Frequently Asked Questions
How does rim width affect tire volume and profile?
- Tires of any specific width have a wide range of inner rim widths they can safely be mounted to, but which combination you choose will also affect the total volume and profile of the tire. While there is compatible inner rim width range for each specific tire section width, there are certainly also optimal suggestions for each pairing that are based on tire volume and profile. Please refer to the Tire/Rim Fit Chart for these suggestions. Always check our Tire/Rim Fit Chart to determine the compatible range of any tire or rim width before trying a specific combination.
- General rules:
- When we a design tire, we do so around a specific inner rim width that is most applicable and commonly used in conjunction with the tire width. This is also the combination in which we determine and name the width of the tire. However, that combination may not reflect the rim width you have on your bike or are now looking to upgrade your bike with.
- Narrower rims will cause a tire to also have a narrower width, with less air volume within the tire, and a rounder tire tread profile than designed for.
- Wider rims will cause a tire to also have a wider width, with more air volume within the tire and a flatter tire tread profile than designed for.
- As a general rule of thumb, a 2mm increase or decrease of inner rim width will result in a tire section width increase or decrease of 1mm.
- For example, our Exposure 30 tire has a tire section width of 30mm on a 19mm inner rim width, however it has a tire section width of 32mm on a 23mm inner rim width.
What are the different casings of WTB tubeless mountain tires?
- TCS stands for Tubeless Compatible System, which has proven itself as the most reliable and robust tubeless system available.
- TCS mountain tires are available in two casing levels. TCS Light and TCS Tough.
- TCS Light
- Single-ply 60 tpi casing. The tread is wrapped over a single layer of 60 tpi casing to create a gram-conscious level designed to be compliant and grippy, while also minimizing weight for cross-country and trail riding.
- TCS Tough
- Dual-ply 60 tpi casing. The tread is wrapped around two layers of 60 tpi casing to provide an unbeatable combination of puncture protection, durability and support. Out TCS Tough casing provides ample protection for aggressive trail, enduro and gravity riding. TCS Tough tires are also an excellent choice for bikepackers who prioritize durability above all else.
- Many of our TCS Light mountain tires feature a level of puncture protection called Slash Guard.
- TCS Light tires with Slash Guard feature a single-ply casing with the addition of a nylon insert spanning the entire sidewall to provide additional sidewall protection without adding unnecessary weight. Slash Guard provides an intermediate level of protection between TCS Light and TCS Tough for those who want extra sidewall durability without the weight of a dual-ply casing.
- TCS Light
Should I buy High Grip or Fast Rolling tires?
- High Grip
- Our softest compounds.
- Compounds prioritize grip and traction above all else.
- Softer knobs better conform to the terrain and rebound slower to provide unrivaled grip.
- Ideal compound for use as front tire
- Although many aggressive riders, as well as those living in wet climates, prefer High Grip on the rear as well to provide ultimate traction in exchange for a bit more rolling resistance.
- Fast Rolling
- Compounds that prioritize rolling efficiency as much as they do grip/traction.
- Slightly firmer knobs hold their shape and don’t transfer their energy to the trail as much as softer knob does.
- Ideal compound for use as a rear tire, although often used on the front on XC and gravel bikes where efficiency is of utmost importance.
What are the different compounds in WTB tubeless mountain tires?
- The compound levels of TCS tubeless tires are categorized in two ways, High Grip or Fast Rolling.
- High Grip
- Soft and conforming rubber that rebounds slowly and provides the highest level of traction.
- Best choice as a front tire for trail, enduro or gravity riding.
- Riders who live in cold or wet climates often run a High Grip rear tire as well to provide additional traction on slippery rocks and roots.
- Fast Rolling
- Longer-wearing rubber designed to maximize the rolling efficiency of a tire without sacrificing traction.
- Best choice as a rear tire for trail, enduro or gravity riding.
- Often used front and rear by cross-country racers who prioritize minimal rolling resistance with the tradeoff of having less traction up front.
- Suggested for front and rear use for gravel riding where efficiency and durability are increasingly important.
- We also place various durometers of rubber at strategic areas within the tread to achieve different levels of traction, durability and efficiency depending on when and how that area of tread contacts the ground. Durometer is a unit of measure used to show how soft or firm a rubber compound is.
- TriTec Compound
- Three compounds provide optimal levels of traction, support and durability. A base of high durometer rubber supports the entire tread and transitions into the knobs to prevent folding or squirming. Medium stiffness center knobs cap the base layer to provide traction and durability without sacrificing rolling efficiency, while soft compound side knobs deliver maximum grip and slow rebound for increased cornering traction.
- Available in both High Grip and Fast Rolling.
- Dual DNA Compound
- Two rubber compounds. The centerline tread features a firmer rubber compound that rolls fast and resists tread wear while the side knobs are composed of softer, slower-rebounding rubber to improve control and grip.
- All Dual DNA tires fall within the Fast Rolling category.
- Gravity DNA Compound
- One rubber compound. Conforming, tacky rubber creates glue-like traction with tuned rebound characteristics designed to take harsh hits yet not fumble for footing.
- All Gravity DNA tires fall within the High Grip category.
- TriTec Compound
- High Grip
What pressures should I run in my WTB tubeless tires?
- ONE OF THE GOLDEN RULES OF TUBELESS is to always know what tire pressure you’re running. Check your tire pressures before every ride with a digital gauge. Don’t trust your floor pump gauge unless you know it's accurate. Even small variances in tire pressure can create very noticeable differences in traction, comfort and confidence. We want to make sure you’re maximizing the performance benefits of your tubeless system.
- Always stay within the recommended tire pressures printed on the side of the tire.
- If you’re compressing your tire all the way to your rim on heavy hits or can feel the tire folding while cornering…you need to add more pressure.
- You’ll want to increase pressure in narrower (and therefore lower volume) tires as a mean of providing additional support, while lowering the pressure in wider (and therefore higher volume) tires will provide more traction without losing cornering support.
- For plus-size tires in the 2.8-3.0” range, riders often run tire pressures in the teens.
- High volume gravel tires, like the Venture 50, tend to perform best at around 30-35 psi. In that pressure range, it provides support and efficiency, without giving up comfort or traction. Too high of pressures will provide a jarring ride, which will cause unnecessary fatigue and discomfort. Of course Venture 50 is the biggest gravel tire we make and a narrower tire would require more pressure. For example, a 40mm-width gravel tire will likely perform best around 40-45 psi.
- Take all of these with a few grains of salt and adjust to your riding style, the terrain you ride, and your weight.
Ultimately, there are two main things we’re trying to avoid here.
- Rock hard tires. Unless you’re riding extremely aggressive downhill trails at an elite level, 35 psi is going to be way too much pressure for a large majority of riders. Too much pressure can quickly cause loss of traction and control.
- The “that’s good enough” method of inflating tires. Pinching your tire, regardless of how many years you’ve been riding, is not an accurate method of determining tire pressure. Use a digital gauge and write down the pressures before you ride so that you’ll have something to reference next time you get ready to ride.
Discussing air loss:
- All tubeless tires will lose air quicker than their tubed counterparts.
- This is a small price to pay for the numerous benefits of our TCS tubeless tire/rim system.
- Depending on the sealant used and the overall seal of the tubeless system as a whole, tires can drop below safe operating levels ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. Therefore, it is always important to check your tire pressures with an accurate pressure gauge every time you ride. We also highly suggest this to achieve optimal performance, flat prevention, bead retention and safety from your tubeless tire.
- If your tubeless tires are losing substantial pressure within a few minutes or hours, you’re likely dealing with damaged tubeless tape or a loose tubeless valve stem.
- Loss of substantial tire pressure over a few days is likely indicative of ineffective/old tire sealant or air seeping through the tire sidewall. In these rare cases, we suggest removing the complete tire and wheel system from the bike, adding the proper amount of fresh sealant, then shaking the tire to ensure sealant has covered the entirety of the sidewall. Simply spinning the tire on the bike will only push the majority of the sealant more towards the tread region of the tire, where air loss is less common.
- Check your sealant level every couple months. Even more often in dry climates.
What are some tips for installing WTB tires?
- Install one side at a time, finishing at the valve stem each time.
- Make sure tire bead is sitting in the deepest part of the rim profile. This is often referred to as the “valley” of the rim.
- This becomes increasingly important when installing the last foot of the tire bead onto the rim.
- Placing sealant on both sides of the tire bead can aid in installation by serving as a lubricant between the rim and tire interface.
- Avoid using tire levers during installation. Doing so can damage the tubeless tape and prevent an airtight tubeless system.
- Inflate with a compression if accessible.
- Remove valve core to allow for additional flow.
- Show the tiedown trick.
- Completely deflate tire.
- Pop both sides of the tire bead into the deepest part of the rim valley.
- Ensure this is the case all the way around the rim.
- With the tire bead is in the bottom of the rim valley, there will be more room for the tire bead on the opposite end to be pried and removed over the walls of the rim.
- Being careful to avoid damaging the tubeless tape, use a tire lever right next to the valve stem and pull the tire bead over the rim wall. If the tire bead is tight against the rim, you can slide the tire lever along the rim surface to free a large length of the tire bead from the rim.
Can Comp(Tube-Type) or Race(Tube-type) tires be set up tubeless?
No. Comp and Race type tires are only made for use with inner tubes. If you want to run a tubeless set up, you need the Tubeless Compatible System (TCS) version of the tires.
Which length TCS valve stem should I use?
All of our alloy rims work great with a 34mm valve stem. If you are using a deeper dish rim, like our Ci24 and Ci31 rims, then we recommend the 46mm long valve stem.
Which width TCS Tape should I use for my rim?
WTB recommends using tape that is 5mm wider than your inner rim width. Most of our rims will have the inner rim width listed in the name (i.e. Frequency i23 uses 28mm TCS Tape).
Can your Road Plus or Mountain Plus tires fit in my frame?
Due to the huge variety of frame designs out there, we can't guarantee frame fit based on the model name and bike description. We are happy to email tire drawings so you can measure your bike at home, or you can check the Road Plus Compatibility list for bikes that we have already verified fit on.
Can't find a saddle you loved to ride pre-2015?
Check out this saddle cross reference chart to see what your old WTB saddle evolved into with our new saddle line.
Can my Comp or Race tires be set up tubeless?
No. Do not attempt to set up Comp or Race tires tubeless. Comp and Race tires REQUIRE the use of inner tubes.