There are a few individuals out there in the internet land whom claim that the WTB Riddler 700x45c tire is a “bikepacking tire.” Upon reading these reviews/claims, I set forth on my Fargo, rims clad in Riddlers, to find the answer to the question: Is the WTB Riddler 45’s a good bikepacking tire?
I’ve spent many hours traveling on the Riddler 45, hitting everything from pavement to some things in the desert which could only be described with a question mark. They performed very well on the things you would expect them to, like the aforementioned pavement, hard pack dirt, decent gravel (tough to find in the SW, evidently), and if run at a ridiculously low pressure (that would be better run tubeless) you can get through some pretty rocky stuff.
During my last run of the first section of the Plateau Passage Route, the Riddler 45’s were mostly a blessing, but when they weren’t, they really weren’t. The Riddlers rolled super fast until you ran into sketchy loose-rock downhill sections (Overton to Mesquite was one of the most time consuming and punishing short sections I’ve ever done and I’m not sure what tire would have made it much better), when it was safer to hike a bike than risk eating desert dust, or the Sorlac-inspired deep rock sections north of Valley Of Fire which would probably swallow you whole if given the chance. These were small parts of the route overall, but it left me wondering if a tire more suited to the rougher parts would have made the trip time faster/easier overall. I will need to run the route again with the current 2.1’s to test that out.
Overall I would rate this, as of now, a good tire for bikepacking if you are riding light, traveling mainly pavement/maintained gravel/some double track. They aren’t particularly durable and the flat protection is minimal, but they do roll fast and will get you places that aren’t super difficult to reach. I would not recommend the Riddler 45’s for more technical mountain trails, nor the rock gardens that are passed off as “gravel roads” here in the South West.
Keep on dirtbagging!