It's been a mixed summer with trail conditions changing entirely from one weekend to the next, which makes choosing the right tyre next to impossible. Happily straddling trail conditions from dry to gloopy and everything in-between, Specialized's Purgatory tyres have proved to be excellent as an all-round tyre with few compromises.
The Purgatory Control comes in a 2.2in it's not a big tyre when alongside something like the bulbous Continental Rubber Queen 2.2in. That does mean there's plenty of clearance between the tyre and frame/fork when it gets really muddy, and it's a light 2.2in tyre as well.
Out on the trail, whether it's dry or greasy, the tyre's tread pattern finds staggering levels of traction. The dual-compound rubber, softer on the shoulders, firmer down the middle, certainly helps in this respect as does the arrangement and shape of knobs across the tyre, which is nigh-on perfect. We reckon Specialized have really been listening to UK mountain bikers with this tyre as it's almost as if it was designed with us in mind.
The tyre's performance really come alive when the trail gets muddy. It keeps on finding grip where you wouldn't think it possible; roots, rocks, it handles it all. It's was at a very muddy Forest of Dean a while back that we really were blown away. While others were struggling through the muddy corners, the Purgatory tyre bites - and bites hard. Confidence-inspiring is a term bandied about all too frequently, but with this tyre, that genuinely is the case. It's a tyre I'm happy to recommend to friends.
There's a more expensive S-Works version which sheds a few grams thanks to a lighter sidewall, but we reckon the mid-range Control is the pick of the bunch. It's a good weight at about 670g, plus you get a folding bead and it's tubeless-ready. The only area for concern is the durability of the sidewalls - they are understandably thin to hit the low weight and could be susceptible to tears. So far they've been rock solid and we'll report back if that changes.
If you like to fit-and-forget your tyres, then the Purgatory is a very good choice. One of the best non mud-specific tyres we've tested. And it's a good price too.
Good all-round choice
Great in the mud
Durability – weight is kept down with thinner sidewalls
More information: www.specialized.com
Here's what Specialized has to say about the Purgatory Control tyre
The Specialized Purgatory Control tyre provides high-end trail performance for intermediate and loamy conditions. The 420/D1 casing has 15 per cent improved cut resistance. Centre Compound: 70a / Shoulder Compound: 60a. The Aramid bead is 2Bliss ready.