The 2.6” Specialized Hillbilly provide grip by the bucket load in wet conditions, also proving to be a pretty good partner for very soft, dry loam. At the cheap price of £45 we can’t really see many reasons to moan!
The Hillbilly is Specialized intermediate tyre, we’ve previously ridden this tyre in the 2.3” width and were eager to see how it faired as a 2.6” tyre. Our test tyre has the larger volume, Gripton compound and Grid carcass making it both tacky and tough.
I’ve set these tyres up on both a 30mm wide rim and a 33mm (internal) rim and it comes up well on both. The photos you see here are the narrower rim, the tyre retains a good shape, the square centre and outer lugs position well for both cornering and straight line grip in mucky conditions. On both rims I ran the Hillbilly at 17 or 18PSI and with my 60kg weight didn’t experience any rolling or punctures throughout the test time. It doesn’t quite size up to 2.6” on the narrower rims, we measured ours at 2.46”.
The Hillbilly isn’t the fastest rolling tyre but I don’t really have a problem with this on the front of the bike which is probably the only place I’d mount one. The spiky knobs dig into mud and drier loam well and the outer lugs hold on tight when cornering or trying to hold and off camber line in the wet, leaving the rear wheel free to follow suit, the traction available is startling and has made the Hillbilly my choice of tyre when the weather turns damp.
As I mentioned earlier the Hillbilly also comes up trumps is the ground is really loose and dry but take it on hardpacked terrain and it feels vague with the long nature of the knobs tending to ‘squim’ over hard ground. On muddy ground interspersed with rock though, the Hillybilly performs very well, the grippy nature of the rubber providing grip, confidence to hold a line and I reckon its better than the Maxxis Shorty in these conditions.
We’ve ridden both the 2.5” Maxxis Shorty and the 2.6” Hillbilly and whilst both are great in the mud, the Spesh offering certainly errs more on the side of an ‘intermediate’ tyre (as it says on the tin) than the Shorty does, with the latter cutting through mud that little bit better and clearing it from between the tread marginally quicker too.
The Hillbilly is a great option for an intermediate tyre, it clears better than a Magic Mary, cuts through mud well, is solidly built for an all mountain tyre without a huge weight penalty 985g) and also is pretty proficient in dry conditions as long as the ground isn't too packed down should summer make a brief reappearance. At £45 for this model of tyre (£40) for the 2.3” version its an absolute bargain too.
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