The next tire in the WTB series that I’ll be testing is the ground-ripping Stout 2.3. This tire is meant for nasty, gnarly terrain! With its wide offset spacing center tread pattern and aggressive corner knobs, this tire performs best on loose trail surfaces. The Stout ($50 MSRP, on sale for $41.97 @ HuckNRoll) makes use of the same Super Track rubber compound and lightweight casing as the Prowler but with a different tread pattern. The Stout sports a very open, staggered center tread design which allow the tire to efficiently roll through adverse trail conditions. The side transition knobs allow for good cornering grip and leaning characteristics.
I decided to mount these tires onto a set of Sun-Ringl STR8 Track wheels that I tested previously to give me a good indication of how the tires themselves would perform. I only needed a single tire iron to place the bead of the tire over the rim. As usual I added a bit of talcum powder before inserting a heavy duty tube to reduce friction inside the tire. I chose to inflate the Stouts to 40psi in front and back and I was off.
Hitting the trails for the first few times was a bit of a dull ride. The trails were very dry and hard and I found that on hardpack and dry clay the tires slipped a bit in the turns, slowing me down on an otherwise fast ride. I found that the Stouts just didn’t bite enough on those very hard surfaces. Fortunately with the varying weather that we have up here in Ontario (rain, sun, wind, overcast, rain again, sun), the next few days the very same trails were soft enough to walk and leave prints, but not soft enough to be considered muddy. In the softer terrain, the Stout performed amazingly well. I found that on loamy, softer trails these tires really hugged the ground.
Cornering with the Stouts was fun – I could lean with the tires without that gut feeling of tanking the bike. The tires did not squirm at all; rather they were very responsive and predictable when entering and exiting corners. With the lower center knobs and increasingly deeper side knobs, the tire did transition well from one knob to the next, especially compared to other tires I’ve tried.
Climbing and braking with the Stouts I did slip from time to time when the trail got very dry. However, when the trails were a bit softer these tires did very well without any slip when the power was put down. Braking with the Stouts was great – very little slippage and tons of control. The tread pattern allowed the wheel to stay pointed in whatever direction I wanted and didn’t slip side to side.
Overall I would say if the terrain you’re running in is mostly on the softer side of things or very rocky, the WTB Stout is the tire for you. The Stout tread pattern can get you to the trail head and promises to be a stable and comfortable tire even on a skinny!
My overall impressions:
7 out of 10 for climbing
8 out of 10 for rolling and efficiency
9 out of 10 for loose conditions
7 out of 10 for hardpack
8 out of 10 for stopping in a straight line
Specs from WTB:
Conditions:Wet to dry / Loose to Rough
Durometer:53a DNA rubber