The WTB Vigilante TCS Light Fast is a solid option but probably not tough enough to smash downhill
Highly regarded as a mixed conditions tyre, WTB’s Vigilante has been a big success for the brand. This TCS Light version is the faster-rolling dual DNA compound tyre with a single-ply sidewall, designed with a firmer central tread and slower rebounding edge blocks. As such, it’s slightly more targeted towards improved rolling speed, not out-and-out grip.
Our test tyre inflated easily tubeless, and pumped up with a taller-than-average tyre height — useful if you’re looking for extra comfort from a hardtail or short-travel bike. This height does seem to make them roll well too, if with a bit of a bobble on hardpack.
The Light casing version still has a heavy-duty, aggressive tread pattern with square lugs in an almost paddle-like formation down the centre, coupled with offset edge blocks, but it uses very thin sidewalls to reduce weight and keep the tyre supple. Climbing bite and braking traction is pretty good overall, with no weird quirks.
Watch MBR struggle with the mud at Tweedlove
This thick-tread-to-thinner-sidewall presents a trade-off, and on a 29er it can twist and deform. We found it has a tough time remaining stable without resorting to increased air pressures that reduce outright grip and deformation. The offset edge blocks caught us out with some wayward steering on the front in extremely loose gloop — there’s more tendency to lose edge grip more easily than with some tyres here.
Outside of the slop and deep mud the tyre cleans well, and the Vigilante is very capable in firmer dirt and on rocks and roots. It’s worth considering the thicker Tough casing and accepting the heavier weight if you’re really going to smash it downhill.