Tubeless tires for gravel road pursuits are few and far between at the time of this writing. That will likely change as we go forward in 2016 and beyond, but for now, the Nano 40 TCS from WTB is really one of the only games in town. That gives it an edge for sure, but is it a good gravel road tire? I would answer that by saying, “Yes, it is, and not just because it is tubeless.“. By the way, for all the techy back ground and more, please click HERE to see my previous posts on this tire. I have been running these tires almost all season long this year, so now it is time to wrap things up.
Actually, I have even more experience with this tread pattern going back to the introduction of the Nano 40 in 2014, and there are a lot of similarities between the folding bead version and the TCS tubeless ready one. They are heavy-ish for their size, not really very fast feeling on harder surfaces and pavement, they come alive when things get rough, and they do well in hard pack dirt.
However; the Nano 40 TCS brings the ability to lose the tubes, and that does do something nice for ride feel and performance over their tubed siblings. First of all, you get a more damped, smoother ride feel. Obviously, you get the potential for less, (maybe no), flat tires. Otherwise, the similarities outweigh the differences here. Which should you choose? Even though the Nano 40 TCS comes in a bit heavier, I would choose it every time over the tubed version. Mated to any of WTB’s suitable TCS rims, you have the first, and thus far only, “system” for tubeless tires specifically aimed at gravel road riding. What is more, these tires do work on HED Belgium+ rims and Ardennes+ wheels, and likely other tubeless rated rims for road and mountain use. Beware of mating these with Stan’s rims though, as this is not a good fit. So, the tubeless thing trumps using tubes, and these tires and WTB’s rims are a safe bet to use without issues. Oh……did you say you still use cantilever brakes? WTB has a TCS (tubeless ready) rim brake rim as well. No worries.
The biggest problem with these tires is that they are too knobby looking and don’t “look or feel fast”. They are plenty speedy, but their “mountain-bikish” tread and overall middle of the road feel- not too fast, but not slow either- may be working against this tread. It really is probably the quintessential “all road” tire, in the same vein that the Bruce Gordon Rock & Road is, but only better. Too bad if folks turn their eyes toward “faster looking” treads, because the Nano 40 TCS is really a workhorse tire that can do a lot of terrain very well.
At The Finish: Great tubeless performance, but a tad heavy for this size tire. They hold air really well and the Nano 40 TCS seems to roll very smoothly, despite their mountain bike looks. They work on non-WTB rims from HED, and likely on others as well, but may not fit very good on Stan’s rims. The ride performance has been very acceptable with a noticeably damped feel compared to tubed tires. Highly recommended with WTB rims as a perfectly good tubeless set up for gravel, back road, or heavy duty commuting demands. Really a great all-around tire for “all-road” bikes.
NOTE: WTB sent over these Nano 40 TCS tires at no cost to RidingGravel.com for test/review. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.