Review: WTB Trail Boss tough/fast

I’ve been a fan of WTB tyres for quite a while, going right back to their Velociraptors and then onto the Weirwolf LT – which was probably my first venture into modern high-volume rubber, back when I still used inner tubes on 26in wheels.

Things have moved on and the US company now has a thoroughly modern range of rubber – and they were one of the first brands (alongside Schwalbe) to offer a very tough casing that wasn’t as heavy as a full dual-ply tyre.

And it’s this tough casing that first drew me to the Trail Boss, well that and the fact that they’re always under £30 on CRC.

WTB Trail Boss
Lots of small-ish knobs.

I’ve ridden them extensively as a rear tyre in both 2.25in wide 29er format and in 2.4in 650b format – keeping them on right through the winter one year.

As you can see from the pictures, the Trail Boss has a square-ish profile, with reasonably good shoulder knobs and relatively low-profile, closely spaced centre knobs – meaning it rolls quite well and digs in OK on corners and off-camber sections.

If that sounds a bit lukewarm then good, because it’s not the best tyre at anything. It doesn’t roll or corner as well as a Rock Razor, it doesn’t climb or brake as well as a Hans Dampf or Minion DHR2. It’s not much use in mud and it feels a bit more wooden than Schwalbe’s Super Gravity carcass tyres.

It’s just a competent middle-of-the-road tyre that I’ve somehow never managed to puncture, even when I’ve bashed a rear wheel up so bad that the rim couldn’t be trued.

WTB Trail Boss
When they say tough, they really mean it.

It copes well with riding in North West England – local to me and particularly on the rocky trails of the Lake District.

I will say that it’s a good job it’s so tough (hope I’m not jinxing myself here), because the 29er version in particular has been an absolute grade-A ballache to fit. It’s quite probably the tightest tyre I’ve come across and I needed to bust out my old DH tyre lever.

If I ever do manage to flat it on a ride, those tubeless repair anchovies better bloody work or I’ll be walking home.

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