When I look for a good all-around mountain bike tire, I look for something that toes the line between maximum traction and minimal rolling resistance. While it’s great having a knobby tire for soft terrain, it feels like you’re fighting against the treads on long ascents. I’ve now been using the Specialized The Captain (a.k.a. Ned Overend) Control 2.2 2Bliss 29er tires for a month now and have been very impressed with their performance.

Specialized The Captain Control 2.2 2Bliss 29er Tire Features:

  • Intended Use: High-end XC or Trail Performance
  • Terrain: Hardpack, Intermediate and Loose Conditions
  • 420/D1 Control Casing increases puncture and cut resistance
  • Casing: 60 TPI
  • Bead: Aramid
  • Butyl wrapped bead
  • Center Compound: 70a
  • Shoulder Compound: 60a
  • 2Bliss ready
  • 29″ x 2.2 approx. weight 730g, PSI: 35-65
  • MSRP: $50

Specialized The Captain Control 2.2 2Bliss 29er Tires Review

Some may scoff at the 2.2 width of these tires and say it’s too much for the 29er crowd. I say nonsense as these are some of the best all-around tires I’ve tested to date. 2.2 is a great width if the tires are made correctly and The Captain’s are built for all-mountain performance.

With over 100 miles on these tires, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with their traction, cornering and how fast they roll over all terrain. Never do I feel I’m fighting against the treads with every pedal stroke… they roll extremely-well. The tire compound is soft, but seems to wear well — giving you killer trail performance.

The two things that I’ve appreciated most about these tires is the climbing traction and cornering. Matched to my Niner RIP 9, these tires have been perfect. Seated climbs have been met with consistent traction and even standing climbs have never once lost traction — even when the trail conditions have become dry and dusty.

Most of the terrain I ride is sandy, loose and rocky with occasional tacky dirt thrown in on North-facing upper-elevation terrain. Having the right lug spacing and tread design is critical to maintaining proper traction in the terrain I ride in Utah and The Captain’s have far exceeded my expectations. In fact, the center treads feature a Utah-shaped pattern, so these must be custom-designed for our terrain.

When it comes to downhill performance, I’ve been stoked on these tires as I’ve pushed them very hard and they always seem to hook up. I can confidently approach loose corners with extreme angulation and they hook up and propel me out of the turn and into the next one.

I’ve run these without tubes on my tubeless-ready Roval Control EL 29 wheels with mixed results. Because I didn’t want to get Stan’s tire sealant everywhere, I tried to mount these without it. I could get the tires to hold pressure for a day or two, but that was it. I also slipped about a teaspoonful of Stan’s tire sealant into one tier and while it held for a few days longer, it was still having a tough time holding pressure. This has as much to do with the rims as it does the tires, so it’s hard to say definitively. Because I swap tires around regularly, I just opted to go tubed with predictable results.  Tubed or tubeless, these tires perform extremely-well.

Note: For reference, I’ve been running these between 25-40 psi.

Good Captain

  • Low rolling resistance
  • Climbing traction is best described as Velcro-like
  • Cornering capabilities are off the charts
  • Reasonable weight
  • Durable and long-lasting rubber

Bad Captain

  • Gotta use Stan’s for proper seal
  • Might be difficult to locate these tires (I found 2.0’s at my LBS, but not 2.2’s)

Bottom Line: Specialized The Captain Control 2.2 29er Tires

With low rolling resistance and solid traction for climbing and cornering, these tires are tops on my list of rubber for all-mountain fun in Utah’s high-mountain terrain.

Buy Now: Visit Specialized.com

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. I ride a 29er hardtail and was just wondering if you would recommend this tire for a hardtail as well. I have been struggling with what tires are best and I don’t really want to shell a lot cash trying test everything. I am a Northern Utah trail rider. I would appreciate any advice you might have.

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  3. These are 2Bliss but not UST so, yeah they’ll leak without sealant. All 2Bliss tires still need sealant because they have only a UST-compatible bead and not a full UST airtight coating on the inside of the casing.

    There is a UST version that can be run without sealant but it weighs more.

    All the different versions can be confusing but it also gives you a ton of choice in terms of what features you want ina tire

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    • I think that would be a good option, but if it were me, I’d reverse that thought. The Captain’s have more length-wise knobs for steering precision while the Purg’s are more knobby.

      Although, I don’t know how much has changed with these treads since I last reviewed them. I think both of them have been updated.

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