The mystery is solved.
The WTB Riddler 700c Tire solves the dilemma about how to be both fast and predictable over mixed terrain riding. Available in two widths depending on your needs, the Riddler blends a fast rolling center tread with aggressive side knobs so you can dig into loose corners without straggling on hardpack. WTB's dual DNA rubber compound aids you even more with a harder durometer down the middle and a softer, grippier rubber at the edges.
Tubeless ready. 700c diameter. Claimed weight is 560 g (45 mm).
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The product weight specified is an approximate weight based on the manufacturer's specifications (if available) or our measurement of one or two examples. For most products, the weight will typically vary by 5% to 10%.
Wheel Size: 700C/29" (ISO 622)
Tire Type: Tubeless Ready
Tire Color: Black
Tire Color: Tan
Tire Width: 37mm (1.5in)
Tire Width: 45mm (1.8in)
Tan - 700 x 37mm
Weight: 560 grams
Mfg PartNum: W010-0694
Tire Width: 37mm (1.5in)
Black - 700 x 37mm
Weight: 465 grams
Tire Width: 37mm (1.5in)
Mfg PartNum: W010-0641
Tan - 700 x 45mm
Weight: 560 grams
Mfg PartNum: W010-0695
Tire Width: 45mm (1.8in)
Black - 700 x 45mm
Weight: 560 grams
Tire Width: 45mm (1.8in)
Mfg PartNum: W010-0642
I use these wheels in town in Portland, and throughout the PNW on gravel rides. I first took these wheels out on a ride from The Dalles into Mount Hood National Forest. We had uphill road where I felt no significant drag or resistance from the nub size. We took dirt roads that these tires absolutely crushed, creating a lot smoother ride than I had before on 37mm wheels. And of course we found some single track riding where the huge wheels again demonstrated a significant difference from my previous 37mm - providing a much smoother and better handled ride.
These were the stock tires (700x37c) on my Caadx 105 SE and I'm on my second set of them now. I had about 1100 miles on the first set riding through the Portland winter on them. They were still in decent shape with lots of tread left, but I was getting a lot more flats on them than usual from all the garbage in the bike lanes. New pair is behaving properly.
These tires are intended for tubeless, but I've been running them with tubes because I'm a pigheaded neanderthal. I have about 100 meters of total gravel riding on my commute, but these tires are just so freaking comfortable and light and good looking in tan that I'm too paranoid to switch to something else and potentially compromise my ride feel. I have some marathons on an ebike which have been bulletproof in comparison, but they're just bleh to ride on.
Only one actual gravel race on these. I went through all of my spare tubes and finished second to last with a leaking rear tire. Later found there was a sneaky wire in my tire that I had brought to the race with me. This wouldn't have been a problem on tubeless.
It is an absolute battle to put these on your rims. Typically I have to soap them up with water and dish soap and inflate to 100 PSI to get the bead to set properly. (usually with a cracking pop). Then deflate to desired pressure. (I run about 65 PSI and am 190lbs).
All of the tan w the treadline should be above your rim. - If your tire is below the bead in one part you will be riding with a strange lumpthump.
It's an absolute battle to get these off of your rims. Grasp the tire on the side away from the valve stem with both hands and push until your eyelid twitches. It will probably separate from the inside of your rim. If you have weak programmer hands like me, you might get solicited by motel dwellers on the side of the road in the 30min struggle just to break the bead. Once you've broken the bead, it's pretty straight forward. When they're newer and more flexible, it's less of a problem.
But I think both of these battles are really a feature from these guys being more ideal for tubeless. IDK what I'm doing with my life.
TLDR - get them in tan. They look amazing on a grey or black bike. Run them tubeless and take them to a nice graveldirt road and enjoy them in their prime habitat. Don't take them out in the rotty Portland winter weather like I did. The tiny wires will find you if you do.
I swap between the 45mm Riddler's and 38mm Paselas regularly and while the Riddler doesn't roll on pavement as well as a smooth tread tire, it provides a ton of confidence in really loose stuff. I've run them as low as 25lbs (with tubes!) without any pinch flats. With 210lbs combined bikerider weight and running a good mix of loose gravel and pavement I usually get 1500 miles on the rear tire and 2500 miles on the front. I think that's pretty good for a tire this supple.
Mounting them sucks so much. The bead profile is made for WTB TCS rims which have a more square bead profile and it takes a ton of work to get them to mount cleanly unless you prep your rim. You WILL get wobble if you don't seat the bead uniformly and it takes a lot of pressure and effort. I've only been able to get these to mount cleanly by using soapy water on the rim and that is a supply that you usually don't have on you when you're on the side of trail trying to fix a puncture. Running tubeless with a tire repair kit (Dynaplug) hopefully means you can avoid all this pain because it sucks finishing a ride with a lumpy tire.
Have ridden 4,700km in the seven months Apr-Oct. I have two sets of wheels, one with 45 Riddlers, and one with Panaracer 38 slicks. I switch the wheels depending whether I am going on a mostly road or mostly gravel ride, and it's probably an even-ish split between the two, so let's say 2,000-2,500km on each.
I tend to ride a 100km+ ride each weekend, plus 1-2hr rides mid-week.
I also ride MTB trails and downhill, and until Apr also rode road, so have a wider perspective than gravel, and am not including those distances in the 4,700km.
I was expecting to dislike the Riddlers, which was why I bought the 38 slicks, too, but really they are very good. Strava shows that terminal velocities on identical long downhills are a couple kmph slower on the 45 Riddlers than the 38 slicks, but overall section times barely vary. Overall ride times are more difficult to pin down, as I rarely do the same route on both wheelsets - one biases road and the other gravel. My Strava asphalt PRs are mostly with the 38slicks, though there are some on the 45Riddlers. My Strava off-road PRs are probably all on the 45Riddlers.
My rear tire is now bald in the middle, and I punctured catastrophically needing a Stan's Dart, hence I am here looking at tires. I will likely buy the 45Riddler again, unless I find more puncture proof or colored versions that might change my decision.
The front tire also needed a Stans Dart recently. In both cases the puncture was in the tread area, and looked more like a clean split, like a table jelly or something made from silicone splitting. There appears no effective help from threads or puncture breakers, so if I find a version promising those, I will grab it.
I'm seeing the Raddler (not Riddler) out the corner of my eye, and will investigate further.
[edit - ah-ha! - I found the Riddler SG2 and Raddler SG2. Perfect!]
I use these on my Marin Gestalt 3 gravel bike and am on my second set. They are comfortable and fast. My times a nearly the same as my summer bike running 700x28c Michelins. For winter use, they are the best. I am very satisfied.
I've been using the 37c version of these tires on my commuter bike for a few months now. They roll well on pavement and gravel bike paths that make up my commute to work. They also do a great job on hardpack gravel roads. The tan walls look fantastic on my All City!
The riddlers were easy to install and setup tubless. No issues getting them fitted or aired up. The sidewalls did weep quite a bit of sealant before they eventually sealed up. Took a few days of shaking them up and adding air. After the first ride they were good to go, no more air loss. Great grip off road while not being a total anchor on pavement. Definitely biased towards dirt though. Taken these on some pretty rough singletrack alond with some pretty chunky hravel and theyve held up well. I would recommend for anyone whos more than 50% off pavement.
If you are looking for a great all around tires WTB's Riddler solves the puzzle. Smooth rolling on pavement and good grip on the soft stuff. I run them with tubes - but they are good for tubeless. My only gripe is the tight bead can be tough to remount after a flat. Tire Jack solves that.
I have a set of these with probably 200 miles on them by now. I've had them mounted tubeless on two different sets of rims, both known good rims, and they just will not hold pressure. (I use Stan's sealant.) They will go from 35 PSI to completely flat overnight. I expect some loss of pressure, of course, but that's way too fast. It's enough that I don't feel confident that they'll still be holding pressure by the end of my usual 40 mile gravel ride. That's too bad, because the traction is great on dry gravel/fire roads, with predictable push/slide through fast corners.
Game changer for converting my 2019 Ridley X-Night from a Cross bike to a real gravel performer. I switched from the original 32 mm Cross tires to these 37mm WTB Riddlers. It was like I switched to a different sport! Less jarring road feedback and much more confidence on loose gravel descents. So far, I have run them tubed at 60 lbs on Mavic Ksyrium Elite rims. I actually broke a few PRs on downhill segments since i felt much more stable.
I have not ridden other specific competitors to this tire in similar width and pressure, but I cannot imagine much better gravel performance. I am going to run these tubeless on a new Open Up build with Zipp 404 NSW wheels, and will report back if any major differences. (PS, i did not want the 404 NSW wheels for gravel, but the world is sold out of 303 NSW)
I spent an hour in my LBS with a very patient mechanic trying to find the largest off road tire I could put on my touring bike to turn it into a gravel/off-road bike. The WTB Riddler 700x45c were what we came up with. I've been using these for trail riding and in moderate terrain mountain biking (Florida & Georgia) for 2 years. As far as the ride goes, they are GREAT tires. They work great on/off road. But... they always seem to delaminate/fail in the sidewall after about 800 miles (the tread is still in great shape). I contacted the manufacturer after the first one failed and they more or less blamed me. I just had another one fail in the EXACT SAME WAY and so I'm going to see if I can get another brand to work as well. If not, I'll return to these.... but will be less enthusiastic about the value proposition.
I bought these tires to build up my first gravel bike. They mounted fairly easily tubeless with a track pump on HUNT 4-Season wheels (19mm internal). My only complaint (and it is minor) is that they are smaller on these rims than the claimed 37mm (more like 36mm). However, after riding them, I see no need to get anything much larger. Cat-head gravel? Bring it! Peanut butter mud? Sped through it faster than my buddy on his mountain bike with 2.2 in tires. Tarmac? Kept up with my friends on a 30 mile group ride without having to change my wheels out.
Not so much as a scratch on these after over 300 miles, they are just starting to show minor wear. I'm certain I've just jinxed myself by bragging on these tires, but I wanted you all to know they are great!
This is an update to my previous review.
Following puncture issues with the first set, I bit the bullet and re-purchased. The second set lasted for almost 800 miles on REALLY rough AZ gravel without a single failure.
I'm going for set 3 without any doubt
This is a very confusing tire. Inconsistent handling. Sketchiest tire I've ridden since a (oddly enough also) WTB MTB tire 12 years ago.
Set up the 700x45 on a tubeless specific rim, 24mm internal width. Setup went awesome, bead popped right on. Easy to roll the bead onto the rim without levers. Following that experience, expected it to be awesome. But on the way to the dirt it was sketchy as all hell at what I'd consider normal tubeless dirt pressures on pavement. Cornering really felt like the side lugs were going to fold over, of the entire sidewall fold under the rim. Scary. Very drifty. I actually unclipped mid turn on clean pavement as I thought both tires were washing out and I was going down.
Tire wants to go straight. Lean it and it wants to return to center. Turning feels almost like a controlled-fall turn. Tire wants to go straight, have to muscle it to turn with you.
I stopped and aired it way up, some improvement, but shoulder lug squirm still out of control.
I'm comparing this directly to the 700x42 Resolutes I took off (and put back on). Resolute is head and shoulders above the Riddler both in handling on and off road, and straightline speed.
Resolute flies on pavement and no squirm on cornering.
If they'd adopted the Resolute shoulder lugs on the Riddler, it would be a lot better.
Looks sweet? Its a high quality tire and all that, but the dynamics are somehow all wrong. Price is appropriate for the build quality, but not for the handling characteristics.
Great tire; good price. 37 mm version on DT Swiss wheel set. I use them on my trail/gravel bike in the woods and they roll well on the road. I am running them with tubes. My only issue is the bead is so tight it's a challenge to change a flat in the field.
My only suggestion for improving this tire is improved puncture resistance. Had one suffer a 1 cm cut on the center line caused by simple gravel. I run mine tubeless, with Stans at about 30 psi.
Mounting went easy, without problems, and without a gorilla.
Surprisingly good traction on a variety of surfaces. (No mud yet)
Pretty good float in sand.
Great in the corners.
Very confident feel.
The Riddler is as described! My go to tire for all around use. In combination with my Knight Composites 35 TLA wheels, they mount tubeless easier than most others i have used. Only complaint is that the tires may wear out in pavement quicker than I'd like, but probably due to a higher use on the tar than they were designed.
Have been fixing flats, tires, my bikes for 40 years, three bike tours across U.S. The WTB Riddler tire will leave you stranded, almost impossible to mount onto WTB's own I-23 rim, TCS rim and tire. Managed to work tire onto rim, almost crying with frustration, tried to picture side of road in MT with wind and rain. Dangerous tire. Removed tire, gave both new tires away with warning to new owner to stay close to home.
A nice riding tire. I use it on a CX bike that I use primarily as a commuter in Houston. Roads in Houston very similar to CX courses! Durable, and good on road as well as trail. Wears a bit quicker than I'd expect, but overall a good value.
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