Three Tires From WTB: Exposure 36mm Tires – At The Finish

Three Tires From WTB: Exposure 36mm Tires – At The Finish – by Grannygear

Editor’s Note; This is the third and last tire in the review series. You can read about the Venture here and the Byway here.

WTB Exposure tire mounted to a wheel
The 30mm Exposure was good, the 36mm version of that tire is “more good“.

I think I am on my third set of WTB Exposure 30s on my carbon road bike by now.  So I know the tire pretty well.   Unless all out speed with a nod to aero performance is a priority, running a tire of that size on the road is just a total hoot.  The Exposure 30s fill out to nearly 32mms wide on a 19mm (internal) rim and that is at 60PSI.  Let me tell ya’, it makes bad roads into a no-biggy situation and they hardly feel slow, even when the pace comes up within the group.

Detail of the WTB Exposure tire

So when I received the 36mm version of these tires, I expected a smooth rolling, higher volume version of the 30 and that proved out to be accurate.  They ended up at 38mms wide at 40psi, so they are more than the 36mm size called out.  And since there are no knobs at all, that width is all casing so that is quite a bit of air volume.  I ran them at 40psi most of the time, but did drop down to 35psi just to see how that was.

So, how was it?

I used it pretty much on pavement, but that included some really bad pavement and no-pavement sections.  I also jumped onto some true gravel road just to see how that felt.  It’s a pretty fast tire as you would expect it to be.  It’s not heavy at 371g, weighing the least of any of the three WTB tires we have on hand.  If the 30mm version made bad roads a yawn, the 36mm version just laughs off potholes that the 30mm might look sideways at.  Good fun.

On dirt, you have to be aware that it is a slick…no knobs at all, so ultimate cornering, braking, and climbing traction have easily approachable limits.  But it was much better in the dirt/gravel than I thought it would be.  Volume is high and that is a good amount of rubber meeting the surface so until you need a knob to penetrate or grip softer or looser dirt, the Exposure 36 is quite OK.  You just need to remember what you are on as I expect the limit could come upon you with little warning.

Broken pavement and bicycle tire
Bring me this Tire, your Broken Roads, and the Huddled Masses will have Smoother Rides.

Interestingly, I found the tire to ride a bit harshly when compared to the Byway and the Venture. I am not sure why as they seem to share the same casing.  I wonder if it is due to there being less material on the tire as far as tread goes?  I found that dropping a few psi from 40psi made rough roads better, as you might expect, and I only noticed this on surfaces that were really beat up.

At The Finish: This would make a very nice option for your gravel bike on that second set of wheels, the one you run for faster days on paved roads.  Of course, the 30mm version is that as well, but this bigger version takes things up a notch when dirt or truly bad roads are on tap.

However, I have to think that, unless I was on pavement 90% of the time or more, I would just as soon run the 700×40 Byway for any all-road situation.  It’s about 70 grams heavier than the Exposure, but the Byway rolls fast…very fast…and in my opinion rides nicer too.  It provides more dirt cred as well. Choices, we have, hmmmm?

Note: WTB sent over the three models of tires to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.


Author: Grannygear

Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for in his spare time.

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7 thoughts on “Three Tires From WTB: Exposure 36mm Tires – At The Finish

  1. how did this tire compare on the road to something similarly slick like the Hutchinson Override? or even its 30c brother? Ive been very interested in this tire as something that escapes the 32c endurance “standard” without going over 40c full “comfort slick”, and the weight looks about perfect for that in-between!

  2. @RigidRodeo…Well, the Exposure 36 is 60 grams lighter so there is that. The casing on the WTB stuff has no built in ‘protection’ belt or anything so it should be more supple. That all says to me that the Exposure 36 would roll faster than the Overide. That said, seat of the pants is bit harder to quantify that. But if I was in dirt much, I would want more thickness to the tread and at least SOME knobs on there, both areas where the Exposure is more road-like in nature.


  3. Any idea how these compare to 38mm Panaracer Gravel King semi-slicks? Those are a favourite of mine and they come up lighter and a lot cheaper online than the WTBs.

  4. Is it possible the harsh feeling is due to the black casing? Weightwise the tan wall casing seem to be lighter and perhaps more supple.

    @ Grannygear: How does the speed of the 36’s compare to the 30’s?

  5. @Rom…no, but I am about to be on some Gravel King SKs in 38mm.

    @Bart…Maybe. Would not think so though. I think it is more due to the thinner tread material and larger casing volume at the same pressure as the other, smaller volume tires, but that might be wrong too. Of course the 36s are slower on pavement and much less aero. How much I cannot say and I doubt it matters that much, at least not to a person who is really desiring a38mm sized tire for all road type of use.

  6. I’ve ridden all of the tires mentioned so far in the discussion: WTB Exposure 36; Hutchison Override; Panaracer GK slicks (in both 700×38 and 650bx48). All were set up tubeless. And the typical type of riding I do is NorCal “mixed terrain” (mostly rough pavement, with some broken pavement, gravel, and dirt).

    The GKs seemed least puncture proof and showed signs of minor slices after very few miles. The Overrides may have been the hardiest of the bunch in terms of puncture protection, which of course comes with the trade-off of a less supple ride quality.

    The WTB Exposure 36s, based on my experience, offer the best combination of ride quality and durability. I should add, totally subjectively, that they also feel fast. If I had to rank these tires, itd go like this:
    Durability: Override, Exposure, GK
    Ride Quality: Exposure, GK, Override
    Perceived fastness: Exposure, Override, GK

  7. I have the Exposure in 36mm and I am struggling. I have literally gone years without a flat and I have now had 8 punctures in the rear and have had to refill the tire with sealant. Most of the punctures are juuuust off the center line of the tire. Thinking there is just not enough rubber to protect against small objects. Love the tires for crank and pothole protection but gonna likely replace them.

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