A popular mid-profile tyre from American gravel pioneers Wilderness Trail Bikes (WTB), the Riddler has had an SG2 puncture protection upgrade.
The summer tyre has a real appetite for tarmac, hardpack, gravel and sand, breaking down limitations you thought you had. Featuring a closely-packed central line of lower profile, smaller knobs flanked by rows of mid-sized tread and square shoulder knobs, the WTB Riddler has been designed for performance in drier conditions, from pavement to hardpack dirt and gravel.
Here, the SG2 option has a 120 TPI casing with improved puncture protection across both the tread and sidewall.
WTB Riddler SG2 performance
Although easy to set up tubeless, the Riddler tyres in the 45mm width did come up a little narrow at 43mm – both on set-up and after a few rides.
Though, if you’re a little tight on clearance, like me, that might not be such a bad thing and they held air pressure well for the duration of the test.
The Riddler really does excel in summer conditions; dry, fast-rolling hardpack, gravel and the tarmac in between, even stretching to some really technical rock garden riding that would have many questioning the boundary (if there even is one) between gravel and mountain biking.
The mid-profile tread and width hit a real sweet spot for the mixed-terrain adventure riding common to the UK in drier summer conditions.
There’s enough volume and grip to give you confidence tackling more techy singletrack sections you might find, but not so much aggressive tread that it’ll hold you back when it comes to powering up a paved climb.
WTB doesn’t position the Riddler as a winter or mud tyre, and rightly so.
Although it’s not the slickest gravel tyre out there, it would be highly advisable to switch out these for a more aggressive tread for wetter and muddier riding, especially if you plan on continuing to ride off-road during the more foul trail conditions of the winter.
The SG2 puncture protection gives you more peace of mind, but I was reminded that it doesn’t totally prevent punctures.
A nasty shred of flint from the Fosse Way made a tiny hole that was soon plugged and almost totally sheared off a central knob. Otherwise, the Riddlers held up very well over many rocky kilometres in the Purbeck Hills.
WTB Riddler SG2 bottom line
A good compromise between grip, volume and rolling resistance for true multi-terrain riding in dry conditions. It’s easy to see why the WTB Riddler is a popular choice.
Add in the newer SG2 puncture protection and it becomes even more capable for more techy off-road riding and bikepacking.
How we tested
Tyre choice has a fundamental impact on how your gravel bike rides, so we put seven of the latest and best-selling gravel tyres to the test to find out which offers the best grip, speed and puncture protection over the rough stuff.
Keeping things consistent, all of the testing was done on the same bike – a steel, custom-built Mercredi – and on the same wheelset, WTB’s new carbon CZR i23 gravel wheelset featuring 23mm internal rim widths.
The criteria for selecting the tyres to test was a wheel size of 700c and a tyre width between 38mm and 45mm.
Tyres were set up using a track pump and Schwalbe Tire Booster, before heading out onto a local testing loop, as well as various gravel races and events.
The local testing loop around Bristol included a real mix of terrain, from gravel tracks to hardpack dirt, grassy banks, rooty singletrack and tarmac, and each set of tyres was tested in wet and dry conditions.
For more tyre recommendations, check out our list of the best gravel bike tyres tried and tested by the BikeRadar team.
Also on test
- Michelin Power Gravel
- Panaracer GravelKing SK TLC
- Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M
- Teravail Cannonball Light and Supple
- Vittoria Terreno Dry TLR
- WTB Byway SG2
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $90.00EUR €60.00GBP £55.00USD $77.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 545g (700c x 45mm) – actual, 541g claimed, Array, g|
|Features||br_Features, 11, 0, Features, Sizes available: 700c x 37 or 45mm
Colours: SG2 option available in black only (tan wall for standard casing)
Tyre: Tubeless compatible
|TPI||br_TPI, 11, 0, TPI, 120|
|Puncture protection||br_punctureProtection, 11, 0, Puncture protection, SG2 option for additional puncture protection|