Review: WTB Weirwolf AM TCS 2.3 Tires

What: WTB Weirwolf 26×2.3 AM TCS Tires
Price: $48
The Skinny: Just keep leaning

Since the first Weirwolf came out some seven or eight years ago,

The Corner knobs are now a row of 3 instead of 4

The Corner knobs are now a row of 3 instead of 4

it was an instant success. I personally loved the tire as did most of my cycling buddies. However it wasn’t without fault – it wasn’t the most confidence inspiring tire, as it lacked enough transition knobs allowing you to lean into a corner with confidence. It was like this: approach corner, lean bike over, wait for cornering knobs and grab. That last bit is the catch; there was a brief period of time where you were basically riding without traction while you waited for the cornering knobs to hook up.

The new Weirwolf however, is something special. Having thrashed around on it for a few weeks now, I can confidently say… it’s better than the first. The evolution starts with the tread pattern. Though it remains the same down the middle, the off-camber side knobs are now a row of 3 instead of 4. Small (but mighty) transition spines connect the cornering knobs to the center tread. The cornering knobs are also stepped, meaning they get thicker towards the bottom like a Mayan temple. The TCS version features WTB’s Tubeless Compatible System, which means the tire has a UST bead but adding Stan’s or any other sealant to the tire won’t void the warranty, unlike many other UST tires. WTB’s TCS tires also tend to be lighter than their UST counterparts, except the Weirwolf which comes with WTB’s AM (All Mountain) sidewall protection – a layer of nylon in the side wall of the tire, and Dual DNA compound (60a center, 50a cornering rubber). These two protection and grip inducing technologies add enough weight to push the Weirwolf AM TCS over it’s UST brother, but not by much. For exact weights, check out our website. So how does it ride?

The transition spines and stepped knobs inspire cornering confidence

The transition spines and stepped knobs inspire cornering confidence

Just keep leaning! The easiest way to describe how well this tire grips the terra firma is to say, seemingly infinitely. Except for my ride in the rain, the tire had endless amounts of grip. In every type of terrain other than rocky mudiness (which you shouldn’t be riding in anyway because it ruins trails), the tire corners as if it’s on rails. I found myself corning faster than I have before and just leaning the bike over to try and find the ends of it’s grip. I never did and went away from my first ride very much impressed. Subsequent rides proved the same, and I can confidently say this tire will remain on my bike. It must be the new stepped cornering knobs and transition knobs that allow you to just throw yourself confidently into corners. There’s never a moment of vagueness, never a moment of “Oh crud, are these tires going to catch?” The tire provides substantial grip at every angle. It inspires confidence to go faster.

A few things to be aware of; I found myself running much lower pressures than I was used to (about 4 psi lower) because of the AM sidewalls. They’re so stiff I found myself most comfortable around 25-26 psi, though I usually run 28-30psi because it’s so rocky here. For smoother single track, this isn’t necessary, but for the rocky stuff, the tire grips much better at the lower pressure. Also, don’t expect too much in the rain. East Coast riders may not like the tire because close spaced knobs  don’t shed mud as well as other tires designed for those conditions such as the WTB Prowler or MotoRaptor. That said, the Weirwolf loves loose over hard and loamy soil. It can hang on the smooth single track since it’s fairly fast rolling, but more than any thing, it loves descending and being tossed into corners. WTB lists the tires terrain strengths as Gravel/Rocks, Sandy, Loamy, and Wet. I would add Hardpack to that and clarify Wet; if it’s muddy wet, the tire is OK, if it’s rocky wet, this tire isn’t suited.

Summary

So far I’ve stacked up twice with this tire, mashed through rock gardens, descended and climbed epic singletrack, and power slid through my fair share of fire-road gravely corners. In every instance, the WTB Weirwolf tire is well mannered, confident, and taking the abuse in stride. In short, for sludgy mud there’s the Prowler, for everything else, there’s the WTB Weirwolf AM TCS.

Hammer On

Our Trusty Demo bike; takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

Our Trusty Demo bike; takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'

2012-01-27T10:12:29-08:00