Riding the all-new Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL tyre

The Butcher GRID TRAIL is a slightly beefed-up version of the newish Butcher GRID tyre. The changes are intended to improve handling at lower pressures and reduce the likelihood of pinch flats.

THE GLEN, Cape Town - during a photoshoot for Myles Kelsey of BikeNetwork.  Photo by Gary Perkin
The Grid Trail weighs 1 054grams for the 29 x 2.6″ version and is a 60 TPI.


FEATURES AND INTENDED USE

Specialized essentially added more rubber into the casing to stiffen it up a little which improves handling at lower pressures and provides additional pinch flat protection. The Grid Trail weighs 1 054grams for the 29 x 2.6″ version whereas the regular Butcher Grid is 975grams. As a consumer, casing options allow you to choose the ideal setup for both the trails you ride and the bike you have.

THE GLEN, Cape Town - during a photoshoot for Myles Kelsey of BikeNetwork.  Photo by Gary Perkin
The Butcher tread pattern is an intermediate cut meaning it is designed for loamy, lose and mildy muddy trails.

The tread pattern consists of tall, wide shoulder knobs designed to hold you up in the turns and then staggered rectangular center knobs designed to carry speed and offer bite when under braking. All the knobs feature multi-directional sipes which boost compliance and grip. The inside edges of both the shoulder knob and center knobs feature a saw-tooth shape design which would smooth out your transition from center to shoulder knobs as you lean into corners.

The Butcher tread pattern is an intermediate cut meaning it is designed for loamy, lose and mildy muddy trails. It is not designed to excel in hardpack conditions. These new Grid Trails can be used on light trail bikes, medium to long-travel trail bikes and most certainly on E-Bikes. In fact, just a couple days before it’s official release a certain Alan Hatherly won E-Bike World’s with a Grid Trail on the front. Additionally, if you own a 120mm down-country bike and plan on hitting up some gnarlier trails than usual, these Grid Trails are most definitely an option for you.

THE GLEN, Cape Town - during a photoshoot for Myles Kelsey of BikeNetwork.  Photo by Gary Perkin
Available in six sizes. A 26 x 2.3″, 27.5 x 2.3″, 27.5 x 2.6″, 27.5 x 2.8″ and then a 29 x 2.3″ or 29 x 2.6 for around R880.


ON THE TRAILS

For this test, I used a Stumpjumper, Slash and a Levo and on all the bikes the difference between the two tyres is pretty subtle. In a word, the Grid Trail version is a more ‘planted’ ride than the Grid. This was confirmed on a variety of trails including Jonkershoek, Tokai and on Table Mountain.

I used a cSixx foamo tyre insert at times and would recommend one for the rear, especially on an E-Bike.

In terms of setup, I varied the pressures between 20 and 25psi on the front whilst on the rear I ran between 24 to 40psi. I used a cSixx foamo tyre insert on some of the trails and would recommend one for the rear, especially for an E-Bike.

The Grid Trails roll really quickly. There is no denying that. This is purely subjective but I think they are one of the fastest rolling trail tyres around. They are not too chunky and as a result get up to speed really quickly. The braking bite is good as is traction under power on technical climbs. I was suitably impressed with their tame nature on wet roots and rocks.

I really like the feel of the tyre on the back, in all conditions that is. On the front in soft soil, it’s a ripper. It’s relatively light, has a good profile and sits into the turns nicely. Those tall shoulder knobs do bite into loamy, loose trails very well.

THE GLEN, Cape Town - during a photoshoot for Myles Kelsey of BikeNetwork.  Photo by Gary Perkin
Those tall shoulder knobs do bite into loamy, loose trails very well.

The Butcher is not designed to excel on hard-pack trails. If you regularly ride hard-pack trails then you should consider the new Specialized Eliminator which has a different tread pattern with a gentler transition from center to shoulder knobs. However, if you pay a lot of attention to your air pressures – which you should be doing – you can get reasonable performance out of these tyres on hardpack. The support the new casing gives, particularly in high speed turns is significantly improved over previous iterations.



THE TAKEOUT

The Specialized Butcher Grid Trail is a great intermediate condition tyre which offers a good compromise between compliance and support. They have a planted feel on the trail, have excellent rolling speed and are not ridiculously heavy. Learn more at Specialized.

IMAGES: Gary Perkin




2 Comments

  1. It’s a rad tyre!

    • Yes indeed!


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