WHAT: Wilderness Trail Bikes MotoRaptor 2.4 Race
HOW MUCH: $45 per tire
WTB makes the MotoRaptor in three different sizes: the 2.14, 2.24 and 2.4-inch models. I've spent a solid season aboard the 2.4 Race version (folding bead) and have become a believer. I'm a fan of large-volume tires (up front, at least) and with the MotoRaptor 2.4, I get the extra cushion and control on descents from the massive footprint, without paying a big penalty in weight. WTB offers the MotoRaptor 2.4 in a Comp (940-gram, wire-bead version) and a Race version. The Race model tested here weighs in at 840 grams, which is pretty damn light for a tire this big.
The benefit here, obviously, is that you don't pay for the extra cushion with extra rotational weight. I noticed this, in particular, when I mounted a set (front and rear) on a rigid singlespeed. Yes, the tires lent an air of forgiveness to an otherwise brutal set-up, but no, my acceleration didn't suffer in the least. In short, big and light equals good in my book.
Having said the above, I should also note that my trails (up here in the Redwood Empire) aren't terribly rocky, so I didn't sweat tearing up the MotoRaptor's light sidewalls. I don't think sidewall tears are as big a concern with the MotoRaptor 2.4 as with some even lighter, large-volume tires (the Klein Death Grip, for example), but don't be confused by its size, this is not a DH tire. It's fat and it rolls fast, and any tire that possesses these two traits isn't exactly bulletproof.
The tread design is fairly robust, but evenly packed. The end result is excellent traction in soft, loose soils and, yet, surprisingly little rolling resistance. The tread itself is made of a fairly soft rubber that grips hardpack well. Mine have withstood time like a champ, but I wouldn't recommend logging a ton of asphalt miles on them if you are looking to get optimal off-road performance and longevity out of them (good advice for any premium mountain bike tire). All in all, a solid tire for anyone looking for a cush, quick tire with good loose-condition grip.