Huntsman Ti XXX WTB Resolute 42mm Gum Walls

A little before WTB’s release of their new Resolute 42mm tire, I received an email one morning in my in-box to the tune of: “We want you to try these tires!” A brief run down of the 42mm tire had me intrigued so I agreed to have them send me a pair to test out. With the new Huntsman Ti Prototype just about wrapped up… it was perfect timing. Especially since I had refined the process and methodology of how I make my chain stays in Titanium! There’s a lot of nuance to how you shape and form Ti and make room for the ever growing trend of large volume tires. But I digress. With new tires and prototype in hand, I was stoked to get the bike built up and out on the roads here in Southern NH. A while back I had inquired with the State of NH’s DOT to find out if they had any data on how many contiguous center lane road miles were actually dirt roads. Apparently I was the first to inquire about this and had the engineer on the other line equally curious. Turns out we have over 12,000 miles of dirt roads in current use, and that doesn’t include 6th class roads! So to say that a slightly larger knobby tire for dirt road exploration peeked my curiosity with that much dirt right out my shop doors is an understatement. So let’s dive into the details…

WTB Resolute 700c x 42mm

First things first! WTB describes the Resolute TCS 42mm tire as a “ultimate all-weather gravel tire for those who believe there is a perfect tread pattern for every ride.” We’ve had A LOT of rain these past few weeks piggy backed by A LOT of dry hot and often humid days. We typically get a few weeks here in NH of hot, humid heat and it’s around July.. Perfect weather for Deerfly season. So much like my go-to tire that is ironically the WTB Nano TCS 40mm, I was hopeful this slightly larger tire rolled equally as fast as the Nano, but offered a bit more volume much like their Riddler 45mm tire I had tested earlier last year. However, the Riddler was a tad too big for what I need, by no means a bad tire though! Super fast rolling. Tons of grip when and where you need it. And remarkably quiet for a tire of that size. Up above you can see the tire’s plump profile. Squared knobs dominate the tread pattern which are low profile. Slightly aggressive side knobs with a little bit of tightly packed center knobs. Which I think is the key to a fast rolling tire. The open tread pattern looked to boast shedding mud as well as the fine gravel/dirt that often was getting stuck/embedded into a tire like the Riddlers closer packed knobs. The “ping” at high speed off the down tube of those tires was amazing.

WTB Resolute 700c x 42mm

Set up was really easy as is true with just about every darn WTB tire I’ve set up tubeless. My method is pretty easy: Remove valve core. Snap tire into place making sure the tire is nested in the center and lowest point of the bead trough as well as making sure the valve does not “pucker” the bead. Using a sealant injector, add appropriate amount of sealant. Which in this case was 2 full injectors. I error on the side of more than too little… (My go to sealant has been Orange Seal for it’s ability to not dry out as quickly as other brands.) Reinstall valve core and rotate the wheel one rotation to coat the inside of the tire with sealant. Floor pump installed with wheel on ground, valve at lower point start with a large rapid succession of pumps to get a lot of air into the tire quickly. Some times lifting the wheel just slightly up but not off the ground really helps this process. The air typically pops the tire up onto the rim and works its way around with ease. Every now and again I need to get out a bucket, lay the wheel on it’s side on top of the bucket and use my Airshot to get a pesky bead to pop into place. I pump the tire up to or very close to max pressure or exceed max pressure just to get the beads to seat. If OVER the pressure I immediately let air out to bring the tire back down to max pressure or just below it. Any remaining bead that is stubborn, I’ll use Simple Green or a soapy water mixture in a spray bottle to get that section to seat with a bit more air. Clean up, slosh around and let sit over night at that pressure.

The tire is listed as a 42mm tire… however, pulling out the calipers the pair I received mounted up on a I9 Torch Ultralite wheel set (21.3mm internal width) at a whopping 44mm! Good number by the way. That’s most likely due to the larger internal rim width, but if your frame is scant on tire clearance, be aware these may mount up a bit on the rotund side. The gum walls help to give this tire a bit less appearance of their true girth, and that endless debate can be had over a few frosty beverages which is more appealing: Gum Walls or Black Walls! I’ll admit that I have never been a fan of skin walls. Growing up, all you could get for a long time for BMX bikes was skin walls. Black walls for me were coveted. Mountain bikes it was the same thing. To my eye, black walls help to ground the bike bit more, but when done “just so”, a gum wall can really be something else. So I will admit I don’t like skin walls, but these gum walls of the Resolute sure do look pretty sharp. See so for yourself:

Huntsman Ti XXX WTB Resolute 42mm Gum Walls

Or for those who prefer black walls, here’s a comparison with the Nano’s mounted up:

Huntsman Ti Proto No. 2

So back to those first impressions! First ride out it took me a bit of time to dial in the air pressure. Once dialed, I was able to open it up a bit more and see what this tire was capable of. Hey with roads like these? Yes… I AM SPOILED ROTTEN. However, it’s a perfect setting and proving ground for the bikes I build.

This way.

44mm tires are plump but immediately upon hitting pavement, they were fast and quiet. Surprisingly so. A bit more rolling resistance to the Nano 40mm but I think that has more to do with the wheel set too (6 pawls vs 3 pawls – this is a 29″ wheel set technically) and the larger than advertised size. So a bit more drag in there. But those center knobs tightly packed spun up quickly and at about 35 PSI, I wasn’t feeling any wriggle under loaded pedaling with head down and seated churning out the watts (of which aren’t much right now… I’m recovering from a pair of Lyme co-infections.. which is another story). SHOOGS, you’ll be happy to hear these Resolutes felt planted and not squirrelly. At least to my meager 185 lb frame! But right out the front door of the shop is dirt road which has recently been graded too further down the road before it hits the above stretch of pavement. Fast descent with loose gravel I wasn’t worried. The Resolutes hugged the ground. Again, out on pavement connections, the Resolutes hummed along with relative quietness for such a large tire. Loose dirt hovering over hard pack, followed by rock hard hard pack, follow by some chunky washed out water boarded sections is what followed. Speed check every once in a while for the ruts, but a good majority of that rough stuff I was bunny hopping over. The 44mm tire (1.73″ for those not on the metric system) was all that and more. Bunny hop to flat and stomp the landing? No problemo. Some corners felt a bit more reserved in how hard I was leaning but more to do with the looseness and dryness of the roads in sections. Not any inability of the tire I believe. More me playing it safe in some spots. Sandy sketchy sections the tires just plowed through. Climbs in loose steep punch you in the grundles? No problem. Get out of the saddle, sink your center of gravity and tires hook up. No mud on this ride but plenty of sketchy sections to hammer. These tires just let me ride the way I want to ride. I actually wasn’t thinking about whether they’d handle the terrain. The WTB Resolute just performed. I was free to ride and pick and choose my line with confidence.

WTB Resolute 700c x 42mm

First impressions are critical with products and I was not disappointed. This sucker is fast for it’s size. And I was able to outrun most of the Deerfly. A few got me but that was on some climbs. Those little SOB’s can be persistent! If I were to draw any criticism, it would be the on the ground volume of the tire vs what it was listed as. So if your frame has a limit, do a bit of research to see if anyone else has your rims and have mounted these tires up. Just know on a wider internal width rim like these I9 Ultralites, the tire may very well fill out above the listed 42mm. The tire felt confident in loose rough stuff, spun up quickly on pavement, was quiet for a large tire like this and hummed along at a good clip over hard pack. For those seeking a larger volume “do-everything” type tire, this may very well be a terrific option to consider so long as your frame has the clearances needed for such a big tire. Loaded touring I can really see this tire excelling as larger volume tires may have a bit more rolling resistance but they make up for that with stability, comfort and added traction. Those sidewalls stand more vertically with a slightly larger internal rim width, adding to the cornering sure footed feel as opposed to that “light bulb” effect of large volume tires on more traditional sized road rims. So if you’re game for a large volume tire that’s capable in just about everything you can throw at it and available for both 700c and 650b, consider the WTB Resolute!

Parting Shot:

Huntsman Ti XXX WTB Resolute 42mm Gum Walls