A raft of rubbery updates

Details of updates to the WTB Vigilante and WTB Trail Boss, plus a new WTB Judge rear tread and reworked tubeless rim and tyre system.

Known for its price-conscious tyres and rims, WTB has revealed a raft of updates to its line-up.

New WTB tyres need to know

  • Popular WTB Vigilante front tyre and Trail Boss rear tyre get revised tread pattern, compounds and widths
  • New aggressive rear tyre – the Judge – launched
  • Wider (40-45mm) rims are redesigned with new Dropzone channel to help tyre installation and tubeless set-up

New WTB Vigilante

Arguably one of the best value high-performance front tyres on the market, the new Vigilante retains the same basic format, but gets tread and compound tweaks to bring it bang up-to-date. To begin with it’s now only available in new 2.5in and 2.6in widths (in both 27.5in and 29in diameters) optimised around 29mm internal rims. The old Vigilante tended to bulge at the sidewalls a little on wider rims, and this update should solve that problem.

To give a more defined edge knob for more confident cornering, the intermediate channels have been opened up a touch and block heights have been increased by 1mm for, ahem, deeper soft dirt penetration.

The Vigilante also gets WTB’s new triple-compound TriTec rubber. This consists of a firm durometer base rubber transitioning to a softer compound halfway up the knobs for stability. Edge blocks are capped with a soft compound for ultimate grip, while centre knobs use a mid durometer to strike a balance between traction and rolling speed.

New Vigilante (left) versus old (right)

As well as both widths, the new vigilante is available with the slightly more expensive Tough casing in High Grip and Fast Rolling versions as well as a Light casing/High Grip combo that makes sense as a front tyre for lighter riders. All versions get the TriTec compound, while the Light casing options get added sidewall protection in the form of WTB’s new Slashguard. This consists of a nylon sidewall insert that provides added protection without the full weight penalty of a dual ply casing.

Prices are £54.99/€66.50 for Tough casing tyres and £49.99/€60.50 for Light. Add €3.45 for the Tough 29er version (UK price is the same).

Claimed weights are: 1,102g for Vigilante 27.5×2.5in Light/High Grip and 1,122g for 29×2.5in.

New WTB Judge rear tyre

This all-new model fills a hole in the WTB range. That of an aggressive, high-traction rear tyre that works well away from groomed trail centre singletrack.

With more than a hint of the brilliant Minion DHR to it, it pairs alternate paddles with longer ramped centre knobs to generate braking traction and acceleration drive with efficient rolling resistance. Chunky edge knobs aim to give reliable cornering, while it also gets the new TriTec compound for added grip and consistency. It’s only available in a 2.4in width and Tough casing, but in both common diameters.

Retail prices are €66.50 for the 27.5in and €69.95 for the 29in. In the UK they’re £54.99 across the board.

Claimed weight is 1,305g for the 27.5×2.4in Tough/Fast Rolling.

New WTB Trail Boss tyre

WTB’s venerable rear-friendly tread also gets a makeover with new i29 rim-optimised 2.4in and 2.6in tyre widths. The knobs have been extended by 1mm and they now have more room to breathe (and shed mud) with a slightly wider spacing. It also gets the new TriTec compound, and all Light casing versions have the new Slashguard protection.

New Trail Boss (left) versus old (right)

Prices go from €58 to €69.95 depending on casing and diameter. In the UK that converts to £49.99 to £54.99.

New WTB rims and TCS 2.0

TCS refers to WTB’s Tubeless Compatible System, and this is the reworked version 2.0. Updates are all aimed at better sealing and ensuring a nice, stress-free user experience.

A two-step rim tape, consisting of a narrow, stiff foundation that fills the central channel capped by a malleable Flex Strip, provides the seal as well as aiming to stop the tape sagging into the spoke drillings. It’s hoped this will ensure a more durable tubeless set-up in combination with WTB’s existing sealant and bead lock.

Rim-wise, the WTB KOM line-up has been made clearer to understand, with Light and Tough options. The KOM light uses an open cavity within the rim extrusion to keep weight low and is available in i21, 23, 25, 29, 35, 40 and 45 widths and is the all-rounder of the family.

If you ride hard, the KOM Tough gets additional twin internal I-beams for extra strength. Sizes available are i25, 29, 35, 40 and 45.

First impressions of the Vigialnte and Judge tyres

We rode the new Vigilante/Judge combo mounted to KOM Tough i29 rims at BikePark Wales at the European launch. Weather on the first day was dry, dusty and loose, but overnight rain brought mixed conditions for the second day.

Both tyres were pre-production and used 120tpi casings rather than the 60tpi versions that will be standard. WTB says the lower TPI is more durable and reliable in long term mountain bike applications.

Sticking mostly to the new ACDC, Blackadder and What’s occurring? Tracks, the new Vigilante impressed up front with reliable and tenacious grip in all but the fresh cut, loamy tracks in the trees after the rain fell. Whether on rock, root or dirt the new compound did a great job of building our confidence to the point we could really rely on it on a wide variety of surfaces and conditions. The more pronounced edge shoulder really seems to have helped in this regard, as has the i29 optimised casing and tread pattern.

Out back the new Judge is in a different league to the Trail Boss with excellent grip and a nice progressive slide that’s easily caught. If you’re heading off-piste or taking on more challenging trails it’s a big step up from the fast-rolling Trail Boss.

The Tough casing has loads of support too, so you can really drop the pressures according to the conditions. During two days hard shredding on the new trails, as well as infamous classics such as Rim Dinger, we didn’t score a single flat. Having said that, other journalists did, as well as denting a few of the pre-production rims, so, as ever we’ll reserve judgement until we have accrued some more varied experience on proper production parts.

Some weights

Vigilante 2.5 27.5″ TCS Light/High Grip
1102 grams

Vigilante 2.5 29″ TCS Light/High Grip
1122 grams

Trail Boss 2.4 27.5″ TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
1097 grams

Trail Boss 2.4 29″ TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
1220 grams

Judge 2.4 27.5″ TCS Tough/Fast Rolling
1305 grams