The WTB Vigilante tire has been around for a while, quite a while in fact as we reviewed it way back in 2014. Back then, it was only available in a 2.3-inch width, but that finally changed earlier this spring with the addition of a 2.5 and 2.6-inch widths, along with a revised Lightweight casing new rubber compounds and layering techniques. While most of the market was covered by the spread between 2.3 and 2.6, WTB now is eyeing the plus-size-27.5-inch realm with its latest release.
The new Vigilante 2.8 shares all the same characteristics of its smaller brethren, just in a bigger, wider size. In addition to a larger volume casing, the even-wider-knob spacing looks suited to loose or muddy terrain. From afar, the Vigilante 2.8 looks like it could be a good tire for rides that venture into unknown terrain where any number of conditions might be possible.
As is the case with most WTB tires, it will be available in the two durability/intended usage options for tubeless: TCS Light and TCS Tough. The TCS Light variant features WTB’s new sidewall protection, Slash Guard, which is a nylon insert embedded into a single-ply sidewall to ward off … you guessed it, slashes. The Vigilante 2.8 TCS Light level will then be available only in the High Grip rubber option, using the brand’s recently released TriTec construction. TriTec reportedly layers 65A firm rubber at the base of the knobs with a 42A super-soft rubber on the side knobs’ tops, and mid-soft 48A durometer rubber atop the central knobs, providing traction while still being supported by firm base rubber. The difference with this construction—as most tires use a firmer base rubber—is the distance WTB claims the firmer base rubber extends upward: halfway up each knob according to WTB, which in theory would provide less-flexy knobs.
The TCS Tough casing will be available in two different rubber configurations—High Grip and Fast Rolling, also each boasting TriTec. As the names suggest, the Fast Rolling compound uses firmer rubber to decrease rolling resistance at the cost of traction. High Grip uses 65-durometer rubber for the foundation, 48-durometer on the center knobs and 42-durometer on the side knobs. Fast Rolling also uses a 65-durometer, then switches to 60A down the middle and 48A on the sides.
The TCS Tough version uses a dual-ply casing similar in construction to what we may remember from DH casings but with a higher thread count. Compared to the TCS Light version’s buttressed single ply, it offers more support at lower pressures, which can become more of a factor with plus-size tires. WTB recommends a 35-millimeter-inner-rim width but claims it will work fine up to 45.
For now, the new 2.8 width is only available in a 27.5-inch diameter, but WTB claims a 29-inch version should be available late this winter. Prices range from $68 to $80 pending options. For more information about the tires, or to pick a pair up for yourself, head over to wtb.com.