The Specialized Trigger Pro isn’t the newest gravel tire on the market, but it is a tried and true option for fast and rough gravel racing.
In fact, it was developed with input from multiple-time Dirty Kanza 200 winners Dan Hughes and Rebecca Rusch.
Specialized used the company’s dry condition Trigger cyclocross tire as the basis for the tread design and added features to make it better suited to the rigors of gravel racing.
Unlike its smaller CX sibling, this tubeless-ready gravel version features a reinforced Endurant casing with an additional layer of BlackBelt puncture protection under the tread.
The raised center tread helps the Trigger Pro roll quickly Josh Patterson / Immediate Media
The Trigger Pro has a published width of 38mm, though it is slightly undersized at 37mm on my 19.5mm internal rims. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if your gravel bike is actually a cyclocross bike or doesn’t have enough clearance for many of the oversized 40mm-wide gravel tires that actually measure out to 42-44mm.
The pair tested here weighs in at 485g and 488g, which is just under the published weight of 490g.
Specialized Trigger Pro 700×38 performance
While the Trigger Pro favors speed over outright grip, cornering performance is predictable on hardpacked dirt roads Josh Patterson / Immediate Media
As you can see from the tread, the Trigger Pro favors speed over traction. The raised center strip makes these treads fast and silent on pavement. On hardpacked dirt, the diamond-shaped knobs, which increase in size as they move toward the edges, do a commendable job of easing the rider into predictable transitions to the edge knobs.
In deep gravel and loose-over-hardpack the Triggers become a bit vague. On the flipside, the low profile tread and wide-set shoulder knobs do a good job at slicing through muck — it’s much easier to shed mud if you don’t pick up much in the first place!
The Trigger’s ride quality is good, though it isn’t the supplest tire on the market. The reinforced 60tpi casing does remove a bit of plushness compared to other low-profile gravel tires, such as the Schwalbe G-One. However, in my time testing the Trigger, it has proven exceptionally durable.
In fact, this has been my tire of choice for the Dirty Kanza 200 for the past two years. Making it through this event without flatting is a victory in its own right.
Specialized Trigger Pro 700×38 overall impression
The 700×38 Specialized Trigger Pro is a proven gravel race tire Josh Patterson / Immediate Media
The Specialized Trigger Pro is nearly everything a gravel race tire should be. It’s fast with a reasonable amount of grip for the task at hand and a reassuring level of flat protection.