World Cup level WTB Ranger gets light & fast in time for XC race season

The popular new Ranger tread from WTB has in fact already been raced at top-level XC this past year, digging in at last season’s World Championships in Nové Město under WTB’s sponsored athletes, including Canadian Raphaël Gagné above. But now as regular riders look forward to a new season of racing and trail riding, you can actually get ahold of the new lightweight 2.25″ tire. Developed to be a wide ranging conditions tire with grip in wet and dry, the Ranger comes in both fast rolling and high grip rubber compounds and two wheel sizes…

The Ranger 2.25 is a fast rolling tire that still sheds mud easily making it transition well for both dry and wet riding, although it apparently really shines once the trail starts to get damp. The design has proved popular and universal to the point that it has become one of WTB’s most popular new treads from the 3″ wide 29+ off-road bikepacking version to the same width 27.5+ tire for aggressive trail riding, and even good ole’ 26″ in a couple of plus sizes.

The low-profile, tightly spaced center knobs are the same as on the earlier wider plus-sized versions, which goes a long way to making the Rangers fast rolling. But to get the grip and versatility they add in open lug spacing (and one less row of knobs on each side) and split shoulder knobs that can grip but shed mud for cornering in a range of trail conditions. WTB rates it for all conditions, but the Ranger likes it best wet. Their team riders have adopted the tire as a go-to whenever the weather and trail conditions are unpredictable, due to their ability to stick to wet rocks and roots, while still feeling fast on pavement and hardpack.

The key here though is a lightweight TCS tubeless casing and the option to pick one of two levels of sticky rubber. WTB keeps the jargon to themselves mostly and makes the choice simple, either: Fast Rolling or High Grip. Both options get dual composition rubber. The Fast tires do it by pairing fast-rolling 60a durometer rubber along the centerline and stickier 50a side knobs. The Grip tires use a 60a rubber from bead-to-bead, but then use a softer 45a rubber for all of their tread blocks making them extra grippy.

Available in both Fast Rolling & High Grip in either 27.5″ or 29″ x 2.25″ or Fast Rolling in 2.0 for either diameter, the 2.25″ Fast preproduction samples weighed in at 685g and 695g for the two wheel sizes respectively. The 27.5″ tires retail for $68 in either rubber option, with the 29ers just a couple of bucks more at $70. All are available now from WTB directly or through your friendly local retailer.


10 thoughts on “World Cup level WTB Ranger gets light & fast in time for XC race season

    1. I think 2.25 has qualified as XC for a while now, certainly in the front. I’ve been running 2.25 front 1.95 rear, though that’s a little nutty on the rear. 2.1 rear is still not uncommon though I think.

  1. Cracks me up when 700g 29×2.25 tires are called “lightweight” XC tires. Racing Ralphs, Fast track control and s works, both come in at 550g (sworks 29×2.25) 600g for control. Racing Ralphs are about the same. This is where someone comes in says “oh man you’ll flat on those in a heart beat”.. I’ve run them for years with normal wear and tear that I other tires. I’ve also run ikon’, ardent, rocket rons, renegades.

    700g is not lightweight
    550g is lightweight.

    1. Just depends on where you live and how you ride. I ran a non SS Racing Ralph for a season in southern Indiana with no flats or issues. I ride more aggressively now, and live in NW Arkansas, where that tire would die a very quick death due to all the sharp rock. But yes, 700g is not a true lightweight, more of a good middleweight all-rounder XC.

      I recently ran a WTB trail boss 2.25 (light, fast rolling) as a rear tire for about 3 months. Despite it’s 800g weight, I found it to be a very fast rolling tire, and quite grippy. The downside was that it wore quickly, and those cornering knobs with siping started to deteriorate rapidly.

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