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WTB Convict Tire Review

Wilderness Trail Bikes has been around a long time. They came to creation in Marin county what many consider to be the possible birthplace of Mountain Biking. The scene in the late 1970's and early 1980's was much different in Marin. The times have changed and WTB has evolved and is now making tires, saddles, grips and their own rims. We gave them a call to get a set of Convict tires to test out. Our terrain is about 85% rock with spattering sections of soil the dusty kind with no traction and marbled out high speed loose trails with no berms. It takes a hell of a tire to perform well in San Luis Obispo.

"WTB was founded in Marin County, California in 1982, fueled by the need to create durable and reliable mountain bike-specific equipment. Back then mountain biking was a new and burgeoning sport, and mountain bikes weren’t much more than cobbled-together oddities. The original WTB crew was captivated by the experience of riding bikes on dirt trails, and they started creating more durable and functional components for their own bikes. Soon, local frame builders sought to outfit their bikes with WTB’s high-end components. WTB was able to turn our passion for bikes into a successful business.

Today WTB is a global enterprise; our innovative components are used for trail riding, transportation, recreation and elite racing across the globe. After 30 years things have changed a bit here at WTB–our little garage has morphed into a real office and the bikes we ride and the components we make have evolved to meet the needs of today’s riders, racers, and commuters. What hasn’t changed is our passion for cycling and our commitment to providing the cycling community with durable, reliable, high-performance components."

We received a box from WTB and were not surprised to find their 2.5 size to be true to form. The other WTB tires we have used in the past proved to be very close to their claimed width. Placing The Convict on a scale showed what would prove to be its only real weakness. The 650b tire was 1280 grams which are pretty hefty for an Enduro tire. Granted this is large with a serious casing it is still worth noting.   

Mounting the tires onto the i9 305 Enduro wheels was pretty easy. The sidewalls are thick and it will take some encouragement from your fingers to get them to mount on the rim. We poured 4oz of Stans into each tire and they seated up easily enough with a compressor. With a heavier casing like this, we typically run between 28-32 PSI in the tires. There were a few occasions we went down to 25 just to see how it would resist roll or rim damage. We did hit the rim pretty hard a few times with lower PSI but the rim didn't dent. WTB have themselves a stiff sidewall on The Convict tire. It started to roll some under high G situations but never burped.

WTB Convict Tire Features  

  • Actual weights:
    • 2.5 Light: 1053 grams
    • 2.5 Tough Fast: 1275 grams
    • 2.5 Tough Grip: 1293 grams
  • Actual width:
    • 2.5: Casing 2.28", Tread 2.52" 
  • Gravity Rubber compound
    • Ultra-tacky
    • Slow rebound
  • Lightweight casing balances weight and durability
  • Tough casing provides maximum protection and durability
  • Designed for loam, rocks, wet, dry, and everything in between

"The Convict epitomizes the toothy tread and robust features of truly aggressive gravity tires. Making easy work of the gnarliest lines, the Convict chews through a wide range of terrain while standing up to every rock and drop it meets along the way. Tall, meaty knobs with multi-directional channels provide steadfast traction whether braking hard or decimating corners. This is not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, let’s-take-it-easy kind of tire. The Convict encourages riders to really get after it and test what both they and their bikes are capable of. With the Convict leading the way, your tires will not be the weakest link. Guilty of first-degree loam assault. Sentenced to life for devouring the gnarliest descents."

Our first ride on the Convict was on a trail that we ride every week. It is about 800 feet to the top and getting back down it takes around 5 minutes. There was a good amount of rain this year but our skies have been dry for around 2 months now. The dirt around here is a red clay base and gets pretty slippery with rocks scattered all over the top of it. Entering the first few turn The Convict provided good grip and gave us the confidence to lean the bike more. The fourth turn on this trail is a severe off-camber left hander that is very sharp about 120 degrees the front of the bike offered copious amounts of grip and I just got the rear to break loose with a dab of the brakes to make the tight turn.

The next trail is about 1000 feet to the top. Fast times going down are about 2:30 or so. This trail has a rock garden that is about 300 yards in length. After that, you enter the trees and begin riding on a hard pack dirt. This section is very fast and filled with fast gradual turns. I was running 27 PSI on the front tire and just below 32 on the rear. This is the first time I smashed the rim pretty hard. The Front tire hit a softball sized rock at over 20 mph and made a nice loud ping. Even though we had the fast roll version the front tire still offered very good traction in the baby heads. Lower down the trail the Convict did well in the high-speed hard pack. WTB seemed to have done a good job with The Convict they offered great traction on the loose rocks. I know the sticky version would have been even better!


Overall I was very impressed with The WTB Convict tire. It worked very well as a front tire on our traction deprived trails. They did a good job making a tough casing that will tolerate low PSI and not tear of flat easily. The tire did well on rock and hardpack.  We didn't have the chance to ride in much-wet weather this time around, In total, we hit the trails 3 times in wet conditions and only road the very rock filled ones with little to no mud. It felt good there but we would need actual mud conditions to get a real idea how The Convict would handle under those circumstances.

This isn't the lightest tire out there. They do make a lighter version if weight is a big concern for you. Having a tire that sticks in varying types of terrain is great. This is a tire I would highly recommend to a friend and will for sure be buying to mount onto personal bikes down the road. Bringing your bike to the park and not having to swap out tires beforehand is another big plus of a thickly walled tire. Laboring up the climbs a bit more in favour of almost never having a flat is a worthwhile trade-off.  

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