A radler is a citrus juice and beer cocktail that can be refreshing to drink after a hot summer bike ride. It’s also the German word for cyclist. And, when spelled with two D’s, it’s the name of a WTB gravel tire that suggests it’s designed for rad riding. I’ve been testing the WTB Raddler on a Jamis steel gravel bike this winter, and the Raddler has quickly become one of my favorite skinny tire tires.
WTB Raddler tire specs
The WTB Raddler sits at the more aggressive end of the WTB gravel tire line, and is itself a more “rad” version of the most-conditions WTB Riddler tire. The siped outer lugs are downright meaty for a gravel tire while the center tread is made up of shorter, tightly packed knobs for rolling fast. If that sounds like the same recipe for a semi-slick mountain bike tire, it’s not too far off.
WTB offers two different widths of the Raddler, and each width is available in three different constructions. I tested the 700x40c size with a 60tpi casing and tan sidewalls. This configuration is the lightest weight — and lightest duty — version of the tire.
Test pilot profile height: 190cm (6’3″) weight: 72.5kg (160lb) testing zone: Southeast, USA
My sample weighs 490g which is spot on, down to the gram, with what WTB claims for the weight of the tire.
I began my testing of the WTB Raddler with inner tubes, and later mounted them tubeless. Both front and rear tires installed easily with a floor pump, and I tested at pressures between 30-40psi.
WTB Raddler on the road, and on the trail
I’m hoping to ride the Huracan 300 again this year, and riding gravel bikes is a big part of my training. A gravel bike makes it easy to roll right out of my driveway and onto the road, and I can get outside the city pretty quickly and even access singletrack that normally involves a trip in the car.
On the road the WTB Raddler feels fast. Of course road riders may disagree, and even within the WTB gravel tire lineup the Raddler isn’t positioned as one of their fastest or most efficient rollers. But to this mountain biker, the Raddler flies uphill and across the plains. It’s neither buzzy nor draggy on tarmac and the overall volume is confidence-inspiring on pothole-riddled pavement for riders like me who aren’t seasoned road warriors.
I did get a flat tire while testing, ironically not on a gravel road or singletrack, but on pavement. Regular road riders won’t be surprised to know it happened while riding in a bike lane littered with jagged grit and broken glass. I was running tubes at the time and I suspect had I been tubeless, sealant might have sealed the puncture. Even so, based on this experience I’d probably opt for the more puncture-resistant SG2 version of the Raddler next time just to be safe, weight penalty and all.
Onto gravel, the Raddler is one of the better tires I’ve tested when it comes to soaking up small bumps and vibrations. The tire’s high volume helps, as does the supple 60tpi construction. But what sets the Raddler apart in my opinion is its ability to stick to a line in dodgy conditions. I suspect the large side knobs play a role by buttressing the tire against sideways impacts, essentially forming a walled lane on either side of the tread. I found the Raddler feels just as good on chunky, granite-based gravel as it does sandy two-tracks.
The WTB Raddlers provide shockingly good traction on technical mountain bike trails. On a damp ride on the blue trails at South Rockdale Park the tires found good grip on greasy roots and felt poised in leafy corners. At first I was hesitant to push the tires too hard on the trail for fear of flatting or crashing 25 miles from home, but after easily rolling over a few nasty root webs I was ready to fly around corners and hop over logs. Having tested the WTB Ventures last year, I have to say the Raddlers are much better suited to singletrack riding and are the best ones for doing so that I’ve found to date. (The WTB Sendero tires look even better suited to riding mountain bike trails, though I’ve yet to test those. Unfortunately they are only available in 650b sizes.)
While WTB offers a slightly wider and heavier (and presumably slower rolling) 700x44c version of the Raddler, the 40mm wide tires I tested proved to have plenty of volume and stability for a wide range of conditions. For me, the sweet spot would be to stick with the 700x40c size but upgrade to the SG2 version for added flat protection.
Bottom line: The WTB Raddler is a good choice for gravel riders who are mostly mountain bikers at heart.
- Good volume and aggressive cornering knobs.
- Holds a line and provides good climbing traction.
- Little noticeable drag or buzz on pavement.
Pros and cons of the WTB Raddler gravel bike tire.
- Not a lot of puncture protection on 60tpi version.