What’s 2mm? For some that’s the difference between a tire fitting within a frame or brake or not. For others, 2mm offers an ability to ride a few psi lower without bottoming out or pinching a tube, if not tubeless.
WTB has listened to cyclists’ requests and split the difference between its 30c and 34c Exposure gravel/road tires we first saw last year at Sea Otter.
The new 32c version looks at first glance to simply be a downsized version of the 34c version, with the same tread pattern offering a smooth center and small side knobs.
But look closely and you’ll see the knobs on the 32c are smaller and shorter. That difference, combined with a 2mm narrower casing should offer a bit more clearance as often needed on older cyclocross frames, especially when mounted on the new crop of wide rims. It should also offer a bit more speed on smoother surfaces.
Compared to the 30c version, the new 32 Exposure Road tire isn’t just wider, but offers side knobs that the narrower model doesn’t:
The multiple treads and widths under one product name might be confusing, but it’s something we’ve seen with other manufactures like Panaracer with its popular Gravel King line that comes in smooth, small knobs for hardpack, and larger knobs for mud.
The Exposure tires also compete with other tires like the 32c Clement USH and the supple but more fragile Compass Bon Jon Pass.
The Exposure 32c is expected to weigh around 320g, and will retail for $79.95.
With 30c, 32c and 34c options, the WTB Exposure tires will still have you outside the facetious USA Cycling gravel bike regulations, but offer an ability to “convert” a cyclocross bike to a gravel bike with just a change in rubber.
Past experience with other WTB TCS models has proven that the company’s tubeless tires remain ideal choices for rims that have been burp-prone with other tubeless tires, as the TCS beads tend to be the tightest available and don’t budge under hard cornering. Of course, the downside of the tight beads is that they are nearly impossible to mount on NoTubes rims and other very tight rims, and on the trail or gravel road, removal of the tire, should you need to execute a repair, could be a tire lever-breaking experience.
Stay tuned as we put the WTB 32c Exposure TCS tire to the test.
See WTB’s full press release below.
More info: wtb.com
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – March 21, 2017 – Building upon the proven versatility of its high-end tubeless road tires, WTB has added a 32mm tread pattern to its family of Exposure Road TCS tires. WTB understands that road riding isn’t always as tame as often portrayed and believes that riders shouldn’t be limited to the smoother roads in their area. WTB has combined its Road TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) technology with larger-than-usual volumes to create a family of road tires that are as suited for long days on rough roads as they are quick loops on pristine pavement.
The Exposure 32 is the newest member of WTB’s Exposure Road TCS line, which already includes 30 and 34mm Exposure tires. The tire line focuses on expanding road capability while accommodating dirt exploration as well. Slick, efficient, svelte – the centerline of the Exposure 30 minimizes rolling resistance while hatched outer edges don’t discriminate against the type of road you’ve chosen. Capable, expeditious, unprecedented – purposefully designed to expand the possibilities of a ride without slowing you down along the way, the Exposure 34 borders its smooth center with intermediate hatching while diamonds of outer tread promote equal amounts of blacktop loops and straying detours. The capability and intended usage of the Exposure 32 bridges the gap between Exposure 30 and Exposure 34 by highlighting the speed and efficiency expected of a road tire, while its high-volume Supple Casing leaves exploration open to a sampling of dirt.
“The Exposure 32 tread pattern complements its 30 and 34 siblings, fitting right in between the smoother and more road-going 30 and the mixed-condition 34 tires,” stated Will Ritchie, WTB’s OEM drop bar manager. “A progressive transition to slightly more open side tread allows for better wet weather grip and enough bite to assist in smoother dirt conditions – combined with our tubeless Supple Casing, the Exposure 32 is an excellent distance tire for pavement and broken blacktop with enough volume and tread to not be out of place seeing some dirt use too.”
WTB Exposure 32 Road TCS tires feature WTB’s Supple Casing and Distance+ Compound with preproduction sample weights of 315 grams. The Exposure 32 Road TCS tire retails for $79.95 USD, as do the Exposure 30 and 34 tires.
WTB recommends pairing the Exposure 32 with its Frequency CX i19 or KOM i21 rims for a complete TCS setup.
WTB’s proprietary sealant tubeless system, TCS (Tubeless Compatible System,) revolutionized rims and tires in 2009 when combining ETRTO, ISO, and UST standards with light tubeless rotational weights. Never before had a standards-based tubeless system weighed so little. Certified as the first sealant-based tires for the UST system in 2012, TCS continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible through purpose-built tires and tailor-made rims for every discipline of cycling.