The WTB Raddler is the newest offering for the off-pavement rider from the company that made the first tubeless gravel tires, the Nano 40’s. If you missed our introduction to the two different width Raddlers, click the link and go back and check that out. With a bit of snow and colder temperatures giving way to “transition season” here, the Raddlers have been ridden and I can give a few thoughts on the characteristics of this new tread design.
First of all, I need to do a little house cleaning. The last time I left you off on this review I stated that I had not had time to mount the black wall 40mm Raddlers. They mounted with ease on the Shimano GRX wheel set we have in for review and were very much like the 44mm tires in that I had to lever them on and they pumped up with the Silca floor pump we have on duty here. Since that time, almost a month ago, I have noted that both sets of Raddlers retain air very well. No other issues with tubeless performance to report here.
In terms of width, I had noted that the 44mm version was a tad bit undersized right after mounting, but I was sure that these would stretch out to a full 44mm width, and I was correct there. The 40mm tires are also a full 40mm in width, so I am glad to report that the WTB Raddlers seem to run true to size. Now on with the riding.
Ride Performance: The marketing message we got with this tire was that the Raddler has a more aggressive tread than the Riddler, but retains a fast roll due to the arrangement of the central rows of the tread blocks. Now, I haven’t ridden a Riddler back to back with a Raddler…..yet, but the Raddler has a decently fast roll on pavement and harder surfaces. It is better than the Venture, in my opinion, and I intend to find out if it is close to a Riddler. Which, by the way, I never thought was as fast as it looked. We will get a back to back roll down test to determine a winner for the wrap-up on this review.
With that said, the Raddler does have a typically “WTB” feel. I’ve ridden enough of their tires to know that they roll nicely- not super-smooth, but nice. They damp impacts well, and the rubber compound works just fine. The Raddler fits in the family of other WTB tires very well with no weird, uncharacteristic traits overall. I did note that despite the closely spaced tread blocks in the center of the tire that the Raddler did not “fling” gravel bits like some other tires are noted for doing. Sure, it did fling a stone here or there, but I was pleasantly surprised that this tread pattern seemed to behave itself and not fling a lot of smaller stones around.
The tread cap is shaped in such a way that it presents a flatter radius to the surfaces you ride on than some other tires in WTB’s line, like the Resolute, as an example. This makes the Raddler grip well in looser conditions. I found bite in muddier corners, and on some well packed snow also. This doesn’t seem to impede the Raddler on smoother, harder surfaces though, but some of that is going to depend upon what you decide to run for tire pressures. The flatter tread cap radius also helps the Raddler to roll up and over loose rock instead of plowing through it, which lends the bike fitted with the Raddlers a more stable feel.
So Far….. The Raddler fits into the family of WTB gravel tires well and has some good characteristics which separate it from those other WTB tires. Namely a fast roll with an increase in traction. Ride feel is “typical WTB”, so you either like that, or not, but if you are not familiar, this means it is a decent feeling tire. Not the plushest, but not harsh. Tubeless performance is perhaps the best we’ve seen from WTB so far. These tires have retained air well, and otherwise are very easy to set up.
In our wrap-up w hope to give you a view of how the Raddler compares to the Riddler, along with a few other things, so stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.
Note: WTB sent over the Raddler tires to RidingGravel.com to test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.