Specialized Hillbilly, BLCK DMND, 2.6in front tyre review

Toothy and tough tyre

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £58.00 RRP | USD $70.00 | AUD $95.00
Specialized Hillbilly BLCK DMND mountain bike tyre

Our review

One of the best tyres for steep, soft conditions
Pros: Aggressive tread pattern grips well in soft conditions, while the large and tough casing offers extra floatation, comfort and damping through rocky terrain
Cons: Slow, heavy and not the stickiest on wet rocks.; occasionally abrupt drop in grip at high lean angles
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The Hillbilly’s large casing and tall, spaced-out tread make it one of the grippiest and most confidence-inspiring tyres around in loose loam, soft dirt and mud.

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The large casing of this 2.6in version seems to offer meaningful floatation over really soft loamy sections, helping it to skim over the top with minimal bogging down.

At the same time, the tall tread blocks dig in to provide fantastic grip in all but the claggiest of mud – there’s none of the smearing and slipping often associated with big tyres on soft surfaces.

The sturdy BLCK DMND casing is thicker in the sidewalls than under the tread, like Schwalbe’s SuperGravity casing, making the 2.6in Hillbilly super comfortable over high-speed chatter, and it has a damped, surefooted feel through rocky terrain.

It’s also very stable and well-supported at low pressures, even when pushing into hardpack turns.

Specialized Hillbilly BLCK DMND mountain bike tyre
The large casing of this 2.6in version seems to offer meaningful floatation over really soft loamy sections.
Andy Lloyd

While I’ve found Specialized’s GRIPTON compound can be slippery on wet rocks in its lighter GRID tyres, the Hillbilly does better here.

Although it’s not the softest or stickiest rubber, the siped tread and damped sidewall calmly track through pinball greasy rocks with minimal fuss. Having said that, it’s not as sticky as the WTB Verdict High Grip or Michelin Wild Enduro.

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Occasionally it can give way rather suddenly when really leaned over on a flat turn, perhaps due to its square profile, but for soft, muddy and steep tracks it’s hugely confidence-inspiring.

How we tested

This tyre was tested as part of a grouptest. All tyres were tested back-to-back on the same tracks, keeping all other variables as consistent as possible to ensure our findings are as reliable and accurate as they can be.

Product Specifications

Product

Price AUD $95.00GBP £58.00USD $70.00
Weight 1,236g (29in)
Brand Specialized

Features

Features Measured carcass width (at 25psi on a 30mm rim): 2.58in
Measured height (at 25psi on a 30mm rim): 2.47in
Sizes 27.5in, 29in