WTB Ranger: It’s a Wrap!
It’s been three months since we did the opening look and then the mid-term assessment on the WTB Ranger (29” x 3.0” TCS Light/Fast) plus tires, and that period of testing was just interrupted by a rear tire getting a sidewall cut on a trail that can definitely inflict some damage. Thankfully, WTB had a replacement in the mail within a few days, and I was back up and running.
I am riding a Stache 9 29+ with 50 mm Mulefüt rims, and the WTB Ranger took some strength and finagling to coerce the bead to come off the seat of the rim. The upside of this very tight fit is that there will be less chance of coercing the bead from the seat while you’re riding. The replacement Ranger once again mounted up with some reassuring “pops” as the bead seated onto the Mulefüt rims.
Since that time, I have had no further incidents, and I did give it a go on another trail that has similar long stretches of sharp rocks just waiting to take the shine off of an awesome ride. On that day, I managed to avoid damaging the Rangers, but I will admit that I was riding a bit more tentatively by making more of an effort to dodge some of the more menacing outcroppings. Another rider in our crew did slash the sidewall of fairly new tire (a different brand) that features the heaviest casing offered for that tire, which confirms that abundant danger was indeed lurking.
Back on the trails I ride more frequently, I have really come to like the way the Ranger performs. Very fast, consistent and forgiving are the traits that come to mind. I am inclined to want to say that the speed that these tires afford me is somewhat of a relative phenomenon, and that they should only be compared to other plus tires.
The plus wheel bike took things up a notch for me beyond what ‘normal’ 29er tires/wheels previously enabled me to do. And the WTB Rangers have me riding trails that I have ridden in excess of a thousand times, faster and more confidently than ever.
Some of you may notice that I have not said anything of the WTB Ranger’s mud riding traits. That is because most of the trails we ride have soil that turns to nasty, sticky clay in anything more than a spritz. It will stop you in your tracks in a very short time, can damage trails significantly, and will take gobs of time to clean it all out. Since it hardly ever rains in southern California, we generally wait a day or so, and then enjoy the hero dirt.
Editor’s Note: We did get out into some wetter dirt and mud, as much as we have rideable mud anyway, and the clay/sand mix did seem to clean out decently well. Hardly a true test of anything really, but we did not have any big issues either.
- VERY fast rolling
- Consistent traction from center to side knobs
- No ‘bad manners’
- Securely seated to rims
- Not terribly difficult to install tubeless
- Fairly light for a 29 plus tire
- Moderately priced for a high performance tire
- Sidewalls might be susceptible to cuts
- Difficult to remove from my rims
I would heartily recommend the Ranger to family and friends, and it will be my go-to tire going forward with the only caveats being:
- It may not be super durable in harsher environments (trails with sharp rocks). As of this writing, I see that WTB have announced a ‘Tough/Fast’ version of a 29” x 3.0”, so if that is where you ride, I would go with that version over the Light/Fast version.
- Since it is a super tight fitting tire, some rims with larger diameter than average bead seats may not be able to have a Ranger tire installed (Editor: Like Rovals)
To be fair, I was testing the ‘Light/Fast’ version of this tire and that could be very well be taken to mean that durability was not the highest priority for this particular offering. And I don’t mean to say that the Light/Fast version of the Ranger is a delicate flower and not up to the task of being ridden hard in a variety of situations. I think that when in conditions where a ‘Light/Fast’ tire is expected to live and thrive, this version of the Ranger not only met, but even exceeded my expectations.
The Light/Fast version of the 27.5” x 3.0” Ranger is advertised to be 245g lighter than the recently revealed Tough/Fast version. If the Tough/Fast version of the 29” x 3.0” Ranger sees a proportionately similar increase in weight, it could tip the scales somewhere around the 1175g mark, however, this is purely speculation as the weight of this tire has not yet been announced. It will be interesting to see how that tire compares.
Note: The products shown here were provided at no cost to Twenty Nine Inches for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed for these reviews and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.