[Tested] Specialized Butcher/Slaughter Control Tires

[Tested] Specialized Butcher/Slaughter Control Tires

06/04/2015
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06/04/2015

We’ve been spending a great deal of time lately aboard a combo of Specialized Butcher/Slaughter tires out in the woods of Santa Cruz. They seem to be a hot commodity around these parts, and with Specialized HQ being located just under an hour away, that comes as no surprise. On two different test bikes we mounted a set of the 27.5″ sized tires with the “Control” casing and took to the loam to see what all the fuss was about.

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Butcher Specs

Price : $55.00
Weight : 26″ x 2.3 – 730g // 27.5 x 2.3 – 755g // 29″ x 2.3″ – 810g
Casing: 60 TPI
Bead: foldable
Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
Compound: 50a

Slaughter Specs

Price : $55.00
27.5 x 2.3 – 725g // 29″ x 2.3″ – 780g
Casing: 60 TPI
Bead: foldable
Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
Center Compound: 60a / Shoulder Compound: 50a

If you’re pondering these tires in the first place, it’s likely that the first thing you’ll notice is the price. While the big S is notorious for pushing the envelope with over the top high end bikes, this serves as a reminder that they actually make valiant efforts all around to offer top notch bikes and components that come in at a reasonable price point. In this case, at $55 each they’re beyond reasonable. You don’t have to look around too long before you’ll realize that many offerings in this category are nearly double that price. Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the review, we also wanted to mention that these tires are both also offered wrapped on two other casings – the “Grid” and “DH” casing. Each tire comes in at approximately 200 and 400 grams more respectively.

Since we don’t often stumble upon rocks in Santa Cruz, we decided to keep it light and give the “Control” casing a try. It’s worth mentioning that a great deal of riders mix and match casings. For instance, using a tire with a “Grid” casing out back doesn’t add too much weight but gives you a bit of extra reassurance against flatting where it’s more likely to occur.

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Up front, as Sam Hill’s tread pattern of choice for years, the Butcher already carries some serious clout. A lack of intermediate knobs and wide overall knob spacing keeps the tire from packing up. The angled siping and somewhat triangular shape of the center knobs make up for the lack of intermediate knobs and help the tire transition into corners predictably. The Butcher rolled really quite fast for a tire of this nature. This is likely due to the wide shape of the knobs and their relatively low profile. With the exception of slickrock, we’ve ridden the tire in just about every condition possible and have been super pleased overall. The Butcher tread pattern is extremely well rounded and versatile. Cornering was super predictable and braking was an afterthought.

Coming in at only 755 grams this tire is also quite light. So light that we were a bit concerned with flatting. We’re happy to report that on two different bikes with very different wheelsets(read rim width) we never once flatted. On one bike with 28mm ride rims, our 180 pound test rider ran the Butcher up front in the high 20’s for PSI. The tire never rolled over and the casing didn’t feel squirmy. On our 41mm wide Ibis rims we ran the tire down into the mid 20’s. Once we experimented in the low 20’s we didn’t have any issue with flats, but in punchy, square edged turns the tires felt a bit squirmy so we went back to our sweet spot.

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Out back, perhaps one of the most interesting talking points of the Slaughter tire is that it shares the exact same side knobs as the Butcher. This makes for a very predictable front to back combo despite mixing and matching different treads down the middle. As expected, the cornering traction was excellent on the Slaughters. Better than any other Semi Slick options that we’ve tried in the past.

The miniature knobs down the center provided enough climbing traction for all but the nastiest of climbs that we encountered. The only instances where we had any issues with traction involved slick roots. That said, it’s common knowledge that semi slick tires aren’t suited to wet roots in general. Regardless, both climbing and braking were just about as good as we could ever see a semi slick performing. Perhaps what was most impressive about the Slaughter was its cornering ability.

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Overall, we’ve found these to be an excellent combination. The only complaint we have with these tires isn’t the compound that we tested per se, but the fact that there is only one compound offered. We found the 50a/60a durometer combination to be a great choice with excellent durability in mind. However, anyone who has ridden softer/slower compounds knows what an obvious advantage they offer. We certainly can’t knock Specialized for debuting these tires in this size with this compound, but we do hope to see these exact same tires offered with a softer/slower durometer rating sometime in the future. The main point to take away from this review is that for just $55 a piece, the Butcher/Slaughter tires are far and away the best bang for the buck on the market.

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