the lighter-weight casing called Grid Trail. Both models are available in a 29×2.3/2.6-inch or 27.5×2.3/2.6-inch tire. It’s worth mentioning that some riders want less bite when rolling with a stronger center tread section and side knob grip. Although we were not able to test it, there is a version of the Eliminator that is mixed, with T9 at the sides and T7 in the middle.


Specialized sent over a few options for us to try. We spent time with the Butcher Grid Trail T9s on both the front and rear, but we ended up favoring the Butcher at the front with the Eliminator T7 at the rear. Both tires easily mounted to a pair of Reynolds TR 309 rims with a 30mm inner rim width. The 2.3-inch tire measured 2.4 inches wide. The 2.6-inch tire wound up being just over 2.5 inches wide on this particular rim. The 2.6-inch Butcher up front offered a slightly rounded profile, while the 2.3-inch tire sat taller and more square when we looked at both side by side. We stuck with 2.3 inches at the front and rear, as this gave us fast-rolling tires and ample stability for our test laps.

On the dirt, the T9 compound is definitely noticeable. We spent much of our testing on hardpack to loose, sandy terrain. The broad shoulder knobs provided support under hard cornering, while the sticky edges of the knobs conformed to the terrain, grabbing every speck of traction possible. There are many tires on the market to try for your preferred riding style or current track conditions. Even though Specialized is best known as a bicycle company today, they’ve been producing tires even longer.


Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.

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