WTB Wolverine 29" Review – First Impressions

Bike Carson just received a set of the all-new 2010 Wolverine 29×2.2″ tires from Wilderness Trail Bikes for test and review! Previously, the Wolverine mountain bike tire has only been available in a 26″ size, but due to increased demand from the growing 29er community, they have now been made available in a larger 29″ version as well.

The Wolverine is advertised as having a tread pattern that works well in a wide variety of conditions. As we head into Winter here in Northern Nevada, we’re certainly going to have a large assortment of conditions to ride in for the next several months.  We will have the perfect testing grounds for the new Wolverine.

WTB Wolverine 29x2.2
WTB Wolverine 29×2.2″ Race, 60tpi casing, Aramid folding bead

The 29″ Wolverine is a fairly high volume tire with moderately spaced knobs. The knobs are small and numerous, and provide many biting edges. The center knobs are of medium height, but become much more aggressive toward the edges of the tires. Additionally, there are micro knobbies between the spaces of the larger knobs.  It appears that the Wolverine will have a good balance of low rolling resistance, traction, and mud shedding capability.

WTB Wolverine 29x2.2
Moderately spaced tread pattern with large side knobs

I’ve been using the big volume WTB Weirwolf LT 29×2.55″ as a front tire on my single speed for over a year now. While I’ve really enjoyed this large plush tire, the low profile side knobbies tend to drift in our Eastern Sierra sandy conditions. Not much mind you, but enough for me to want a tad more bite. It’s my hope that the Wolverine will provide that extra turning traction I’m looking for, without sacrificing too much suspension.

WTB Wolverine 29x2.2
The big 2.2″ casing feels plush enough for rigid fork use

Before mounting the tires, I put them on my scale. One tire weighed in at 805 grams, the other 840 grams. The WTB website originally advertised the tire as being 700 grams, so I asked WTB about this. They say they’ve been seeing the weights come in quite a bit heavier than the pre-production samples, and they’ve since updated the website to advertise the tire as 800 grams. Still, there is hope that they may find why the variation occurred and correct it. Especially if the weight of the 26″ version is as light as advertised at 560 grams.

Even though the tire was a bit heavier than I had hoped for, I don’t mind pedaling a heavier tire if there’s a pay-off in performance. If you’re looking for big volume, lots of traction, and light weight, you probably won’t find it all in one tire. You generally have to pick two of these qualities, and decide which remaining quality you’ll need the least of. It should be noted though, that tires with low rolling resistance tend to feel lighter than tires with big open tread patterns. The moderately spaced knobbies of the Wolverine should allow the tire to roll easily, and help cancel out some of the additional weight.

WTB Wolverine 29x2.2
Wolverines on the Trail

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 29×2.2″ – 54/52
  • WTB’s fast-rolling, long lasting 60a durometer rubber
  • Moderately spaced tread pattern
  • Weight saving folding Aramid Bead
  • 60 Threads Per Inch (TPI) casing
  • Weight: Test tires weighed in at 805 grams and 840 grams.
  • Here’s a video from WTB that has further information about the tire.

WTB Wolverine 29x2.2
Putting the Wolverine’s Traction to the Test

First Impressions

I’m a big fan of WTB tires. I’ve found their long-wearing rubber compound to be a good value, and have enjoyed WTB’s selection of big volume tires that are still light enough for trail riding. I’ve only had a couple days on the Wolverines so far, but I’ve had the opportunity to ride them in a wide variety of conditions. In under 30 miles, I’ve ridden them on pavement, sand, hardpack, mud, snow, and ice! The results have been very pleasing, and I’ve had a big smile on my face trying to see how far I can lean the bike over in the turns. The Wolverines roll fast, and seem to hook up well whether climbing, turning, or descending. Still, more testing must be done…

Stay Tuned for the Full Bike Carson Crew Test

The next step will be for the Bike Carson crew to take the 29″ Wolverines out for full testing on a variety of different bikes and terrain. The tires will be put to the test on rigid single speeds, geared hardtails, and full suspension bikes. The local Fall/Winter riding conditions will expose the tires to a wide variety of terrain. They’ll be ridden in the decomposed granite, mud, and snow of the Eastern Sierras, and the hardpack clay and rocks in the deserts to the east. Near the end of the testing, we’ll see how the Wolverine works when converted to tubeless. Stay tuned for the full results.

Obligatory disclaimer as required by the FTC: This product was given to BikeCarson.com at no charge for test and review. We were not paid or bribed to do this review, and will provide our honest and personal views throughout the entire process.

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9 thoughts on “WTB Wolverine 29" Review – First Impressions

  1. Jeff,

    What is the actual width? Looking to replace the Nevegal 2.2 on my SS as I sometimes experience rubbing under heavy pedaling.

    1. Jeff, I am looking for some new tires. Are you still running these and do you still like them? I have been running Nevegals on my SS and Hutchison Toros on my geared bike. The Toros and tubeless and work ok, but they are a bit skinny for the rigid SS. I have heard good things about the GEAX Saguros except they are reported to be a pain to get on Stans rims. Anyway, just trying to see what other 29er tires are being used arounf here.

  2. Yes! I still have one on the front and it’s served me well. It’s about a year old now and still hooking up. I’ve been running the Nano Raptor on the back though, as it’s super light (not as durable though). I’d for sure get another one, but I’m curious about WTB’s new Bronson 29″ tire. Look for a test on that one soon too!

  3. Jeff I owe you some input on the Wolverine. now that Baseball is over I hope to get it to you.

    Kary I LOVE them on my SS. If your running Nevegals now get ready to FLY once you change.

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