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WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip review – awesome grip levels

Built using WTB's Tritec triple-compound, this is a tacky trail tire with real bite on all surfaces

WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip
(Image: © Paul Burwell)

Bike Perfect Verdict

Underrated front specific tire that excels in wet and loamy conditions. It's carrying a bit of beef but grip levels are off the chart.

Pros

  • +

    Triple rubber compound

  • +

    Awesome grip levels

  • +

    Mud plugging master

  • +

    Solid hardwearing casing

Cons

  • -

    Weighty for its size

  • -

    Tall edge lugs reduce clearance

  • -

    Limited size options

  • -

    Tricky to seat on certain rim brands

The WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip does what it says on the tin. Any Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB) mountain bike tire tagged with a TCS label is tubeless ready, High Grip means it’s built using the company’s super soft, Tritec triple-compound and the ‘Light’ casing is double-ply 60Tpi with the SG2 puncture protection.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

The WTB Verdict can be fitted to either wheel but excels as a front-only tire offering incredible hold on hardpack, loam or slippery mud. The Verdict TCS Light High Grip is packing a little extra weight compared to other light tires in our best mountain bike trail tires test and it can be a little punishing, but this is a real confidence tire, one you can push hard without it biting back.

WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip

(Image credit: Paul Burwell)

Design and specifications

For solid clearance and predictable traction, the Verdict TCS Light High Grip employs a 2x2 center tread. It essentially repeats the same knob shape, which is siped to increase the footprint but also chamfered on the leading edge to reduce rolling resistance. The knob depth is similar to a Maxxis Assegai, but tread is more channeled, so the tire offers excellent clearance and mud shedding allowing those lugs to bite even in poor conditions. 

The knob profile is also replicated on the shoulder, but these are some of the deepest knobs I’ve seen and, while that would normally create some unwanted flex during hard cornering efforts, this tire just has incredible hold. You can get up on that edge in a banked turn without the tire doing anything weird or vague.

Like in boxing, WTB splits its range into weight categories but don’t go thinking this Light casing isn’t going to pack a punch. The Verdict TCS Light High Grip features a 60Tpi single play casing but with SG2 protection. This is an additional nylon layer to increase pinch flat protection without adding excess weight. WTB builds a bit of texture onto the sidewall for added abrasion resistance and that extra meat means you can run slightly lower pressure to enhance traction, while still retaining adequate sidewall stiffness and cornering stability. 

The Verdict TCS Light High Grip is only offered in a single 2.5in width but those deep edge lugs do come up to size, so you may struggle slightly with winter clearance on some suspension forks, especially if you run a mudguard. 

Although the Verdict is TCS tubeless ready, I found it can be tricky to get the bead to seat on some rim brands. I got it to go eventually but it would often need a bit of bead lubrication and a tubeless booster pump to get it to snap into place, plus a little bit of air topping up down the line.

WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip

(Image credit: Paul Burwell)

Performance

One of the reasons this is such a good cornering tire is the High Grip rubber compound. It’s actually WTB’s Tritec triple compound, utilizing a firm base with a medium/soft skin down the center and a super soft edge. I measured the latter at around 50a using a durometer but it’s also incredibly low rebound. Some soft tires can still feel loose and unpredictable on hard surfaces, but the Verdict TCS Light High Grip feels incredibly sure footed. It doesn’t skate around under hard loading or when you’re snapping the front of the bike into a loose turn – you don’t have to fight for the grip, it just feels solid.

It's not the quickest rolling tire in our test, which is one of the reasons we recommend this for front-only use but it’s a great choice for harder riding, gravity use and e-bike fitment. I’ve smashed this tire through some pretty rocky terrain, and it’s emerged unscathed – that extra rubber on the sidewall really does a good job at protecting the tire from abrasion. The ride feel is impressive too, helped by that low rebound rubber compound. The Verdict TCS Light High Grip never feels nervous, no matter what surface you’re riding on and, with its impressive wet weather performance, it’s a tire you can easily run year-round.

WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip

(Image credit: Paul Burwell)

Verdict

At 1150g for the 29x2.5in size, the WTB Verdict is not a lightweight trail tire but the trade-off is an illicit amount of traction, excellent pinch-flat resistance and an impressive wear rate. Hook this up with a WTB Judge Tough High Grip on the rear and you’re going to be unstoppable. 

Tech Specs: WTB Verdict TCS Light High Grip

  • Price: From $87.95 / £59.99 / €63.50
  • Wheel size (inches): 27.5, 29er
  • Compound: Tritec triple compound
  • Carcass: Light casing, SG2 protection
  • Dimensions: 64mm (2.52in) on 30mm rim at 23psi
  • Weight: 71,150g (29 x 2.5in tested) 
  • Width (inches): 2.5in
Paul Burwell
Paul Burwell

Paul has been testing mountain bikes and products for the best part of 30 years, he’s passed comment on thousands of components and bikes, from the very first 29ers and dropper posts to latest e-MTBs and electronic drivetrains. He first put pen to paper for Mountain Bike International magazine but then contributed to What Mountain Bike, Cycling Today and Cycling Weekly magazines before a  20 year stint at MBR magazine. An ex-elite level XC racer, he’s broken more bones than records but is now sustained on a diet of trail building, skills coaching and e-bike trail shredding.