Weight: 930 g / 32.8 oz
Intended Usage: All Mountain, Wet to Dry / Hardpack to Loose
- UST aramid bead
- Dual dna rubber
- Lightweight casing with Inner Peace
Tested on: Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon with Easton Haven wheelset
Test Locations: Colorado Front Range, High Country, Western Slope; Moab, UT; Jackson, WY; Bozeman, MT
Test Duration: Several pairs over two years (expect them to last 4-6 months under normal use)
My tire-nerd friends cringe when I mention my enthusiasm for the WTB WeirWolf, and, honestly, WTB tires as a whole have never really done it for me. But I’ve found the WeirWolf AM TCS 2.3 to be a fast, grippy, versatile tire that is absolutely worth consideration for most trail riders, particularly in dry conditions.
The original version of the WeirWolf, introduced in 2002, was a squirmy disaster. WTB said it worked better the farther it was leaned, but my experiences showed otherwise, particularly on harder-packed trails. The rows of side knobs were angled too heavily from the sidewall to the center, and I found that on longer, leaned turns, the transition from one row of knobs to the next was unsettling and destabilizing. I did have a number of happy customers in my shop at the time who loved that tire, but they were “bar turners” rather than “lean turners,” which is a big difference between WTB’s claims for the tire and what people were actually experiencing.
Fast forward to 2010 and the redesign of the WeirWolf. For the new version, WTB significantly altered many aspects of the tread while retaining its original, somewhat organic look.
The center knob sets were tightened up and shrunken. They are grouped in sets of four and shaped in a shallow arc with the outer two knobs trailing back. This shape creates a nice cup to catch dirt when braking. The knobs themselves are fairly narrow with small sipes on top. The narrow profile helps penetrate the trail surface and nicely balances their close spacing and short height. There has also been a slight increase in length to the leading edge ramps, which makes for faster rolling than I anticipated.
The formerly problematic side knob sets got some major modifications, too. They reduced the number of knobs per set from four to three, and the angle at which they came off the sidewall toward the center was lessened as well. This eliminated the squirmy feel I disliked so much on the old design.
The side knobs were also completely reshaped. WTB calls it “terracing,” I prefer to call it Ziggurat Technology. The Sumerians built ziggurats so their gods had places to hang out; WTB built ziggurats to increase grip and stability across a full range of speed and lean angles.
The ziggurat-shaped knobs increase in size from the top of the knob down toward the casing. They are also heavily buttressed on the sidewall side to further reduce squirm. The smallest terraces on top of the knobs are soft, grippy, and easily conform to produce tenacious grip on the trail. As lean angles and pressure increase, the broad base of the ziggurats get progressively stiffer, offering support and increased bite into the terrain.
Overall, the redesigned tread cleaned up the all-important channel between center and side knobs, making for a predictable, controllable carve when the tire is leaned. However, I’ve found that the WeirWolf is not only a drift-and-lean tire like many Maxxis offerings. It also offers cornering performance to those who aren’t totally comfortable with a committed lean on every turn. It’s a nice middle ground between a tire like the channel-and-transition-knob-challenged Nevegal and the drift-to-grip Maxxis Minion DHF.
The new Minion DHR2 is, without a doubt, the best braking “general tread” DH tire Maxxis has ever made.
Meet the Kenda BBG, perhaps the single best trail bike tire currently on the market.
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