WTB’s Tough casing tyres are a favourite for riders who hammer through rocky terrain. The beefy casing is particularly good at staving off punctures. While they’re not the most sensitive, they don’t feel anywhere near as wooden as Continental’s six-ply casings. They feel very controlled and well-damped over rough, rocky terrain. They seal easily and a tight fit on the rim mitigates burping at low pressures.
Unfortunately, the 29in Vigilante is only available in the hard compound if you want the Tough casing. (In 650b, you can choose both the Tough version and the softer compound.) That ‘Fast Rolling’ compound lives up to its name — the Vigilante came third in our roll-down tests. Unsurprisingly, as the tread has the hardest durometer on test, it’s really treacherous when faced with damp rocks or roots.
The tread pattern is not the most open, so it will clog with mud more easily than we’d like. The profile is nicely rounded and the staggered shoulder tread means it smoothly carves flat turns, holding good speed.
It doesn’t have great cornering bite, washing out slightly easier than most when pushed hard, but it’s a predictable slide when it does go. This predictability, combined with the high rolling speed and puncture resistance, makes this a superb rear tyre for a wide range of conditions, but it’s not the most tenacious gripper for up front.
Seb's been riding and racing mountain bikes for half his life. Since getting hooked on mountain bikes aged thirteen riding a tiny 24Seven Crosser, he's raced downhill, enduro and cross country, and while no athlete, still enters the occasional race. Seb studied experimental physics at university, and he's now happily using (wasting) his degree experimenting with different bike setups, trying to work out what works best and why. You'll often find him riding the same track ten times in a day, changing just one thing to pin down the differences. Seb's much happier back-to-back testing suspension on a wet Welsh hillside than riding the latest five-figure bikes on some sunny press trip - although he quite likes that too!