A wolfpack isn't just your tight crew to hit the trails with, but also a new tyre brand with plenty of experience.
Does the name Wolfpack ring a bell? We doubt it, as when we were first contacted by Fullbeam Australia about their new tyre brand from Germany, we hadn't heard of them either. However, the rubber compounds like Gripton, Addix and Black Chili were far more familiar, and the Wolfpack tyre brand has come about under the direction of the very same engineer who created those compounds for other tyre brands. And now that caught our attention.
Wolfgang Arenz is the CEO of Wolfpack, and he set himself the goal of making the best tyres for each application. Be that road tubulars for the professional road team they sponsor, mountain bike tyres for racing or enduro, or eMTB use.
With a Wolfpack Cross and Wolfpack Speed in 29x2.25" I had a good pair to setup for cross-country use. Both these tread patterns are also available in 2.4" width in 29 and 27.5", but along with other treads and casing sizes they're not on our shores just yet.
The Cross weighed 726g out of the box, and it has a round profile when inflated, with even spacing of the tread blocks. There is a centre tread block and alternating transition knobs, where one is closer to the centre, then one further towrads the edge knob. The edge knob isn't crazily pronounced, but it is well-supported on the sidewall.
Inflated onto a rim with 29mm internal width, the bag size is nice, but certainly a true XC and marathon tyre.
The Speed was a svelte 602g on the scales and the tread pattern doesn't look wildly different - although the knob height is a little lower. There are more transition knobs though, and the edge knobs are more broadly spaced. This would be a fast front tyre as well, and there is also a Race tyre in the range, which is said to optimise speed and grip for XC and marathon racing.
On 29mm internal rims, the Wolfpack Speed inflated evenly first go, and with a good width.
So what's different?
From the guy with the expertise in compounds, Arenz delivered ToGoard for his own brand. Tread patterns and casings mean a lot, but compound cannot be forgotten. The compound delivers rolling resistance, traction in the wet and dry, wear rates and more. And of course, the aim is to optimise these for each tyre.
Finding some actual data on the compound is difficult, making it a bit like the compound Pirelli use with their Scorpions. You know it's good, we just don't know much about it! But the aim was better traction and lower rolling resistance, with increased puncture protection.
On the trail
Weights, widths and design aims aside, it really comes down to how the tyes ride. I had these fitted to my Norco Revolver FS bike, which currently has the DT Swiss F232 fork on it at 120mm. It's a fun bike and quite capable for something that has to carry the weight of being 'just an XC bike'.
First things first, the tyres roll fast, which is impressive seeing there's not much on their tread design that looks fast rolling given the spacing between the centre knobs. They rolled fast and the lightweight Speed rear tyre was noticeable, especially after pulling a 2.35" Maxxis Ikon off the same wheel.
With some climbing to access the first trails I would be descending, I was impressed with how the Wolfpack tyres hooked up in and out of the saddle, and their traction on some slightly wet logs that needed to be negotiated. Better yet, the reasonably sparse edge knobs were impressive on the crumbly off-camber corners on more exposed sections of trail.
The treads have continued to impress, and it will take more riding in a wider variety of conditions to see how they prove themselves for durability. So far I'm really impressed, and at $79.99 per tyre their price is quite good for a high performance tyre.
Still, I'm interested to see when their larger sizes and more aggressive tread patterns like the Trail and Enduro models offer. But so far, I'm really impressed.
For more details, head to the FullBeam Australia website, who import Wolfpack into Australia.