specialized hillbilly mtb tire
The Hillbilly: for the slick and the wet; (photo/Specialized)

The Stickiest Rubber for Your Gnarliest Ride: Specialized ‘Hillbilly’ MTB Tire

This specialized built version 2.0 of the knobby Hillbilly churns through mud, wet, and coarse trails, and grabs slick slabs.

Specialized took the stickiest low-rebound rubber in its lineup and molded it into aggressive lugs with deep transition knobs and a reinforced edge. The result: The reincarnation of the Hillbilly MTB tire, built to stick to wet slabs and plow through soft loam this fall.

The Hillbilly comes in 29” x 2.4” or 27.5” x 2.4”, and comes with either a Grid Trial (bead-to-bead protection and prioritized stability) or Grid Gravity (burly two-ply) casing.

The center tread gets uniform, square-shaped blocks with siping. Specialized staggered the side knobs — the knobs further inboard seek to transition grip from the center to the edge knobs while you’re banking or braking into a turn.

Specialized Hillbilly
Deep center knobs give way to a transitional edge pattern; (photo/Specialized)

Sticky Over Speedy

Specialized’s T9 rubber is here for a good time, but not necessarily a long time. The grippiest compound in its lineup, it does sacrifice some rolling resistance and durability. It’s only available on the three other tires the brand makes for the muddiest trails — the Eliminator, Butcher, and Cannibal.

If you’re looking at a rainy fall riding season coming on, you may want to look into the Hillbilly lifestyle. BikeRumor’s first ride showed the tire delivered a damped ride feel on drier trails. Jessie-May Morgan found it gave her control through turns, running it at a lower-than-advised 17 psi. However, according to her, the tire still stood up and felt firm enough on pebbly steeps — possibly due in part to its tough casing.

Get the new Specialized Hillbilly for $75 MSRP (Grid Gravity) or $70 (Grid Trial) at Specialized’s website. Neither tire was yet live as of this writing, but you can check out their more rudimentary (and now discounted) predecessors.

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.