I’d had my eye on these tyres for some time after searching around online extensively for something other than the massive chunky affairs that seem to be popular on e-bikes (which typically use 2.8 tyres), the reason being that they have a relatively tightly-spaced tread pattern which should provide a faster rolling experience more suited to the typical hard-packed trail surfaces I usually ride, compared to the more open tread patterns of the OEM tyres Purgatory and Ground Control that came with the bike. These two OEM tyres are fine, and visually they certainly look like a higher quality tyre than the WTBs, however the OEM tyres didn’t seal when I tried to go tubeless with them and they’re perhaps more useful for muddy / wet conditions (i.e. winter riding) than hard-pack / dry summer riding.
These tyres were a bit of a chore to get on my rims, the rubber certainly wasn’t slippery so perhaps that bodes well for mechanical grip, especially over wet stones and rocks. I had to use the technique of starting at the valve (I am running them with innertubes to start with) and then pushing the tyre down towards the other side, this helps quite a bit when trying to get that last part of the bead to push over the rim.
Once on and pumped up to about 35psi they look good, the treads are not as sharp as the Purgatory or Ground Control, they do look a little cheaper to be honest (although they were not cheap!), but perhaps this sloped / slightly rounded knob shape will help them roll a bit easier. I will run them at around 20psi to start with, see how it goes. I’ll lower the pressure to around 12 or 15psi once I’m confident enough with them tubeless.
It took a few seconds for the bead to settle on the rims fully, observable by looking around the rim and checking that the bead pattern is uniform around the entire tyre.
The tyres are noticeably narrower than the 3.0 OEM set from Specialized, being 2.8 this should be no surprise but just confirms that the OEM set were genuine 3.0 tyres and not less as some 3.0 tyres turn out to be in practicality. I have read in some reviews that these WTB Ranger 2.8 tyres can be closer to 2.66, however I think this may depend on the width of the wheel rim. I have not measured the width as fitted to my rims, it’s not that important to me, they are what they are.
I’ll be riding them very soon, most likely tomorrow, so we will see how they compare to the OEM set and how they ride my local roads and trails.