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Ritchey ZMax Grip and Shield WCS Tires Unboxed, Weighed, and Measured

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In addition to the Syncros and Continental Tires that we just got in as Tyler posted, we also just received some of the newest additions to the Ritchey WCS tire line up. The ZMax Grip 2.0 and the Shield 2.1 are the latest 26 inch tires to come from Ritchey utilizing their Vector Force Analysis (VFA) tread design, that is supposed to increase grip at any angle while cornering.

While the ZMax Grip is a purpose built mud and slop tire with deep scoop paddle tread and wide set blocks for clearing mud, the Shield is definitely a fast hardpack racer, with minimal tread and a nice round profile with a little more cornering grip than say, a Continental Race King.

Just how light are both of these WCS tires, and what does a Ritchey tire actually measure? Find out after the break!

Obviously, due to the fact that both tires are part of the WCS collection, they should be light, and the actual tire weights don’t disappoint. Keep in mind that both of these tires are tubeless ready, and don’t rely on anorexic sidewalls to get the weight down, so the weight is pretty respectable especially since both come in under the claimed weight of 650g and 540g.

The only thing that would make the weights more impressive, would be if the tires actually measure their claimed size, as many tires tend to fall a bit short. Whenever measuring tires, I usually mount them on a standard MTB Rim (in this case a DT Swiss 1800, mounted tubeless) and take two measurements according to the GMS (Global Measurement System) which is what manufacturers like WTB use to aid in taking the guess work out of tire sizes. Using the GMS, you simply take two measurements as lightly as possible without pinching the tire, the first is the width of the casing only at its widest point, and the second is the width of the tread at its widest point. The measurement then reads 46/49 in the case of this ZMax Grip, which works out to a 1.8/1.9 tire in inches, not quite the claimed 2.0 unfortunately.

Installed on a rim, the ZMax Grip is a fairly narrow, tall tire which isn’t too far off from many of the different mud specific tires over the years. Despite the size, the wide paddle like tread looks like it would perform fairly well in the mud, and we aim to find out!

The Shield fared much better in the sizing department, with a measured 52/54 which is a 2.0/2.1 almost on the dot. As a lot of people commented, there are quite a few similarities to a Continental Race King, although there are some clear differences. For starters, the Shield is tubeless ready, and an excellent TLR at that, with the tire seating up perfectly with only a floor pump (the ZMax Grip was no different). The Race King is only available in UST which adds between 100-150 g per tire with a 2.0 Race King coming in at a claimed 650g, and the 2.2 at 700g. Also if you look closely there are some definite disparities in the tread pattern, with the Shield having pronounced cornering tread on the shoulder, and the addition of the intermediate tread in the shape of the Ritchey logo. So there are some differences, but does it ride differently? Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see, as it will be awhile until the mud bogs around here turn to hardpack. Stay Tuned.

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12 years ago

conti has a tubeless ready version of the race king called Race Sport. 2,0 weighs in at 450g and the 2,2 is 500g

Tyler Benedict
12 years ago

Pete, I talked to Conti’s U.S. distributors at length the other day about that, and at present, their RaceSport line isn’t something they really recommend running tubeless or call “Tubeless Ready” since the sidewall is only slightly thicker / less porous than their SuperSonic line. We know there are plenty of people out there running them that way, but it’s not something Conti officially recommends. That should change late this year, though…apparently they’re still refining the RaceSport models.

Their regular and Protection versions, though, seem to hold sealant and seat up pretty well, I’ve run both the Race King and X King that way with success.

Next up on my bike are the new Syncros Flavor tires, which do claim to be Tubeless Ready.

12 years ago

Umm… Did I miss something? I don’t think you ever mentioned whether these were 26″ or 29″ tires.

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