Monster Cross It: WTB’s Nano 40c Tire

Anyone who hangs their cross bike on the wall when season ends is missing the point. A cyclocross bike is one of the most well-rounded rides you can own. I’ve said countless times before that my Geekhouse Mudville is my favorite bike I own. If only because I’ve made so many fond memories while riding it, in pain, covered in sweat, hating life, on a ride, not racing it.

For some reason, I never once thought to beef up my bike post-season. Well, I did, but I couldn’t fit my Bruce Gordon Rock and Road tires on it – the derailleur hanger clamp gets in the way. That was well over a year ago however.

Ok, the real reason why I never monster cross’d my cross bike is because there aren’t a whole lot of 40c cross tires on the market. In fact, just the other day I was planning on buying some of Surly’s 41c Knard tires when these 40c WTB Nano tires showed up in the mail.

WTB_Nano-10

The WTB Nano isn’t really a cross tire per say. It’s marketed to the finicky “gravel grinder” market, who need special equipment to ride dirt roads – please read that in jest. WTB claims it’s a go-to tire for the Tour Divide and other XC events. It even says “wilderness” on the casing.

WTB_Nano-16

In all honesty, when I first put these tires on, I wasn’t that impressed. All I kept thinking was how I’d need more knobs for the dusty, loose trails we ride in Austin and that they wouldn’t grip on roots or slick limestone like my Grifos would. Hey, I’m a creature of habit. I love my Challenge Grifos and it took a lot to make me take them off…

After I rode some familiar 1-track last Friday however, I fell in love. Sandy corners were cooked, roosts were had and tree roots, mixed with rock gardens were suddenly a lot easier on the wrists and back.

WTB_Nano-2

The WTB Nano is not a cross tire, but it’ll turn your cross bike into a monster cross. Its tread is just right for our conditions in Austin and I’m sure it’d be just enough on your home trails.

What I love about the Nano is that it doesn’t roll all sluggish and slow on the road, it’s actually got a smooth feel to it – but the second you hop into the dirt, it rips!

WTB_Nano-1

Not to mention the Geekhouse looks fucking murderous with them on it. I can’t wait to go 1x with this bike.

The WTB Nano is in stock now in both the Comp ($31.95 – 27tpi – 550grams) and Race ($49.95 – 60 tpi – 470grams) versions. Holler at your local shop to try out a pair. Seriously, your shop needs your business!

  • Charles Southgate

    What pressure you running these?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      30 front, 40 rear.

      • Joe Daknis

        Do they feel overly squishy on pavement at those pressures? How’s the
        puncture-resistance? For a long time, I was really happy with
        Continental Cyclocross Speeds (700 x 35) at ~ 60 psi – but lately have
        been plagued by small punctures when traveling at speed on gravel. Kind
        of a new development, so it could just be that they’re more prone as
        the tread wears – but I decided to order a set of the Nano 40 and give
        them a shot. Just hoping they aren’t dogs when rolling on the pavement,
        since my dirt/gravel rides are ~ 60:40 road:gravel. And hilly…

        • http://theradavist.com/ John Watson

          That’s when I’m riding dirt. For asphalt / dirt rides, i’d go a bit higher. Maybe 40 front, 60 rear. The tires feel / ride / look great. I really like them a lot. We did two big dirt / asphalt rides in Australia and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Even on super muddy, slick descents they handled really well and since the tread isn’t too big, they descent great on sealed roads as well.

  • http://convoy.tumblr.com/ Fredrik Posse

    Looks fun. The Clement Xplor is a good alternative for monstercrossin. Not as knobby but 60/120tpi and 40mm.

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      There are tons of “not as knobby” options out there. Panaracer makes some incredible tires for that market. I want something with a little more tread that still fits in the stays of a traditional cross bike.

  • Ian Stone

    I was just thinking yesterday how I wish my Grifos were 40′s so I wouldn’t have to go so easy on the singletrack. I’ll have to check these out!

  • Matty

    Tubeless?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      They are making a tubeless version in 700c…

      • Adrian Flores

        When? Ghetto tubeless might just happen

  • hans

    thanks for the write up. was looking for more info on these..

  • scott

    Obviously rims such as A23s or HEDs are ideal for a tire like this. At what point is a road rim too narrow for a 40c tire assuming you are using it at fairly low tire pressures to rip corners on trails.

  • Dobry

    Thanks for the info. Seeing your bike always makes me want to go hit up Geekhouse while I’m still in Boston.

    I’ve been meaning to get a bit fatter tires on my cross bike (because I’m getting old and soft). Great that this market is expanding (like my waistline, hey-oh!).

    When you say it fits in the stays of a traditional cross bike, how wide are those stays? I have an ’07 Raleigh RX1.0, which is fairly traditional (except alu rather than steel) that I’d love to try these on. How wide are the stays on your Geekhouse, where it matters?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      This tire rounds out to around 42mm on my HED rims. My chainstays have around 55mm clearance (interior) at the tire.

      • Dobry

        Now that’s what I call service!

  • Eric Baumann

    these look awesome for “cx bike as mtb” type riding, will definitely be picking up a pair asap, thanks for sharing your 2c.

  • Sean Curran

    Thanks for the review. I hope this market keeps growing, now I’m waiting on a high volume clincher for cross racing.

  • mr. apodaca APODACA

    would you try these tubeless on stans rims?

  • mr. apodaca APODACA

    How would i figure out if these would fit between my seat and chain stays?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Measure your clearances if that number is > 43c, you’re ok.

  • Rasmus Riemann

    Anyone know if these are on sale in Europe yet?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      Ask your local bike shop.

  • shankshiv

    Ro;;in chunky fatties,

  • Chris W

    I have little doubt these will go on my True North crosser at some point in the future. Did you have your seat tube bottle cage mounts moved higher? I recall you having that one put lower for shouldering purposes when you first got it.

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      This is a different frame. The first one was built off my touring bike measurements, not my cross bike measurements, so it was wayyy too tall for a racing position. I sent it back and they built another one / sold the other to another team racer and everyone was happy.

  • http://www.danielbovalino.com Daniel B

    Please John. Please tell me how you make bikes stand without the slightest hint of a leaning stick, a nearby person or fishing line! I’m really starting to make myself believe that you actually have force… like Jedi force. Please!

    • AttackCowboy
      • http://www.danielbovalino.com Daniel B

        Thanks AC. Clearly I was being too romantic about it all. May the force be with you!

      • http://theradavist.com John Watson

        ;-)

      • Morgan Taylor

        I was doing some work at Intense Bikes and when I asked Jeff Steber for something to stand a bike with for photos he whipped out a giant nail (suppose that’d be a spike) that he’s been using for years for just that purpose.

  • Wes Labor

    The vee rubber V-12 in 29×1.75 fits in a cross-check and are sa-weet. They claim “tubeless compatible” and I’ve had marginal success running them tubeless.

    http://www.veerubber.co.th/2013/?p=1543&cur-cat=bicycle

  • Mario

    These look great. Sorry for the off-topic question – what pedals are you running there?

    • http://theradavist.com John Watson

      ATAC