WTB Wolverine 650B 2.2 AM TCS
Recommended by WTB for use for on trail, all-mountain and cross-country, the Wolverine is clearly positioned as an allrounder. The AM TCS version we tested has a slightly more beefed up casing (60TPI) and with WTB’s TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) we were impressed with the ease at which we were able to fit it onto a Stan’s rim. On the trail we paired the Wolverine as a front tyre to its (distant) WTB cousin, the Bee Line. The Wolverine’s profile is fairly neutral in that it has a squarish edge knob with moderately spaced top knobs, making it neither very square, nor very rounded; and as a result, we found it quite fast-rolling. Corners are always the true tyre-limit test points for front tyres and we found the Wolverine to really shine here. It’s got a very solid bite, especially noticeable on off-camber turns.
Thanks to its dual compound and neutral tread pattern and profile we reckon the Wolverine would also make a good rear tyre. It was predictable and firm in dry and rocky terrain, and even on sketchy sections with loose over hardpack, but wasn’t great in wet conditions (but wasn’t terrible either). Like other dual-compound tyres with a fairly neutral profile the Wolverine does wear faster than you’d expect, mostly noticeable on the centre tread though. It certainly lived up to its allrounder status and proved to be resilient against damage, even on the rockiest trails.
Weight: 825g (actual)
Size: 27.5 (650b) also available in 26 and 29-inch versions and 1.95 and 2.2 width options
Contact: 011 781 5324 – www.intltrade.co.za
WTB Bee Line 27.5 (650B) x 2.2 TCS
WTB says the Bee Line’s intended use is fast trail and aggressive XC riding. At 660g, it’s moderate in the weight dept, which you’d expect from a race-intended tyre. The version we tested has a 60TPI casing with WTB’s TCS (Tubeless Compatible System), which seated quickly and well on our Stan’s rim. Tyre installation was done using soapy water and after cleaning both the rims and tyres.
The high density, uniformly square small knobs make for a fairly rounded profile – a definitely back-tyre candidate. We paired the Bee Line as a rear tyre to the Wolverine upfront for this test period. We found it to be fast rolling – as expected – and were also able to run it at a lower pressure without penalty, which we liked. While it accelerated well, we found it wanted to break away more than might be expected when braking into tight turns, but then we were pushing it harder than most would in those situations, so it’s not really a major issue. It hooked up well on most surfaces on climbs, except for very sketchy sections. As you’d expect from a single-compound tyre the Bee Line didn’t wear too fast. And, as predicted, it wasn’t happy in mud due to the tight knob spacing, but excelled on dry, firm terrain and rocky trails. The Bee Line is only available as a 27.5 (650b) specific tyre, however WTB make the Nine Line in 29er, which is similar to the Bee Line but with more spacing in the tread pattern.
Weight: 660g (actual)
Size: 27.5 (650b) x 2.2 (only)
Contact: www.intltrade.co.za; 011 781 5324
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Originally published in TREAD Issue 27, 2014 – All rights reserved