WTB Vigilante Tires

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Vigilante 2.5"
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Tested: WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss Tires

All the grip up front and all the speed out back. A classic WTB combo gets tested in new, wider-width versions.

Rating: Vital Review
Tested: WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss Tires

We wrapped our 29-inch rims with some relatively new WTB rubber for this test. Up front we ran the WTB TCS Vigilante 2.5 Light / High Grip, and out back we slapped on the TCS Trail Boss 2.4 Tough / Fast Rolling tire. The Pivot Firebird 29 was our chassis of choice for this review, and the tires were subjected to over 400 aggressive miles in all weather conditions with terrain ranging from lift laps to long trail days. Find out how the tires held up to our long-term abuse.

Strengths

  • Both the tires really bite in at aggressive lean angles
  • They handle a pretty wide variety of trail types and conditions
  • The TCS casings are sturdy. No need for hesitation charging that rocky section!
  • Fast-rolling, yet aggressive tread patterns
  • Well-positioned knobs clear debris and grip in softer conditions

We wrapped our 29-inch rims with some relatively new WTB rubber for this test. Up front we ran the WTB TCS Vigilante 2.5 Light / High Grip, and out back we slapped on the TCS Trail Boss 2.4 Tough / Fast Rolling tire. The Pivot Firebird 29 was our chassis of choice for this review, and the tires were subjected to over 400 aggressive miles in all weather conditions with terrain ranging from lift laps to long trail days. Find out how the tires held up to our long-term abuse.

Strengths

  • Both the tires really bite in at aggressive lean angles
  • They handle a pretty wide variety of trail types and conditions
  • The TCS casings are sturdy. No need for hesitation charging that rocky section!
  • Fast-rolling, yet aggressive tread patterns
  • Well-positioned knobs clear debris and grip in softer conditions
  • Good braking
  • Very flat resistant
  • Easy tubeless setup with just a floor pump, yet still easy to mount

Weaknesses

  • A bit porky for trail tires
  • Knobs would fold under really hard cornering
  • Undercutting on side knobs happened pretty quick on both compounds, reducing performance on rocky and hardpack terrain.
  • “Fast Rolling” means harder rubber, and our Trail Boss tended to lose some chunks in harsher terrain.
  • The Trail Boss allows a little wheel spin under power.
  • 60 TPI casings are not as compliant as higher TPI count tires.
  • Trail Boss 2.4 is a pretty narrow 2.4

Highlights

  • TCS tubeless ready
  • Available in one-ply (Light) and two-ply (Tough) casings
  • Available in many compound combinations to suit any rider in any terrain
  • Available in almost all sizes including 26, 27.5 and 29-inch (sorry 24-inch wheel Big Hit owners :)
  • Vigilante Weight: 1,192g (2.6 lbs, 2.5-inch Light / High Grip)
  • Trail Boss Weight: 1,195g (2.6 lbs, 2.4-inch Tough / Fast Rolling)
  • MSRP as tested: $83.95 (Vigilante) and $79.95 (Trail Boss) // Many additional pricing options based on construction.

Initial Impressions

Right out of the packaging these WTB tires look aggressive. We immediately started fantasizing about the carve marks they were going to put in the dirt. There is a noticeable heft to them, but that meant we did not feel the need to add a CushCore or Huck Norris tire insert just to finish a ride without a flat. A little bit of heft is worth something if we can avoid a flat tire. Similarly-priced Maxxis EXO casings and some other trail tires we’ve been riding and testing definitely need a little help from the inside to prevent pinch flats, so the stout impression was a highlight if it carried over on the trail.

WTB Trail Boss 2.4 x 29
WTB Vigilante 2.5 x 29

Mounting the tires up was easy and both tires seated on the first try to our DT Swiss M1700 30mm inner width rims. We set them up with 25psi in the Vigilante 2.5 up front and 27psi in the Trail Boss 2.4 on the rear. These are familiar pressures that have been giving us a good balance of compliance and stability in most situations with most tires.

On The Trail

Out on the trail, the WTB tires provided predictable grip and a lot of it. Over the course of three months of solid testing and many different trails and types of terrain, we were impressed with the grip and confidence the tires provide.

The tall and aggressive cornering knobs looked like they were going to squirm and fold under pressure, but they did not. That is until they started to wear. There was a noticeable degradation in the cornering support that came on pretty quickly once the knobs started to undercut. The worn tires were still predictable and good in softer conditions, but they were much less confidence inspiring on rock and packed surfaces.

WTB Trail Boss 2.4 x 29
WTB Vigilante 2.5 x 29

Throughout this test period, we only had one flat tire. The flat was well-deserved, and we would wager almost any "trail" tire would have flatted under the circumstances. It was a classic sharp-rock hit resulting in a center tread casing cut. We have to mention it, but again, this flat was not caused by a weakness in the Trail Boss. The tire even finished the ride.

The Tough / Fast Rolling two-ply casing and compound was provided for our Trail Boss tire that we dutifully mounted on the rear as WTB recommended. WTB is not at all wrong when they say “Fast Rolling.” This tire is fast. But with speed came a firmer compound in the tread. It’s great for tire wear, but not so great for climbing grip. We noticed an increase in wheel spin on technical climbs and high torque situations with this tire compared to our more recent experience with Maxxis, Vittoria, and others. The pro is that the rear tire still looks like it has life left in it after a lot of miles.

The Light / High Grip one-ply Vigilante was placed up front to keep us pointed in the right direction. This tire was still pretty fast rolling, even with the taller, blockier treads and the softer compound. The harder it was pushed, the better and more predictable the bite was. If it lacked anywhere, it is in the transition from the straights to the corners. That moment right as you dive into the corner, just before the aggressive side knobs really get into the action. There seems to be a little dead space in the grip right at that transition. But if you trust the tire, you will be rewarded with dirt in your shoe.

We keep going back to the tread marks in the dirt and shoes filled with roost, and can’t help but crack a little smile. These are great aggressive trail and enduro tires. If you don't mind replacing them a little more regularly to keep them sharp, they are excellent in just about any situation.

Things That Could Be Improved

The quick drop in performance when the tires begin to wear is the first thing that comes to mind. The tall, and somewhat narrow, cornering knobs lost a lot of their supportiveness once they started to undercut. On the Trail Boss, especially the “Fast Rolling” compound, a revisit to the center tread to help with climbing grip would be helpful. It was not a bad climber, but as we mentioned, some wheel spin occurred in steeper, looser situations.

Some may wish they were lighter weight, but there is never a perfect answer there. It comes down to a sliding scale between flat resistance and rotating mass. We can’t think of a tire that has found the perfect balance, and that may be because there isn’t really a perfect balance. If these WTB tires were lighter, we would likely want to use a tire insert of some variety for flat protection. While we might save a little weight, we would have added complication, expense, and likely have a less durable sidewall.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you're hard on your tires and find yourself changing flats a bunch, if you like to ride and corner aggressively, and if you like the feel of dirt in your shoes, jersey, and shorts from all the roosting, the WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss combo is for you. Just be aware that once they start to breakdown the performance of the tall cornering knobs drops off steeply.

Visit www.wtb.com for more details.

___________________________________

About The Reviewer

Matt Fisher - Age: 38 // Years Riding 24: // Height: 6’ (1.82m) // Weight: 190lbs (86.12kg)

Matt discovered mountain biking in 8th grade. It was a welcome escape from becoming an overweight, TV-addicted adolescent statistic. After a long, slow climb through the downhill racing ranks as fitness and skills improved, he landed in the Pro class and was able to make a go of it for 8+ years, winning some local and regional races and qualifying to race as pack-fill in the World Cup Series. In addition to a lifetime of riding and racing bikes, he has worked his entire career in the bike industry, starting as a shop rat sweeping floors at age 15. From there he has held jobs as a mechanic, salesperson, sales manager, global warranty manager, tech manual writer, demo team manager and more. Now he is a trail rider who doesn’t turn pedals against the clock very often, instead choosing to spend his time seeking out new trails and adventures wherever he happens to be. He'll never give up on going fast and playing in the margins.

Photos by Michelle Fisher

Reliable, long lasting, great grip (27.5 Tough/Fast Rolling)

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Price, grip, tread life, casing reliability, mud shedding, quality control

The Bad:

At 2.3" wide, it's on the narrower end of today's offerings. An update for the modern 30mm rims would be nice.

Overall Review:

I can't say enough about how much I like this tire. It's phenomenal especially when things are loose. Sure on pavement and hardpack it's going to roll a little slower - but on most trails in Colorado and elsewhere, where conditions are usually anything but, it's the best tire I have ridden. I often run this tire on the front with a better rolling WTB on the rear, either a Breakout or Trail Boss. It has a ton of bite and is very predictable on edge. The standout feature to the Vigilante and the other WTB Tough casing tires is definitely the tough casing. After more than three years of running them, I think I have suffered a puncture maybe once. Generally I am impressed how little tread is left by the time I swap them for something fresh.

I wouldn't recommend the light casing Vigilante, at

Overall Review:

I can't say enough about how much I like this tire. It's phenomenal especially when things are loose. Sure on pavement and hardpack it's going to roll a little slower - but on most trails in Colorado and elsewhere, where conditions are usually anything but, it's the best tire I have ridden. I often run this tire on the front with a better rolling WTB on the rear, either a Breakout or Trail Boss. It has a ton of bite and is very predictable on edge. The standout feature to the Vigilante and the other WTB Tough casing tires is definitely the tough casing. After more than three years of running them, I think I have suffered a puncture maybe once. Generally I am impressed how little tread is left by the time I swap them for something fresh.

I wouldn't recommend the light casing Vigilante, at least not without some sort of rim/pinch flat protection system. The high grip rubber is great for wet conditions but otherwise isn't necessary.

A bit heavy. so perhaps not the best XC tire but the reliability and grip make it a perfect choice for enduro and DH riding. Also worth noting it will generally seat up and inflate with a floor pump.

Vigilante light/high grip

Rating:
The Good:

Looks Good. Fast Rolling. Super “fun” cornering. Great dry traction.

The Bad:

Heavy. Maybe Durability?

Overall Review:

Vigilante light/high grip review.

This is a short term review, as I have not had a chance to test the durability, or the wet traction on this tire.

The Vigilante comes in a few options but I went for the 2.5 light/high grip witch is there softer grippy tire. Generally grip is good right? The tires stretched quite easily on to my 29mm inner rims which is always a little scary because tires that go on too easily tend to not set the beads so easily.For me getting this tire aired and set was a snap, and I didn’t need the air compressor.On the rim the tire looks good and aggressive, and it also had a nice rounded shape.

Roll Speed:

Whether it’s all in my head, or I have super human sensitivity to tire roll speed I’m not sure.What I can say is that this tire rolls fast, at least compared to my

Overall Review:

Vigilante light/high grip review.

This is a short term review, as I have not had a chance to test the durability, or the wet traction on this tire.  

The Vigilante comes in a few options but I went for the 2.5 light/high grip witch is there softer grippy tire. Generally grip is good right? The tires stretched quite easily on to my 29mm inner rims which is always a little scary because tires that go on too easily tend to not set the beads so easily.  For me getting this tire aired and set was a snap, and I didn’t need the air compressor.  On the rim the tire looks good and aggressive, and it also had a nice rounded shape.

Roll Speed:

Whether it’s all in my head, or I have super human sensitivity to tire roll speed I’m not sure.  What I can say is that this tire rolls fast, at least compared to my most trusted Maxxis Minion DHF front tire. This was important to me as I put this tire on my short travel steed an Ibis Ripley.  The Ripley is quite fast up and down so fast rolling tires are perhaps a little more perceptible and important than say and enduro or dh bike.  

Cornering Grip:

After roll speed, which is fast if I didn’t mention,  comes cornering grip.  Many tires require a break in period for me to start trusting them.  I felt the vigilante bite fairly quickly in the lean and the grip got stronger the more I leaned.  I have read some reviews like the one on Vital that said something that there is something of a transition period where there isn’t much grip until fully leaned in.  I did not experience any vague zone personally.  

Overall Grip:

I found plenty of grip in sand, loam, and harpack.  Grip under breaking was good. Over roots and rocks I didn’t notice much deflection, and grip on dry obstacles was very good.  

Overall I have been Impressed with this tire.  I have not ridden it in really rocky terrain yet, but I have seen some pictures of the knobs after a few rock gardens, and durability still may become an issue down the road.  For now what I can say is for people looking to try something new on a trail or enduro bike, and in sandy or root covered areas, I would definitely recommend giving this a shot.  This tire is one of the few that I have kept on my bike after my test period.  So far the first 50 miles on this tire have me looking forward to the next 50.  Cheers.

A damn good tire

Rating:
The Good:

best tire I've ridden for lose over hardpack super durable very predictable ride quality excel on a variety of terrain cheaper than most other tires

The Bad:

roll very slow on pavement

Overall Review:

The Vigilante kicks ass. Last year a local sponsored really fast kid hooked me up with a tire because he had some spare 27.5 tough casing tires and I continually put holes in Exo casings and was over it. Fast forward and I have now bought a set after running one. Also I wanted to try a non maxis tire because getting a hold of a 2.5WT DD high roller 2 is impossible. Where I ride(fairfax), there is a lot of sharp rocks and the standard traction is loose over hardback, i.e not the optimal trail conditions for grip. However, in-between the less than optimal traction you can get some nice loam here and there. Aside from the lose over hardback and rocks, occasionally you come across roots. Roots can be tricky to traverse on any tire especially when wet, but with a set of vigilantes the roots

Overall Review:

The Vigilante kicks ass. Last year a local sponsored really fast kid hooked me up with a tire because he had some spare 27.5 tough casing tires and I continually put holes in Exo casings and was over it. Fast forward and I have now bought a set after running one. Also I wanted to try a non maxis tire because getting a hold of a 2.5WT DD high roller 2 is impossible. Where I ride(fairfax), there is a lot of sharp rocks and the standard traction is loose over hardback, i.e not the optimal trail conditions for grip. However, in-between the less than optimal traction you can get some nice loam here and there. Aside from the lose over hardback and rocks, occasionally you come across roots. Roots can be tricky to traverse on any tire especially when wet, but with a set of vigilantes the roots feel more predictable than other tires. the vigilantes don't tend to squirm on obstacles. For a good time(sarcasm), go ride some hillbilly on roots wet or dry for that matter. Cornering on the vigilantes feels like you are on rails. Im pretty sure the tire has a very round profile without any channel between the center tread and side knobs. They tear into the ground and are very predictable when they start to drift. I currently have a high grip on the front with a fast rolling on the back. I can definable feel that the back tire brake traction first because of the harder compound which leads to more predictability and fun. The braking of these tires seems to be good enough, I can't really tell, but I would say its better than a high roller 2 maybe not a minion. I have ridden these tires in both mud and bone dry conditions and they preform well in both. So far I am yet to find a aspect of riding that the vigilante sucks at, aside road burning, but honestly who cares about the road bike capabilities of a 170mm trail bike that weights 37 pounds.

Leaking sidewalls

Rating:
The Good:

Fast rolling, good rear tyre tread pattern.

The Bad:

Sealant leaking through sidewalls.

Overall Review:

I fitted a brand new vigilante recently and set it up tubeless, any time I pumped it up beyond 25psi the sealant started pouring through the porus sidewalls. Very disappointed.

Overall Review:

I fitted a brand new vigilante recently and set it up tubeless, any time I pumped it up beyond 25psi the sealant started pouring through the porus sidewalls. Very disappointed. 

Specifications

Product WTB Vigilante Tires
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Trail
Wheel Size 26", 27.5" (650b), 29"
Tire Width 2.3 inches
Tubeless Compatible TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) models available
Comp level models are not tubeless compatible
Bead Aramid (TCS models) or wire (Comp models)
Durometer

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 over a 60A base.

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
  • 2 lb 7.5 oz (1,120 g)
  • 2 lb 3.3 oz (1,000 g)
  • 1 lb 11.7 oz (786 g)
  • 1 lb 15.5 oz (893 g)
  • 1 lb 15.7 oz (900 g)
  • 2 lb 8.2 oz (1,140 g)
  • 2 lb 5.2 oz (1,056 g)
  • 1 lb 15.7 oz (900 g)
  • 2 lb 4.7 oz (1,040 g)
  • 2 lb 8.6 oz (1,151 g)
  • 2 lb 8.2 oz (1,141 g)
  • 1 lb 15.7 oz (900 g)
  • 2 lb 1.4 oz (947 g)
  • 2 lb 2.7 oz (984 g)
Miscellaneous Intended Conditions: dirt, loose, rocky, wet
Designed as an aggressive front tire or as a rear tire for loose, steep terrain.
Inner Rim Width Compatibility: 2.3" (i25 - i35), 2.5" (i25 - i35), 2.6" (i35 - i45), 2.8" (optimized around i40 rims).
Tire Size Designations: 559 (26"), 584 (27.5"), 622 (29"), 2.3" (57), 2.5" (60), 2.6" (64), 2.8" (--).
Price
  • $67.95
  • $73.95
  • $37.95
  • $73.95
  • $73.95
  • $70.95
  • $80.95
  • $37.95
  • $80.95
  • $70.95
  • $72.95
  • $83.95
  • $39.95
  • $83.95
  • $72.95
More Info

www.wtb.com

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