WTB makes tires for people who ride. They dont make silly light race day tires that wear out too quickly, nor do they make really heavy tires that are not practical to pedal up a hill. They make fast tires with good grip at a reasonable weight. Hard to beat that.
The latest WTB Mutano Race 2.4 is no different. It weights 600 grams, which is very reasonable for an all mountain tire. The thing I love most about this tire is the small ridge that runs down the center of the tread. It means that if youre on pavement or hard-pack youre actually riding on a very narrow piece of the tire with much less rolling resistance than if you were rolling across huge knobs. If you ride road to get to your trailhead or if youre racing and want to be rolling as fast as possible whenever possible, youll love the center ridge. But once you lead the tire over, huge knobs is what you get. Knobs, and lots of em.
The tire has a fairly round profile which means that youll have to lean the bike a little further over to engage the side cornering knobs, and it also seems to mean that the tire rolls fast no matter what angle its at. Those are a few of the many reasons I decided to race this tire at the Downieville Classic XC race this year:
- At 600 grams its light enough to pedal up hill
- Fast rolling for the pavement & hard dirt sections
- Its a 2.4 so it has enough air volume not to pinch on the rocky sections
- Strong sidewalls and casing so it does not to tear too easily
- The bead that can be mounted up with tubes or tubeless.
- Big cornering knobs for the high speeds descents
The only downside to this tire is that it does drift if you only sort of commit to a corner. If you really commit, its fine, but if youre less than on-top of your technique than the tire can definitely get away from you. Therefore, if Im not worried about being fast on the pavement or hard-pack, I generally choose a tire like the Bontrager XR4 that has better all around grip but rolls a little slower. However, for race day, when Im not worried about sliding around in corners a bit and want a fast tire that I can still descend hard on, I turn to the 2.4 Mutano Raptor as my front tire.
Cost (MSRP) $50
Rolling speed: Fast
Idea use: trail riding / all mountain riding, XC Racing
Ideal bike: Hardtail on up to a – 6” travel bike