There’s no shortage of mountain bike tires designed for most conditions, and honestly, who doesn’t want a do-it-all tire? After all, most of us don’t bother changing our tires based on trail conditions or even the season.
The Specialized Eliminator is billed as a well-balanced tire that provides predictable grip on both hardpack and soft trails. I’ve been running the 29×2.3″ Eliminator Grid Trail T7 model as a rear tire this spring and I’ve found it to be durable and grippy in all but the loosest and greasiest trail conditions.
Specialized Eliminator Grid Trail T7 tire specs
Specialized offers three casing levels of increasing weight and protection, and this Trail casing sits right in the middle. The single-ply, 60tpi Trail casing is designed to be stiff enough that it’s not floppy or delicate while keeping the weight at a reasonable level. My 29×2.3″ sample weighs 930g which is about 20g less than the advertised weight.
The directional Specialized Eliminator features a complex tread pattern with three alternating and repeating center block sets. There’s a lot of siping, ramping, and shaping as the blocks fan out and transition to the side knobs, which alternate between a squarish shape and a nameless form that looks like a set of stairs leading skyward. A slightly raised ribbed pattern sits just beyond and in between the side knobs, extending down the sidewall.
Officially listed at 2.3″ wide, mine actually measures 61.2mm wide on a 32mm rim, which works out to just over 2.4″ wide. A consumer review on the Specialized website also mentions that the Eliminator is wider than advertised. Most of the tires I’ve tested over the years measure narrower than the listed spec, so be sure to leave a little extra clearance for the Eliminators.
I mounted the Specialized Eliminator tire using a regular floor pump and have found it holds air well from ride to ride.
On the trail
I’ve been running the Specialized Eliminator Grid Trail T7 as a rear tire on my hardtail at 15-20psi in conditions ranging from wet to dry, and from loose to hardpack. On dry, hardpack trails the Eliminator provides excellent braking traction and transitions into the corners smoothly thanks to the tire’s rounded profile and V-shaped tread pattern that fans out from the center.
As a rear tire the Eliminator doesn’t feel draggy, though it’s not a fast or low rolling resistance tire either. Specialized has done a nice job positioning the Eliminator Grid Trail T7 in the middle, offering good grip without making the tire overly heavy or slow. And the T7 rubber compound provides medium-soft grip without wearing too quickly; my tires are still showing plenty of life after well over 100 miles of riding.
As a writer I choose my words carefully, and when it comes to trail conditions there are infinitely many to pick from. While testing the Eliminator I thought a lot about the word soft as it relates to trail conditions as opposed to the word loose. Personally I use the word soft to describe loamy, organic trails and reserve loose for sandy, gravelly, and muddy trail conditions. Specialized says the Eliminator is well suited for soft trail conditions, and I have to say I agree. The mid-height knobs find good purchase in loamy soils without packing or losing grip.
Loose conditions are another story, and if your regular riding conditions get loose at certain times of the year or in certain spots, the Eliminator isn’t ideal. I found the knobs lose grip on particularly steep and loose climbs, and the outsloped side knobs get slipped up by off-camber trails.
Rear tires tend to take the most abuse, especially on a hardtail. The mid-strength Trail casing offers plenty of flop-free support at 15-20psi and I avoided getting a single puncture despite riding miles of janky and thorny trails.
Pros and cons of the Specialized Eliminator mountain bike tire
- Good durability and puncture protection
- Balanced tread pattern and knob heights
- Easy to install and holds air well
- Works in most, but not all (loose) conditions
- Wider than advertised so check frame clearances
The Specialized Eliminator is a good rear tire choice for all but loose conditions and strikes a nice balance between grip, speed, and durability.
- Price: $70 as tested (currently on sale for $51.99)
- Buy from Specialized.