Specialized has added four new tyres to its website in a size that — until now — the company hasn’t supported. Specialized will dip its toes into the 650B (27.5in) pool with the standard Ground Control (27.5x2.1in); the XC-oriented S-Works Fast Trak (27.5x2.0in); the Purgatory GRID 2Bliss Ready (27.5x2.3in); and the Butcher Control (27.5x2.3in).
The types of tyres may or may not be an indicator of the 27.5 bikes we can expect Specialized to release at its 2015 product launch later this year.
When asked for comment, the Morgan Hill-based company was tight-lipped about what the presence of 650B tyres will mean for mountain bikes in the coming year, stating only that its move into the tyre size is — for now — about supporting aftermarket sales.
"It's a little known fact that we got our start making tyres — before we made bikes even — and to this day tyres are still a key category for us," said Specialized's global PR manager Sean Estes. "Tyres provide the final connection between the rider and the ground which is why tyre choice is such a critical element of performance and an area we put a lot of effort into. Even though we don't currently offer 650B bikes we still want to make sure riders have the option of choosing their favourite Specialized tyre models for all popular wheel sizes."
Some readers may remember that the company used a similar strategy many years ago — introducing a 29in tyre well in advance of production bikes.
The S-Works tires are US$55; the others are US$55; Specialized has not yet communicated its UK pricing.