Editor’s Note: This is the final installment on the Specialized Purgatory 2.2″ tires.
I have been riding the Specialized Purgatory 2.2 tires in either the S or normal versions, both tubed and tubeless, either front/rear or front only, both on the geared Epic Marathon 29er or my SS Jabberwocky for many hours now in a pretty typical range of So Cal trail conditions. And, I have to say I am struggling a bit to think of what to say other than “they work”.
They measured out to 2.2″ wide or darn close to it on the 26mm wide Roval rims with no tubes. They have a bit of a rounder profile than the larger casing (but smaller knobbied) Captain Control 2.2s. The weight at 666 to 746 (S and non-S versions) grams is reasonable for a non racing specific tire and they have better transitional knobs then the Eskars, a tire I never cared for very much.
I began riding them F/R in winter with wet conditions and muddy to tacky trails. I found that I was able to maintain traction pretty well although there were times I felt that some other tires on other 29ers in the group rides were cleaning out a bit better, in one case, a set of Maxxis Ignitors. However, I never had them give up on me and it was pretty satisfactory in the muck.
In hero dirt they were as good as you would expect, but lately we have moved to full on hard pack conditions, new rain ruts, and scrabbly overburden over clay. This is one place I disliked the Eskars as a front tire. I would enter a turn and end up in the never-never land of somewhere between the side knobs and center knobs. The Purgatory tire never felt vague or squirmy in that way. Actually, the Captains exhibit an odd trait as a front tire on kitty litter over hardpack, where upon initiating a turn, they make this ‘shsssss’ sound and slightly side slip before hooking up. The Purgatories have not done that to me yet.
As a rear tire it hooked up nicely on the SS, slightly better than a Captain, but it rolls a bit slower as well. Still, if I were riding on looser soils, I would take that trade off and run the Purgatory on both ends. I ended up running a rear Captain Control 2.2 on the Epic just to get a bit faster tire, but I kept the Purgs’ F/R on the SS.
The S versions are being used with tubes, but the getting the non-S to set-up tubeless on the Epic’s Roval wheels was crazy easy to do, typical of the ’2-Bliss’ tires from Specialized.
Uuummmm…other than that, they just quietly do their job and allow me to ride without thinking about the tires, just like a good tire should. I plan on keeping the Purgatories on as a front tire through summer on one bike or another. They have not quite knocked the WTB Wolverine off the top o’ the heap as a hardpack front tire, but they are a more versatile all-rounder then the Wolverine, and, until WTB refines the tire, are lighter as well.
These tires were provided to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review without charge. We are not being paid or bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest opinions throughout.