WTB has expanded its tire and rim options across the board for MY2014, covering the gamut from enduro racing to cyclocross to commuting. Tubeless-ready casings continue to dominate the range and if you still like to build your own wheels, you now have more choices than ever.
WTB does enduro
WTB Warden 2.3 (left) and Vigilante 2.3 (right)
The new Vigilante 2.3 is designed as an all-around enduro tire that promises a reasonably fast roll, excellent traction across a wide range of conditions, and tough casings that should stand up to sharp rocks and roots. The tread design features stout, square-shaped knobs with lateral cuts to provide more biting edges and a denser layout toward the shoulder for secure cornering.
Claimed weights range from 880-1,060g depending on size and casing and retail price is US$65-80.
Softer conditions instead call for the new Warden 2.3 – a tire so new that it's not even in WTB's MY2014 aftermarket product guide yet. While the Vigilante 2.3's knobs are shorter with flatter tops, the Warden was designed to excel in muddy conditions with taller and pointier blocks designed to pierce into the earth.
"We needed something to just annihilate wet grass," said WTB OEM sales manager Jason Moeschler – who also happens to be an enduro racer for the Cannondale factory team.
Even so, WTB claims the Warden 2.3 is still pretty versatile, working well in everything from, "dry to damp, hardpack to loamy" conditions. The 26" version with Dual DNA rubber compound supposedly weighs 790g and retail price is US$80.
New 29er and 650b/27.5"-specific options
WTB Nineline 2.0
In addition to tires that are offered across the spectrum of mountain bike wheel diameters, WTB is also introducing two treads specifically aimed at 29" and 650b/27.5" sizes.
The new Nineline 2.0 looks to be a super fast rolling tread with very low and densely packed knobs spread across a rounded profile. Aimed squarely at cross country, claimed weight is just 598g and suggested retail price is US$70.
WTB Beeline 2.2
The Beeline 2.2, on the other hand, features a tread design that's similar to the Nineline 2.0 but with more of a trail bike bent thanks to its higher casing volume. Knobs look to be slightly taller throughout but an aggressive ramp down the center should still keep this one pretty fast.
Claimed weight is 670g and suggested retail price is US$68.
Also available in 650b/27.5" is the Wolverine 2.2 and Vigilante 2.3.
What about new 26" tires, you ask? WTB will continue to support the countless masses of 26"-wheeled mountain bikes currently in use but don't hold your breath for new designs. As OEM sales manager, Moeschler has a clearer view of the future than most of us and he didn't mince words.
"I've halted every 26-inch project we had going. It's all going 650b."
Taking TCS to CX
It was only a matter of time before WTB adapted its TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) tire concept to cyclocross and racers tackling the 2013-14 season will now have a more secure option if they want to run tubeless. The updated 32mm-wide CrossWolf features the same versatile tread pattern as before but with a UST-type bead that securely locks on to matching rims.
Claimed weight is 375g and retail price will be US$55.
Rims to match
WTB lightens up for MY2014 with the new KOM TCS i23 tubeless-compatible mountain bike rims in 26", 27.5", and 29" diameters
After finding lots of market success with its recent Frequency TCS i23 tubeless-ready rim range, WTB will expand the collection for MY2014.
Topping the range is the new KOM TCS i23, which features the same 23mm internal width as the Frequency TCS i23 but a lighter extrusion that brings the weight down to 385-426g depending on diameter. Speaking of which, WTB will offer the new tubeless-ready KOM is all three sizes – all in 32-hole drillings – with prices ranging from US$95-100 each.
New sizes have been added to the standard Frequency range, too, including wider i25 models in all three diameters (490-550g, US$75-78) plus a new narrow-profile i19 in 650b (384g, US$75).
All-mountain DIYers looking for more durability can instead look to the new ST TCS i23 (26" and 650b/27.5") and i25 (26" only) rims, which feature a triple-cavity extrusion that WTB says is stronger and stiffer than its other hoops. Claimed weights range from 526-546g and retail price is US$55-60 depending on size.
Finally, even the CrossWolf gets its own tubeless-compatible rim called ChrisCross TCS i19, which will work with rim or disc brakes. Claimed weight is still to be determined but retail price is US$75.