WTB '08 29"er Tires: Out Of The Box

Twenty Nine Inches has just recieved some pre production samples of Wilderness Trail Bike’s new 2008 29″er tire designs to test and review. Let’s take a look at the specifics of each model………

Stout 29″er This is one aptly named tire. Everything about this tread seems to be all about toughness and aggressive riding. WTB says it excells in soft, loose terrain, and tough traction situations. The knobs are big, square-ish, and fairly tall and well supported. The casing seems beefier than anything that has come through here before. Claimed width is 2.3″ with an average weight of 1150 grams. Production tires will have an Aramid bead and DNA rubber compound. Our pre production test sample has a wire bead. It’s not for weight weenies, (Our pre production samples weighed 1110 and 1160 grams each) but it should be a tire that will withstand some abuse by my estimation. We will do our best to find out in the coming weeks.

Prowler SL 29″er WTB has a family of Prowler tires already on the 26″er side of their line, but don’t mistake this one for a simple copy in a bigger size. This time around WTB tire guru, Mark Slate took the basic Prowlers siped knob and shifted the tread to optimize the differently shaped contact patch of a 29″er tire. Indeed, it is a bit different from the rest of the Prowler family. The long, bent rectangular shaped knobs run lengthwise down the tires casing in a pattern that is a bit more open. WTB says its design should excell at drier, looser conditions. Claimed width is 2.1″ with a target weight of 726 grams. The rubber is WTB’s DNA compound and it has an Aramid folding bead. This tread seems a bit lower than some other tires and looks plenty fast. Both our pre production test samples actually weigh less than the spec weight. Something we’ll keep in mind as we go forward.

Vulpine 29″er WTB introduced the Vulpine tread pattern as a 26 inch tire for 2007 and it has been a big hit with the race crowd. The introduction of this 29″er sized version will mark the first 29″er semi-slick tire available to the “Wagon Wheel” crowd. (Interestingly, I never have seen the term “Wagon Wheel” to describe 29″er wheels until I got the ’08 WTB press kit at Interbike) At any rate, this tire feels light in the hand and looks fast as all get out. The center tread section is a “file” pattern with the outer cornering knobs looking suspiciously like a Nanoraptors. The rubber compound is DNA, the bead is Aramid, and the target weight is 650 grams. Both our pre production test samples go under that weight with one dipping just below the 600 gram mark. Again, we’ll be keeping that in mind as we give our reviews of this tire.

Before the e-mails and comments come in: NO! These are not recommended by WTB for tubeless usage! Running these tires with a sealant and no tube voids WTB’s warranty. WTB is not responsible for any mishaps related to riding tubeless. Nuff said.

The test period will see Captain Bob and myself putting these new 2008 treads through their paces for a bit before we come back with a First Impression post in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can check out the WTB site for more info. Look for all three of these to become available sometime soon after the first of the year and expect the MSRP to be about $50.00 per tire for all three models.

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No Responses to “WTB '08 29"er Tires: Out Of The Box”

  1. TJ Platt Says:

    Great looking tyre.

  2. Desert9r Says:

    Crap, my next tire choice just got harder, The Prowler or the Mountain King??

    any release date?

  3. Cloxxki Says:

    If the Vulpine is that fast, being a semi-slick, I wonder how it compared to the full-knobs Racing Ralphs I’m testing now. Both are likely fast for different reasons. How they handle extreme conditions may be deciding for most. Like Fast Freds are dangerous in the wet, and Twisters just fast.

  4. Dirt McGirt Says:

    Wait, let me wipe the drool off of my ketboard hkbjygtfrdiujfdfujh Proooowwwwwllllleeeerrrrr… uuuuuuhhhhhuhuuuuhuhuh

  5. Guitar Ted Says:

    Cloxxki: I’m thinking the Ralph will corner better with the knobs it has and maybe off cambers would be an advantage to the Ralph as well. The Vulpine strikes me as the classic semi-slick design which has its limitations, as we all know.

  6. Desert9r Says:

    The Vulpine maybe my next street tire, a lot better than the 900g wire-bread Exis, I’m haulin around now!

  7. Desert9r Says:

    The Vulpine maybe my next street tire, a lot better than the 900g wire-bread Exis, I’m haulin around now!

  8. Cloxxki Says:

    The semi-slicks I know did extremely well on long straight with slushy soil. They cuts through and don’t clog up of throw mud around.

    For pure street use, I’m bidding on a pair of 50mm Marathon Extremes…

  9. Desert9r Says:

    Cloxxki-

    Those Marathons are SWeet, what’s the $?

  10. Cloxxki Says:

    No idea about $, I’m paid in €.

    Schwalbe does have a web$ite somewhere, though.

  11. Spanky Says:

    I’ve been running a pair of Marathon plus 45’s since the spring they are great tires. I even rode them on an unplanned 4×4 dirtroad adventure of about 40 miles. No complaints.

  12. LionelCSG Says:

    650g for a 2.1 semi-slick Vulpine ist rediculous! I guess this tire is absolutely useless.

  13. Desert9r Says:

    Lionel- what do you mean? That is pretty damn light!

  14. Desert9r Says:

    Lionel- what do you mean? That is pretty damn light! Explain useless please?

  15. Guitar Ted Says:

    On the Vulpine: If you are thinking Stan’s Crow as a comparison, this Vulpine is a treaded monster compared to that tire. The Crow having, as Cloxxki so eloquently put it at one time, “shamrock shaped pimples” for tread, or something to that effect. While the center seaction of the Vulpine is pretty bare, the edge knobs average about 4.5mm deep. (A little less toward the center, more on the outside edge) The Crow? Ha ! No outside edge knobs there!

    So, not only is the Crow a bit lighter due to it’s barely there tread, but also because it lacks any sort of cornering edge knobs. Obviously, the Vulpine would weigh in at a bit more than a Crow. Also, our samples, one of which weighed in at less than 600 grams, and the other just above that at 610, are significantly lighter than spec. True, production tires may weigh more, but we can hope that they do not.

    I know of no other choice in a 29″er semi-slick. To say the Vulpine is “useless” is a useless statement.

  16. Slowerthensnot Says:

    Vulpine seems like a very nice tire that fills a hole that nobody has filled in for 29er tires…

    I’ll be getting a pair when they come out…. might be a lovely TI or GDR tire

  17. Vandal Says:

    IS there any sort of definitive list of what 29er tires are appropriate for Tubeless conversion? What makes a tire not suited for tubless duty?

  18. Guitar Ted Says:

    Vandal: You will not find an “official” listing put forth by any companies, media, or anyone with something to lose on this subject. It’s too fraught with “back yard” technology and experimentations to warrant consideration from anyone that doesn’t want to end up in court.

    Some go and some blow, as the saying goes. It’s all dependant upon combinations and the techniques used to implement them. Sealants are often “home brewed” combinations of various chemicals and latex. Rims are often layed up with various combinations of tape that may or may not get installed correctly. Then there are the different riding techniques and air pressures used that also make this subject a real mess for the companies that produce tires and rims. So much going on out of their control that there is no way an official recommendation will ever be put together by the industry. (Stan’s site being the only exception)

    What I have noticed is that a tire might work if it first fits the rim you are intending to use fairly well. This in itself is a minor miracle in the 29″er world. Then you have to have a rim suitable with a proper sealing rim strip- another big step, unless you go the Stan’s route. Finally, some 29″er tires sidewalls are so porous that getting them to seal up can be a big challenge too.

    Sound like a big hassle? Well, it does to me, and I’m still not convinced the legit tubeless systems aren’t a big hassle too. The jury is still out on that one!

  19. professed Says:

    I love this sealant tubeless or not topic – it is an argument that has raged for years.

    To keep it simple and direct ( having and still existing on both sides of this fence) – if you wish for least weight, least rollling resistance and max speed – ie racing set up then definitely go the stans sealant path – also suggest to use stans rims for best effect as other rims usually require a compessor to get the tyre set up. Regardless of what WTB, Swalbe etc say, you can run any tubed tyre this way without too many problems. Note that it might take some time to get the tyre to fully seal and hold air. I have run Maxxis, Swalbe, Hutchison, Specialized, WTB this way and currently run 29er Kenda Karmas this way.

    If you just trail ride then it is generally not worth the hassle – every tyre change leaves a mess and the set up can be a right pain.

    PS: have not had a puncture for almost a year this way running in dry and extreemly rocky terrain ( Australia)

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