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