WTB Convict Tires

Average User Rating: (Excellent) Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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Tested: WTB Convict Tire

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Photos by Carl Gray

We put our trail bikes through some serious terrain these days as modern geometry and capable six-inch suspension brings us to terrain that not too many years ago was considered downhill-bike-only. This leaves riders searching for that better connection with Mother Earth so we can hit that corner harder, brake a little later and go a little faster. WTB has answered that call with an aggressive tire designed around these abusive requirements with their new tire, the Convict.

WTB Convict Features

  • Intended use: Gravity / Enduro
  • Conditions: Dry to wet / Sand to loam
  • Size: 27.5 x 2.5-inch
  • Compounds: Gravity DNA, Dual DNA
  • Casings: Lightweight or Tough
  • Weights: 1,042g (Gravity DNA / Lightweight), 1,239g (Gravity DNA / Tough), 1,253g (Dual DNA / Tough)

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Photos by Carl Gray

We put our trail bikes through some serious terrain these days as modern geometry and capable six-inch suspension brings us to terrain that not too many years ago was considered downhill-bike-only. This leaves riders searching for that better connection with Mother Earth so we can hit that corner harder, brake a little later and go a little faster. WTB has answered that call with an aggressive tire designed around these abusive requirements with their new tire, the Convict.

WTB Convict Features

  • Intended use: Gravity / Enduro
  • Conditions: Dry to wet / Sand to loam
  • Size: 27.5 x 2.5-inch
  • Compounds: Gravity DNA, Dual DNA
  • Casings: Lightweight or Tough
  • Weights: 1,042g (Gravity DNA / Lightweight), 1,239g (Gravity DNA / Tough), 1,253g (Dual DNA / Tough)
  • Bead: TCS folding
  • MSRP: $67.95 USD

Initial Impressions

WTB sent us a Convict TCS Tough, Fast Rolling rear tire and Convict TCS Tough, High Grip front tire to test. Out of the box, it is apparent that these are not for the weight weenies. They feature WTB’s TCS folding bead but have a heavy casing — basically a full DH tire with nice, meaty knobs but lack a wire bead. The casing could be compared to Maxxis' Double Down line of tires, intended for riders looking for extra protection and leaving nothing to chance.

We mounted these up tubeless to 28mm internal width rims and the tire profile came to life. At 2.5-inches wide, they are big. Not plus-size big, but beefy and sized right for riding on steep, rough trails where climbing isn’t going to be priority number one, but maximum traction and control will be. We can’t lie here, and we feel like this is the elephant in the room – we are a huge fan of the Maxxis Minion DHRII, and when we first saw a photo of these new WTB tires we were confident that they would feel very familiar. The tire profile is nice on our 28mm rims, and we found them to have a slightly more rounded profile than a 2.4-inch DHRII or High Roller on the same rim. They are definitely wider with more volume.

There is an open channel between the braking knobs and the cornering knobs, which sometimes translates to a committed lean while cornering. With an upcoming trip to Whistler, we needed a tire suited for this with these exact characteristics. We needed something that was going to survive the steeps, hook up in that world famous B.C. loam and protect against flats, rocks, and tears.

On The Trail

Adjusting tire pressure was the first indication of the tire’s thick casing. We found that we had to drop about three to four PSI on both the front and the rear right off the bat to achieve the same feel compared to our standard EXO casing Maxxis tires. The thicker sidewall definitely adds a noticeable ride quality to the wheels and even though you can run a lower pressure, the thicker casing and tire construction still gave them the feel of running higher pressure considering sidewall stability and rim protection. Despite the void of knobs in the “transition” area of the tire, the round profile of the Convict translated to a tire that made initiating a proper lean in the corners easy.

Rolling these tires onto B.C. soil was a treat. It was very apparent on the first run that we could push our bike hard through the rocks and square-edged hits and keep our pace up while not worrying about pinch flats or blowing a bead. It is nice to ride all-out through sections without the stress of destroying our wheels. Just looking down at our front tire gave us a sense of “run over anything that gets in your way, they can handle it.”

A few runs down the more bike-parky trails showed that these tires can hold their own on the hard packed dirt of A-Line, Dirt Merchant, and Freight Train, too. Braking was good on the hard pack and when we had to lean it in on flat corners or inside lines, the tires were predictable and gave a consistent and trustworthy feel. There were no surprises or unexpected breaking of traction. Even with 26-PSI in the rear, it was pretty rare to feel any significant cornering deflection or roll due to the sidewalls offering plenty of support during hard cornering.

Adventuring off of the main trails of Whistler and into the loamy zones is where we could really see the tire’s big, meaty knobs and open tread design dig-in and shine – after all, this is what they were designed to do. In loose soil, the tire allowed us to stay off the brakes just a little bit longer, trusting the tires when things got hairy. Side-hilling and taking off-camber lines was notably secure thanks to the aggressive cornering knobs and open channel, allowing us to really utilize them on edge. Transitioning into corners was consistent and we felt no vague or awkward change in traction as the bike leaned over. Loose-over-hard-pack was probably the Convict’s least desirable condition, but other than all-out slop, loose-over-hard is one of the toughest conditions to ride in.

A day of heli-assisted riding high above the clouds further proved the Convict’s tough casing while navigating some of the sharpest rocks we’ve ever ridden. The upper zone here has claimed a few friend’s tires in the past and the Convicts came out unscathed and ready for more. Thousands of vertical feet below, the tires also performed great on some steep rock slabs where you need every bit of traction. Both the front and rear hooked up and stayed glued to the rock as we balanced on thin ledges and set up for near-vertical rollers.

The Convicts worked very well set up tubeless, and we can say we have had some of the best results without sealant bleed-through or leaking on the sidewalls. A single, two-ounce bottle of Stan’s per wheel was all it took for the initial set-up and the tires were maintenance-free their entire lifespan. 

Long Term Durability

Wear was on par or even slightly better than other brands and similar compounds. Opting to run the TCS Tough / Fast Rolling compound on the rear definitely helped out the lifespan of the tire as the harder compound wore a little slower over the testing period. Despite throwing a lot at these tires during the test, we never experienced a puncture, pinch flat or tear in the tires. There is something to be said about running a heavier casing, and these tires gave a flawless record during our testing beat down. 

Things That Could Be Improved?

The Convict is a purpose built, aggressive and heavy duty tire. They are heavy and they aren’t the fastest rolling tire out there. That said, they can’t be penalized too much based on these traits, as the design around this tire drives these downfalls. Regardless, when trails got flatter and smoother, rolling speed suffered and we could feel the increased rolling resistance slow us down. Perhaps adding more ramp to the braking knobs would allow them to roll a bit faster. Regardless, we wouldn’t recommend these tires to riders who don’t have demanding terrain, or if their priority is lightweight tires that roll fast. We’d be curious to try their Lightweight casing to see if this is improved on the lighter-duty tire.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Riders looking for an aggressive and meaty tire for their trail bike with DH-level casing protection should give the WTB Convict a try. If you plan on getting some laps in at your local bike park or riding some rowdy terrain on your trail bike, these are a justifiable weight penalty for riders with a gravity focus. We had great results in loose conditions and survived trail after trail of sharp rocks with the Convicts. We wouldn’t think twice about mounting another fresh pair for our aggressive shred setup.  

For more information, visit www.wtb.com


About The Reviewer

Nick Zuzelski - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'3" (1.90m) // Weight: 185lbs (83.9kg)

Nick began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. Now residing in Eastern Pennsylvania, he recently changed it up from the Rocky Mountain dust to East Coast loam, world class dirt jumps, and rocks... lots of rocks. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically, everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid-back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.

WTB Convict Review and Comparison

Rating: Featured Member Review
WTB Convict Review and Comparison
The Good:

Great on trail performance / Easy tubeless setup / Harder compounds available in beefier casing (looking at you Maxxis and Schwalbe)

The Bad:

Sub-par puncture resistance on "light" casing / Light casing heavier than competitors

Overall Review:

This tire stands up with the best on trail and is one of the easiest tires to set up tubeless I have worked with. However, DO NOT buy the "light" casing option if you consider yourself an aggressive rider or frequent terrain with sharp exposed rocks. Frankly, it's sub-par. It's not "light" with a claimed weight of 100 grams more than an equivalent EXO tire from Maxxis, and significantly more prone to punctures. I can usually get away with running a light casing tire in the front and a heavy casing in the rear with other brands but the light casing Convict lasted me less than two rides before I tore a 1 cm hole in the sidewall (not a pinch flat and on the same trails and tire pressure I've been running an EXO on the front for the last year and a half with zero issues). Just comparing the

Overall Review:

This tire stands up with the best on trail and is one of the easiest tires to set up tubeless I have worked with. However, DO NOT buy the "light" casing option if you consider yourself an aggressive rider or frequent terrain with sharp exposed rocks. Frankly, it's sub-par. It's not "light" with a claimed weight of 100 grams more than an equivalent EXO tire from Maxxis, and significantly more prone to punctures. I can usually get away with running a light casing tire in the front and a heavy casing in the rear with other brands but the light casing Convict lasted me less than two rides before I tore a 1 cm hole in the sidewall (not a pinch flat and on the same trails and tire pressure I've been running an EXO on the front for the last year and a half with zero issues). Just comparing the light casing Convict and an EXO DHF in my hands, the Maxxis casing feels substantially beefier than the WTB one, even with a lower claimed weight. That being said, I'm running the tough casing Convict on the rear and have no concerns about it's durability so far. My advice would be either to bite the bullet by adding the extra weight and running the tough casing front and rear or if you simply don't want another 200-300g of rotational weight on the front of your bike, just run a light casing from a different company.

Since destroying the light Convict, I've been running an EXO casing Minion DHF 2.5 on the front with the tough Convict on the rear and really recommend this combo. So far the most similar tire I have ridden to the Convict is the venerable Minion DHR II. They have very similar ride characteristics on trail (unsurprisingly as their treads are virtually identical - down to the alternating L-shaped corning knobs), both supplying immense braking and cornering grip while still rolling with a decent pace. Comparing the two treads the only real visible difference is the offset of the cornering tread in relation to the center knobs. On the DHR, they alternate with the cornering and center knobs staggered while on the Convict they are inline with each other. On trail I haven't noticed a difference in cornering traction but in theory the Minion's staggered knobs could allow the cornering tread to bite better and combat left-right tire movement due to a more open contact surface. Again, this theory hasn't lead to any noticable difference on trail.

Tread patterns for visual comparison:

Minion DHR II
WTB Convict

One area that WTB has a leg up on the competition with the Convict is its availability in both their "high grip" and "fast rolling" compounds in a tough casing. Currently, Maxxis only offers the Double Down WT DHF in the MaxGrip tire compound and doesn't even sell the WT DHR II with a beefy "enduro" casing. Yes, both of the Minions (and Shorty) are available in 2.5 inch widths in DH casings, but only in Super Tacky or MaxGrip compounds. Schwalbe is also guilty of this, only offering the ADDIX Magic Mary in a Soft or Ultra Soft Compound in its SuperGravity and DH casings. What if I want a burly tread pattern, a high volume 2.5 inch width, and a tough casing but don't want to be shelling out to buy a $70+ tire every 2-3 months (softer compounds simple don't last very long in the rear if you ride with any regularity)? The Convict in its fast rolling compound and tough casing is literally the only tire I've been able to find that fits all of these needs. I understand that for a racer or someone with a tire sponsor having soft compounds front and rear isn't really a concern because the utmost performance is desired, but for the average Joe who is paying for their tires and isn't regularly going up against the clock, having a beefy casing tire that will also last a good chunk of the year is much prefered.

To wrap this up, I can definitely recommend this tire but in the Tough casing only. In the limited time I had this tire on the front and rear it was a great combo, inspiring confidence in all of the conditions I encountered. In my farther-reaching experience running the Convict on the rear paired with a DHF on the front, I can say that this is one of the best tires I have yet ridden and easily stands with the best in its category.

Rider stats for those interested:

Weight: 155 pounds

Tire Pressure: 20-22psi front 24-27psi rear

Internal Rim Width: 30mm

Bike: 2017 Rocky Mountain Slayer Size XL

Location: Squamish, BC with occasional rides in Whistler, Pemberton, and Northern California (photo location Marin County)

Specifications

Product WTB Convict Tires
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Tire Width 2.5 inches
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Bead TCS Aramid
Durometer Gravity DNA (45a over a 60a base) or Dual DNA (50a side knobs with 60a center treads)
Sidewall TCS Light (single casing) or TCS Tough (two layers of TCS Light casing)
Weight
  • 2 lb 4.8 oz (1,042 g)
  • 2 lb 11.7 oz (1,239 g)
  • 2 lb 12.2 oz (1,253 g)
Miscellaneous Intended conditions: dry to damp / loose, hardpack, rocky, loam
Tall knobs with multi-directional channels
Tire size designation: 60-584
Approved usage with 19c-29c inner rim width
60/66 GMS
Price
  • $67.95
  • $76.95
  • $76.95
More Info

​www.wtb.com

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