The Wolverine 29 is a relatively new addition to WTBs big tire lineup. Marketed as an all conditions XC race tire, the Wolverine is meant to handle just about anything you come across on the trail. Based on that assumption, it seems like a good option for an everything, everywhere bike.
Burly looking side knobs
The photo below shows a comparison of three WTB 29 tires. That’s the WeirWolf on the left, the Nano on the right and the Wolverine in the center.
I tested the Wolverines on my two favorite trail networks here in in central New York. Trails around here are typically littered with pointy little rocks, giant roots, and are often blanketed with thick layers of decomposing leaves and loam, making for a hostile and slippery ride. In reasonably dry conditions, the Wolverines did their jobs with perfection.
In marketing speak, this tire has many working edges, which really means that the tread is complicated and it shouldnt slip out from under you. Youll notice that the Wolverine 29 is directional and has a large center lug meant for speed. The side knobs are aggressively cut for cornering, and I could definitely feel them digging in on my turns, tossing up small stuff at my downtube.
Despite all that bite, one thing that stands out about this tire is how fast it seems to roll forward. Ive ridden about twelve different 29er tires now and in terms of speed this is definitely in the top three. My test rides took these babies through a few nice creek crossings and deep mud pits, over some downed trees, and accidentally off a small cliff (I had to bail on that one, my bike was OK). The front wheel tracked like a champ and the tire stuck to every line. Over about thirty miles of riding, only once or twice did my back wheel slip out on a sharp corner in some thick leaves or slippery diagonal roots, but those might have been from from inexperience or fatigue. I cant blame the tire entirely.
Even on my unforgiving rigid setup, riding on the Wolverines made me feel like I was rolling on a trail covered in plush brown carpet. But that level of comfort usually comes at a price. The WTB Wolverine isnt the lightest tire on the market: at 800+ grams, it shouldnt go on your featherlight race rig. And in terms of performance, it doesnt do any one thing perfectly. Instead, this tire hits the sweet spot between rollability and grippability all while keeping you comfortable and confident on the trail.
Size: 29″ 54/52 GMS
Width: 2.2 in
Weight: 800 g
Weight Class: Clydesdale
Bike: Niner Air9 rigid
Tire Pressure: 40 PSI
Thanks to the folks at WTB for providing the Wolverine 29 for review.
WTB makes some good tires, I’ve got their Weirwolf LT on my 29er. Just wish they could get the weight down.
An 800g race tire….right….