WTB Riddler 29 x 2.25

I recently put a 1×11 drivetrain on my Marauder Ti prototype. I typically build all the Marauder prototypes for myself that can take both gears and be a single speed so I can see how different set ups work in the same terrain and riding conditions across different riding (SS vs Gears). When I built the bike, I also built up a rear wheel with an XD driver to take Sram’s X1 11 speed kit. I’m mostly getting some last minute testing in before I start work on the second Ti Marauder prototype. But with all these different set ups, I also try and see how different tires layer on performance. I’ve always been a fan of a rather large meaty front tire (2.4 at the bare minimum) and try and combine that with a 2.3 or 2.4″ tire that has a smaller, tighter packed knob configuration to add a bit fasting of a rolling tire but still have enough traction when I need it. WTB’s Trail Boss has been really a pleasure to ride as a rear tire especially in a 2.4″ configuration. Last fall I was sent a set of WTB Riddler 45mm tires for my Huntsman and realized after I received the test tires that these were also available as a 29″ version… I’ve been curious ever since as the 45mm version had great traction but rolled incredibly quick. I was a bit hesitant to give it a try as it only comes in a 2.25″ version for 29er’s but it does come in a 2.4″ version presently for 27.5. So I bit the bullet and got myself a 29×2.25 and mounted it up tonight for my first ride. It did not disappoint!

WTB Riddler 29 x 2.25

What originally caught my eye was the smaller, tightly packed knob configuration down the center of the tire coupled with larger side knobs. I know how well tires like the Maxxis Ikon roll and had heard good things about Schwalbe’s Rock Razor which is very similar to the WTB Riddler. The tire was paired with a WTB KOM i29 and true to WTB’s tight tolerances with their tires, set up with ease tubeless via a floor pump. I’ve been using Orange Seals for sealant btw. I’ve found it does not dry out as quickly as other brands and so far so good. So mounting was a snap.

I picked a 12 mile loop which has a bit of dirt road before the trail head. On hard pack, the tire just takes off. Audible noise was low. First trailhead pops into some pretty loamy double track with lots of pine needles on top of dirt. It’s been raining a lot lately but we recently saw a heat snap (it’s cool again) so things were on the dry side surprisingly. The tire hooked up well on some rooty climbs and hitting my first rock garden the bike just stuck to my line I was choosing. I’ve also been using a dropper lately and getting a bit more in tune with it in terms of when to drop and how much I need to (also the subtle nuance of weighting the saddle just enough to get it into position…). The trail has lots of rocks, roots and packed in amongst tight single track. The rear wheel cornered and held it’s own well. But i wanted to see how it climbed before taking it down some more technical descents. There’s a nice long gradual climb that’s on the washed out side. Headed up this part of the route and seated as well as out of the saddle climbs the tire stayed put. Heading into some descent sections with larger granite deposits, saddle dropped about 1-2″ and dare I say I was fast? Well, I felt fast. The bike certainly was handling everything and perhaps I was just excited and like I said getting a bit more in tune with body positioning and finally using a dropper.

Been wanting to try this WTB Riddler for a while...

As I mentioned above, I’ve really been liking the added traction and ride quality of a 2.4″ tire mounted on a wider rim. And like I said above, I was a bit disappointed that this tire was a 2.25″ tire. It was self evident at times in chunky sections or when the trail got rough that this was a 2.25″ tire. The differences in ride quality between a 2.4 and a 2.25 tire are demonstrably notable. But I will say other than that increase in girth, WTB certainly nailed this tire. That’s a first ride impression of course, but I felt confident in pretty much every situation from technical climbs, to rocky, rooty descents and everything in between. The tire cornered predictably and I really could lean hard into turns without the rear cutting loose thanks to those large side knobs. For the record I’m running a WTB Breakout 29 x 2.3″ out front mounted to a WTB KOM i29 (it really measures more to a 2.4″ tire – it’s a big meaty tire!).

Long term will be checking durability. This is WTB’s TCS Fast Rolling Light version of the Riddler. I’ve mentioned this to them before, and I’ll say it again: These tires need a side wall abrasion resistance treatment much like the Breakout. The Trail Boss’s I have instantly begin to show sidewall wear and halfway through a season begin to weep sealant. The front tires (Breakout) still look like they did when I first purchased them and are in good shape and wearing as I’d expect a tire to wear. Truth be told, we have a lot of rock on the trail here in NH! But I’d love to see WTB offer the Riddler in a 29 x 2.4″ profile with an updated Fast Rolling Light version that sports some sort of sidewall abrasion resistance treatment. That would make this great tire perfect. Same goes for the Trail Boss. They offer that in a 2.4, but with a sidewall treatment.. That great tire becomes perfect too! I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

New Set Up: WTB Riddler

In the meantime, I’ll be putting the Riddler through it’s paces to see how it wears over the course of the summer.