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.


The WTB Nano isn’t really a cross tire per se. 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.


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.


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!


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?

    • 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…

        • 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.

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

    • 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


    • They are making a tubeless version in 700c…

      • Adrian Flores

        When? Ghetto tubeless might just happen

      • C.Silver

        Sup John, I’m posting on this older thread in hopes of getting some help. I just got some TCS version of the Nano’s, mounted on TCS rims. While I do like how they perform, they’re not holding air for me. I’ve tightened the valves and gone on a few rides to distribute the sealant. Any pointers?

    • Mike “MrCrash” Solis

      Been running the race / folding versions tubeless on my Stans Iron Cross rims for over 1,000 miles now. WTB’s tubeless specific TCS tires don’t work with Stans rims.

  • 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.

    • I wouldn’t run this on any rim narrower than 23mm…

      • Trevor H

        Rim width Internal or external? My SuperX is calling for a set of these..

        • Lucas Nilsson

          super longshot.
          did you try it out?
          did it work?

          • Trevor H

            Never tried it out. I have run the new Maxxis Re-Fuse (700×40) tires on that frame though, and they clear nicely. I can’t imagine that these wouldn’t clear. I think I’ve got a set of Surly Knards I can throw on just to check later tonight.. I’ll follow up.

          • Lucas Nilsson

            Nice, thanks!

            worst case I’d probably be able to run it up front, seems like a lot of space there, getting some extra traction :)

          • Trevor H

            If I remember right (99% sure), a Rock’n’Road clears up front, but doesn’t in the rear. The Knard clears in the rear, mounted on an older Whisky carbon rim, with space to spare. Tried it last night after I got home from work. I’d imagine the Nano, Soma Cazadero, SimWorks Homage, and a few others will clear in the rear. The RnR had the knobs rubbing the chainstay..

      • Niccolo Gallio

        thanks, I am considering these but wondering how/if they would fit my open pros..

  • 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?

    • 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!

        • kevin

          Thread dredge, did they fit?

          • Dobry

            They do NOT fit. Those Raleighs will get to 35’s and that’s it.

  • 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?

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

  • Rasmus Riemann

    Anyone know if these are on sale in Europe yet?

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Mario

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

  • Jean Baptiste

    any review coming for the cross boss 35C?

    • Not really stoked on a 35c tire enough to want to review it. The bigger the better, ATMO.

  • Guest

    Got some Nano’s yesterday. Loving the extra rubber. Full sus boys being put to shame.

    • Ryan Tetz

      Is that the 2.1 inch tire or the 40mm?

  • Geoff Casey

    These tires rock.

  • Hey John

    Look the business. Have you, or is there anyone out there who has compared the Race (folding, slightly pricier and lighter) vs the Comp (wire, cheaper, heavier) version?

    And, also with that comparison in mind, anyone run either, or both, versions on ghetto tubeless? Did you run these as standard set up with inner tubes John?

    Keep up the good work, off for a ride with one of your contributors – Hollis Duncan – in the next week or so. I fear my legs are gonna get torn off.



  • LagerTops

    I think you’ll find the expression is ‘per se’!

  • mack_turtle

    I took my Soma Double Cross out on singletrack the other day for the first time. what a blast! I rode from the south side of Austin to the Violent Crown Trail all the way to Zilker Park. I was running 42mm Conti Speed Ride/ Cross Ride tires at about 40 psi with tubes. To do more of this kind of riding, I would like to go tubeless and it looks like WTB has some tubeless ready 40mm Nanos now. not sure how well they will seal up on my DT Swiss x430 rims though.

  • pablo_skils

    I can’t say I’m a fan of the Nanos for my type of riding. I’ve found them too tall and thus a little unwilling to get into serious cornering, and you kind of have to kick them into drifting, which always feels like a leap of faith. Since they were designed for Ride the Divide, not so much single-day adventures, it would be churlish to say they’re not fit for the purpose. They are very fast and very durable, and they knit up nicely on the climbs. For Ride the Divide that’s a major part of the equation. But for 70-mile single-day adventure rides I’ve still not ridden anything in the same league as Rock n Roads.

    • Andrew Suzuki

      “Ride the Divide” is the documentary, the race is called the “Tour Divide”, FYI :)

  • Alexander

    Great read as always! You have convinced me that i need to try 40 mm ish tires!
    Do you know how the Nanos compare to the Challenge Gravel Grinder or Clement X’Plor MSO?


  • Kurt Jensen

    How does the Nano compare the Rock n Roads as far as height and width? I can’t fit a 29×2.1 Nano in the rear of my ’93 Diamondback Overdrive, but I can up front. I have the Rock n Roads, and really like them, but was hoping the Nano 700×40 might give me a little more volume. Is it worth the purchase, or will the Rock n Road work just as well?