Since lacing up new rims in anticipation of the fore coming bike-fish trip, I've loved roaming around on the WTB Horizon 47 tires. Fast rolling, grippy, comfortable, and versatile. Perfect for the mixed surface Pacific Coast Bike tour coming up this winter. There are times though, when more gravel grip would be nice. Enter the WTB Riddler 45s.
As with all WTB TCS tires, tubeless setup was a cinch, settling into place with satisfying snaps. The Niner RLT Steel's chain stays provided enough room fit the portly Riddlers, with space to spare for mud or wheel mishap.
Since mounting them up, the Riddlers have seen the gamut of road surfaces including pavement, dirt, gravel, and cobbles here in Northwest Wyoming. Though not as fast as the Horizons on pavement, they roll quickly enough to endure sections of paved roads before turning onto their natural habitat; dirt and gravel. On the hard pack, the closely spaced center nubs keep rolling resistance down while the more meaty side nobs hook up when things start to get western. The combination of width and superb cornering traction led to higher than normal speeds on the downhill gravel corner during the daily commute home (Look ma, no brakes!).
The side nobs also come into play when maneuvering off-camber trails or exiting the ruts that abound throughout the B.L.M. roads of Wyoming. It's nearly impossible not to find yourself in one of these axle high troughs out here, but its comforting to know your tires have the bite to climb back out.
Another road anomaly to be dealt with is that strip of loose gravel and rocks that forms between the tire tracks of a two-track road. When bombing down a hill and faced with a curve, its often necessary to cross that piece of no-mans land in order to get the inside line for the upcoming corner. Easier said then done depending on the tire you're running. I found the Riddlers up for challenge, having enough girth and bite to confidently cross this section of loose gravel and large rocks. #impressed
While the mountain biker in me anyways wants fatter tires, the realist reminds me that this is a gravel touring bike, not a drop barred mountain machine (next bike!?). The WTB Riddler 45s strike a perfect balance between traction, speed, and width, at least by my standards. They've quickly become my go to choice for rides featuring dirt and gravel. And since this is what I prefer to ride, it works out pretty well!