Initial Review: WTB Exposure 30mm Tires

After being skeptical of road tubeless for a handful of years, I have decided to give them a chance.

The Set Up:

Tires: WTB Exposure 30mm
Rims: Pacenti Forza
Tape: WTB TCS Tape
Valve: Boyd Cycling
Sealant: Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex

I was able to set up the tires with a floor pump. The WTB tape is similar to Stan's NoTubes as far as thickness goes. To my eyes they're identical but both companies offer different widths. I used 2 layers of the 24mm wide tape to ensure a good seal from bead to bead.

The Boyd valves are nice with a meaty rubber interface to sit in the center channel. The wingnut they designed for their valves is such a simple design and makes it a nice experience instead of having to use pliers to tighten a standard round valve nut.

Tire fit was tight and gave me confidence that I would be able to use the floor pump. The fit isn't as tight as anything like a Stan's rim and the tire casing is supple enough that it was fairly easy to mount. I did have to employ the use of a tire lever for the last ~4 inches at the valve. Work gloves could also be supplemented for the tire lever.

I positioned the bead onto as much of the bead shelf as I could - this certainly ensured easy floor pump set-up. When using the pump I did have to pump at a rapid pace for about 10 pumps and then I was set up. I did this with two pumps to see which worked better. I used an SKS Rennkompressor on the front tire and a Bontrager TurboCharger HP on the rear. The Rennkompressor was the victor in speed of pumping action and ease of setting up the tire. The Bontrager still did it but not as easily or quickly as the SKS. Measured tire width on Forza rims is 32mm.

The Caffelatex is easy to install- like most sealants on the market. I have the 1000ml bottle and use a nasal aspirator to get the fluid up from the provided cup (marked with volume notches). I do feel that maybe more sealant is required than recommended as I did lose air overnight. It's impossible to see what the sealant has to seal inside the tire when setting up. 
[Side Note: I managed to set up non-tubeless Pari-Moto 650b tires on Pacenti DL31 rims with sealant and haven't lost air. There was some weeping through parts of the sidewall and extra was indeed used but results have been positive!]

I've only managed to log about ~200 miles on them. Ride quality exceeded my expectations. Super comfortable, felt just as fast as a 25 at 80 psi (for 150lb rider). I played around with pressure, initially starting at 60 psi front and 65 rear. I've found on pavement I like 50 psi rear and 40-45 psi front. On gravel/dirt roads I like to run 35-45 psi. Cornering feels confident- excellent grip and tire contact. Standing climbs and sprints feel stable with no tire squish from the lower pressures. The tires are very supple feeling but the tubeless casing is more rigid than a Vittoria Corsa or Challenge Paris-Roubaix. Overall these tires feel fast and can handle everything I've thrown at them so far.

I'm looking forward to getting more miles on them and really enjoying that low pressure and absorbing all the cracks, bumps and potholes that the Baltimore area has.

I'm really happy to be able to offer the great products that WTB puts into the market. If there are any questions about their products or any featured in this entry - feel free to ask!

Thomas BarseComment