The Story of the Riddler
14 April, 2015
Nathan Riddle and his son, Ripley Riddle during an interview in 2014 about the Riddler tire's development.
Anybody who's been lucky enough to meet or hang out with Nathan Riddle will quickly agree, the UBI (United Bicycle Institute in Ashland, OR) Professor sure is a nice guy. And, sure is fast.
I think the first time I met him I was working a Downieville Classic race weekend and he had driven down from Ashland. We were atop the deck of the house WTB rents year after year (I don't know how they willingly continue to rent to us) situated oh-so-conveniently close to St. Charles' Place bar on the one main intersection the mining town boasts. Nathan had just generously tuned the rear derailleur of our Marketing Manager at the time's bike. In return for Riddle's kindness, our manager was trying to persuade Riddle that he didn't have to sleep in his truck again that night, that there was plenty of room in our downtown overlook. Riddle was having a hard time accepting the offer, I think he kept mentioning that he'd be invading our space. We tried to shame him into accepting a bed but Nathan flat out refused, he wouldn't even take a couch. So, he laid his Thermarest over the balcony's green astroturf and that's where he slept.
I remember watching him quickly cross the finish line the next day and marveling to myself that he was the first pro to be wearing baggy riding clothes. Scratch that, he was the only pro to be wearing baggy stuff. It left an impression - the real rider somehow seemed all the more real as a result.
His calm, easy going, modest, and unassuming demeanor is only eclipsed by his bottomless knowledge of all things bike and his natural talent aboard a bicycle. Finding him standing atop podiums, particularly in Oregon, is a very common sight.
4th in Pro ain't so shabby but this soft-spoken man of speed likes first, like all professionals. He seems to particularly like it, first that is, in Ashland, his home turf. It's as common an occurrence as winter rain in... well... I guess Oregon, not California.
Mark Weir, Nathan Riddle, Marco Osborne. 1, 2, 3, WTB.
So when Nathan found himself in 2nd on the DH, standing next to Weir at the 2013 Ashland Spring Thaw Festival, he must have thought something might be missing. Jason Moeschler, pictured below, also racing, had just given Riddle a peak at the new proposed WTB tire line.
Nathan had raced his Bee Line 2.2's to a speedy second place... but something must have been left somehow wanting more... he must have wanted something to knock Weir off that top spot at Ashland's podium, his home trails...
So Nathan identified a hole in WTB's tire lineup. There needed to something foolishly fast like the Bee Lines but something that also sank its teeth in with the tenacity of Vigilantes... something for sure. Jason Moeschler heard him out, agreed and put him in touch with Evan Smith, WTB's product design engineer. Before he knew it, early iterations of Riddle's request were bouncing back in the form of e-mails from Evan:
And samples came, and samples were happily ridden, in Ashland, by Riddle:
And that's the Story of the Riddler, named after the nicest guy in the biz, Nathan Riddle - from racing alongside friends, to talk of tires, to direct feedback to Evan Smith, our product design engineer, to tires to Riddle, dirt tested, shred approved.
So enjoy the Riddler 2.4, like Nathan, it sure is fast. And guess what, it's available now.