The Ritchey Shield is a dry conditions cross-country race tyre with a low and close tread pattern. We tested the top-tier WCS version, which has a tubeless-ready bead and dual compound rubber.
The 26 x 2.1in WCS Shield weighs 554g (a little more than the 540g claimed weight), which is a competitive (but not super light) weight for a tubeless-ready tyre. The WCS version uses dual compound rubber, which gives a softer, grippier compound on the edges for cornering, and a faster, more durable rubber in the centre. The tubeless-ready bead was snug and secure, and we no problems inflating it with a floor pump and a little sealant.
The Shield tyre uses what Ritchey calls Vector Force Analysis (VFA) to create a tread pattern that provides consistent traction no matter the lean angle. On the trail, the Shield behaved predictably and cornered securely with no unexpected loss of traction. The Shield didn’t like overly loose or wet corners, where the lack of tread depth struggled to grab hold.
Shallow and close tread pattern lends itself for high speed rolling
A race tyre needs to be fast rolling and the Shield didn’t disappoint. Fast trails and smooth roads were made easier as the close centre-tread and firmer rubber compound held speed. For general riding, we really liked the Shield as a rear tyre – it had respectable bite for rough climbs and decent braking traction.
So far durability seems above average and we’re yet to experience any cuts or flats while running sealant. For fast and dry riding, the Shield is a great cross-country race tyre.