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The original Weirwolf LT 2.55 was a curious tire. The ultra-high volume casing placed lots of short knobs on the ground, and they stuck like Velcro to all types of terrain short of mud. The tire also rolled fast and offered plenty of cushion for the rocks—a combination that made it the go-to tire for the Downieville Classic and other endurance races—WTB riders Jason Moeschler and Mark Weir each won Downieville twice on the tire. But it wasn’t perfect: the tread broke away easily when leaned over, and it took pro-level handling to rip around fast, soft corners. Despite its loose handling, I loved the tire, but many others did not. Due to low sales, WTB redesigned the model this year, hoping to attract more riders with a fresh tread pattern.
With the redesign, the $75 tire is now only available as a 29er in the 2.55 width. It uses the company’s TCS tubeless ready 120 TPI casing and UST bead shape. The tire is actually much narrower than the name suggests, however, and looks similar in size, shape and width to the 2.3-inch Weirwolf 26-inch tire, which was redesigned in 2010. Measured with calipers, the tire is actually closer to 2.3-inches wide. (WTB says the 2.5-inch size was based on prototypes but the production tires are narrower). The “LT” in the name stands for low tread. While that was true of the previous version, the updated knobs are quite a bit taller.
But let’s not get hung up on technicalities—the new 762-gram LT is a great tire. Not surprisingly, it performs much like the 26-inch Weirwolf. It grips on a wide variety of soil and terrain but does its best work in medium to soft conditions. It also transitions easily from loose to hardpack. It’s good in the wet but the closely spaced knobs don’t clear mud especially well. The terraced side knobs dig into corners, offering some of the most predictable cornering that I’ve ever felt—even at extreme lean angles. The loosey-goosey feel of the old LT is long gone and these tires corner like they’re connected to rails. There’s a downside, however, to the tenacious grip. Even with ramped knobs, the LT feels sluggish rolling down the trail—the previous version had much less rolling resistance.
The tread withstood months of testing and gripped well even after the knobs lost their sharp edges. The sidewalls are robust and survived multiple trips through rock gardens. I ran Stan’s sealant and didn’t suffer a single flat. Both tires mounted and seated without drama, too. One of my test samples has a slight wiggle in the tread, but that is nothing more than a slight distraction.
While the new tire loses the fast-rolling tread that made it popular among aggressive trail riders, its improved cornering makes it ideal for the longer-travel 29ers like the Santa Cruz Tallboy LT just hitting the market now. It excels when pointed downhill and few tires have as much grip over such a wide range of trail conditions.