Tall, grippy knobs are the order of the day with the WTB Judge. Knobs that result in Velcro-like grip on wet, loose, natural trails make for a noticeably draggy bit of rubber. On the other hand, it's no featherweight, making it best for those uplifted, gravity-fed days or those who favour outright grip over an easy time on the pedals.
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Here, we have the WTB Judge in a 2.4" width with the WTB's TCS Tough casing and Fast Rolling rubber compound. It's also available with a High Grip compound, but there's no Light casing on offer, and there's only one width available.
WTB says that the Judge is their rowdiest rear tyre that's designed for loose descents. It's optimised for wide rims to provide a flatter profile that lets the shoulder knobs engage quickly as it leans into a corner.
It's not wild to compare the Judge's tread to the Maxxis Minion DHR II's. Still, it's definitely been injected with something to beef up those knobs. Much like the DHR II, the Judge uses an alternating centre tread with long and wide pairs of knobs designed for braking traction and rolling efficiency.
Then there are those monstrous shoulder knobs that are meant to engage with the ground early to seriously dig into the terrain.
Slung onto a rim with a 30mm internal width, it's definitely not the roundest of tyres, but it is all about cornering grip. Combining this square profile and tall knobs leads to a tyre that's pretty reluctant to roll while pedalling, which is especially noticeable over softer surfaces. Its hefty 1,427g doesn't help the cause either.
The upside is an awful lot of grip when climbing. I've only lost traction over loose rock; everywhere else, it clings. My time with the Judge consisted of a true mix of conditions, from wet, natural trails to perfectly groomed hardpack, and I've found it's on the natural stuff where the WTB Judge excels.
Throw it down an ungroomed trail, and it simply hooks up. Granted, it's not the most straightforward tyre to get to speed, but with the gradient on your side, this is where you'll find most of the benefits of the Judge.
Slung onto a rim with a 30mm internal width, it’s definitely not the roundest of tyres, so WTB has done exactly what has been set out in the name of cornering grip.
The combination of the rather square profile and tall knobs leads to a tyre that’s fairly reluctant to roll while on the pedals and that’s especially noticeable over softer surfaces. Its hefty 1,427g doesn’t help the cause either.
However, that translates into an awful lot of grip when you’re climbing. I’ve only lost traction over loose rock, everywhere else it clings. My time with the Judge consisted of a true mix of conditions, from proper wet natural trails, to perfect groomed bike park hardpack and I’ve found it to excel over the natural stuff.
Throw it down an ungroomed trail, and it simply hooks up. Granted, it's not the most straightforward tyre to get to speed, but with the gradient on your side, this is where you'll find most of the benefits of the Judge. Sling it into a corner, and you'll have a hard time sliding out the rear end. But, thanks to those lofty shoulder knobs, the grip is ultra-confident.
The WTB Judge's braking performance is equally impressive. The centre knobs with the steep rear side dig in impressively well, inspiring a tonne of confidence where you need it most.
The aggressive tread performs well in the wet, too, making the Judge a great choice if you're looking for a fit-and-forget all-rounder. Although holding up over the driest of hardpack, the tyre is clearly not made for this kind of trail, where, if you push into a berm, the Judge will happily slide. Which is definitely a load of fun but not the most confidence-inspiring.
Something excellent to see is that the Judge wears well, and by well, I mean slowly. That's because of its tall knobs and the harder Fast Rolling rubber compound on this model.
Value and verdict
In the usual WTB style, the Judge is reasonably priced at £58, beating the Maxxis Minion DHR II at £75. However, the Judge is a slower rolling and much heavier tyre in the same size, with a Double Down DHR II weighing in at a claimed 1,190g. But what the Judge lacks in weight savings and rolling efficiency makes up for better braking and outright grip.
If you like an uplift or don't mind pedalling the thing around, the WTB Judge 2.4" TCS Tough Fast Rolling is an absolutely solid choice. It grips like Velcro over a range of conditions, and it's backed up with confident braking. Then because of its tall knobs and harder compound, it wears slowly too.