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  1. #1
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    New question here. Ground Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory

    I have ran specialized tires for years. Tried many different brands and have gone back to specialized for their great grip, durability, and large casings. My riding area is southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado.

    So far my favorite combo is the purg up front & captain in the back. Purg works great for loose over hardpack while the captain rolls fast and has great braking control while going down steep rocky, loose, switchbacks.

    Any opinions on the new ground control 2.3? Looks like it would be a good back tire. Mostly concerned with braking control down loose steep stuff. Also how about the new 2.3 purg? Im currently running the old 2.2 purg. Is it best in the front, back, or both?

    So far im leaning towards, 2.3 purg upfront and gc 2.3 out back.

  2. #2
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    Seems like quite an aggressive setup. Seems like it could work quite well.

    You could try other brand combos, like Mich Wild Rock'r front and Wild Grip'r back, but overall your pick looks very good too.

  3. #3
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    The Ground Control is only OK when in comes to rear "braking" control. It tends to fishtail a little bit. But that was in more wet conditions. Maybe in the dry it is ok.

  4. #4
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    My take on the ground control is that it is pretty much as aggressive as the captain with better rolling. Also far better mud clearance.

    Cannot comment on the new purg, as I am still using my 2.4. The 2.3 is meant to roll better again.

    My take would be purg front and go back. Or butcher front and purg back for a more aggressive combination.

  5. #5
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    I like the ground control better than the captain as a rear tire, I hated the center row of knobs on the captain, having more space between the "paddles" on the ground control seems to grip both pedaling and braking for me

    not sure how this applies to your situation but I'm 250# and running 2.3 purg front and 2.1 gc rear
    Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't

  6. #6
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    Well I picked up the new 2.3 purg and mounted it up front tubeless. Was super easy even with a floor pump. I ended up moving my 2.2 purg to the back. Shop had to order the ground control. Should be here next week. When comparing the 2 purgs, they are exactly the same width just eyeballing them. And the nobs have slightly different sipping and some of the center nobs are slightly different.

    Will post results soon for the purg combo.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpynerd View Post
    Well I picked up the new 2.3 purg and mounted it up front tubeless. Was super easy even with a floor pump. I ended up moving my 2.2 purg to the back. Shop had to order the ground control. Should be here next week. When comparing the 2 purgs, they are exactly the same width just eyeballing them. And the nobs have slightly different sipping and some of the center nobs are slightly different.

    Will post results soon for the purg combo.
    I ended up with the same 2.3/2.2 combo as well; about five rides into sussing them out. So far, I like it. I'm thinking that rotating the front 2.3 to the rear would be pretty economical and keep the rear rolling resistance down a bit. Why buy a low knob tire when you can just use a half worn front?

    I measured the 2.2 as 2mm narrower in both casing and tread, but so what. I've gotten over the volume thing and find that about 55mm feels fine. I really liked the 2.1 GC as it was so nimble and quick, but I have to accept that it's all mountainsides around here and having a tire capable of handling the unexpected 'deviation from plan' is a good idea. I blew a corner a few days ago and the Purg just dug itself a trench up the bank and back to the trail; I was expecting a face plant.

    They spaced out the blocks more on the 2.3. The little hex block grew up into being capable of doing more than keep the casing off the dirt. The edge knobs are longer and so on, but it's all just tweaks. New one's better.

    I guess if I cared more about weight and roll I'd go GC rear but I'm just thinking of running 2.3 Purg F&R and just giving up the search for tire perfection. One tire to stock. Simple. A little more tire than I need rather than just enough or 'better be careful'.

  8. #8
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    Fast Trak FTW!

  9. #9
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    Ground Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory

    Recently put GC 2.3s front and rear on my hardtail. I like everything about them except they feel sketchy on loose over hardpack. They haven't washed out, but I felt more confident on my WTB Wolverine 2.2s. I think the Purgatory front/GC rear might be the magic combo.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  10. #10
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    Love the Purg on the front, GC not so much but it is a fine rear on loose over hardpack.

  11. #11
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    Well I picked up another 2.3 purg for the back and setup tubeless. Will be testing the full purg 2.3 combo sunday & monday. For all you bike nerds I will include terrain pics, along with a detailed review. Stay tuned.

    It will be another week before I get to test the GC.

  12. #12
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    Ground Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory-dscn0069.jpgGround Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory-dscn0072.jpgGround Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory-dscn0050.jpgGround Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory-dscn0078.jpg

    I tested purg 2.3 front and rear this weekend. Great combo, rolls faster than the old purg on hardpack and works excellent on loose conditions. Braking control is far better than the captain, and I can drift the backend if I want while maintaining control. Not sure I want to test the GC out back, this works so great.

  13. #13
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    When hitting soft berms, the front end stays planted, no washouts, and I hardly had to pressure the front end to maintain traction through the turns. Works great on rocks, roots, and the slightly fatter casing is great for bumbs, rocks, when compared to the old 2.2. Mud shedding is excellent as well.

  14. #14
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    QQ, which exact model of perg did you go with? S-Works? Control? Grid?

  15. #15
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    I tried the 2.3 ground control as rear. Great tire..... EXCEPT the tread does NOT wrap around the casing far enough. If you are an aggressive rider do not use this tire. You can only lean it over so far until it breaks completely loose.

  16. #16
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    That ground control does that to me all the time. So what would be best on a rear in lose rocky area with a little hard pack?

  17. #17
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    Im running 26" 2.3 Purgatory Control front & back. I never had good luck with the SWORKS cus its too thin, never tried the grid. Im running conti revo sealant.

  18. #18
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    28psi front 30 rear. Im about 195 or 200lbs geared up.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr highball View Post
    That ground control does that to me all the time. So what would be best on a rear in lose rocky area with a little hard pack?
    Dr. I would try the full purg combo. During my ride this weekend I encountered lots of loose shale & granite along the trail. Tire worked great, and held up pretty good on loose rocks while braking. After the ride, I didn't have one chunked nob in the rear and the nob edges were still crisp. The purg tires rolled quite fast when I had to get onto a forest service road.

  20. #20
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    Thank you for the info . Will try them out .Who makes these tires also.

  21. #21
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    Specialized.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr highball View Post
    That ground control does that to me all the time. So what would be best on a rear in lose rocky area with a little hard pack?
    Hard to beat a shwably nobby nick for loose over hardpack, yet still a fast tire. Also like the maxxis ardent. The purgatory & captains I prefer for front tires.

  23. #23
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    Whalenerd, I saw a pair of nobby nicks at local shop. $84 bucks for a one tire! Thats outrageous. Never tried schwably however the nobby nick tread pattern looked very similar to the ground control. I wonder how they would hold up to rocks, and if there are issues with chunking cus the nobs seemed quite soft when I fondled them.

  24. #24
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    Stumpynerd, did you weigh your 2.3s before you put them on? Site says 755 and mine weighed 800. Not that it matters as it will be 755 soon enough, but just curious.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Stumpynerd, did you weigh your 2.3s before you put them on? Site says 755 and mine weighed 800. Not that it matters as it will be 755 soon enough, but just curious.
    Nope I didn't weigh them. I'm running the 26" purgs.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpynerd View Post
    Whalenerd, I saw a pair of nobby nicks at local shop. $84 bucks for a one tire! Thats outrageous. Never tried schwably however the nobby nick tread pattern looked very similar to the ground control. I wonder how they would hold up to rocks, and if there are issues with chunking cus the nobs seemed quite soft when I fondled them.
    Yeah, NN looks similar to GC, but IMO the NN has way better grip, especially in loose conditions when leaned over.

    You can get them at a decent price from Germany.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpynerd View Post
    Whalenerd, I saw a pair of nobby nicks at local shop. $84 bucks for a one tire! Thats outrageous. Never tried schwably however the nobby nick tread pattern looked very similar to the ground control. I wonder how they would hold up to rocks, and if there are issues with chunking cus the nobs seemed quite soft when I fondled them.
    Yep they are spendy & do have a similar tread pattern to a couple other tires. However what sets them apart, and why they are one of the fattest rolling tires out there has to do with the casing. I suspect the casing materiel is also reflected in the price, but you can find them in the $60 range if you check around. Durability wise is a mixed bag. I'm heavy, ride hard (destroy tires) and they have been good to me, but other people may claim otherwise. Personally if your rides are < 10 miles I wouldn't worry about how well a tire rolls. Lots of good tires on the market these days bra.

  28. #28
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    I like the "new" Ground Control (it was out early 2012 ) as an all-around tire except for cornering transition on loose-over-hardpack. At least one other person already mentioned that.

    I have switched to a Geax Saguaro and find it superior to the Ground Control overall, for my riding conditions. Comparison info below...

    durability - TNT sidewall is tougher than the GC Control model.
    treadlife - Saguaro wears like iron, GC is average.
    weight - GC is far lighter, almost half pound for the set. I notice this only when I lift the bike to put it on the roof rack or stand.
    rolling resistance - Saguaro is definitely faster.
    hardpack traction - very similar.
    loose over hardpack - Saguaro has more cornering and braking grip.
    wet traction - GC is acceptable, Saguaro is scary. fortunately, I almost never ride in muddy conditions. morning dew on roots will make the Saguaro squirm though.
    price - same, ~$50 a tire.
    other - if you hate the GC take it back to your Spesh dealer and get a different tire. can't do that with a Geax.

  29. #29
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    captains brake like crap, The purgatory is a ok back tire but it allways felt like I could not trust it on the front. I have not tried the ground control yet.

  30. #30
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    I just used a 29er Purgatory 2.3 on the back this past Saturday. I felt it did a great job with traction and braking but slower than I'd like for a SS. I'm running a Nobby Nic 2.35 SS up front and than stayed planted except for one washout on a pine needle cover trail when I hit a hidden root.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    captains brake like crap, The purgatory is a ok back tire but it allways felt like I could not trust it on the front. I have not tried the ground control yet.
    Whats your trail conditions like and what do you prefer? Hopefully its not conti, I had a bad luck with those tires. First ride on X-Kings and several nobs were chunked out, very little braking control, and they were flat out scary down switchbacks.

  32. #32
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    I've had the GC 29x2.1 on back for a few months and it worked fine on dry hardpack. However, we took a trip to Levis this weekend and the lack of volume was quite noticeable on my hardtail. The last time I rode Levis I had a Captain 2.2 @ 25psi on the back. The Captain 2.2 is quite voluminous and holds up with lower pressure very well. I had to run the GC @ 30psi. The trails at Levis consist of sand (think beach sand) and roots with the odd rock thrown in here and there. The GC was not up to the task especially in the loose sand pits where it sank and spun and over the root gardens where the back end was bouncing around all over the place. The GC does roll very well where it's smooth though. The rolling resistance is significantly lower than the Captain.

    I wonder if the GC 2.3 would be any improvement. I've seen it mounted up on a bike at the LBS but it doesn't seem to have the volume of the Captain 2.2. I wish they made a Fast Trak with the volume of the Captain 2.2...
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  33. #33
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    The Ground Control 2.3 is undersized. It's smaller than most 2.2s I've used.

  34. #34
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    Ground Control vs. Captain vs Purgatory

    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    The Ground Control 2.3 is undersized. It's smaller than most 2.2s I've used.
    I wouldn't say that. The 2.3 casing measures 55 mm on a 19mm internal width rim. Put it on something like a wtb i23 and it would be spot on its stated size.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDMC View Post
    I wouldn't say that. The 2.3 casing measures 55 mm on a 19mm internal width rim. Put it on something like a wtb i23 and it would be spot on its stated size.
    Cardinal sin for me to not specify my rim. However, I have the same 19mm rim width. (Mine's a 2012 Crossmax ST.)

    My previous front tire was a 26x2.3 Ground Control (Control). 55mm is what mine was as well which is 2.165". To me that's a small 2.3" but yes, I would be curious what it measures on a wider rim since my skinny XC rim has a stated max tire size of 2.3".

    My current tire is a Geax Saguaro TNT 26x2.2. It measures 56.4mm-- just double checked it-- and that's 2.220".

    Thus the reason for my prior post. The GC 2.3 and 2.1 are both undersized from what I have experienced.

  36. #36
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    I like the 2.3 GC as a rear tire. It has good braking traction and is reasonable on hard over loose. I haven't cut the sidewall yet and am generally happy with it.
    2 wheels

  37. #37
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    Thinking about testing a butcher 2.3 out for next season. Any rider insight on the new butcher 2.3? Also considering a maxis high roller 2.

  38. #38
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    Guys I am reactivating this thread. I plan on testing out the new butcher this season. Any thoughts on the butcher? I got to test the maxis high rollers and wasnt too fond last part of the season. Seemed squirrly in my ridding conditions.

  39. #39
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    I'm using a Purgatory front, Ground Control rear, both 29x2.3, and I like this combo pretty well. The Purgatory is probably overkill for the trails I usually ride, but the extra grip is welcome during the fall/winter season.

    I like the GC a lot. It has good grip in pretty much all conditions, rolls pretty well, isn't too heavy, is durable enough, is easy to set up tubeless, and isn't Schwalbe-expensive.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpynerd View Post
    Guys I am reactivating this thread. I plan on testing out the new butcher this season. Any thoughts on the butcher? I got to test the maxis high rollers and wasnt too fond last part of the season. Seemed squirrly in my ridding conditions.
    I personally find all S-Works tyres to be rather squirrelly under lower tyre pressures - something about the casing being so light.

    Anyway, the Butcher is a good tyre. If you want more, you will have to tell us what your riding conditions are.

    Specialized Butcher Control mountain bike tyre review - BikeRadar

  41. #41
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    My full conditions are listed, along with pictures of terrain and detailed review. Look under first page of this thread. I found the maxis high rollers to be squirly.

  42. #42
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    Apologies - this is an old thread I must have been subscribed too. I did not bother looking upwards.

  43. #43
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    No problem. ride on!

  44. #44
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    I have used the Ground Controll front and back, works well up to when the soil is loose and deep. I then switch to the Purg. running the new grid casing, I have also used the Butcher which has excellent grip but is a bit heavier. It all depends on how aggressive you want the tires to be. The new Purgatory with the thicker casing looks very good so far. I find the Ground Controll on the back is enough grip for me.

  45. #45
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    Thanks for info. I plan on doing a full review this spring. Butcher front purg back combo. I also plan on testing the butcher on both sides to see if it works better than the purg for my conditions.

  46. #46
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    Just throwing this out there… Colorado rider here. Was riding on a Nevegal up front (2.1). Had too much washout on the loose gravel stuff and I just didn't feel that confident with it. Looked at Specialized and was swayed to the Butcher Control (2.3). Can't say enough great things about this tire as a front. Rolls faster than the Nevegal, lighter, and grips corners like a dream. I think you'll like this tire as a front. Probably a bit much for a rear tire. I know Specialized has used the Butch/Purg combo as a stock setup with their Evo bikes. I'm running a Slant 6 on the rear of my bike… might seem weird as the Butcher is a DH tire and the S6 is a fast rolling XC tire but I like this combo. Fast rolling in the rear with predictable washout and a front tire that goes where you point it. Good stuff.

  47. #47
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    I really like'd the Purg except the casing/sidewalls were not durable at all.

    The new Grid casing sounds awesome. The CG is also a nice tire and with the Grid might just be the perfect rear all purpose tire in the 2.3".

  48. #48
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    Well I picked up a butcher 2.3 control and purg 2.3 control for my stumpy. When eyeballing the two the butcher is slightly narrower than the purg after mounting them to my I9s. Wont be till spring before I can test them, winter still looming in Wyoming

  49. #49
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    I have used all 3 tires and at first I liked the Purgatory on the front more than the GC, but I had a few sudden wash outs with it. I switched to the Butcher on the front and clearly a better front for me. The butcher seems to have softer compound, less bouncy, over rocks.The grid casing looks good at only 40g added weight.

  50. #50
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    I just put a Purg2.3 GRID up front and LOVEiT...
    The Butcher has the most aggressive nobys out of the bunch..my LBS guy runs them front & rear and was talking them up alot..he likes. GRID is a bit heavier but the added sidewal strenght is worth it for me...
    For the back I want the THUNDER BURT cuz it has my name one it..I know lame right..still :-P
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