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.
18 thoughts on “WTB Raddler Tires: Checkpoint”
Why would you name two tires with almost the same name.
@Walter- Word is that WTB did this because the Raddler is essentially a “more rad” Riddler. They are essentially similar tires- one aggressive, one not so much- so the naming convention follows suit.
How do they compare to the Resolutes? Rolling resistance and cornering (especially pavement) are areas I’d be most interested. I find the Resolutes to struggle with cornering on loose over hard, I’m considering running a Raddler up front to help cope with that, but hope they don’t add _too_ much sketchyness for high speed pavement action.
@gondezee – In my opinion you would be happy with a front Raddler. Even the Riddler would be a good choice as well. MG, a contributor here, uses a Riddler as a front tire for the very reasons you state here.
The Resolute rolls better, but only slightly so, in my opinion.
That was exactly my question too: I’ve been running Resolutes and liking them very much, but want a bit more bite for cornering on the front in those same circumstances. Will give the Raddler a try.
The Nano still has a loyal following. How does it stand up, performance wise, against WTB’s newer tires, or has it been outclassed?
@Mike – The Nano40 is still a great tire, but the waters are kind of muddied when you look closely at the rest of WTB’s tire line up and compare characteristics.
The original Nano40 (black wall version) runs a true 40mm wide, has an unusual “tall” casing profile for a lot of volume, and has that traction with semi-low rolling resistance that a lot of folks loved about that tire. The thing is, if your bike can handle a 43-44mm tire, the Resolute does all of that and rolls noticeably faster. If your bike is limited to the 40mm clearance, stick with a Nano40 black wall.
there are Nano40 tires with tan walls. I swear that the tread cap is a Nano slapped on a Resolute’s casing. The tan wall Nano40 has that Resolute rounded casing, and looks nothing like the black wall Nano40 casing. I have also heard that folks are having some issues with Nano40 tires, but that is all I know. I have nothing specific to add there. I would recommend going to the Riding Gravel Forum and researching the Nano40 there. https://ridinggravel.com/forum
Would this tire be well suited for some of the chunkier long distance gravel events such as Rebecca’s Private Idaho and Big Sugar in Arkansas?
The pros posting after the Big Sugar preride last year suggested it is a pretty chunky course and suspect some riders may even opt for a HT MTB.
@Kuttermax – The WTB tires do not feature any puncture protection belts. So, keep that in mind when researching the two events you have earmarked. If people are saying that they are destroying tires, or you read about a lot of flat tire issues, then you will want to look elsewhere because the Raddler probably won’t be the best choice.
There are several tires that are excellent that do have puncture protection, or high resistance to cutting. I would suggest joining the forum here and researching the tire threads. there are many.
I ran WTB Resolute tires on Rebecca’s Private Idaho and they were great for that.
Any thoughts on rolling resistance on pavement vs the resolutes?
@Roland – See my response above regarding rolling resistance. More to come in the next update.
The comment “I never thought the Riddler was as fast as it looked” is spot on with my experience. For mixed surface roads and/or hardpack the Riddler just felt too slow.
I have had very good luck with the Byways. Basically seem to have the same level of grip as the Riddler but much faster (and better construction) Sized 37 for the Riddlers and 36 for the Byways.
Basically I think there really isn’t a place for a Riddler (in size 37) Get a Byway or something more aggressive with more grip. Which sounds like it’s the Raddler.
I ran WTB Resolute tires on Rebecca’s Private Idaho and they were great for that.
I am looking for a sand tire for my Raleigh Roker. Probably could go up to 700 x 45. Is the Raddler the best tire for sand in the WTB land or would you maybe run mismatched? Raddler on the front and Riddlers on the back?
@Larry B – Well, there is sand, and there are other kinds of sand. Which type do you have? I guess if a Raddler looks even a little bit appealing then you need to decide if the 44mm one is wide enough. I haven’t ridden that big of a Raddler so it would be hard for me to say, but if it has the more squared off profile of the Riddler, then I’d feel okay with that, I guess.
Again- I have no idea what sort of sand you are talking about, so I am shooting from the hip here.
Ted Thanks for that reply. I guess I should have clarified. Living in PA. I have only done one sand race. The Wild Chicken last year @ Fitzgerald GA. It rained heavy the night before the race and all the locals bagged the 100 miler and dropped down to the 62. I had no clue and had my Donlley xplor MSO tires pumped up way too high. Sometimes the bike just stopped dead in it’s track when hitting the sand.
The ride/race am talking about for my major race this year is the CouT2 which goes through Colorado out to Utah and back. Basically a desert race which I have never done. All I know is that I want 700 x rt tires on the bike and have heard that it has some gnarly stuff in the beginning and then some sands area’s I guess. I have hear maybe use file tread but totally clueless at my end. Maybe some readers here have done that race and could give me some ideas. Maybe post a link.