Continuing in their quest for increased speed, Specialized XC tires are getting an update upgrade. Taking inspiration from the world of motocross tires, the XC tire range gets new ‘block-in-block- tread patterns that claim to increase grip and durability.

Specialized XC tire models

While the names might be similar, the tread patterns are all new. The Renegade is still meant to be a lightning fast tire on hardpack and features the block-in-block tread on the shoulders with a smoother rolling center tread. The Fast Trak is more of a mixed conditions XC tire that is still fast, but offers more grip in many situations. Lastly, the Ground Control is meant as an all-season XC tread which is the choice especially when things get muddy.

Specialized Fast Trak tread pattern


Specialized Ground Control tread pattern

Up close, the new Fast Trak tire has lower profile knobs than the Ground Control, as well as staggered center tread blocks instead of paired like on the Ground Control. Specialized claims that the tread block-in-block tread design allows the outer knob structure to support the inner block for more stable handling.

When mounted to a 28mm internal width rim, the 29 x 2.35″ tires initially measured a bit undersized at 2.31″ wide – though like most tires we expect them to stretch a bit over time.

Casing Tech

Specialized Fast Trak Control T5 Specialized Ground Control Grid T7

Specialized XC tire casings

Offered in multiple casings, the S-Works is the lightest and most supple while Control comes in a close second with slightly more puncture protection. Specialized’ trusted Grid casing includes additional sidewall protection making it the choice for XC bikes that want to get rowdy.

Rubber Compounds

Specialized rubber compounds Specialized rubber compounds availability

We saw first hand how much grip the Specialized T9 compound offers. But like everything in life, there are compromises to be made – that increased grip comes at the expense of all-out speed with Specialized rubber compounds getting faster the lower the number. The higher the number, the more damping properties from the rubber compound itself.

Their new XC tires are offered in three combinations – T5, T5/T7 combo, and T7. T5 tires are built for race-day speeds, whereas the T5/T7 combo tires run T5 down the center with T7 shoulders for extra grip. Full T7 tires are still fast enough for XC use, but add additional damping properties for more challenging terrain.


Specialized XC tire actual weight

Specialized sent over a few of their new tires to check out ahead of time, so of course we had to get them on the scale. From left to right, above you have a Fast Trak T5 Control, Fast Trak Grid T7, and a Ground Control T7, all in 29 x 2.35″ widths. Compared to the Grid casings, the Fast Trak Control casing feels crazy light and supple, meaning the S-Works version has to be an impressive specimen.


Specialized XC rider at sunset

Available now, the Specialized XC tires will sell for $70 a piece for the S-Works versions, and $60 a piece for the Control and Grid casings. Prices will vary depending on the market.


  1. tech9 on

    Love where they are going with these, but this trend of tires saying they are 2.35 or 2.4’s and are measuring under size on 28mm rims is ridiculous. Just print 2.25 if that’s what they really are.

    Schwalbe is the worst about it right now..Both their road and mtb tires are blowing up wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy under sized. They are also coming in at a lot heavier weights..

    • kbikski on

      tech9: Ummm…. A brand-new “2.35” tire measuring 2.31 before stretching out is like, um, not the height of deception. You say “Just print 2.25 if that’s what they really are.” – but it’s not: They’re 2.31+, labeled as 2.35. If I had a frame that wouldn’t fit anything bigger than a 2.3 (there are lots of those frames out there) and I bought these Spesh tires at my LBS ‘cuz they were labeled “2.25”…. I’d be majorly bummed. Save your outrage for something real, man.


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