WTB Vigilante Team Issue 27.5 Tire - Review

Dec 17, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
Pinkbike Product Picks

WTB Vigilante Team 27.5 Tire 2014

WTB's "Team Issue" designation marks the only version of the Vigilante to get the two-ply Enduro casing combined with the 45a durometer sticky rubber tread.



Wilderness Trail Bikes builds its Vigilante Team tire specifically for the rigors of “European style enduro racing.” That means it has to be tough, gravity racing tough, so WTB uses a two-ply casing (each, 60 threads per inch) to double its life expectancy in the pointy bits. That also means that the Vigilante must be able to find traction on greasy roots, so its tread pattern is sharp and aggressive, and made from super-sticky 45a-durometer rubber over a tough, 60a base layer. Enduro tires must produce reliable cornering grip on a wide variety of surfaces, so the Vigilante has double-reinforced edging blocks. Finally, WTB keeps the air inside the tire where it belongs, with a licensed UST bead system, so the only reason you’ll need an inner-tube is to sling-shot cold beers to river rafters while you are lollygagging between stages.

Of course, all of the items listed above come at a price. To achieve gravity-racing durability, one must also accept a substantial measure of gravity-racing weight. The Vigilante Team, which features Gravity DNA rubber and the 2.3-inch Enduro two-ply casing, weighs a claimed 987 grams in the 27.5-inch size we reviewed. The 26-inch version of the Team is claimed to weigh only 945 grams and, so sorry, there is no T.E.A.M. in “twentyniner.” MSRP is $76.95 USD.
WTB Tires

WTB Vigilante tire 2014

Widely spaced, pointy tread and soft rubber help to keep the WTB Vigilante hooked up to wet roots and rocks. Reinforced edging blocks add a measure of control in the turns that impressed some reviewers.




Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesTraditionally, WTB's tire range has performed swimmingly well on drier surfaces and soil conditions that are predominant in Spain, Coastal Italy and, of course, Central California, where WTB happens to live. We wanted to find out how the Vigilante performed in less idyllic terrain, so we mounted them up and went out the back door of Pinkbike's HQ for a month of banana slug popping, root sliding, mossy rock rolling and loam skidding in rainy BC. Some riders call this muddy jungle paradise and it could very well be, if paradise were a place where everyone looked like they had just crapped their shorts. We ran the Vigilante tires on both ends of a Giant Reign Advanced, pressurized at 28psi up front and at 35psi in the rear. True to WTB's meticulous standards, the inflated tires measured 27.5 inches in diameter and 2.3 inches wide - and they mounted up easily to WTB's widest rims, the Frequency i25 Team.

On trail, WTB's promises of real enduro performance were quickly justified. Although one rider crashed his brains out on a greasy wood feature, it was probably due to overconfidence. Tacky tread and a relatively aggressive block pattern encouraged test riders to claw up and down wet roots and slimy ladders - two tricks that none of us believed that the Vigilante had up its sleeve. Where the WTB tire impressed most was under braking. There was a measure of grip and control which inspired confidence in places where few riders dare mention the word. Cornering was also predictable, and not just in the wet. As it turned out, BC was hit by an unseasonable four-day drought, which gave us a chance to shred some dusty berms and hard-pack descents. The bottom line for WTB's stand-out all-mountain/enduro tire is that it checks all the boxes: It is durable, grips in almost all conditions, corners predictably, is among the best under braking, and it rolls - well, it rolls OK. About as good as any other 987-gram, two-ply racing tire with a sticky, aggressive tread. - RC


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75 Comments

  • + 42
 "Some riders call this muddy jungle paradise and it could very well be, if paradise were a place where everyone looked like they had just crapped their shorts." Now THAT is journalism at its finest!
  • + 10
 "an unseasonable four-day drought" - LMAO!
  • + 1
 new york times here we come!
  • + 3
 Here in New Zealand we like to shoot blackberrys with inner tubes, beers hurt too much. :-)
  • + 25
 pinkbike... tire shootout would be sooo nice
  • + 48
 Not gonna happen because that would mean they'd have to admit some products are better than others.
  • + 6
 And the next stop, Mountain Bike Action-Fiction.
  • + 1
 a test where the testers actually say what tire they will spend their own money on.
  • + 20
 I've been riding these exact tires front and back on my Pivot Mach 6 for 6 months of riding. Zero flats or punctures which is a record for me. I live in the pacific Northwest so we see a lot of challenging terrain with significant mud, roots, rock, technical steep climbs and hairy descents. I have been plagued by torn sidewalls in the past and have ridden plenty of mid-weight tires that fail after a few months. Yet these WTB's are still in great shape and remain grippy and predictable. No they are not light, but the strength seems to be as high as you should come to expect for this weight category so I find it hard to fault them. There are lighter models if you don't need the enduro casing.
  • + 15
 I resent the phrase "banana slug poppin," as the gentle yellow slugs are endangered.
  • + 14
 Could you provide a source for your statement?
  • - 10
flag Orangesicle (Dec 17, 2014 at 21:24) (Below Threshold)
 Salt the basturds
  • - 3
 they looks very similar to my XR4's, which are very good all around AM tires. so these should be just as good.
  • + 6
 They should borrow some slugs from the UK - there's literally millions of them.
  • + 7
 I got slug slime on my shorts and it was very difficult to scrub out. Not sure what kind of slug it was.
  • + 5
 A bit graphic, yes. Slugs endangered, no.
  • + 6
 Betcha didn't know these suckers can grow a new wiener every day....http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3639767/
  • + 14
 Not just enduro-inspired, but EURO enduro-inspired.
  • + 7
 This means no half lids with goggles, people.
  • + 7
 I have been using hans dampfs front and back for 2 years in TS and PS compound , EVO type and the last year been running the super gravity versions, no tears or cuts or punctures at all.....BUT they wear out too bloody fast! So I put a pair if these vigilante's team issue on front and back expecting them not to grip as well as the hans but unexpectedly are the same if not better! have ridden afan,brechfa,cwmcarn,AE,Mabie,Glentress,Penmachno, Coed Y Brenin ,with no problems so far all in all a brilliant tyre! the edges are still good and they roll quicker!
  • + 3
 Came here to ask how they compare to HDs, but you beat me to it and a british rider to boot - cheers! Good to hear WTB have a tyre that can match the excellent Frequency Team rims.
  • + 1
 How does the size compare to a 2.35 HD? I know RC says the WTBs are very accurate but I dunno how accurate the HD is!
  • + 4
 I was also a Dampfs EVO Pacestar/Trailstar runner but converted to Vigilante's after getting fed-up with Dampfs wear rate.
I run Gravity DNA, Team Issue (as reviewed) rubber out front and the harder Dual DNA (TCS) rubber rear.
The 2.3 Vigilante is fractionally narrower than Dampfs 2.35 as to be expected and the profile is flatter than the Dampfs rounded tyre profile giving more corner bite on the pronounced shoulders. I would say that they drag quite a bit more than Dampfs especially if you run low pressures, the corner grip quite a bit more, and braking performance is like hitting a brick wall.
They excel in damp-wet and hardpack-loam, rocks and roots but dry days and/or mixed with hardpack trail centres are like riding in glue. I ride mostly Afan, Cwmcarn, BPW, Coed Y Brenin, Innerleithen, Surrey Hills, and Swinley Forest.
  • + 4
 @ThomDawson
Schwalbe size pretty accurately with only the 2.5 models sizing larger at 2.6. The Hans Dampf measures 60 which is 2.36
  • + 1
 Cheers guys, looks like they're going on Santas list!
  • + 1
 I run 26" wheels hope hoops with evo SP hubs/stans FLOW EX rims and the tyres mount up a bit tight but ok , i have an air compressor so all good. was worried that they were going to be a problem as on the STANS website they say don't use WTB tyres with stans rims but after emailing WTB AND STANS WTB said don't use them at all with stans (obviously want you to use their rims!) and stans said that only dont use WTB tyres on 29" wheels , but 27.5 and 26 are perfectly ok.
size wise on the flow ex 26 rim they are a little squarer then hans but hans are a bit rounder....cheers
  • + 1
 surrey hills mostly me too!
  • + 10
 Hans Dampf and this tread are hard to compare - If you`re looking for a tire to compare this tread with, our old Muddy Mary is the tire which is the most similar judging by the tread pattern... veeery similar. It seems like the guys got slightly inspired by the tread design, the Snakeskin sidewall design, the labels and even some iconic design features are as close as you can get. Compare this to Muddy Mary and you will notice the difference:

goo.gl/6hPDuf

Hans Dampf on the other hand has only half of the block height and rounder shape. Not even close to the aggressive tread design of Muddy Mary or it`s successor Magic Mary.
  • + 5
 I like that schwalbe post a reply on pb page commenting on the similarities. If it was specialized im sure there would be a few angry lawyers knocking on WTB's door
  • + 2
 Well, they both have large square blocks. Must be plagiarism!
  • + 2
 Basically WTB have copied completely one of the best tread designs ever and rotated the side knob sipes 90degrees , can't really fail to make a good tyre that way !
  • + 6
 I like what Schwalbe did there. In one comment remind us of the MMarry/Vigilante comparison. Remind us the MMarry is obsolete and don't cut the mustard no more. And remind us 'Hey, check out the new 'Magic' Marry, its better'...
(but come on its not really a direct comparison is it, its a lot more geared at Gravity than HipsterDuro).
  • + 2
 They still do the muddy mary I think , still on the website anyway and still in the shops.
  • + 1
 I'm fairly certain 50%+ of the tread wont fall off after a couple of rides, unlike Hans Dampfs...
  • + 3
 Does the tread fall off in all compounds ?

I found with the muddy marys in trailstar the knobs broke of very easy , but with vert star they didn't break off , just wore down fast.

Well they did start to break at the bases but the tread was worn way beyond optimal by this time anyway.
  • + 1
 @ThePriory1978 maybe the Vigilante should be geared more towards gravity also by that logic? Magic Mary / Rock Razor was a combo guys were running at the EWS, so it's certainly compareable... It's around the same weight depending on which compound/sidewall you go with.
  • + 2
 @bigburd I've had no issues with mine for a year. I have the standard TCS version and it's been nothing short of great. You're not gonna outclimb a hardtail XC weight weenie on a climb but you'll shred right past them on a turn. I've had zero wear issues and I've tested them in every condition from pumice to sand to regular dirt to mud to snow. Nary an issue at all.
  • + 2
 Good to hear , might be worth trying a set out some time thne
  • + 7
 @whattheheel they did received the check
  • + 17
 I hAZ no got monies tho I should!!!
  • + 2
 They definitely did!
  • + 2
 lol @Chris- WTH was robbed!!



and WTF? "lollygagging"?? I don't think I even want to know..
  • + 7
 35 psi. What are you doing?
  • + 6
 Looks quite a bit like the Magic Mary... and their both great! Traction trumps all Big Grin
  • + 2
 "one must also accept a substantial measure of gravity-racing weight. The Vigilante Team, which features Gravity DNA rubber and the 2.3-inch Enduro two-ply casing, weighs a claimed 987 grams in the 27.5-inch size we reviewed"

Thats not heavy! A high roller weighs 1400g's and a magic mary 1100g's, they pedal just fine for me
  • + 1
 Brilliant tyre, but it is a proper big tyre. I'm having problems running it as a rear on my 45650b. The micrometer shows it sizes up properly across the width but the general profile means the 2.3 Vigilante is much bigger than my 2.5 High Rollers or Minions
  • + 1
 An excellent development. (but Schwalbe/Michelin got there first). It does tackle the achilles heel of the Vigilante AM version - a relatively thin section of the tyre sidewall that stopped me fitting it for the rough big-mountain stuff for fear of sidewall cuts. Shwalbe pitched their SG casing just right for 'Enduro', ahem, timed DH sections or just plain peace of mind for ~160mm bikes, coming in at around 1,000g for 26" tyres. My AM 26" version Vigilante weighs 930g so I'd remain unconvinced this TEAM 2-ply casing tyres tend to come through at 945g until proved otherwise - not that there would be anything wrong with a 2-ply version at near 1,000g. Please be wary - the (26") tyre is of huge volume compared to most of its peers. It is even bigger than Mavic's huge front-specific Charge. That is fine on the front perhaps but on the rear it would pedal a tooth or 2 harder than most other tyres and not suit many peoples setup I guess. (The Michelin AR's worn out smaller diameter, like High Roller 1's do).
  • + 1
 Used the team issue 27.5. We have more roots and schlomp here than you can shake a stick at. Performed beautify. More grip than a Hans dampf or High roller 3c. A magic mary probably outpreforms it a little for grip but they are like black and white on rolling resistance.
  • + 1
 I have the AM/TCS version of these for my 29er. They're the biggest tires I've ever owned. The volume is so high that I couldn't fit one in the back of my Enduro and the front one is so tall that it changed my geometry. It's that huge. It's turned my bike into a 29+, which I'm actually not crazy about. If I was running a hardtail the extra volume might be nice but on a 6" 29er it feels unnecessary. Tread and grip has been pretty good but not good enough to overcome the squirminess of that giant carcass.
  • + 1
 I'm running the non Team Issue variety. They were a steal from Chain Reaction Cycles - half the price of comparable tyres from Schwalbe, Maxxis etc. Almost all my riding is in the Welsh hills, and they've held up extremely well.
  • + 2
 To be fair schwalbes on chan reaction are bloody expensive. in germany they are like half the price and im talking about the evo line. if your lucky u can get them for 29 pounds.
  • + 1
 Everything on CRC is bloody expensive. If they make 10-15% off on some product thats the price you'll find it at the other online stores in Europe.
  • + 1
 I've got these tyres as they came standard on my new bike. I didn't expect much from them but I was blown away with their performce. Totally predictable cornering, slide but don't wash out without warning (Nobby Nics!!!!!) and the braking performance is brilliant. I've even gone and bought a set for my lads bike too. Running the single ply casing tubeless and had no issues with punctures or burping. They are a bugger to get on though but that's the only thing.
  • + 2
 Great tire. Definitely on the heavier side of trail bike tires (they do offer it in a normal casing as well), but the thing hooks up like no other and works well with my spank tubeless setup.
  • + 5
 Some Schwalbe inspiration
  • + 3
 Mary will be flattered by this imitation
  • + 1
 Does anyone know where you can pick up the Team Issue version in the UK? I can only seem to find the tough/high tyre and the light/fast version, or is the Team Issue one of these haha??
  • + 1
 The Team Issue is the old name. This tyre is now called 'Tough High Grip'.
  • + 1
 Thank you andymac83
  • + 1
 I bought mine from iCycles in Innerleithen
  • + 1
 Why is everything 'enduro' heavy as f*ck? Think I'll stick with my non'enduro' much lighter tubeless Purgatory Control tyres
  • + 2
 The good news is most manufacturers still make lighter single-ply versions of the same tire for trail riders. Tires with thicker sidewalls are less likely to burp air, less likely to tear a sidewall, and roll less in corners at lower pressures. When you're on the clock, the security of slightly heavier gear can be worthwhile.
  • + 2
 i really don't see how a 650b tyre that weighs a measly 987g for a dual ply can be classed as heavy.
  • + 1
 4.5lb for 2 tyres, you can poke it.
  • + 2
 "you’ll need an inner-tube is to sling-shot cold beers to river rafters "

Pics or it didn't happen
  • + 1
 Haha, i agree. Yeh the tyres REALLY heavy (apparently) but hey least you've got beers in your bag when your enduro racing....
  • + 1
 This is cute. Someone realized the pattern of the old IRC Kujo actually worked....
  • + 2
 Quickly read as: "there's an issue with their 27.5" tire"
  • + 1
 bought my TC TEAM ISSUE 26" ones from CRC
  • - 3
 Sorry but these tires look like Hans Dampf death transition knobs, yes overconfidence till you work it hard means your dead people. Seriously though the tire debate is ridiculous, there is only one DHF EXO 2.5 Super Tacky tubeless / HR2 rear never ever look back. Unless you ride British muck, nothing comes even close to this set up in every respect imo.
  • + 2
 The new Minion DHRII is worth a try out back as it might make you second guess running an HRII out back - I was sceptical, but whoa is it ever a TON better.
  • + 1
 HRII I find wears out quicker than a DHRII. DHRII on the front is supposed to be good as well.
  • + 3
 dirtdoctor, you have a brilliant future ahead of you as a product tester who can test products just by looking at the online photos. This will save so much unneeded time on the bike and allow for so much more ichatter. I am running the single ply versions of these tires and am really liking them for PNW wet weather riding-the reviewer is pretty much in agreement with my own experience with these tires.
  • + 0
 codypup. I don't pretend to be a product tester, I'm just sharing from personal learning experiences like any other armchair engineer. On the other hand, I've also been lurking around North Van/ Whistler since 1990 and have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't. Everybody around here talks about rubber because it's important for survival... and most will say 'transition' knobs are a catastrophe waiting to happen. I found this out the hard way experimenting with Hans Dampf and even the Muddy Mary on 6X6 and DH rigs. These are both good grippy tires until you let go of the brakes in a corner at high speed. Very similar tread pattern to Vigilante, so I'm willing to bet they're also unsafe. The fact that you run single ply PNW tells a story too bro.
  • + 2
 Mudd Vigilante Mary?

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