WTB Trail Boss & WTB Verdict Tire Combo Review


Review by Max Rhulen

WTB introduced the first 29” tire to market back in 1999 and since then they have introduced a wide variety of mountain bike tires, urban, gravel, and road tires. They may not be the first tire company that comes to my mind for many, but I think they should be in contention. I had the pleasure of riding on the WTB Verdict 2.5 up front paired with the WTB Trail Boss 2.4 out back and was thoroughly surprised by their performance.


The Verdict is WTB’s most aggressive front focused tire, composed of thick, chunky knobs with substantial spacing to clear mud and small rocks. This allows the tire to be run in many different trail conditions. The tall knobs dig deep into the trail regardless of if you are riding sand or mud. WTB updated this tire in 2021 creating more supportive knobs with less flex but adding strategically placed siping to prevent loss of traction on roots and other slippery surfaces. There is no denying that the Verdict shares tread pattern similarities with other tires on the market but due to some of its own characteristics it performs differently.

WTB first introduced the Trail Boss tire in a 2.25” width and after having success with that it was decided to offer this great tread pattern to a wider range of riders. The Trail Boss is available in a 2.25-, 2.4- and 2.6-inch option. According to WTB the 2.4/2.6” offerings have a more aggressive take with larger tread knobs accompanied by more generous spacing between the knobs for shedding mud. While it is used more commonly as a rear tire WTB states that the Trail Boss also makes for a great front tire if you are riding harder, drier trails.

WTB Trail Boss & WTB Verdict Tire Combo Review

The Trail Boss was designed by WTB to be the middle ground between a semi-slick and more aggressive, hard biting tire. The center of the tire is made up of smaller, tightly spaced knobs that allow the tire to roll quickly, yet still have ample amount of bite when braking. The side knobs are much taller and more aggressive than the center knobs, which enhances the cornering of this tire. WTB claims that the tight spacing of the center knobs also helps with the longevity of this tire. Having a tighter spaced tread pattern distributes the weight and wear across more knobs instead of putting the majority of stress on just a few.

WTB uses their TRITEC compound technology in both the Verdict and the Trail Boss which blends three different rubber compounds throughout the tire in strategically placed locations. TRITEC is available in “Fast Rolling” or “High Grip” versions, with different compounds used in each to prioritize rolling speed or maximum traction. WTB uses a higher durometer rubber for the casing of the tire which extends into the base of each knob. The center knobs use a medium durometer rubber for rolling efficiency, support, and durability. The outer knobs are made up of the softest compound for traction. In addition to rubber compounds the Verdict and Trail Boss come in a TCS Light and TCS Tough casing. The Light casing is single ply while the Tough is dual ply for more puncture protection. However, the TCS light casing has SG2 puncture protection which is a lightweight nylon layer that protects against punctures. WTB says that the SG2 protection improves sidewall stability and support without the additional weight of dual-ply casing. The Verdict weighs 1257 grams for the 29×2.5” Tough/High Grip whereas the 29×2.4” Tough / Fast Rolling Trail Boss weighs 1224 grams. Each tire will set you back $89.95 USD.

WTB Trail Boss & WTB Verdict Tire Combo Review


During this test I was running the WTB Verdict 2.5 High Grip front and the WTB Trail Boss 2.4 Fast Rolling rear for 29” wheels with the TCS Tough dual-ply casing. These tires were installed on my Trek Slash and ridden in various conditions. For the majority of the testing period, I was running 26 psi in the front tire and 28 psi in the rear without tire inserts.

At the very beginning of my first ride on this WTB setup, the climb turned into a small descent with a very sandy, tight corner at the bottom. When I say sandy, I mean beach sand where no tire is going to have 100 percent traction. To my surprise the Verdict dug in very well and allowed me to direct the bike in the proper direction. I was still sliding in the corner but the large knobs on the Verdict clawed through the sand and held firm. The trail then turned back uphill, and the square edged, technical climbing began. I had little to complain about when climbing on the Verdict/Trail Boss, however, it wasn’t perfect. The Verdict has a fair amount of resistance being a more aggressive 2.5 tire, but on your front tire rolling speed has less of an effect so it wasn’t too bad. Rolling speed is one of those things you sacrifice when you want copious amounts of traction on the descent. The Trail Boss on the other hand has great rolling speed due to the smaller, tighter spaced center knobs. This was great and helped make up for the slower Verdict up front. For the majority of climbs and technical features the center knobs on the Trail Boss provide enough grip, but I did have the tire slip a few times when shifting weight forward over a rock or root. Being just a step up from a semi-slick type tire, you tend to lose traction more often when going over wet obstacles and through slicker mud. The Trail Boss definitely prefers drier conditions.

WTB Trail Boss & WTB Verdict Tire Combo Review

Descending on these tires was a whole lot of fun. Both the Verdict and the Trail Boss inspire a lot of confidence when cornering. Both feature large, aggressive side knobs that allow you to push hard in the corners. With the Verdict, WTB got the compound with this tire just right! The knobs are sturdy enough that they don’t fold or collapse under pressure, but they still grip extremely well. I did find that when I was going through a more drawn-out corner the tire could be a bit squirrely. The tire wouldn’t be fully on-edge allowing the side knobs to bite and it wasn’t upright getting traction from the center knobs. It was riding right in a channel with no tread pattern. Only occasionally I found myself in this zone. Most of the time this was not an issue, and those channels are nice for clearing mud.

The Trail Boss is a great tire for those riding in dry conditions and that’s exactly what WTB designed it for. Due to its more semi-slick nature, I found when braking hard down a steep slope or in the wet the Trail Boss lost traction more often than I would prefer. However, testers Dario and Drew both enjoy riding this tire and found that even the small center knobs offered substantial grip. Dario did mention how the tire was not the optimal choice riding steeper, greasier trails in Northern Washington. That being said, even in those conditions the Trail Boss was still manageable thanks to the large side knobs.

I am generally riding hard packed, drier trails so I found the increase of rolling speed to outweigh the reduction in traction. The side knobs on the Trail Boss are tall and set at an aggressive angle which is incredible for cornering. However, the side knobs are so aggressive and made of a softer compound rubber, that cornering applied a lot of leverage on them. This caused signs of wear to appear after a few rides.

During the test period I was not running a tire insert, so I opted to run the TCS Tough dual-ply casing front and rear. The tough casing offered a lot of support, and I noticed very little sidewall roll. I ran a consistent pressure of 26/28 psi and had very few rim bashes. After tearing multiple other tires this year, I was certain that the first time I felt my rim smash into a rock that I was going to flat. I’ve done this three times now and both the tire and rim are fine! The TCS Tough casing certainly is tough.

The Wolf’s Last Word

Looking for an aggressive front tire or fast rolling, hard cornering rear tire? The WTB Verdict and Trail Boss is one hell of a combination! Both tires hold their own if you were to choose just one, but together they are great for most trails and conditions. The Verdict has a slower rolling speed but has ample traction in all conditions, and exceptional traction when the terrain gets softer. The Trail Boss might not be the best tire if you are riding steep, wet trails, but the rolling speed and cornering ability make it one of my personal favorites. These tires are certainly worth a look!

Price as Tested:
WTB Verdict Tire – $89.95
WTB Trail Boss Tire – $89.95

Website: WTB.com

We Dig

Verdict wet terrain grip
Cornering traction
Tough Casing
Trail Boss rolling speed

We Don’t

Verdict channel (at times)
Trail Boss in the wet


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