I've been running Maxxis Highrollers and Minions ever since I started Mountain Biking. This winter I wanted to try something different and ride something that was better suited for wet weather.
After doing some research, I pulled the trigger and picked up some WTB Vigilantes. Full disclosure I was able to get these tires at an industry discount which made the leap of faith that much easier. Money aside the reason I chose the Viginalte was for its huge Side Knobs and generous tread spacing.
I opted for the Light and High Grip option. I have no idea what that means but the tires are pretty light and the rubber is super soft. The Vigilante was noticeably softer than my Maxxis Minion DHFs and DHRs. Another thing that immediately jumped out at me was how tall the Side Knobs were.
I am not going to lie. I was fucking stoked to try these out.
I don't know what it is but WTB tires have always been super hard for me to set up tubeless. I can't tell you how frustrating it was. It got dark, super, super, dark. I ended up using a tube to seat the tire. I then removed it leaving one side of the tire seated. From there I was able to get the tire seated with a Blackburn Charger Pump. FML.
Have a tubeless setup trick? Please comment below!
In the first month of riding the Vigilantes, I got two punctures in the rear tire. The punctures were definitely user error, I tend to get pinch flats, it's just the way I ride. Thankfully I had some bacon strips on hand and these flats were quickly fixed. With the way, I ride I should be using a Cush Core or running way more air. #deathtopinchflats
The transition from the top tread to the side knobs on the WTB Vigilante is super rad. You can lean the bike into a corner, and it will slide a touch before catching. For me, that feeling just before the tire grabs is one of the best feelings on a mountain biking. For the longest time cornering has been my Achilles heel but the past few months things have clicked for me. I don't think the WTB Vigilante makes you a better rider, but in corners, it gives you a bit more confidence.
What I've found over the past couple months is that the WTB Vigilante makes for an awesome front tire while it lacks the bite I needed on the steep trails in the rear.
The super tall side knobs in combination with the super soft rubber make cornering super fun. Just the right amount of drift and grip. With that said after three months of Fall and Winter abuse, the side knobs have started to show some significant wear. I imagine this is to be expected with such a soft tire and I am cool with that.
A couple of weeks ago I threw on a Minion DHR II back on the rear and can confirm that the WTB Vigilante cannot compete with it. I'd love to see a WTB Vigilante rear specific tire, something with a bit more bite! With that said I recently picked up the Judge which is WTB's rowdiest rear specific tire and god damn it's a beast! It's the gnarliest tire I've ever seen, and I am a little puzzled at what I'll use it for, but that's for another review.
So would I recommend the WTB Vigilante? The answer is yes. I am a huge fan of the side knobs and the super soft rubber. There definitely worth a try. Click the link below for more info.
Bonus video review below by yours truly!