Specialized Ground Control 2Bliss 27.5x2.1 MTB tyre review£35.00

Versatile, lightweight trail tyre

BikeRadar score4/5

Things have changed a lot since Specialized’s original Ground Control was about the only decent mountain bike tyre you could get. But the latest GC is still competitive in performance terms, although a big price hike has undermined its previous high-value benchmark status a little.

The Control casing is heavier than the S-Works but that’s because it’s got more cut resistance and general toughness built in. The 2Bliss carcass blows up without any bother on a broad range of rims and while the 2.1in tyre pictured here is relatively low volume there’s a fatter 2.3in option.

Either way the tougher carcass doesn’t get in the way of a tactile feel that keeps you clearly aware of traction from the dual compound rubber mix. The alternating 1-2-1 drive and braking tread meshes into bigger, taller shoulder knobs via a row of angle F knobs, so wherever you are in terms of lean angle there’s a reassuring amount of rubber to hook into the trail.

There’s still enough space to chuck out chunks of mud easily though, so you’ll always be biting on fresh blocks unless it’s really thick clay or clag.

Rolling performance is okay but the low weight gives it a really responsive and eager feel as soon as you make an effort. Unsurprisingly it can feel flimsy and floppy at lower pressures though, so go for the reinforced Grid if you want more grrr from your Ground Control.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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