Test Wolfpack Race tyres Roadbike

Review: Wolfpack Race Tyres

Sebastian 04. February 2019

Wolfpack Race – the brand new road tyres made by the godfather of rubber himself. As you would expect, the list of ingredients names nothing less than the best-kept secrets.

What would you say, if someone told you there was something out there in the world of tyres even hotter than Black Chili? “Sounds damn good, I've got to try it out!” That was precisely my reaction when my colleagues offered me the chance to ride the brand new Wolfpack Race rubber.

After last year’s Spring Classics, I was in fact expecting a new tyre brand to enter the market pretty soon. There were just too many World Tour teams riding skinwalls after those early races. And that’s by no means typical. Yet all of them looked strikingly different to those Competition Pro LTD ALX tubular tyres that are normally the pro’s tyre of choice from the Conti factory in Korbach. Extensive slow motion studies of those races on TV confirmed my suspicions and allowed me to identify the brand of these beautiful skinwall tubulars: Wolfpack was printed on the sidewall. And off I went straight away to google who was behind this name!

The "godfather of rubber" is the genius behind Wolfpack

Behind Wolfpack is no one less than Wolfgang Arenz. He is the guy who developed pretty much all of THE tyres you have been able to see not only on the wheels of the professional peloton but also on the bikes of most hobby cyclists over the last decade. His greatest hit to date came out on the Conti label, before he took over responsibility for some very fast tyres in the range of a US-based bike brand. Most recently, his efforts have led to mountain bikers becoming hooked on a variety of compounds: Addix of course! In any case, words don’t matter much. It's all about how the tyre performs and not where it comes from.

Wolfpack Race tyres  tested on bc Flechtwerk roadbike wheels

Mounted on the bc Flechtwerk carbon wheels, the specified value and actual tyre width are a perfect match.

Step 1: Mounting

The initial assembly requires a certain amount of force in your fingertips, but it’s still possible without a tyre lever. It’s hardly surprising, though. After all, which modern racing tyre comes with that magic self-mounting feature?

The 24 mm tyre width specified on the packaging is exactly what I measured after mounting them on my bc Flechtwerk carbon wheelset. That's how precision works. If you feel the 24 mm might be too narrow for you, then you can choose the wider 26 mm version.

I assembled the tyre with normal butyl tubes, but, according to Wolfgang, only latex tubes provide the ultimate performance and unrivalled low rolling resistance. Even tubeless can’t get that low. That's one reason why these tyres are not designed for use in a tubeless setup. For those who want an even more sporty character, there is also the Wolfpack Race Cotton with a 320 TPI cotton sidewall. This model offers better comfort, rolls even faster and is definitely one of the quickest tyres in the world! But the godfather of rubber would not deserve his title if he weren’t able to beat that: the Wolfpack Race Tubular with sewn-in latex tubes certainly seems to be setting the new benchmark…

Wolfpack Race tyre with nylon sidewall mounted on bc Flechtwerk wheel

The new Wolfpack models: Wolfpack Race with a nylon sidewall

Wolfpack Race Cotton with a cotton sidewall mounted on bc Flechtwerk wheel

Wolfpack Race Cotton with a cotton sidewall

Wolfpack Race Tubular cotton sidewall and sewn-in latex tube

Wolfpack Race Tubular with a cotton sidewall and sewn-in latex tube

On the road. At last!

I cannot list any scientific parameters at this point, which is why the impressions described below are purely subjective. But since I have already ridden pretty much every tyre at top level, comparing the Wolfpacks with their most important rivals is not a tough challenge. Numerous comparison tests in the most frequented forums and print magazines speak for themselves anyway: compared to the industry leader from Conti, the Wolfpack Race tyre offers a tiny bit more comfort thanks to its super-fine nylon sidewall. I felt that there was better damping of bumps and uneven surfaces, and a softer ride as a result. It still doesn’t reach the standards of a cotton side-walled tyre, but that's simply impossible due to the construction. Nevertheless, the difference between the Michelin tyres I rode with the same pressure is clearly noticeable. And if you prefer even more smoothness, I can only recommend the Wolfpack Race Cotton. With its cotton sidewall it's even closer to the feel of a tubular tyre.

Maximum grip with lowest rolling resistance

As already mentioned, I cannot validate my impressions scientifically. My conclusion is therefore based on gut feeling alone: the tyres roll very, very well and at the same time offer outstanding grip in corners. Thanks to the new Race ToGuard compound, a chili now looks more like a harmless bell pepper!

The new rubber compound manages to combine the diametrically opposed properties of grip and smooth rolling in an unprecedented manner.

Whether in dry or wet conditions, it’s a pleasure to push the bike into corners and race on straights as if there were no tomorrow. Wear is almost zero after the 1,000 kilometres I’ve covered so far in this test, and the Wolfpack also withstands cuts, embedded stones and the like with ease. In other words, this tyre is opposite of delicate.

wolfpack roadbike tyres offer high performance and comfort

The Wolfpack tyres show no weaknesses in terms of comfort and performance - neither in terms of traction uphill on rough surfaces

wolfpack race tyres roadbike grip when cornering

nor when it comes to grip when cornering

wolfpack race roadbike tyres excellent running characteristics with the right rubber compound

On top of all this, the smooth running characteristics are excellent and the Wolfpack Race tyre delivers what only a tyre with exactly the right rubber compound can.

My verdict? It’s pretty much the same as what a Pro Tour team manager once said: “Wolfgang, you are the world’s no. 1 tyre expert.” Nuff said. Maybe one last sentence: Those Wolfpack Race tyres score 6,000 out of a possible 5,000 points!

What do you think of these new tyres?

Sebastian

Sebastian

Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.
Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.