There has been a lot of recent product development in the area of bike components that are tough enough for downhill, but light enough to pedal back up, and the Vigilante 27.5 Tire from WTB is a member of this new breed of parts.
The Vigilantes are available in 26″, 27.5″, and 29″, with a 2.3″ width across the board. The tread sports a beefy open lug design that grips like crazy on a variety of surfaces. The ramped center knobs are evenly spaced to help with straightline rolling resistance, and the taller, stiffer side knobs allow for some insane cornering grip.
As part of WTB’s TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) line, these mounted up with minimal effort on my e*thirteen TRS Enduro wheels. The 23.4mm inner width of the rims makes for a good overall tread profile for the 2.3″ rubber and allows for excellent contact and grip no matter what the angle.
Out on the Trail
Traction, traction, traction–these tires have it in spades. In my test set up, both on the Pivot Firebird demo and my personal rig, a titanium hardtail, it was nearly impossible to break these tires loose. Straight ahead pedaling traction is excellent, cornering seems to defy the laws of physics, and braking is impossibly good. As an example, with XT brakes grabbing a 160mm rear rotor, I simply could not skid the rear tire on the Pivot, and barely could on the hardtail when it would bounce off the trail surface a bit. These are hands-down the best braking tires I have ever stopped with.
Given their 790 grams per tire and gravity-oriented DNA, you’d expect them to be terrible for climbing, but they were actually not too bad. At least, they didn’t make me any slower than I already am…
On the flip side, sketchy downhill is where these tires really shine. On a recent trip to the Granby Ranch bike park, I rode them with reckless abandon over rocks, roots, jumps, more rocks, and through high speed switchbacks. They didn’t break loose, slide, burp, tear, or in any other way fail me. With their fairly large volume casing, I especially liked the cushy ride when running lowish pressure. This was especially noticeable on the hardtail. I did notice a little bit of squirming in the rear tire if the pressure got too low, but with the psi dialed in it was not an issue.
Despite my best efforts over the roughest terrain Colorado has to offer, these tires are none the worse for wear. The sidewalls are intact, no knobs tore off, and the overall tread wear is quite minimal.
The WTB Vigilantes are a serious set of tires for riders who like to earn their gravity runs. While they are a little beefy for dedicated XC weight weenies, they would be totally fine for all around trail riders looking for a durable tire with incredible traction. The Vigilantes are also ideal for those in areas with wildly fluctuating trail conditions. I’m looking at you, New England…
At $67.95 and 790 grams, these aren’t the cheapest or lightest tiers out there, but when you factor in the traction and durability they are a solid value for trail riding, enduro racing and even light-duty bike park riding.
Thanks to WTB for sending over the Vigilantes for review!