WTB Raddler Tires: Checkpoint

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.

The WTB Raddlers out for a late Winter roll.

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.

The WTB Raddlers measured true to size.

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.

Despite the tightly packed central blocks, I did not experience any great amount of “gravel flinging”.

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.

 

 

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12 Responses to WTB Raddler Tires: Checkpoint

  1. Avatar
    Walter February 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm #

    Why would you name two tires with almost the same name.

    • Guitar Ted
      Guitar Ted February 24, 2020 at 9:39 pm #

      @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.

  2. Avatar
    gondezee February 25, 2020 at 6:16 pm #

    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.

    • Guitar Ted
      Guitar Ted February 26, 2020 at 9:46 am #

      @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.

  3. Avatar
    Mike February 26, 2020 at 6:35 am #

    The Nano still has a loyal following. How does it stand up, performance wise, against WTB’s newer tires, or has it been outclassed?

    • Guitar Ted
      Guitar Ted February 26, 2020 at 9:52 am #

      @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

  4. Avatar
    Kuttermax February 26, 2020 at 12:06 pm #

    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.

    • Guitar Ted
      Guitar Ted February 26, 2020 at 12:29 pm #

      @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.

      https://ridinggravel.com/forum

  5. Avatar
    Roland February 26, 2020 at 12:35 pm #

    Any thoughts on rolling resistance on pavement vs the resolutes?

    • Guitar Ted
      Guitar Ted February 26, 2020 at 8:46 pm #

      @Roland – See my response above regarding rolling resistance. More to come in the next update.

  6. Avatar
    Mac February 29, 2020 at 9:59 am #

    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.

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  1. WTB Raddler Tires: At The Finish - Riding Gravel - March 25, 2020

    […] share. You can catch up on the two previous posts I’ve already made on these tires HERE and HERE. Those posts contain all the technical data, marketing claims, and my first impressions about these […]

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