WTB Convict Tire Review
I’ve reviewed a couple WTB tires in the past, so I was keen to try WTB's new Convict tire. While I like the Trail Boss and the Break Out as rear tire options, I haven’t found a front tire from WTB that I really like yet. Could the WTB Convict be the front tire I’ve been looking for?
I'm not body shaming here, but the WTB Convict is a big, chunky tire. It comes in 27.5 x 2.5” only and is offered in three different flavours. Two casing options; Light (1042 grams) or Tough (1250 grams) and two compound options; High Grip or Fast Rolling. The only permutation not available is the Light Casing / Fast Rolling option. I give kudos to WTB for making their casing and compounds names easy to understand, I don't think any further explanations are necessary. Compound wise all the tires have 50a side knobs. The Fast Rolling variant rubber is 60a compound down the center, where as the High Grip is 50a down the center. On a 30 mm internal width rim, these inflate up to roughly 60 mm width measured across the casing. Girthy.
Pricing wise the Tough Casing tires are $77 USD a piece, and the Light Casing tires are $68 USD. That puts them in the same price range as a Maxxis tire, and cheaper than a Schwalbe. I've been using WTB tires for a while now, and I've been impressed with build quality. The casings are on the stiffer side, but seem to be more durable than their competitors. I've had no delamination, or casing stretch issues with any WTB tire to date. Fit is excellent, with relatively easy tubeless inflation on most rims I've tried.
So enough of that. How does it ride? In short really well. While the casings are tough, they seem fairly compliant. The tougher casings mean I can run the tire pressures I desire, which for me is 24 psig front, and 27-28 psig in the rear. All tires were setup tubeless, and used on a variety of rims; We Are One Agents 30 mm internal width, Reynolds carbon 28 mm interal width, and e13 LG1R 27 mm internal width.
Tread design wise the Convict looks a lot like a chunkier DHR2. Perfect, I love that tire. Support is generous, with a bit more space from center knob to the side knob than the DHR2. The tread offers excellent braking and excellent traction on the side knob. The transition from center to side knob feels very progressive, even with the fairly large void between the two. The side knob was communicative on the limit and broke traction gracefully. I found myself routinely pushing the limit of cornering traction on the front end, knowing the loss of traction was gradual and predictable. The center knobs seem to roll surprisingly well for a fairly aggressive tire yet still offered up good traction.
I’d say the Convict is slightly less aggressive than the Schwalbe Magic Mary, but offers much better rolling characteristics, and significantly longer life. The Fast Rolling version offered up less braking grip on firm surfaces like rock faces than the High Grip version, as to be expected. Ideally I'd run a High Grip version on the front, and a Fast Rolling Tough Casing version on the rear. The compound on the Convict is slightly firmer than some of the Maxxis and Schwalbe tires. While traction in dry conditions was as good if not better than its softer competitors, I noticed the Convict wasn’t quite as good as the softer tires on damp slippery surfaces. With durability being excellent I'd say the Convict would be an optimal all round summer tire, where wet traction is less important. A cut spike type tire like the Magic Mary or the Shorty is going to provide better grip in softer and wetter conditions over the Convict, but at the expense of rolling speed and durability.
So far tire degradation has been minimal. The Convict almost looks brand new after plenty of use, with many days in the bike park. The casing shows minimal damage and I had no flats (on the Tough Casing version) or issues over the review period. While not originally a part of this test; I did put a hole in a Light Casing version when I smashed a rock, with too little tire pressure last week-end. That marks the first flat I've had on a WTB tire in years of running them. An impressive track record.
The WTB Convict offers good value for money with great casing options, good compounds and good tread design. For an aggressive trail bike / enduro I'm trying a Light Casing High Grip variant on the front, and I like the results so far. For a DH bike, the Tough Casing High Grip / Fast Rolling combo would be a great all round tire setup. Out and out grip in soft, slippery and steep conditions might not be as high as the Magic Mary. But the Convict offers superior rolling speed and durability. All in all; the Convict is a great all round, large volume, aggressive tire worthy on a DH or Enduro bike.
For more on the Convict click here...