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Ever wanted a tire that is basically a slick tire for faster rolling speeds but corners like a dream on your gravel bike? WTB has your back with the Raddler tire. Our friend, Peter, just threw on some new rubber on their Gravel Bike. Check out what they think!
Southern California offers some of the best cycling opportunities. While road and mountain biking continue to be popular, gravel biking is surely trending up, up, and way up. The area offers numerous terrains of various conditions...from smooth, maintained fire roads to rocky, less frequented routes, to the much loved singled track of various technical abilities. The lure of gravel bikes and gravel riding is unlike a road bike's limitation to pavement, and unlike a mountain bike which typically requires driving to the riding area, I ride from my house, to the destination, and ride back. Hence a good all around tire capable of both efficiently getting me around via pavement AND having the necessary performance on dirt is important. Gravel riding is my favorite go to ride now, as my road bike sits on my trainer for primarily structured training.
As I am on my third cross/gravel bike and numerous tires, I have been experimenting with various tread patterns, tire sizes and air pressure settings for both front and rear tires. Riding with some gravel newbies, I always advise them to go tubeless setup, and typically newbies over-inflate air pressure. My current gravel bike, a Cannondale Topstone, came equipped with a set of the WTB Riddler 700x37 front and rear.
It quickly became my new favorite rubber for gravel.
Riding on the road on group rides with other road cyclists, the Riddler 700x37 had the efficient rolling characteristics on pavement that did not penalize me too much on group rides. While great for pavement, the Riddler also had the right amount of bite for typical southern California fire roads and smoother dirt trails. But on rockier sections, the rear tire did not have enough traction for more loose terrain or rocky sections. And at about 500 miles, the rear tire was ready to be replaced as the mid section knobbies had worn down considerably.
In comes the WTB Raddler 700x40 that I acquired from Worldwide Cyclery. I like to think of it as the Riddler, but more rad...hence the Raddler. After several rides, it lives up to the promise of all the benefits of the Riddler. The same tread pattern allows for good rolling on pavement, and with the bigger treads for more traction on dirt. Spinning the rear wheel can feel an improved bite on looser dirt. It seems to track a tad bit better around turns and corners. I am optimistic that the promised longer lifespan will leave me happy as well.
All in all, it is a great tire that performs well on all surfaces, and only mildly sacrifices efficiency on pavement. I would not say the WTB Raddler is a good compromise for all surfaces, but rather it is a tire that performs on all surfaces equally well.
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