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WTB Vigilante Tyres

12:39 23rd July 2013 by Ed Haythornthwaite

This latest tyre from WTB marks a significant change in design direction for the company, and it looks to be a good change.


In the past WTB tyres have always had very distinctive/unique tread patterns, and to be honest we’ve never really been that overly impressed with them. The tread pattern of this new Vigilante however is far more traditional, and there’s a reason why square blocks and the like are so common…it’s because they work and are very hard to beat. Obviously only time is going to tell for definite if WTB are on the right track with this tyre, but we’ve got a feeling they are going to be.


Of course a great tyre isn’t just defined by the tread, it’s also defined by the rubber and the casing. In both of these respects WTB look to have things sorted. The tyre is being aimed at ‘enduro’ use (read the kind of riding that we all do) and so the 2.3″ size is pretty much bang on the money, and then the sidewalls sit in a happy middle-ground between useless XC thin and super heavy DH thick. Of course as with any decent tyre these days these are also tubeless ready.

As for compound, you get two choices, both of which are dual compound. On the ‘Team Issue’ ones which you see here you get a 60a base compound and then a high-grip 45a rubber on the outside, and then on the ‘AM TCS’ version you get the same base but a slightly harder 50a compound on the outside. The Team Issue ones really do feel quite soft so we wouldn’t be surprised if these turn out not to be the fastest rollers, but if that’s a priority for you then just go for the harder compound version. A good pairing might be the softer one up front and the harder at the back.

These Vigilante tyres will be available in 26, 27.5 (650b), and 29″ sizes, all in a 2.3″ width, but hardcore 29′er riders might be a bit gutted to find out that the softer Team Issue compound isn’t available in that size. Weight wise, this 650b Team Issue tyre came in at 953g.

Price: £44.99 – £56.99


  1. Finkill

    Like a Muddy Mary, but not a Muddy Mary…

  2. Slawth

    Hmmmm- straight out of the book of Schwalbe, including the unfavorable handling characteristics in hard corners due to the diagonal cornering blocks. Ill have to run ‘em and see if I’m eating my words…

    1. dirt dodger

      switched from 5 long years on maxxis to schwalbe – i won’t be switching back, much like a lot of people. not sure what unfavourable handling characteristics you are chompin on about but perhaps it’s not the tyres? regarding the WTB tyres, i had a prowler mx on a bike years ago, loved it BUT CRC are giving an rrp of the above new WTB folding 2.3 tyre @ £55 WTF !!

  3. Ojmsisle

    Great tyres – been using for a couple of months. Big volume, no punctures, roll fast, grip in all conditions I’ve tried them in

  4. Northwest

    Looks like the “significant change” is basing your tires off of Schwalbe’s.

  5. gabe

    Ummm “The tyre is being aimed at ‘enduro’ use (read the kind of riding that we all do)”

    err. i ride dh. Remember that dirt? Down Hill. remember 12 months ago when dh was pretty much 90% of your content? whats happened? What brought on this sudden massive reversal in direction to 90% tarted up xc 10% token mention of dh? Did you all get old or something? im not hating on enduro, but dirt used to be the only mag out there to focus mainly on dh and thats why i read it. if i want to read about riding up hills on lightweight bikes with high seats (even if they now go down at the press of a button instead of the flip of a qr lever) ill read mbuk. You’ll be doing articles on road bikes soon. I bloody love my road bike, but i don’t want to read about it in dirt. And anyone about to pipe up “but enduro is real mountainbiking”, go google “clunkers” or “repack” then go sell out to the next fad you see. buy a scooter or something. sorry for this kinda emotional and perhaps over the top response, but I just did a pretty scary/scetchy gap (in the wet) on my dh bike, I’m pretty adrenalined up right now. I come back to my chalet to chill out and read a bit of Dirt and the first thing i read states that “we” all ride enduro now.

    as for that tyre, as everyone else seems to have noticed as well, its near as dammit a muddy mary minus the row of three blocks every third row. seem to remember typing exactly that about some other tyre you lot reviewed/first looked a few months ago. cant remember what brand. hutchinson maybe?

    1. Cyrus

      You have to go back a long year to find an issue of Dirt, or successive issues of Dirt where enduro or trail bike’s werent featured. and
      Furthermore dirt has always had “other stuff”, as opposed to just total DH coverage. As for the “what we all ride comment” I think they mean that to be general riding, not specifically enduro race discipline. Just what we all do when not on the big bikes.

    2. Ed

      Gabe, my comment in the article was based on my reckoning that even the most diehard DH stalwart still goes out and rides their bike around their local trails, even if they do push up the climbs and shred the downhills. Personally I don’t know anyone who JUST rides a DH bike and always has an uplift of some kind.

      As for a change in Dirt, I think you’ll find it didn’t happen in the last 12 months, it actually happened way back in 2005 when Steve Jones discovered the original Specialized Enduro and then went on to win some Dragon races on one to kind of prove a point.

      You see Dirt has always just been about having fun on bikes, and we’re never going to ignore something just because some people don’t think it’s as ‘cool’ as DH. The fact is that a decent trail bike these days is far more capable than the DH bikes from when Dirt first started, and on many tracks they’re faster, and a lot more fun than a modern DH bike, and so that’s the reason why we feature them. They’re fast and fun, so what’s not to like?

      It’s also very rare that we talk about climbing hills. Virtually every test that we feature is concerned with how a bike descends, no matter what travel it has. Open minds are the key you see, and maybe now that you seem to be in the market for a new bike you should consider opening your mind a bit. Just because a bike doesn’t have tripple clamp forks doesn’t mean it can’t be an absolute blast to ride and leave you grinning from ear to ear…like a kid. So no, we haven’t got old and boring, far from it.

      Oh, and have you noticed that we produce (and invest large sums of money in) what has to be the best video coverage of the DH World Cup? And we’ve even started to commission more videos from national DH races too. If anything we must do more DH coverage than we’ve ever done, it’s just that we now also do a load of other stuff too, all of which we reckon is great fun.

      1. gabe

        as lovely as it would be to have a trail bike AND a dh bike, there is absolutely no way i can afford that. In fact I’m not even going to be able to afford a new dh bike for a very long time. I’m guessing a large portion of your readers can only afford one (expensive) bike. So while im pretty sure almost all of them run dh tyres, i doubt as many of them have the spare cash to run a bike with trail tyres as well. so surely the type of riding we all do would involve a more dh type tyre? perhaps you could have said “for the type of riding those of us lucky enough to have a dh bike and a trail bike do” my mind is very open, and im aware that you have covered trail bikes that descend well for many years, but dh is my main love and in the last few months i have seen quite a marked change in direction from dirt. Seeing less pages of coverage for dh, in order to make room for more “all round” bikes just means i see fewer and fewer articles i am really interested in each month. I know dirt isn’t written purely for me, and obviously a number of people out there love reading about the trail bike/enduro stuff, but im sure alot of people read dirt for DH and look to other magazines for the less gravity orientated stuff.

  6. Andrew Cunningham

    Out of curiosity, how does it measure up? Still measured by a blind man with a rubber ruler?

  7. Farmer Giles

    Gabe, there is no money in downhill bikes* and dirt clearly struggle to sell adverts on that basis. Seeing as adverts balance the pages with articles and all those press releases, they need to cover what the market dictates. Go in a good UK bike shop and see how many dh bikes they sell versus traily 5/6″ sort of bikes, it wont be many.
    *i know dh bikes cost loads, but i dont know a single friend who paid retail price for theirs. they all got them through a friend who works in a shop, or a last year reduced frame online. downhill bikes are are seen as a luxury purchase.
    What they are putting in dirt is a reflection of what people are doing even if thats not what the magazine used to be.

    but i agree with you, the thing that made it cool has been swept under the carpet mostly.

    1. gabe

      yeah,theres going to be someone else not paying full whack for a dh rig soon. mines just been fucking nicked from the garden of my chalet. its pretty much an enclosed garden, the huge sliding door of the chalet that leads to the garden was wide open, me and mates sat just inside in full view of our bikes. three other very nice bikes in out there too. we all turn our backs for 5 minutes and my bike is gone. the other three untouched. I want to murder someone. some fucking scumbag has my trek. It took me five years to build it up to its current state,now some cunts gonna sell it for £500. i feel numb.

    2. Rodney

      Yeah, you’re right. Advertising pays for the mag to be published and trail bikes sell way more than DH. I do think Dirt has gone a bit Enduro crazy though. I find the mag far more interesting when there’s DH World Cup coverage.

      1. Rodney

        BTW my reply was to Farmer Giles.

  8. gabe

    btw. im in morzine. apparently its bike theft central. SERIOUSLY, if you are here, don’t let your bike out of your sight for a second.

    1. Rodney

      It’s terrible having a bike stolen, especially if it’s custom built.

  9. Ben PInnick

    Slawth – you are absolutely right. I have a test set of these at the moment and they charge through rocks and roots with no problems, but they suck badly in the loose dirt. I got slammed onto the ground twice yesterday thanks to the wayward handling on the front. Size wise, they are 54mm carcass incase anyone still wants to know.


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