WTB Vulpine 700 X 40mm Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The WTB Vulpine 700 X 40mm tires are not going to see much action in the near future here. Winter is seeing to that. So, it is time to wrap things up regarding this wider version of the fast rolling 700 X 36mm Vulpine tire we reviewed earlier. In case you missed the “Checkpoint“, mid-term view on this tire, see this post.
In that last update on this review we told you that we really like this Vulpine, bu we would really, really like a wider one. Well……. Wishful thinking is not reality. So, where do we see this tire working for the gravel travel crowd?
WTB labels this model, the Vulpine, as a ‘gravel racing tire’, and that is what this tire is. This is not the tire for reaching your best comfort level on loose gravel. It will do surfaces like that, but the Vulpine isn’t voluminous enough to tackle the more adventurous types of gravel/back road usage that many riders would be doing outside of racing. That’s why we are wishing for a wider version of this tire, because the casing, the SG2, puncture protected casing, is tough, durable, but not a ‘ride killer’ in terms of feel.
A wider Vulpine is going to surf sandier roads, like those Grannygear encountered in his mid-term report on the 40mm Vulpines, and be more stable and easier to propel through looser gravel, such as the stuff I was dealing with during this review. But if I were racing, well, would I reach for this tire then? I think I would, but “it also depends on the course“.
I might, say for instance, use the 40mm Vulpine at a course like Gravel Worlds, in Lincoln, Nebraska. I’d suffer a bit if the roads were wet,or really loose and sandy, (both of which can happen there), but during a typical year there, this tire would fly. Conversely, at Unbound in Kansas? That gravel is harder, rougher at times, and the terrain can be unforgiving, which would leave me wanting for a bit bigger volume tire than the 40mm.
At The Finish: So, if the shoe fits, wear it, and the Vulpine will be a fast, capable tire that flies on the harder, smoother sections of gravel or dirt hard pack that you might encounter. If things get rowdier, rougher, or deeper in terms of sand, dirt, or crushed rock, hang on. You can manage it, and depending upon your willingness to suffer, the Vulpine will likely hold up and be a faster tire than many other choices. That SG2 puncture protection belt will ward off the nasties and you’ll have a lot less chances for tire issues.
But if you aren’t into racing and want a fast tire with puncture protection? Well, then you have to be cognizant of your typical terrain that you ride. I suspect that if I had roads here like I did every year that I’d not live with the 40mm Vulpine as an everyday tire. The roads were just too chunky and loose here for that to be a fun tire to be on. Ditto if I were touring/bikepacking and wanted a fast, tough tire that rode well.
So, as it stands now, WTB has a 36mm and a 40mm Vulpine that would make for a fantastic tire for racing, and maybe it would work for adventurous types and everyday gravel riders if the terrain was tamer. Until, and if WTB releases a wider Vulpine, I would hold up on mounting them to my daily gravel grinder/adventure/bike packing rig. But that’s me. My area and my needs call out for a wider, more stable, more comfortable tire than the 40mm Vulpine is here. I think Grannygear is in the same boat, as his favorite tire happens to be the 700 X 42mm (but it typically runs wider than that) WTB Resolute. Which, by the way, is also one of my all-time favorite tires as well.
For more on this tire and WTB’s other offerings see their website here: www.wtb.com
Note: WTB sent over the new 700c X 40mm Vulpine tires to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We are not being bribed, nor paid, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.