Mary & I have been running tyres exclusively this year thanks to the WTB UK Graveliers program. Up until now I have had the WTB Byway 34s on my Kona Rove and they have been a dream.
My initial concerns about their robustness, especially on commutes have been unfounded and I have found my confidence in them. They have been more than capable on and off road.
A Change Will Do You Good
I am getting quite adept at switching tubeless tyres, so it wasn’t a huge job to pop the Byways off and slip on the Raddlers. The HUNT Four Seasons and WTB tyres play together really nicely, no fighting to get the tyre on the rim and a really nice seat. I’m even reusing the Stans Sealant!
The Raddler at 40mm is a little wider than the Byways but still plenty of clearance in the Rove Frame.
The first thing that stands out – quite literaly – is the aggressive sidewall tread on what is a pretty skinny tyre.
Once fully inflated there was quite a bit of sidewall seepage that took 3 re-inflations to stop. The sealant eventually doing it’s job.
First outing was a 20 mile loop, mostly on tarmac but a few canal towpaths and the notoriously slippy block paved bridges and city centre paving.
Coming straight from the Byways there was a noticeable drag on the roads. You feel the knobbles on the smooth. It was however raining, and the tyres shed the water nicely and made for a reasonably confident ride. I say reasonably as occasionally those huge sidewall lugs would ping off the straight edge of a paving slab catching me a little off guard.
Road isn’t the Raddlers natural environment so the next day I set off on a quick loop of the local trails. The rain over the last few days meant trails had everything. Gravel, sand, wet grass, roots and mud.
At first I wasn’t wowed, maybe beacause I didn’t really want to be. I’d ridden these trails many time on my beloved Byways and I wasn’t noticing a huge improvement. Not enough to justify the change; that is untill I upped the pace.
The first noticeable difference came on the gravelly ascents. I’m normally a sit ‘n’ spinner, but unweighting the back of the bike and powering out of the saddle these things didn’t slip. They just dug in and I flew up the climbs.
They held their lines through the mud too and didn’t clog up and even through the sand pits they held confidently despite their skinny footprint.
On the descents the Raddlers skipped over roots, skitting across pebble strewn paths. I found myself really enjoying the ride and leaning into the corners where I would normally be a little more careful as the tread really bit into the ground.
You Can’t Argue With a Smile!
Although initially underwhelmed, when I put these things out into the wild they really came alive and inspired a super confident ride. I’m looking forward to taking them on some longer routes.
Thanks for reading
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