One of the unsung heroes of mountain biking, tire options are as plentiful as flavors of ice cream. Whether you like skinny and slick or wide and knobby, there are enough choices to fill your every need. Over the years, I’ve gone from riding 2.1’s up to 2.7’s, and have now settled in on the current crop of 2.35-ish all-mountain tires.
My favorites have been the High Roller and Minion tires from Maxxis and the Kenda Nevegal–all in 2.35 widths. But, I have yet to ride many bikes equipped with WTB tires, until the Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC 70 that I’ve currently got for testing. How does the WTB Prowler XT 2.3 compare to those venerable treads? Read on and see.
About the WTB Prowler XT 2.3 Tire
Built as an all-mountain design, the WTB Prowler XT is wide and soft. The directional tread pattern features a lower center and larger outer knobs for exceptional rolling and cornering. Construction consists of an aramid bead, DNA rubber with a lightweight casing.
At 2.3 width (measurements are all fairly relative between manufacturers), these are high-volume tires with a wide profile. Here’s what WTB has to say about the Prowler XT 2.3 tires:
The square-profile, twin-knob design offers exceptional climbing grip and extra traction (XT) in a variety of conditions. The XT offers amazing control and stability in tight turns and under heaving braking. In loose conditions, the XT works best as a rear tire, paired with a Prowler MX, WeirWolf or Stout up front.
- 2.3 width
- Suitable as front or rear
- Weight: 848 grams
- Aramid bead
- DNA rubber (55/60)
- MSRP: $50
WTB Prowler XT 2.3 Tire Review
As standard equipment on the 2008 Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC 70, these tires have been outstanding overall. Like I said, I’ve been a Maxxis HighRoller/Minion or Kenda Nevegal fan for a long time. Those treads typically grace the wheels of most all-mountain bikes. However, you can add the WTB Prowler XT’s into that mix as well.
Surprisingly, WTB states that these work best as a rear tire and they suggest running a Stout, WeirWolf or Prowler MX up front. From my experience thus far, I’d have to debunk that train of thought–at least for Utah trail conditions. I like them as a front/rear combo.
I’ve ridden these tires in a mixture of smooth hardpack (Clark’s Trail in Draper, UT) to varied conditions in American Fork Canyon, UT. I have yet to find any regular conditions where the front or rear tire washes out under hard cornering on hardpack or loose conditions. Overall cornering traction is definitely on par with other top tires in this category. The only time I felt them let loose just a little was on a slow corner filled with deep desert sand. But, I don’t know any tires that will hold their own on the beach, so that’s not a major concern.
Even at higher-than-normal pressure, they are still hooky. I feel this is due to the split knob design. Nearly every knob is siped straight down the middle from front to back. As you’re cornering, the rubber adheres to the ground and just powers on through rough terrain.
The rear tire has provided excellent climbing traction in hardpack, loose silt and rocks. I have found it to just plain work well under all conditions.
Good Prowler XT
- Wide, siped knobs provide consistent traction
- Center knobs roll well
- DNA rubber compound is grippy
Bad Prowler XT
- A little heavier than comparable products
- Some may not recommend as a front tire (I think they are great)
- Braking has chewed up the rear treads a bit prematurely
The Bottom Line on the WTB Prowler XT Tires
Though I haven’t flogged these for a season, I can confidently say they are solid choices for the all-mountain rider. My previous experiences with WTB tires were mixed, so I’m glad to report that these tires and the entire new crop of tires from WTB are solid. Contrary to what WTB says, I’ve found these tires to be great running front or rear.