When a group of my Mountain Biker friends wanted to go on a BikePacking trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains I was faced with a problem. I needed to find a tire that would fit on my Cyclocross bike that could handle all of the rough Fire Roads and technical Single Track we'd be riding.
The solution? WTB Nano Race Tire
I originally heard about WTB's Nano tires through Prolly's website but I wasn't sure if they'd fit on my bike. After combing through forums and even contacting All City; I couldn't find a firm answer that the 40c Nanos would fit on my bike. I had recently run 38c Schwalbes so I figured I'd give it a shot. Worst case scenario I'd be stuck with some tires that I could eventually sell or trade some time down the road. So with just a few days remaining before my trip I put in a rush order through Western Bike Works out of Portland whom had them in stock.
The Nanos showed up in the post two days before my BikePacking trip. One of the first things I noticed about the tires were how soft and grippy they felt to the touch. WTB offers a Race version featuring a foldable Aramid bead for $49 and a Comp version with a wire bead for $32. To be honest the only reason I got the Race version is because they could be shipped faster. Wire bead tires can't be folded so I wouldn't be able to purchase two day shipping. A perfectly good excuse to upgrade in my opinion.
So back to the tire.
I picked up some tubes from the LBS and threw on the tires when I got home after work. Like every morning in Santa Cruz I woke up before the sun and headed up to UCSC to put the tires to the test. I filled the tires up to 30 psi in the front and 35psi in the back to be on the safe side. I also rode with all my BikePacking gear so I could get a sense of what it would feel like the falling day on our trip. The first stint to UCSC is on pavement and the tires felt smooth and soaked up all the little bumps that I used to feel on my 28s. After reaching the fire roads it was apparent that these tires were made for this. The tires flew up the dirt climbs, gripping the soil and propelling me forwards. The grip, the suspension from the low pressure and god damn the grip.
It was like I had a whole new bike!
Fast forward in time the Nanos have been on three BikePacking trips and were used almost daily to ride World Class Single Track in Santa Cruz. I pushed the limits of these tires and feel pretty confident that WTB themselves didn't even come close to riding them like I did. Overstatement? Maybe .... but I really don't think so.
And here comes the list :
- The WTB Nano Race Tire 40c Tires transform your CX or Touring Rig into a trail shredding machine. Fire Roads, Single Track, Gravel? Yes, you like that? You want these tires.
- The entire time I got one flat after hitting a large rock which ended up denting my rim. This is the downside of riding 40c tires on Single Track meant for Full Suspension bikes. Was I bummed? Yes, but I bent my rim back, replaced my tube and was rolling later that day. Problem solved.
- Would I buy these tires again? I am already planning on it! I've already wrote way too much so to wrap this up I am going to keep it simple. If your looking for a tire that will enable you to explore more Fire Roads and Single Track on your CX bike you have to buy these tires. WTB's Nano 40c Tires are a fucking game changer! Wait. Let me repeat that. The WTB's Nano 40c Tires are a fucking game changer! And thats a wrap!