The not-so-minor details
WTB Trail Boss TCS Light
Fast and light.
Tacky compound amazing on hard surfaces.
Less 'bitey' than some.
Best served as a rear tyre.
The original WTB Velociraptor was once the coolest tyre going, it’s insanely aggressive tread and stiff rubber compound made them last for ever and ever, they literally never wore out! But if we tried to ride them today we’d surely wipe-out in magnificent fashion within seconds.
That was way back in 1996, fast forward to today and WTB are still designing great tyres for real mountain biking. The Trail Boss has been on our long term test bike for a couple months now, here’s what we think of them.
The Trail Boss is WTB’s fast-rolling dry conditions tyre available in 29″ and 27.5″ and a few different compounds and casing configurations. We’ve reviewed the TCS Light, the 844g version. It’s a fairly square shape with low side knobs and a very supple sidewall casing.
TCS: WTB’s TCS system is given to a select range of rims and tyres that is Mavic UST certified, requires the use of tubeless sealant and is designed to be inflated easily without the need of a compressor.
Installation: Fitting the tyres was a bit of a painful task, paired with the Stan’s No Tubes Bravo wheels we were reaching for the tyre levers to get them on, it’s a tight fit, but that sure helps contribute to the remarkable easy inflation. A couple of cups of sealant and up they went with just a few quick strokes from the track pump.
On the trail: Almost straight away we were able to feel the rolling speed and quick acceleration compared to the bulky Schwalbe Hans Dampf tyres that we previously had fitted on the trek Remedy. With a closely packed bunch of knobs across the centre of the tyre they zip along with little resistance.
Just by looking at this tyre we expected it to feel quite predictable in the corners – low-profile tyres tend to be that way – and we were not surprised at all when we really got the hang of its strengths and weaknesses pretty quickly. Rather than serving up loads of ‘bite’ the Trail Boss makes up for it with loads of ‘friction’ on the trail surfaces, and when it did break free it wasn’t sudden. Cornering hard with the bike leant over on to the sides of the tyre on wet trails or softer soils isn’t an area that the Trail Boss is most comfortable, but on hardpack trails and bare rock its tacky compound really sticks.
After a few months of solid riding in dry conditions the rear tyre was showing signs of wear, but nothing out of the ordinary for a soft compound tyre. We never had one flat tyre, despite many likely incidents, and never did we burp or lose any pressure on the trails.
Used as a pair the Trail Boss’s big air volume creates a smooth ride, we’d love to try it paired to the WTB Vigilante tyre on the front for extra bite on softer soils through the wetter winter months. As a rear tyre the Trail Boss will please just about anyone that shreds hard and appreciates fast and tacky tyres.