I’m currently testing the user based claim that the WTB 700x45c Riddler tire is a bikepacking tire. During the course of that test (but not while actually bikepacking, just riding a bikepacking route) I had a hilariously timed flat coming down a large decent en route to my partner in crime, LT, who was going to get some action photos of me on the road. That story will be written and shared later.
As I bombed down this decent, the familiar feel of a slightly squishy rear end overtook my senses and much to my lack of surprise it was a flat. Fair enough, a quick pit stop to patch a tube and the ride would continue…OR WOULD IT?
Spoiler alert: It didn’t. After I got stopped safely to survey the situation, it was discovered that the bead had separated from the tire sidewall and there is no good way to remedy a flat of such magnitude roadside without a spare tire (which I didn’t have). This was also conveniently an area with no cell service, so I got to hike a ways. That story, again, will be written and shared later.
After that weekend jaunt, I wrote to WTB about my experience with their not-very-used tire. After a few email relays they agreed to replace the tire under warrantee. This was between Christmas and New Years, and to be honest the response was much quicker than expected given the holiday timing. In my last email I quipped about how they should also send me a new tube, as the brand new tube installed before that doomed ride was shredded by the sidewall separation. My budget is pretty scant right now, so it was more of a request than a humor joke.
Today, about 3 weeks after the flat, I have finally received the replacement Riddler via UPS. Much to my surprise the box contained a brand spanking new WTB tube! SAY WHAT? Twas a very thoughtful fulfilling of my request. They first killed my ride with a flat, then they killed my heart with kindness. It remains to be seen whether or not the Riddler 45 will hold up to the rigors of actual bikepacking (I honestly believe the people who reviewed this tire were mistaking it for the Riddler 2.? MTB tire, which is probably of better use for this…uh use.), but it is certain that the WTB customer service folk(s) have what it takes to hold up to the rigors of really wordy emails from yours truly.
Thank you, WTB. Hopefully we never have to meet like that again.