The WTB Vigilante is an aggressive tire that scored well. No, this tire is not light. Actually, it is quite heavy. Weight aside, the Vigilante is a supremely confident tire that can turn the front end of any bike into a shredder. Cornering abilities are sharp, the casing has a robust feel, and the price point is competitive. There is a lot to like here, and it is nice to see such a quality entry from a smaller manufacturer. While the Vigilante boasts excellent performance, it may simply be too heavy for some to want to lug around. For the enduro crowd or anyone who doesn't care about weight, this tire is worth serious consideration.
WTB Vigilante 2.5 & 2.6 Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Aggressive, excellent cornering abilities, burly
Cons: Heavy, sealant seepage, slow rolling
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vigilante racked up some serious points in a couple of important categories. Cornering, longevity, and braking traction were areas of strength. Rolling resistance and installation was a little less impressive. Still, this tire posted enough points to be a strong finisher in our overall review and an excellent choice for enduro riders and those less concerned with weight.
The Vigilante offers stellar cornering traction that can compete with any tire in our test. Regardless of the soil type, this tire rails through the bends.
Mounted on our 30mm test wheels, the Vigilante has a squared-off profile with very pronounced, somewhat staggered, tightly compacted, shoulder knobs. It has a more square appearance compared to the Editor's Choice Maxxis Minion DHF. The result is a very defined feel when you are cornering. It is quite easy to tell when you are on the corner knobs. Other, more rounded tires have a vague feeling.
Transitioning onto the shoulder knobs is smooth and seamless. There is no sketchy in-between zone on the tire tread. Occasionally, there will be somewhat of a no-man's-land on the tread of a tire that causes a hitchy, or sketchy, feeling when leaning the tire over. This is not the case with the Vigilante, simply grip it and rip it. The TriTec Fast Rolling rubber compound felt fine. It certainly wasn't the most supple rubber we have ever ridden, but that is quite okay. It did a banger job in all situations. Loose, hard, loam, rock, this tire corners well. The Vigilante is also offered in a High Grip rubber compound that is tackier but wears out more quickly.
We feel the Vigilante is best suited to serve as a front tire. Given the shape, aggressive tread, and all-around sickness of this tire, it seems to us like it was designed for use up front. When you are climbing, this tire steers very well even through sandy, loose, nastiness. There should be little concern about this tire staying on-course steering through uphill corners or working over awkward terrain.
If you wanted to run this tire on the rear, or front and rear, there would be ample pedaling traction. This would be a pretty serious and exceptionally heavy tire setup, but there would undoubtedly be no shortage of traction. The center knobs are aggressive and tall enough to provide a good bite onto any surface. Also, they are spaced out enough to really hook up onto imperfect surfaces.
Again, we feel the Vigilante is best suited as a front tire, and as such, we feel it offers great braking bite. In those scenarios where you come around a corner hot and need to shut down the speed ASAP, the Vigilante has your back. Slam on front and rear brake, and we assure you, this tire will stop quickly thanks to the tall, aggressive, squared-off lugs with ample spacing.
If run on the rear, you can expect solid braking abilities too. The lugs are tall and aggressive and should hook up nicely when you slam on the brakes. The tread is not heavily siped, another indication that the Vigilante was intended for the front of the bike. Siping helps the tire grip under braking loads. Still, this tire is big and knobby enough to want to hook up well with the binders closed.
Rolling resistance is not a strong suit of the Vigilante. If you want a fast-rolling tire, there are far better options on the market. This enduro or aggressive-trail tire is meant to shred hard and provide killer traction; rolling resistance does not appear to be a priority in the design process.
There are a couple of elements at play here. First, the big and chunky tread pattern does not roll very efficiently. There is a lot of drag produced by all of those rubbery lugs. This is noticeable if you are simply rolling down the street. While coasting along, you will slow down much more quickly than most other tires. The other element is the weight. Our 27.5 x 2.5-inch test tire weighs 1197 grams. All of this mass is more difficult to keep rolling forward compared to lighter, more feathery, tires. Again this tire is intended for confidence while shredding downhill, and weight wasn't a key consideration. The gravity-focused crowd likely won't care about this weight and rolling resistance. Those focused on efficiency may be turned off by these characteristics.
We have put plenty of time on the Vigilante now. The bulk of our riding has been on moderately rocky decomposed granite. This type of soil can be particularly difficult on the longevity of tires, as it is essentially a bunch of fine rock. We observed little significant wear on our tires. This is in contrast to many WTB tires we've used in the past, which have worn very quickly.
The little fuzzy hairs found on new tires have worn off, but the lugs and tread pattern still looks fantastic. This tire felt tough, and we were never concerned about the integrity of the casing and sidewalls. We were highly impressed with the structural integrity of the Vigilante, especially when compared to previous versions we've tested.
The Vigilante was quite easy to install. The tire was easy enough to get on the rim, but we did need to use two tire levers to get the last bit of the bead over the edge of the rim. We seated the bead quickly and easily with both a compressor and a tubeless booster pump. The bead snapped on easily at approximately 40 PSI.
We have noticed a substantial amount of sealant starting to seepage through the sidewall. This is easy to spot as the sidewall looks wet in spots. Once we rode the Vigilante, the air was holding just fine, but the sealant seepage did continue. In our experience, manufacturers have warrantied tires with this issue. That said, it hasn't affected the performance at all, though the appearance is somewhat disconcerting.
At its retail price, our Vigilante TCS Tough/Fast Rolling is an okay value. There are less expensive tires out there, but we do feel this option offers high-end performance. Our Editor's Choice Maxxis Minion DHF is about the same price but is lighter and has every bit as much grip.
The WTB Vigilante is a mean and shreddy front tire that can hang with the best of the best. Cornering, traction, and longevity were impressive. This is a great option for the gravity-focused rider who wants to try something new. Unfortunately, the Vigilante is simply too heavy for the majority of trail riders who can find options with similar performance at a much, much lower weight. Still, we love this tire.
We tested the Vigilante TCS Tough/Fast Rolling tire.
WTB also offers it in a TCS Light w/ Slash Guard. This version weighs and costs less expensive but also has less sidewall protection. This may be a good option for less aggressive riders and terrain.
The Vigilante is also available in TCS Tough/High Grip, which is a touch softer and offers a bit more traction. Weight is comparable, but we expect the lifespan of the tire, most notably the side knobs, to be much shorter.
All versions are available in 2.5-inch or 2.6-inch widths in both 27.5-inch and 29-inch wheel sizes.
— Pat Donahue