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

News Pro Reviews Tires

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

WTB Breakout
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WTB Breakout Tread

WTB Breakout - tread pattern
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WTB Breakout Profile

WTB Breakout - profile viewpoint
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WTB Trail Boss

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WTB Trail Boss Tread

WTB Trail Boss - tread pattern
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WTB Trail Boss Profile

WTB Trail Boss - profile viewpoint
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WTB Nine Line Tread

WTB Nine Line 2.25 - tread pattern
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WTB Nine Line Profile

WTB Nine Line - profile viewpoint
About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Goinslo says:

    Sweet looking tires, too bad I wont be purchasing any…..no 26″ options

  • Chez says:

    Well I know what brand I’m NOT buying anymore! It really is amazing to see how quickly 26 is dropped. There ARE still many 26″ bikes being used in this world. You do know that, right, bike industry? Until they break people are going to continue riding them.

    • yody says:

      Meh, WTB used to have tires that worked great for loose over hard Norcal conditions. Now it seems they just make copycat tires, looking like schwalbes and kendas. Trail boss and breakout look nothing like a fast rolling tire. Maybe going DH they might be faster than some other tires but to me a fast rolling tire has to feel good on flat terrain as well as DH. I know everyone used to hate on the older WTB stuff because they weren’t super confidence inspiring, but true trail riders knew how to make them work. Would of been nice to see them innovate instead of just come out with these things. Dissapointed none of these are offered in 26″ but hey its not WTB’s fault that nobody is buying 26″ anymore. If it doesn’t make sense financially well then they’re not gonna do it.

    • Tim Fontenot says:

      Yup, time to find another saddle maker. Good bye WTB saddle.

  • Paul says:

    Running a pair of vigilantes on my Mach 6 and they are AMAZING! I’ve run older WTB tires and felt they were so-so. These new WTB tires have just massive grip yet don’t bog you down like some aggressive tires do. They are light too compared to the latest from Schwalbe and Continental. I would try that trail boss for a rear tire when I wear out my Vigi. Oh, and on a side note, selling my 26″ bikes was the smartest thing I did all year, and not just so I don’t have to be one of those 26″ for life cry baby’s.

  • Michael says:

    Nothing in 26″ Please tell me it’s not a conspiracy? Seems like they are telling me I need a new bike

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