WTB Trail Boss Tires

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WTB Trail Boss 2.4"
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Predictable and Well-Rounded Tires

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Rounded profile Predictable grip Excellent cornering

The Bad:

Easy to slice the tire in the thinner compound Difficult to mount and remount on certain rims

Overall Review:

Up until recently, tire design has been focused on providing substantial side knobs for plenty of grip. However, these kinds of configurations require quick transitions to lean angles and often break away without much communication. In pursuit of a tire with a more predictable transition and break away, I mounted up a set of Trail Bosses to my bike to see how they would do.


Setup and Ride Conditions

Initially I ran a 27.5 X 2.4 front and rear in the TCS Light / Fast Rolling sidewall and tread compound. However, multiple sidewall cuts in the rear tire meant switching to the tougher TCS Tough sidewall. While nearly doubling the tire weight, the increase in sidewall thickness was sufficient to prevent any further sidewalll cuts. The tires were run on 32mm inner width rims at a pressure of

Overall Review:

Up until recently, tire design has been focused on providing substantial side knobs for plenty of grip. However, these kinds of configurations require quick transitions to lean angles and often break away without much communication. In pursuit of a tire with a more predictable transition and break away, I mounted up a set of Trail Bosses to my bike to see how they would do.


Setup and Ride Conditions

Initially I ran a 27.5 X 2.4 front and rear in the TCS Light / Fast Rolling sidewall and tread compound. However, multiple sidewall cuts in the rear tire meant switching to the tougher TCS Tough sidewall. While nearly doubling the tire weight, the increase in sidewall thickness was sufficient to prevent any further sidewalll cuts. The tires were run on 32mm inner width rims at a pressure of 17psi for a 150 pound rider.

Over the course of the last 9 months, the tire has proven to be a very predictable and communicable tire as was hoped. In the tricky off-camber corners where one can't fully commit to a hard lean angle, the Trail Boss really shone. The traction would gradually taper off into a slide allowing one to play with slip angles and slides. High-speed bermed corners resulted in excellent sidewall support and grip allowing one to hold their line without wandering. On climbs and flat sections, the closely spaced but staggered series of knobs keeps the tire rolling quickly. Not necessarily as quickly as some semi-slick racing tires with reduced center tread, it still does quite well. This tire was run in a range of conditions from perfect loam to sand and hardpack conditions. While not performing as well as condition specific tires in their respected domains, the predictability of the Trail Boss enabled the tire to be run a range of conditions without drama as it was always predictable in how it would react.

Durability

Over the course of 700 miles, these tires have held up fairly well. I would have liked to maybe see a little bit knob wear but it is close to comparable to other tires in this category. It is important to note that this is with the harder Fast Rolling compound. If the tire were to be equipped with the High Grip compound, this wear rate would likely be much worse.

Issues

One problem that was encountered was in mounting up and removing the tires from the wheels. Designed to be able to be run when flat and not come off the rim, WTB tires tend to put up more of a fight when it comes to breaking the bead. To remove the tire from the rear wheel, it required a good 30 min to get the tire off as opposed to Specialized tires which required less than a minute to unseat and remove. This tight fit to the rim does make it a breeze to set up tubeless though needling only a floor pump to air it up.


Summary

Excellent handling tire that instills confidence with a very predictable management of traction. Riders would be recommended to stay away from the thin sidewall version in the rear as it get cut easily. If the tires are meant to be swapped frequently, the Trail Boss will prove difficult to remove but it's very general profile means that it can work well in a wide range of conditions.


Great All-Rounder

Rating:
The Good:

The WTB Trail Boss 29 2.4 is probably my favorite tire to date

The Bad:

Difficult to break down the bead if used with a WTB TCS rim profile

Overall Review:

If your 29er will fit a larger than normal tire, then the Trail Boss should be at the top of your list. After being in search of a great all-rounder for many years, I feel like the trail Boss is the one. The TCS Light/Fast version has proven to be tough enough in the side walls, yet offer a resilient ride through a wide pressure range. It has an acceptable rolling resistance yet not loose traction on the climbs before my ability. The cornering is very predictable and bites when you need or work in controllable drift if you push it. For a frame of reference, I am using this tire in conjunction with a WTB i29 Asym rim on a steel hardtail.

Great Tires for the Desert

Rating:
The Good:

Rolls fast, Durable, Great sidewall, Plenty of grip.

The Bad:

Not the best in soft stuff.

Overall Review:

If you have ever ridden in the desert, you know that there just never seems to be the right tire. Tires that are tough with good sidewalls have huge lugs and roll like a tank. Tires with low lugs are so flimsy the razor sharp rocks and spiny cacti kill them in a few rides. When I was riding 26" wheels I had found a few tires that help up to these conditions well, but when I got my new bike with 27.5" wheels I struggled to find some tread that would last. I went through Hans Damphs, Continental Xkings, and Nobby nics. I spent the entire InterBike show in September looking at tires that I thought would hold up to the conditions that I ride in.

I was impressed when I went to the WTB booth and saw their new line of tires. I liked the combinations of rubber and sidewall protection they were

Overall Review:

If you have ever ridden in the desert, you know that there just never seems to be the right tire. Tires that are tough with good sidewalls have huge lugs and roll like a tank. Tires with low lugs are so flimsy the razor sharp rocks and spiny cacti kill them in a few rides. When I was riding 26" wheels I had found a few tires that help up to these conditions well, but when I got my new bike with 27.5" wheels I struggled to find some tread that would last. I went through Hans Damphs, Continental Xkings, and Nobby nics. I spent the entire InterBike show in September looking at tires that I thought would hold up to the conditions that I ride in.

I was impressed when I went to the WTB booth and saw their new line of tires.  I liked the combinations of rubber and sidewall protection they were offering.  After all this searching I decided to try a set of the Trail Boss tires, thinking that the combination of low nobs and edgy side lugs would work well.  I chose a 2.4 light fast rolling for the front, and a 2.25 tough fast rolling for the rear.  I chose the "tough" casing because I have a tendency to pinch flat tires on ledges.

Mounting and Initial Impression

When I unpacked the tires I was impressed with the feel of them right away.  The front tire with the light casing felt sturdy and there was no sense of flimsiness to it.  The rear with the tough casing was impressive.  Just holding it in my hand i could tell that I could take on any line up on the Cowboy Trails without fearing a pinch or tear. 

The front tire mounted easily onto my Atomlab Suprelite wheels.  A little Stans and a shot of air from the compressor and it was good to go.  The rear with the narrower profile and stiffer casing was a bit more of a chore.  It required the use of some DH tire levers and a few air up let the air out's to get it to seat right. The internal width of my rims are only 22mm so this does add to the problem a bit.  If your rims have a wider internal profile it will most likely be easier. 

The profile looked spot on on both tires.  The 2.4 has a large volume but not quite as high as a 2.35 Hans Damph.  What really surprised me was how high volume the rear was.  It has to be the highest 2.25 tire I have seen.  In fact you have to look close to tell that the front and rear tires are different sizes.  I run 21 p.s.i. in the front tire and 27 p.s.i. in the rear.

Performance

After seeing the tires mounted I had high hopes that these were going to be the tires I was looking for.  For my first ride I rode Church Rocks, which is a combination of Moab style slick rock and sand.  The tires hooked up well and the high volume helped smooth out the chatter.  Also the tires rolled much faster that I anticipated. For my next ride I did one of my favorite loops, the 20 mile Goulds Wash to JEM trail.  This trail is mostly hard pack with a lot of hard corners.  I was pleased with the way the tires held their edge and roll over was minimal even with only with 21 pounds in the front tire. 

After riding the smooth flowy trails for I few days I was anxious to get back on the chunky trails of Las Vegas to see how they would hold up.  On the Bears Best trail system (my primary riding location) they have taken everything I can throw at them.  The cornering of the Trail Boss is excellent, much better than a Hans Damph.  The side nobs are stiff and hold your line like a chihuahua humping its favorite toy.

The Trail Boss tires are not perfect.  They do leave a bit to be desired in terms of braking traction, but nothing that is a deal breaker.  I have not ridden them in loamy conditions, but there isn't much of that around here.  

Durability

To date the tires have over 300 miles on them and they are going strong.  I would anticipate I have more than half of the tires life left.  The side walls are holding up better than any other tubeless tire I have owned (except for possibly a Kenda Nevgal), and the side nobs on the rear tire are holding up to hard braking and cornering (another problem I have with tires).  I have had no issues with pinch flats and no spines have caused any catastrophic failures.     

Bottom Line

This is a great desert tire!  If you ride in the SW USA and find that the popular tire's out there just don't meet up with your needs, give these a try.  Sedona, St George, Hurricane, Las Vegas, Phoenix, these tires are for you!

 

Specifications

Product WTB Trail Boss Tires
Riding Type Cross Country, Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Wheel Size 26", 27.5" (650b), 29", 27.5+
Tire Width
  • 2.25 inches
  • 2.4 inches
  • 2.6 inches
  • 3.0 inches
Tubeless Compatible TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) models available
Comp level models are not tubeless compatible, designed for use with a tube
Bead Aramid (TCS models) or wire (Comp models)
Durometer

TriTec (TT) - three compounds provide traction, support, and durability. A base of high durometer rubber supports the entire tread and transitions into the knobs to prevent folding or squirming. Medium stiffness center nobs cap the base layer to provide traction and durability without sacrificing rolling efficiency. Soft compound side knobs deliver maximum grip and slow rebound for increased cornering traction.

Dual DNA - mix of efficiency, traction, and durability. The centerline tread features a firmer (60A) rubber compound that boasts faster rolling and increased durability, while the side knobs are composed of softer, slower-rebounding (50A) rubber that improves control and grip.

DNA - 60A durometer rubber offering rolling efficiency and traction. Used in Comp models, it's versatile and long lasting.

Gravity DNA - 48A durometer, glue-like, conforming rubber for traction with tuned rebound characteristics.

Sidewall

TCS Light Casing - (60 TPI) a single layer casing for a supple, tubeless-compatible, gram-conscious carcass

TCS Tough Casing - (60 TPI) two layers of TCS Light casing from bead to bead for burlier tubeless-compatible tires

Durable Casing - with a high ratio of rubber to thread for use with inner tubes (cannot be set up tubeless) in Comp models

Weight
  • 1 lb 7.6 oz (670 g)
  • 2 lb 7.7 oz (1,125 g)
Miscellaneous 2.25" and 3.0" Conditions: hardpack, loose over hard, dirt, loose, rocky, and wet
2.4" and 2.6" Conditions: loose over hard, dirt, loose, rocky, and wet
Inner Rim Width Compatibility: 2.25" (i20 - i25), 2.4" (i25 - i35), 2.6" (i35 - i45), 3.0" (i35 - i45)
Tire Size Designations: 559 (26"), 584 (27.5"), 622 (29"), 2.25" (54), 2.4" (55), 2.6" (65), 3.0" (72)
Price
  • $38
  • $84
More Info

www.wtb.com

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