Tested – WTB Ranger 29×2.25″ Tires
XC to Trail—Go Ride
Cross-country tires are purpose-built to save grams to maximize speed and efficiency. Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) has been designing burly tires for enduro, downhill and trail riders and has carried this spirit over into its newest XC iteration, the Ranger.
The Ranger was originally released as a plus-sized tread aimed at bikepacking and adventure riding. After receiving plenty of accolades for this stouter version, WTB released this tire as a burly XC tread. We got a pair and put them through long days in the saddle to see if they could hold up to other XC tires we have tested.
Tech Info: WTB designed the Ranger to fit 27.5- and 29-inch wheels in 2.0 or 2.25-inch widths. The 29er diameter only comes in the 2.25 width. The Ranger is tubeless-ready and comes in Light/Fast Rolling and Light/High Grip compounds. We opted to test the Light/Fast Rolling compound to see just how quickly these tires could roll.
The tread pattern is concentrated in the middle for extra traction with broad outside knobs that are focused on cornering. There is a row of transition knobs that have enough space in between to shed mud. WTB designed the Ranger with multi-directional siping to maximize traction in any condition. WTB claims these will roll well in mud and loose-over-hard-pack terrain. Our tires retail for $70 and weighed 706 grams each.
On the Trail: We installed the Rangers on a set of RideFast Racing Hotwire carbon wheels with an inner rim width of 23 millimeters. The Rangers were surprisingly easy to install and were complemented by the inner width of the Hotwires. WTB claims a width of 2.25 inches, but compared to other 2.25-inch tires we have tested, they were a touch wider. We ran our pressures at 25 psi in front and 27 psi in the rear for all-around cross-country riding.
The Rangers are surprisingly quick-rolling tires, especially considering the more aggressive tread design. On flat sections of trail, the Rangers felt stiff and transferred energy effectively when we were sprinting hard out of the saddle. When the trail pitched up, the Rangers hooked up and didn’t spin out on loose terrain. We don’t often get to test tires in the mud, but thanks to a very wet winter, we were able to ride the Rangers in stickier conditions. The spacing between the knobs allowed the tires to release mud well. They didn’t pack up and lose traction. These tires excelled at cornering. Our test riders were able to carry speed into corners that they normally wouldn’t with other XC-oriented tires. The outside and transition knobs held a line confidently and maintained traction through banked and off-camber corners.
Wear and tear was normal. Our test riders didn’t notice any excess deterioration during testing. Even though these tires offer excellent traction and are incredibly versatile, they aren’t the lightest tires, which will turn off gram-counting weight weenies. Overall, the Rangers can handle everyday trail riding and will also be able to hang at cross-country races on the weekends.
• Good traction
• Heavy for XC racing