First Look: New WTB Breakout, Trail Boss and Nine Line Tires

by Brian Mullin on March 1, 2014

It’s always fun to get some new sample tire’s to test, especially when I am one of the first outlets to show
them off.

WTB
is on a roll this Winter, and is rolling out some new tires, namely the
big burly Breakout 2.5, the fast rolling everyday Trail Boss 2.25, the
wider version of the Nine Line 2.25 racer, and finally, the
Gravel-Specific Nano 40c. We got some of these tires a few weeks back,
and have a couple of test rides on the Breakout and Trail Boss before
the official release announcement at Frostbike.

Breakout

The
new WTB Breakout is a big burly tire meant for All Mountain riding, and
it rolls well for its aggressive tread pattern, and it has great
traction and braking qualities, and can work in multiple terrain and
variable conditions. The 2.5″ wide tire is only available in the 27.5″
size, and comes in two compounds types and one casing.

“The new
Breakout tire really compliments WTB’s line of tires fitting in between
the Trail Boss and Vigilante tread patterns,” articulated Chris Feucht,
WTB’s Product Manager. “It has a little more speed than our premier
aggressive, enduro-oriented Vigilante tire due to a slightly decreased
knob height, yet it has noticeably more volume than our swift Trail Boss
tires. It’s a true 2.5, with all that comes with tires of that girth,
but it still rolls like a champ.”

The aggressive big mountain tire
is TCS (Tubeless Compatible System), and is available two different
compounds, the Dual DNA which has a firm base along with softer side
knobs, and the glue like Gravity DNA, which has a supportive base layer
along with a sticky and conforming cover. The tires utilize the tougher
Enduro casing (TCS Tough) system, which has two full layers of casing
for the maximum in off-road protection. The tires will retail for
$79.95, and will be available in June, 2014.

The
burly Breakout tread pattern is composed of square and oval-shaped
blocks in a medium, consistent pitch with a linear line of large side
knobs designed to be fast rolling for medium conditions. The square
evenly spaced side knobs are complemented with a two by two sets of
center knobs, which are offset from each other, and everything has deep
siping on each knob. The tightly knitted knobs are blocky and square
edged and aggressive, yet they still let the tire roll and hook up
nicely.

Per WTB: “Big, All Mountain fun. The Breakout’s large and
in charge casing rides far faster than its girth suggests. Fast rolling
belts of center tread meet oversized side knob incisors for a harmonious
pairing of speed and cornering. Want to end every ride with a smile
undeniably plastered to your mug? Slap on a set of Breakouts, fun comes
in size large.”

First Impressions

I
tested the 27.5″ TCS Tough Fast Rolling version of the Breakout, and
the pair came in at an average weight of 1115 grams, which is portly,
but in the norm for these sort of extra beefy Enduro type tires. For
such a meaty tire, they rolled and accelerated pretty nicely, though I
wouldn’t call them snappy. They hooked up for traction and cornering in
most conditions, and though they didn’t have tractor pulling power like
WTB’s Vigilante, they were pretty darn close, and more than made up for
it with better speed.

Braking and traction were very good, and
when it was time to corner the side knobs did an admirable job, even at
steep angles, and I didn’t notice any washouts or drifting. They really
stood out when climbing, and provided exceptional traction in any sort
of terrain, whether it was loose, hardpack, slick rock or wet slop.
During some technical maneuvers at slower speeds, they did feel slightly
squirrely, but when the speeds got bumped up, they did better. Although
not a true 2.5″ wide tire, with a 2.32″ carcass and 2.42″ knob span,
they’re plenty beefy, and the profile and girth provide great flotation
and footprint onto the terrain.

Size Model Compound Casing Projected Weight Price
27.5″ TCS Tough: Fast Rolling Compound Dual DNA Enduro 1110g $79.95
27.5″ TCS Tough: High Grip Compound Gravity DNA Enduro 1140g $79.95

The tires fit right between the
fast rolling and moderately aggressive Trail Boss and all out Vigilante
tires. They are plenty aggressive enough, providing good traction and
braking, and roll and accelerate quickly, and really excel when climbing
any sort of terrain.

Trail Boss

The
new WTB Trail Boss was designed to cover a lot of bases, and this All
Trail tires are fast and light, and have good traction and braking
qualities, and can work in multiple conditions and are still tough
enough to be ridden aggressively. The 2.25″ wide tire is available in
27.5″ and 29″ sizes, and comes in several casing types and compounds, to
cover the gamut of riders needs. The name Trail Boss is a direct head
nod to WTB’s second employee and current Director of Operations, Fred
Falk, who began working at WTB in 1988 when the company was still
located in the garage of Mark Slate’s rented house.

“It’s
difficult to create a truly successful trail tire because so much is
asked of it,” stated WTB’s Product Manager, Chris Feucht. “A great trail
tire needs to be fast, light, work in numerous conditions, have good
braking characteristics yet still somehow be tough enough to be ridden
aggressively. I like to think the Trail Boss does all that and more. It
has tight enough tread pitch to keep it rolling fast and smooth even on
hard surfaces but the squared off blocks still dig in hard when it comes
time to slow down in a hurry. We strategically added siping that expose
more working edges as the tire is pushed harder in the corners. Combine
all that with the introduction of new tire level options, TCS Tough in
addition to TCS Light, and you have a real winner for the discerning
rider,” explained Feucht. “The chore of this tire’s creation gets a
little easier when it ends up being the tire that all of us would want
to ride,” smiled Feucht.

The moderately aggressive tire is TCS
(Tubeless Compatible System), and is available two different compounds,
the Dual DNA (all sizes) which has a firm base along with softer side
knobs, and the glue like Gravity DNA (27.5″ only) which has a supportive
base layer along with a sticky and conforming cover. The tires have two
different sidewall protection systems, the fast rolling Lightweight
casing (TCS Light) and the tougher Enduro casing (TCS Tough). The tires
retail in price from $67.95 to $83.95, depending on the chosen model,
and will be available in June, 2014.

The
even tread design has staggered angled side knobs, a two by three
ramped center knob line-up design, and everything has deep siping on
each knob. The tread pattern is tight enough to keep it rolling  quickly
on hardpack, yet the knobs are fairly tall and blocky so that they’ll
grab and brake in looser conditions.

Per WTB: “Tight enough tread spacing
for high speed, dragfree onslaughts yet blocky and tall enough to
really dig in when it comes time to slam on the brakes. A rounded
profile and staggered, supported side knobs keep clamoring for traction
even as the trail loses its camber. Want to go out and own it? Be the
Trail Boss.”

First Impressions

I
tested the 29″ TCS Light version of the Trail Boss, and the pair came
in at an average weight of 818 grams, which was respectable for an
aggressive tire of this type. For a 2.25″ tire, they were overspec for
width, with a 2.3″ casing and a 2.28″ knob span. The first thing I
noticed was how well these tires rolled and accelerated, and they felt
snappy while spinning and performing technical maneuvers. Even with the
tighter tread pattern, they hooked up nicely in the loose snow and
gravel conditions that I tossed them into this winter, though they
didn’t have tractor pulling power like WTB’s Vigilante. Braking and
traction were good, and when it was time to corner the side knobs did an
admirable job, even at steep angles, and I didn’t notice any washouts
or drifting. One great things about these tires is that the 2.25″ width
fit perfectly in the back of my test Ibis Ripley, and I didn’t hit the
seattube on jumps or the side clevis.

Size Model Compound Casing Projected Weight Price
27.5″ TCS Light Dual DNA Lightweight 750g $67.95
27.5″ TCS Tough: Fast Rolling Compound Dual DNA Enduro 870g $79.95
27.5″ TCS Tough: High Grip Compound Gravity DNA Enduro 900g $79.95
29″ TCS Light Dual DNA Light 795g $69.95
29″ TCS Tough: Fast Rolling Compound Dual DNA Enduro 920g $83.95

Although these aren’t the
widest or meatiest tires out there, the moderately aggressive tread,
fast rolling characteristics, good traction and braking, and great
cornering characteristics make for a respectable tire. They’re a step
down from the aggressive Vigilante knobs, but provide a much faster
rolling tire.

Nine Line 2.25

The
29″ Nine Line 2.0 is WTB’s lightweight race tire which they had come
out with about a year ago. Customers requested something with a bit more
girth, so WTB relented, and is releasing a 2.25″ wide version of this
fast rolling tire.

The WTB Nine Line 2.25 features an extra line
of blocks from the Nine Line 2.0 and wider spacing between existing
blocks, allowing for increased braking, traction, and better performance
in damp conditions. The WTB Nine Line 29 x 2.25 are intended to play
double duty as a performance cross-country and race worthy tire,
weighing in at 635g for the TCS Light version (the test pair was 630g),
as well as a fast and capable trail tire due to its increased width and
tread spacing over the 2.0 offering.

“This
new Nine Line tire gives aggressive cross country riders that extra bit
of volume they’re looking for,” explained WTB’s Product Manager, Chris
Feucht. “With their added width, the usage expands beyond the racecourse
and solidly into the trail riding category.” Mark Slate, WTB’s Vice
President of Product Development and the tire’s designer succinctly
summed up its changes: “The Nine Line get a bit more bulk without losing
its roots, predictable drive at a super light weight.”

WTB Nine
Line 29 x 2.25 tires will be available in TCS Light and Comp levels. TCS
Light tires will feature Dual DNA Rubber, Lightweight casings, and
folding TCS beads designed for tubeless usage and will retail for
$69.95. Comp tires feature DNA Rubber, Durable casings, and wire beads
and will retail for $39.95. Both options will be available in June,
2014.

For more information visit www.wtb.com.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: