WTB Nano 40 TCS Tires: Getting Rolling

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In 2014 WTB announced a “surprise” of a tire in the Nano 40. A 40mm wide version of the brand’s iconic Nanoraptor tire. The normally offered trail tires that dominate the WTB catalog are what many folks think of when they consider WTB tires, but now there was an option for gravel and backroad riders. You can check out my final review of the Nano 40mm tires HERE. Now WTB has followed through with their promise to make a Nano 40mm tire in a tubeless ready version.

The Nano 40 TCS version is tubeless ready

What It Is: This tire is for all intents and purposes just like the Nano 40 which I have already reviewed, but this has one major difference that will make this tire feel different and perform differently as well. That difference is that it is a “tubeless ready” tire. This means that the bead design is different and is meant to handle the higher demands placed on a tire bead when it is run tubeless. In addition, the casing rubber is sealant compatible, and this will help keep the tire carcass from delaminating or blistering due to contact with sealant. Finally, the “TCS” designation means that this tire will match up with any suitable TCS rim from WTB for a perfect tubeless tire and rim system. Well……theoretically speaking. We will see here in a bit if that actually was how it went.

The TCS versions do weigh a bit more due to the necessary bead change and casing treatment. The two samples I weighed came in at 510 gm/520 gm each. This compares to a folding bead Nano 40 which weighs about 470 gm, give or take a bit. That 40-50 gram difference is acceptable as a trade off for lowering pinch flat chances to near zero and getting a tire with a theoretical advantage in terms of rolling resistance. Again- these are things we will explore in this review.

WTB tires
The Nano 40 TCS was mounted to a matching TCS rim, the i23 Frequency from WTB

I already had a set of Frequency i23 rims from WTB laced to disc hubs, so this was a perfect opportunity to try out the total “system” approach that is now offered to gravel riders by WTB. The internal rim width of 23mm would also be perfect for giving this tire good support at lowered pressures and would help give the Nano 40 a bit more volume. The tubeless set up with this combination was so easy, it was a bit surprising to me. I have been setting up tubeless tires for a long time on my bicycles and the TCS tire and rim match is one of the- if not the best, when it comes to ease of set up. What is more, the air retention of the Nano 40 TCS on the Frequency rim is top notch. Very impressive. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABy the way, after 48 hours at 40psi, the Nano 40 TCS measured out right a 40mm on the Frequency i23 rims. Perfect!

First Ride: Due to an ongoing illness and Winter, there hasn’t been much riding at all, but I did get a short spin on these. I went with 40psi R/38psi F and found that I maybe will bump the rear pressure up a touch, but again, this was a first ride and I have some “getting to know you” time to put in before I can say too much more. Much like the tubed Nano 40 though, I felt that the rougher/more unpaved the surface, the faster this tire felt to me. That wasn’t a surprise. I did like the way they felt as far as suppleness at these pressures though and that is something better than the tubed Nano 40.

So Far…. Great tubeless performance, but a tad heavy for this size tire. They hold air really well and the Nano 40 TCS seems to roll very smoothly.

Stay tuned for the Checkpoint on these tires where I should have ridden many miles on them and this will give me a better idea on the performance of these tubeless tires.

NOTE: WTB sent over these Nano 40 TCS tires at no cost to RidingGravel.com for test/review. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel bikes, gear, events and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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13 thoughts on “WTB Nano 40 TCS Tires: Getting Rolling

  1. Very happy to see this review – I’ve been curious about this tire. How likely is it to go on a Stan’s rim, would you say? Any chance you could give it a try?

    1. Tim- This question has come up several times since these tires have been announced, so I’ll likely add a statement in the next update concerning this. Stan’s rims have to be viewed for what their intended use is- that is converting non-tubeless tires to tubeless use. The bead diameters of various folding and wire bead tires are variable enough that Stan’s had to utilize a design with ever so slightly bigger diameters and special bead seat to accommodate that.

      Now- with many tubeless tire designs, manufacturers are either (a) actually designing to UST bead interface standards or (b) doing something very close to those dimensions. Typically those bead dimensions hold to tighter tolerances and are actually ever so slightly smaller in diameter in comparison to standard folding bead and wire bead tires.

      So, you have Stan’s rims on one end of the tolerance spectrum and UST tires and their imitators on the other end. An attempt at mixing Stan’s rims and tubeless ready tires as described above generally results in a tire that is incapable of being mounted by hand, or in some cases, at all without damaging the rims or tires.

      So, the Nano 40 TCS, which adheres to a stricter dimension, (not licensed as UST but close to that ideal), is not a good fit on the Stan’s rims. I have heard from a few that have tried this and have been told that while it is possible to mount the Nano 40 TCS on a Stan’s rim, the fit is “extremely tight” and field serviceability is likely going to be compromised.

      Ideally, you want your tubeless tires and rims to be able to be mounted without tools and have easier field serviceability, if necessary. The TCS rims and Nano TCS tire have exactly this relationship.

      So, to answer your question, yes- it is possible to do, but it may not be a very good idea when you find you need to pull the tire off to repair a hole Stan’s sealant won’t seal, or fix a spoke nipple, etc.

  2. Thanks, GT – you’re spot on and that’s exactly why I asked the question. It’s funny, I think a lot of early adopters are stuck now because their early interest in tubeless has left them with rims that don’t work well with the tires that are actually designed to work that way.

    Meanwhile, on my 29er I have the opposite problem; Stans-friendly Nobby Nics on WTB rims designed to the UST standard. They’re stupid easy to mount but it would be nice if they were snugger!

    I think I’ll just buy a set and try them. If I can get them onto my Crests by hand, great, otherwise I’ll take the 29er wheels for the Nanos and get new rims for that bike. I can just feel the economy smiling. 😉



    1. ” I can just feel the economy smiling.”

      Oh man! Doesn’t that describe a lot of what’s happening in regard to cycling these days? Even within the “gravel/back road/any road” segment.

      Spot on!

  3. Ted, have you tried these on ENVE rims? Looking to put a set on some XC 29er rims which are designed for tubeless.

  4. @Sam: Yes, it should mount up on an ultegra tubeless rim as it is UST based and so is the Nano 40.

    @Rod: As above, if ENVE is using a UST dimension, then yes, I would think it would work. However; due to the expensive nature of those rims, I do not have a set sitting around at hand to try out the Nano 40’s on.

  5. Thanks Ted,

    Meantime I have called both ENVE and WTB…ENVE thinks they should work but aren’t sure, however WTB said that since the newer ENVE rims are UST they should fit fine. The only caveat from WTB is their recommendation to run the thinner Stan’s yellow tape (I assume it’s still yellow) instead of the ENVE supplied tape, which is the thicker Gorilla tape.

    Think I’ll give it a try soon.

    1. Rod, I just got a set of Enve rims and looking at gravel tires to set up on them. Did you ever try the WTB’s or any other tires on them?

  6. Stan’s specifically recommends NOT using WTB tubeless tires. I’ve been running the Nano 40c race version tubeless on Stan’s Grail rims for a year. It sets up perfectly and have never burped them. Running at 30 and 33 lbs for gravel and moderate single track. My weight 150 lbs. Have several friends with the same setup and equally good results.

    1. Hey Bill, what width rim tape do you have on your grail/nano race setup? I’ve been having trouble getting the same combo to seal tightly and wondering if my use of wider 25mm Stan’s tape is part of the problem.

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