"My what big teeth you have."
"All the better for eating fresh loam and sinking into slick off-camber trails..."
"My what big teeth you have."
WTB Verdict tyre review: simply amazing levels of traction as the Verdict’s tall lugs bite into loam and pretty much anything else in its path.
Incredibly though, it’s the less aggressive of the Verdict tyres, with the WTB Verdict Wet version boasting 1mm taller centre knobs and 1.6mm taller side lugs. Without those overly loft lugs then, and sharing the same compound, casing options and tread pattern, could the standard Verdict prove a more versatile version than its Wet brother?
The short answer is yes, I’ve been running the Verdict on the front nearly two months on my e-bike and the conditions have been dry with a hint of bone dry. On steep natural trails it delivers truly amazing levels of traction as those tall lugs bite into loam and pretty much anything else in its path, finding grip where there really should be nothing but a face full of dust. The Verdict will climb out of a dry rut if you’re not very careful, leaving you beached with your rear wheel scrabbling to keep up. I found the same last winter too when riding it in the wet, it’s grip levels aren’t quite as tenacious as the Wet version but it still clings on where it has no right to command grip.
The Verdict comes in two casings, Tough and Light, I’ve been using the former on the YT Decoy to better deal with the rougher life of an e-bike – more descending, more abuse, less precise lines. It’s been a revelation just how low you can run this tyre in terms of pressure, a scant 18psi had me rolling without burp or roll, and never felt like a hint of squirm.
I was set to score the Verdict a perfect 10 then, until I took it to flatter and faster trails, bike park-style stuff with berms and hardpacked features. Take the pressures up above 20 and they don’t squirm or roll over like the Verdict Wet does under heavy loads, and I think that has as much to do with the Tough casing as it does the shorter lugs because it pushes them into the terrain more forcefully. There is still a slight vagueness as you transition from the centre lugs to those on the side caused by the void between them, and you easily feel when the grip disappears before returning with a vengeance. It takes some getting used to, especially if you come from a Maxxis background – the Minion DHR II and the Assegai especially have more rounded profiles that let you smoothly lean the tyre into a corner. It’s not as comfortable on hardpack as either of those two.
The Verdict is an astonishing tyre when sliding down steep terrain, it works best when you use those big side lugs to full advantage, so the advice is to always be turning. It’s nicely damped, there’s no pinginess off roots or rocks, and even on hardpack it performs pretty well. The Verdict Wet is very much a mud tyre, while this iteration will do it all in mixed conditions making it a better option to fit and forget.