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Wolfpack Trail, Speed and Cross mountain bike tire review

Wolfpack is the tire range from the rubber guru behind the top compounds from Continental, Specialized and Schwalbe. Bike Perfect has sunk its teeth into three of its 29er trail options to see how far up the tire food chain they rank

Wolfpack Tyres Trail
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Impressively rapid, responsive feeling trail tires at an excellent price, but definitely XC rather than Enduro in feel

For

  • Right up with the best fast trail options
  • Excellent price
  • Fast rolling compounds
  • Light and responsive carcass
  • Better than expected wet grip
  • Well thought out range

Against

  • Small block tread limits aggro grip levels
  • Undamped ride feel won’t suit everyone

Wolfpack is the new tire brand built around the massive talent and know-how of Wolfgang Arenz, who was part of the development teams for Continental BlackChili, Specialized Gripton and most recently Schwalbe Addix. Even so, testing a wholly new tire line is always a tentative, nervy experience, especially as we started with the super light Speed tire on the rear. The responsive ‘more XC than Enduro’ feel and noticeably fast roll of the Wolfpack carcass meant we were sceptical about likely grip levels at first.

The more we’ve pushed them the more we’ve been impressed with how well they’ve coped with typically changeable UK weather conditions and increasingly abusive treatment. 

Add in a really affordable price and Wolfpack’s tires are definitely running with the rest of the fast trail pack, but which specific tire is right for you?

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Wolfpack Tyres Trail

The tire has a buoyant ride quality which does not become floppy when run at lower pressures (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Wolfpack Tyres Trail

The arrowed lug configuration rolls very quickly (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

 Trail

The Trail is the most aggressive of the three tires we tested with a well-spaced 1, 2, 3 lug arrowhead tread pattern with a block shoulder tread and the occasional shallow wolf head logo for good measure. Most of the blocks are relatively small though and the ToGuard rubber compound feels super rapid in terms of roll speed. While the carcass is approved for E-bike use they still ‘ping’ rather than ‘thud’ off drops and over rocks so the overall feel is quick and race responsive even with an 800g weight. As there’s no puncture belt in the carcass they’ve got a really nice buoyant flow to them that suits long mileages and frames that need a comfort boost too.

The inevitable flip side is that they don’t ‘damp’ and ‘stick’ sketchy drops or boulder sections as well as some tires. Small blocks and no overhang on the shoulders mean mechanical grip and lean angles are relatively limited and they soon start sliding if you put a heavy cornering load through them. The slide is totally predictable though with no flop or fold even if you drop pressures down to around 20psi. Wide spacing means they clear crap fast and unsurprisingly given their Addix/Black Chili compound lineage the fast-rolling single compound still hooks up better than expected in wet and slippery conditions. They don’t suddenly fold or flop 

Also while width is theoretically undersized at 55mm (2.16in) that’s the same girth as a lot of 2.35in labelled tires we’ve tested. While the feel made us slightly cautious at first we’ve had zero issues with rock scuffing, sidewall stress marks or punctures even on relentless rocky moorland rides. We’ve even managed to ding a rim without them showing any signs of damage so we’re prepared to say they’re a lot tougher than they initially feel. Tubeless inflation was totally trouble-free too.

It’s available in 2.25, 2.4 and 2.6in widths in 27.5 and 29in formats.

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Wolfpack Tyres Cross

Wolfpacks ToGuard compound still hooks up in wet conditions (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Wolfpack Tyres Cross

The Cross suits being run as an XC tire or paired with the Trail for a faster trail setup (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Cross

The Cross tyres sit on the same strength/weight of carcass as the Trail (so see the review above for details) but with a different ‘all small’ centre/intermediate tread layout for a faster rolling character. The shoulder knobs are slightly smaller and much more widely spaced too so it takes less load and lets go sooner than the Trail in turns. The tread pattern reminds us a lot of the Maxxis Beaver dirty conditions XC tyre (as well as Schwalbe’s Hans Dampf) and it clears muck very fast for impressive filthy traction. Again the ToGuard compound soon overturned initial doubts about its grip levels in wet weather despite its rolling speed in the dry. It’s got the same buoyant and skippy rather than damped feel as the Trail and it was consistently nudging us up into the next gear sooner than most tyres. That makes it a really good rear partner for the Trail for mixed fast trail riding, or as a front partner to the Speed for marathon/XC use.

It’s available in 2.25, 2.4 and 2.6in widths in 27.5 and 29in formats.

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Wolfpack Tyres Speed

Minimum rolling resistance and light weight makes the Speed a fast XC tire (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Wolfpack Tyres Speed

The small lugs unsurprisingly find their limit sooner than the other tires (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Speed

The Speed tire is a significantly different beast to the Trail and Cross with much smaller, wider spaced intermediate and shoulder knobs. While it’s still E-bike rated it’s a much lighter tyre than the Trail and Cross too. That gives an immediate ‘gear up’ boost to rolling speed and blisteringly quick acceleration so it’s an excellent race/marathon choice on the rear. While the knobs are very small they barely retain any mud so braking and driving traction are better than you’d think in all conditions. The rounded shape and very small shoulder/intermediate knobs mean there’s pretty much nothing to lean on though so it’ll always slide out earlier and more dramatically than it’s siblings in corners. That’s no bad thing on the back if you’re looking for a speed boost but you’ll need to back off on your aggression levels if you fit it on the front too.

Again despite minimal weight and a very ‘Race XC’ feel we put plenty of rocky moorland miles into it without any signs of stress or damage although you definitely need to run it with a few more PSI than it’s burlier stablemates.

Verdict

If you’re looking for fresh rubber to replace your Maxxis Minions, Schwalbe Magic Mary’s and Continental Mountain Kings then this Wolfpack trio aren’t for you. If you prefer a faster, more XC feel rubber such as Maxxis Forekaster - Ikon, Schwalbe Nobby Nic - Racing Ralph, Continental Trail King - Race King then this pack is definitely going to howl along the trail in just the way you’ll like. The fact they’re sold directly through Wolfpacks website rather than through shops means that they’re a much lower price than their performance peers so well worth hunting out online.

Tech Specs: Wolfpack Trail, Speed and Race mountain bike tire

  • Trail: 798g (29 x 2.25in)
  • Speed: 613g (29 x 2.25in)
  • Cross: 804g (29 x 2.25in)
  • Price: £44.99 (all sizes and models)