The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

WTB Trail Boss 2.4 & 2.6 Review

An aggressive rear tire that is confident and tough but quite heavy.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $81 List | $64.76 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Aggressive tread, tough casing, solid braking bite
Cons:  Heavy, not the fastest rolling rear tire
Manufacturer:   WTB
By Pat Donahue ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 18, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 18
  • Cornering - 25% 7
  • Pedaling Traction - 20% 8
  • Braking Traction - 20% 8
  • Rolling Resistance - 15% 7
  • Longevity - 15% 7
  • Installation - 5% 7

Our Verdict

The WTB Trail Boss is a ripping rear tire that has a nice blend of traction, braking bite, and protection. While the Trail Boss might be a touch heavier than some of the traditionally popular rear tires, we feel the ride quality and durability are top-notch. This isn't the fastest rolling tire by any stretch, but it does deliver a good bit of confidence when the trails get fast and loose. Light-mid duty trail riders may want to look elsewhere as this tire could be overkill, but for the gravity-focused crowd, this is a contender. At $81, the Trail Boss is getting pricey but it falls in line with many other popular tires in terms of price.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award 
Price $64.76 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$49.41 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$59.00 at Competitive Cyclist
Compare at 2 sellers
$32.20 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
$52.19 at Amazon
Compare at 3 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
100
0
74
100
0
81
100
0
79
100
0
79
100
0
78
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Aggressive tread, tough casing, solid braking biteEXO sidewall protection, excellent cornering grip, good on front and rear, dual compound increases longevityExcellent cornering, unbeatable traction, durable supportive sidewallsExcellent cornering, reasonable weight for size, good braking traction, durableVersatile, affordable, great all-around use, intermediate tread height, fast rolling
Cons Heavy, not the fastest rolling rear tireNot awesome on hardpack, high rolling resistance, moderately expensive, requires good techniqueVery heavy, expensiveHigher rolling resistance, expensive-ishNot the best braking traction
Bottom Line An aggressive rear tire that is confident and tough but quite heavy.The Minion DHF is one of the most popular tires ever, and for good reason.Maxxis' new Assegai is a big and burly DH tire that inspires confidence with outstanding traction.The DHR II is an aggressive rear trail tire that is worthy of the Maxxis Minion name.The Aggressor is an excellent do-it-all rear tire for any kind of riding.
Rating Categories WTB Trail Boss 2.4 & 2.6 Maxxis Minion DHF 3C/EXO Maxxis Assegai Maxxis Minion DHR II Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 EXO
Cornering (25%)
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
Pedaling Traction (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Braking Traction (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Rolling Resistance (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
8
Longevity (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
Installation (5%)
10
0
7
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Specs WTB Trail Boss 2.4... Maxxis Minion DHF... Maxxis Assegai Maxxis Minion DHR II Maxxis Aggressor...
Size tested 27.5" x 2.4" 27.5" x 2.3" 27.5" x 2.5" 27.5" x 2.4" 27.5" x 2.3"
Weight as tested 1083g 870g 1303g 917g 885g
Front, Rear, or Both Rear Front, Both Both Rear Rear
Casing Tested Tough EXO EXO EXO EXO
Compound Tested TriTec Fast Rolling Maxx Terra 3C MaxxGrip 3C Maxx Terra Dual
Bead TCS Aramid Foldable Foldable Foldable Foldable
Tread Count (TPI) 2 ply/60 60 60 60 60

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Trail Boss was a solid performer in most categories. As with other WTB tires we have tested, its weight is really the only major downside. The Trail Boss performed well in the cornering, pedal traction, braking traction, and longevity categories. Due to its mass, the rolling resistance was not phenomenal, but it was respectable. This is a viable option for a lot of riders.

Performance Comparison



The Trail Boss is a ripping rear tire. Cornering abilities are impressive.
The Trail Boss is a ripping rear tire. Cornering abilities are impressive.

Cornering


The Trail Boss delivers stellar cornering feel. It is quite easy to find the edge of control on this tire. While some of the more rounded tires have a vague feel, the pronounced shoulder knobs on this WTB tire are reassuring. It is quite easy and user-friendly to roll this tire onto its shoulder knobs. When you are on the edge, it is very clear and easy to feel. It is also quite clear when you lean the tires just a little bit too far.

When cornering under braking loads, the Trail Boss is even more impressive. This tire has big enough lugs to still hold up when you apply the brake. To be clear, braking hard will certainly force the tire to slide out, but careful braking through a sharp corner is confident and impressive. The Trail Boss is significantly better in this category compared to other rear specific tires.

We don't recommend this tire on the front wheel. That said, we could see it working on the front tire in super loamy areas. The center tread isn't quite robust enough to feel confident on the front wheel in loose, or loose-over-hard settings.

This tire engages quite well under pedaling loads.
This tire engages quite well under pedaling loads.

Pedal Traction


The Trail Boss offers excellent pedaling traction. Whether you are standing up and punching up a steep, sandy, pitch or picking your way up a ledgy, rooty, climb, it hooks up well. In addition, the tightly packed center tread also works well on hard-packed climbs.

Our test environment includes a whole lot of decomposed granite. This material is essentially tiny pieces of broken-down rock. This soil provides an excellent opportunity to test pedaling grip. The Trail Boss was really a standout performer. Seated or standing, this tire had a bit of a set-it-and-forget-it feel. Yes, you had to pay attention to weight distribution when punching uphill, but it didn't require you to focus on it like some other tires in this review. We ran approximately 24-PSI in this tire and enjoyed splendid climbing traction.

In the event the tire spun on us, we found it recovered quickly. Other tires spin out and the climb is essentially over and you're walking. On the occasion the Trail Boss started to spin out, it was able to correct itself and keep moving forward.

When it is time to shut down the speed  this tire was impressive.
When it is time to shut down the speed, this tire was impressive.

Braking Traction


Another particularly impressive attribute of the Trail Boss was its excellent braking traction. When it is time to shut down the speed, this tire reacts quickly and gets it done.

The lugs on the center tread are tall enough to get a nice grab into the trail surface. While this pronounced center tread may be detrimental to rolling speed, it works very well to shut your speed down. The lugs have horizontal sipes in them to assist in braking duties.

We found this tire to brake most effectively over hardpack or on rock. Loose and loose-over-hard conditions are especially challenging when ditching speed. The Trail Boss performs about as well as possible in this scenario.

We messed around with air pressure with this tire. We found that slightly lower pressure, say 23-24 PSI offers better braking power than 26-27 PSI. We recommend being careful in this area as 23 PSI is getting on the low side for a 2.4-inch tire. If you're riding loads of rock, this is an easy way to damage your rim. This is a dangerous game.

The center tread is relatively tightly packed which helps to reduce rolling resistance  the weight  however  counteracts that a bit.
The center tread is relatively tightly packed which helps to reduce rolling resistance, the weight, however, counteracts that a bit.

Rolling Resistance


Rolling resistance is respectable on the Trail Boss. There are a few things going on that complicate the matter, and it seemed like a constant battle between a decently fast-rolling tread pattern and a very heavy tire.

On one hand, the tread pattern provides a nice rolling feel. If you look at the center of the tread, you find relatively tightly compacted knobs. These compact knobs roll faster than ones that are more spread out. Why? When the knobs are closer together there is no hitch in between the tread blocks. When the tread is more spread out, the tire slows down just a bit more with every revolution. Back to the tire at hand, The Trail Boss rolls quickly without being a semi-slick tire. In other words, it has a nice balance of traction and rolling speed, similar in feel to the Maxxis Aggressor.

The other big element is weight. This tire is heavy. Our TCS Tough/Fast Rolling 27.5 x 2.4-inch tire weighs 1156-grams. This is extremely heavy. While we don't identify as weight-weenies here at OutdoorGearLab, this is a lot of weight. This is rotational weight in arguably the most important area of the bike and it is quite noticeable when slogging up a long climb. The enduro or aggressive trail crowd may not care. Still, this tire rolls respectably.

The Trail Boss is an aggressive  enduro-friendly  rear tire.
The Trail Boss is an aggressive, enduro-friendly, rear tire.

Longevity


Throughout testing, we observed no serious amounts of wear on the tire. In fact, we were quite impressed with how good the tires looked after approximately ten rides. It should be noted that we rode primarily on decomposed granite, a material known to wear tires quite quickly. In addition, when testing tires, we are inspired to corner hard really test the limits. This can also take a toll on the tread of a tire. All of that said, the Trail Boss is still in exceptional condition. Aside from the worn tire whiskers, it looks new.

The sidewall of our TCS Tough tire is still immaculate. The carcass feels quite stiff and we believe these will withstand quite the beatdown. Is this tire heavy? Yes. Does it feel bombproof? Yes.

Installation


We were able to install this tire easily. We set it up tubeless with both a compressor and a tubeless booster pump. They snapped on easily and didn't lose any air after they had been ridden.

It should be noted that we observed some seepage of sealant through the sidewall. This really doesn't have any tangible negative impact on performance, but it is noteworthy nonetheless. You can see some moisture working through the sidewalls that look perpetually wet. We have had experience with other manufacturers where this was a warranty issue. We have ridden other WTB tires and have never found this to be an issue in the past.

Best Applications


The Trail Boss is a great choice for the enduro or aggressive trail rider who doesn't give much thought to weight. If charging downhill is your idea of fun, then this is a totally viable option for the rear of your aggressive shred sled. We tested the 2.4-inch version but we suspect the 2.6-inch tire would be fantastic too. Pair it with a Vigilante in the front for an aggressive trail riding combo.

This tire may be a little overkill for riders who frequently ride buff and smooth terrain. Those riders may be better suited for a lighter and faster rolling tire that weighs close to a pound less than the Trail Boss.

Value


Our Trail Boss Tough/Fast Rolling tire sells for $80. This is about average for a high-end tire from a major manufacturer. We think the performance is top-notch, although there are significantly lighter options at this price. Still, we think this tire is a solid value for a rider looking for a long-lasting, aggressive rear tire that can stand up to a serious beating.

This is an excellent tire. Unfortunately  the weight may be a turn off to a lot of riders.
This is an excellent tire. Unfortunately, the weight may be a turn off to a lot of riders.

Conclusion


The WTB Trail Boss is a rock-solid rear tire. Its key positive attributes are its solid cornering abilities, toughness, and great braking traction. The on-trail feel is excellent when you're pointed downhill. Unfortunately for WTB, a lot of people will get hung up on the high weight and substantial price point citing equally awesome tires that weigh a half-pound less. Still, it is refreshing to see such a ripping tire from WTB.

Other Versions


We tested the Trail Boss TCS Tough/Fast Rolling tire.

It is also available in a TCS Light w/ Slash Guard. This version is lighter and less expensive but also has less sidewall protection. This could be a good option for riders on buff trails absent of serious rock gardens.

The Trail Boss is also available in TCS Tough/High Grip which uses a softer rubber compound softer and offers a bit more traction. The weight is comparable, though we expect the tread to wear faster.

All versions are available in 2.4-inch or 2.6-inch widths.


Pat Donahue