WTB Riddler Tire
Stated Dimensions: 27.5” x 2.4”
Measured Width (on 25mm internal rim): 59.25mm
Casing: TCS Tough / Enduro Casing / Folding bead
Blister’s Measured Weight: 1056 grams
Mounted to: Devinci Spartan, DT Swis E1700 Spline 2 wheels
Intended Use: Fast rolling and hard cornering
Duration of Test: 15 rides
Locations: Whitefish, MT, Fernie, BC
Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs
The new WTB Riddler falls in with a few other tires on the market right now that are essentially a new take on a semi-slick tire design.
In the past, semi slicks were mostly aimed at the cross-country set, and they were usually a somewhat modified cross country tire. This meant that they had very low knobs down the center of the tire, and the side knobs were also somewhat minimal.
There were a few exceptions to this formula (like the now defunct Maxxis Highroller semi-slick), but for the most part, it was tough to find a fast rolling tire that could still corner well.
Newer tires like the Riddler are aimed more at people who would normally run a relatively knobby tire, such as trail / all mountain riders, and washed up downhillers (also known as enduro racers).
The center knobs are still minimal, but cornering knobs are much more aggressive than their more XC-oriented counterparts.
The Riddler is only available in one size: 27.5” x 2.4”, but it comes in two flavors: the “TCS Light” and the “TCS Tough.”
TCS stands for “Tubeless Compatible System” and I rode the Tough version, which has WTB’s “enduro” casing.
Basically, the Tough version is a dual compound tread, a folding bead, and a two ply casing.
It’s noteworthy that it is a full two ply casing, similar to many DH tires. This is substantially more stout than something like a Maxxis EXO casing that only reinforces the sidewall.
The downside, however, is that the extra material also makes the Riddler a pretty heavy tire at 1056 grams, which is 100-200 grams more than tires that might be comparable in terms of intended use.
That said, it’s still substantially lighter than a full-blown DH tire.
While I haven’t ridden the Riddler in the TCS Light version, I’ve used other WTB tires with that setup, and they were more or less normal folding bead tires with a single ply casing.
WTB developed the Riddler in conjunction with the tire’s namesake, Nathan Riddle, and the tire evolved as a combination of WTB’s Bee Line (a more XC-ish tire) and the WTB Vigilante, a knobbier tire. The end result pretty clearly shares some traits of both.
The center knobs on the Riddler are low, tightly packed, and have a hodge-podge of squarish shapes. There’s a bit of ramping on the knobs to further help with lowering rolling resistance, and the trailing / braking edges are squared off to offer as much stopping power as those little knobs can muster.
The side knobs bear some similarity to those on the WTB Tail Boss, but there’s a much more substantial channel between the center knobs on the Riddler and the side knobs. A lot of the WTB tires have a set of knobs that could be called transitional (because they fall in between center and side knobs), but the Riddler definitely doesn’t.
I talked a bit more extensively about transitional knobs in my review of the WTB Vigilante, but here’s the executive summary:
At first glance, transitional knobs might seem great as they give you traction when you’re not fully upright, but not leaned all the way into a corner. So they might help you out in mild corners where you don’t need to lean the bike waaay over.
But since side knobs are at their most effective when they are getting shoved into the ground and there’s a lot of force helping them to dig in, transitional knobs that are located just inboard of the side knobs effectively take weight off of the side knobs, which means the side knobs can’t dig in quite as hard, which means you can’t corner quite as hard.
So, generally speaking, a tire with transitional knobs will feel less drifty as it’s leaned over, but it’ll never really sink its teeth in and hook up as completely as a tire with a channel between the center and side knobs.
I’ll get into how that all translates on the Riddler below.
I’ve found WTB tires to be really easy to set up tubeless, and the Riddler is no exception.
The Riddlers have WTB’s TCS bead profile, which is a UST-compatible shape. In other words, the shape of the bead is designed to mate well with UST compatible rims and makes for a good, tight fit.
I mounted the Riddlers on some DT Swiss E1700 rims (25mm internal width) and it was a breeze. A minimal amount of sealant and a quick hit with the floor pump and they were ready to ride.
I haven’t had any issues with burping, and they lose very little air over time.
If all tires were this easy to set up tubeless, I would be a much happier person.
NEXT: The Ride, Durability, Etc.