July 24, 2012
We were sent these supposed all-rounders from WTB back in the spring. I rode them for a week on my usual trails – loam, rock, loamy rock – scared myself stupid with numerous back wheel overtaking front wheel moments, and then quietly put them straight back to the bottom of the office tyre pile before […]
We were sent these supposed all-rounders from WTB back in the spring. I rode them for a week on my usual trails – loam, rock, loamy rock – scared myself stupid with numerous back wheel overtaking front wheel moments, and then quietly put them straight back to the bottom of the office tyre pile before they sent me to A&E. They’re just too skinny, and too knobbly, for the sort of riding I’d label as ‘all-round’.
However, come summer and the riding-around-potato-fields-in-the-name-of-racing season, I started looking at them in a new light. When faced with an absolutely waterlogged Mountain Mayhem course, suddenly the scant 1.9in width made perfect sense. Instead of looking lost inside the chainstays, there was enough clearance for a muddy hay bale. The spiky side knobbles looked ready to dig in, the lower profile centre tread and dual compound rubber looked like it might not be too draggy, and the tough on the thumbs, tubeless-readiness seemed suddenly rather attractive; nobody likes a night lap puncture.
So, while others wondered about whether or not running 38c cyclocross tyres on a 29in-wheeled bike would be considered cheating or just thrifty interpretation of the ‘spirit of the event’ rule, I got on with enjoying the riding and discovered that these tyres completely rock in the mud. They clear well at even moderate speeds, they grip like mad in off-camber sections and they bite through that mix of mangled grass and soft dirt to reach the traction that’s skulking somewhere on the bottom. They’ve even bettered Bontrager’s Mud-X (sorry, Keith), the previous go-to rubber for British summer races – and that’s high praise indeed.
Overall: Own a 29in bike and like riding in the mud? You need these. Just remember they’re not especially fond of rocks.