The Trigger Pro tyre has been given an 'Endurance' tag by Specialized and it lives up to the name really rather well. It'll take you the long way over a variety of tarmac, gravel and less rugged off-road terrain, and the short, painful way round a dry cyclo-cross course too. If you want.
The tread on the Trigger Pro relies on diamonds, the tyre being patterned with a variety of sizes and depths of diamond-shaped lumps. There's a solid rubber section running down the middle of the tyre, about 7mm wide, layered with a thin covering of those diamond shapes. Because of this the tyres skip along tarmac remarkably easily, with a pleasantly speedy character considering their size, and give away little in the way of road buzz, happily doing 100-mile-plus road rides without feeling like rotating sticky loops of liquorice. They're not as fast as your slick race rubber, obviously, but they're not meant to be that sort of tyre, they're a lot more robust and significantly more versatile than that.
Either side of that speedy central section, the diamond pattern becomes more spaced apart with a deeper tread to offer a bit more grip when steering and giving it a bit of lean off-road. On the outside of these, a line of even more spaced out, fatter and deeper diamond shaped lugs rise out of the sidewall to help provide a more square-edged profile to the tyre and chunkier traction to the outer edges.
It's a sturdy tyre and quite weighty. Specialized lists the approximate weight of the Trigger at 490g, and the pair we received had separate weights of 487g and 502g, so take your kitchen scales to the shop if that sort of thing bothers you.
While we're on published numbers versus reality... the stated width of 38 is on the optimistic size with the Trigger Pro struggling to reach 36mm across the span of the tread, and if that's still too girthy for you or some race commissaire then the tyre is available in a slimmer 33mm format for 'proper' cyclo-cross duties.
The Gripton rubber compound is meant to offer the magic combination of both low rolling resistance and extreme grip. Without a whole raft of laboratory tests and reams of figures, all I can say is it does seem to do this, though I'm not sure about the 'extreme' claim for the grip – it's not going to help you climb a wall or anything.
As for durability, the Trigger Pros are holding up well; wear is good after a long stretch of use, and despite being taken over tracks that have chewed other tyres in the past, they have no nicks or cuts in them.
With a 60tpi (threads per inch) casing they're not the most supple tyre in the world, but that centre tread means they roll well enough and the fatter carcass over a standard road or cross tyre offers enough of a comfy cushion.
The tyres have been wilfully dragged over every sort of ground and there hasn't been one single puncture; well, apart from pinch flats by getting over-excited on off-road sections that were well above the tyres' punching weight, in the dark, at speed, maybe. For those who do this sort of thing often, the Trigger Pro is tubeless compatible. But even with tubes the tyres have been totally pointy-thing puncture-free, the bead to bead Endurant casing and BlackBelt puncture technology appearing to do their job.
The Trigger Pro can be made to work well at all sorts of different disciplines, and all the fuzzy edges between them. It's quite happy cyclo-cross racing if you want – if it's dry. The tyres get a bit excitable even on dewy grass, and anything with actual mud in means having a lot of squirm to handle. And if you like to mix up your more muck-about cross rides with a bit of road and off-roading, these tyres make for a great tread. They're fast and fun in the dusty dirt and yet not tedious and whirry for the tarmac bits.
For longer distances off-road the Trigger Pro makes a great, for want of a better word, gravel tyre, fast in a straight line with just enough grip either side to help with rough dirt and corners at just the sort of tyre volume you need. Sometimes that traction-lite central strip does mean grip can be an issue both front and back; if you're climbing on a looser or marbly surface you'll need to stay sat down to avoid spinning out, and on similar terrain it's best to not get too tasty on vaguely grippy corners where the front end can wash out pretty quickly; there's enough tread on the outside edges, just, to be able to snap it back if your reflexes are swift. All as you'd expect from such a tread pattern, really.
As well as these more adventurous applications the Trigger Pro will make a good rugged commuting tread, especially if your route mixes terrain, has (the usual) questionable tarmac quality or you want to take the longer way home. It's a confident tyre on wet roads, the generous girth and sticky rubber compound meaning you can splash through with little worry, even unexpected manhole covers on apexes not fazing them. They're big enough to soak up the ruts and bumps and crash through the sharper edged holes without wincing, fast enough to satisfy your pro-commuter needs, and with all the puncture protection needed to deal with the standard bike lane glass and grubble.
Sturdy, puncture-averse and versatile enough to handle tarmac, gravel and tame (if dry) off-roading
road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Trigger Pro 2Bliss Ready
Size tested: 700x38
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Specialized says: "The Trigger Pro 2Bliss Ready tyre rolls fast on asphalt, hard-pack, and gravel paths, making it ideal for anyone looking to get the most out of a smooth cyclocross or gravel course. It features a bead-to-bead Endurant casing and BlackBelt technology for improved puncture protection, while the unrivalled GRIPTON compound makes it smooth rolling and tough enough for the rigors of a 'cross course."
I'd agree with that: a good tyre for smooth off-road, and a little bit more if you've got the guts, and not so slovenly on road either.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Casing: 60 TPI
Butyl wrapped bead = 2Bliss Ready
Flat Protection 700x38c: Endurant Casing and BlackBelt
700 x 33mm; psi 45-90; approximate weight 355g
700 x 38mm; psi 45-90; approximate weight 490g
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a tyre designed for tarmac, gravel and hard-packed trail it did really well on all three; it's obviously a compromise but if your riding covers all those in one ride then it's a good choice – in the dry, anyway.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Versatile, sturdy, seems puncture-averse.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes. For the kind of varied riding I do, including going down tracks I probably shouldn't, they did really well.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Bit of a no-brainer tyre if you like to mix it up on your rides, especially for the sunnier months. A comfortable commuting option too.
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season My best bike is: The one I'm on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo-cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.