There’s just something about skinwall tires that completes the look of a classically-styled steel frame bike.
After wearing through a pair of Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Road tires on my daily commuter / dirt tourer – an All City Space Horse – I set out to see what else the industry had to offer. A few seasons on the BG tires had me wondering if there was a tire that rolled just a tad better for the work week commute, but could still eat up the singletrack on weekend camping trips – and it had to be skinwall. Enter the WTB Resolute: one of the recent entries in the gravel / monstercross / adventure / good-looks tire market, a 42mm do-it-all tire that promises great traction whether you’re in the mud, hardpack or anything in-between.
The WTB Resolute tires were mounted to Velocity Dyad rims (24mm, 18.6 internal) which likely made the profile a bit taller and rounder than WTB intended as the tire was supposedly designed around a 23mm internal wheel width. Also to note, my setup isn’t tubeless so I chose to run slightly higher pressures (40/45 front/back) to keep from snake-biting on the bumpy stuff and provide a faster-rolling daily commute. Installation was mostly painless, though the marginally smaller tubeless-ready diameter of the tires required a few inflate/deflate cycles to get the bead seated correctly. I still have a very mild wiggle in the rear tire I can only assume is a product of the tire not wanting to seat perfectly, but no amount of wrangling and soap-spraying could get it better – so that’s where I ended up. As for clearance, the tire mounted considerably narrower than I was expecting after running the Rock n’ Roads, which was actually a nice surprise considering the Space Horse doesn’t have much room to spare between the chainstays. Other reviews have called out that the tire is width-accurate, so I’ll take their word for it.
My riding during this test was a mix of pavement (60%), gravel (30%), and singletrack (10%). The rubber was mounted to my daily commuter, which spent an afternoon in our local bike park (Valmont) as well as several rides on the finest dirt and gravel Boulder has to offer. From day one, the prowess of this tire on dry hardpack was clear – the Resolute performs wonderfully when hopping from pavement to dirt and back, cornering with confidence and biting enough to sustain hard, uphill out-of-saddle efforts even when things are dry. WTB claims they spent a lot of time dialing in the pattern to maintain traction while reducing squirm in the corners, and that work appears to have paid-off: right away, I noticed the Resolute cornered far better at the extremes than the BG’s I was running previously, diving into corners smoothly on pavement and dirt alike. While on pavement, the Resolutes are reasonably quiet and roll about as well as can be expected from a knobby gravel tire – they’re not winning awards in the street rolling-resistance category, but definitely passable for riders like me that want a multi-use tire at home in the dirt.
I haven’t had the opportunity to test in the rain or soft conditions yet, but the tread shape and pattern seems to be cleverly constructed to handle both wet and dry situations nicely, reminding me vaguely of the Surly Knards I used to run on my bikepacking rig. Aside from toting groceries around, I also haven’t had the opportunity to do any loaded touring on these, but I expect to put some miles on them this fall and will update this review at that time.
The WTB Resolute Tires look absolutely beautiful when mounted to a bike with classic styling. The dark tan sidewall is only interrupted by the WTB logo and tire info, which is cleverly set against a color-matched label. While not as discrete as the beautifully-minimal Bruce Gordon “Rock n’ Road” script, it certainly doesn’t take away from the look of the tire. Check out a few shots and decide for yourself.
WTB Resolute: Bottom Line
I found it exceptionally difficult to be critical of the WTB Resolute. It’s a perfectly capable tire for dirt roads, singletrack and long adventure rides that doesn’t ask you to sacrifice too much when you move back to the pavement – and it looks great to boot.
- Well-designed tread pattern gives you the perfect amount of grip even in the driest conditions while still cornering with ease
- Tubeless compatibility and optimization for wide rims makes for a modern trail-capable tire perfect for dirt-road adventures
- Skinwall design and minimal branding looks great with a bike that matches the aesthetic
Set up in a more optimal wheel configuration (wide, tubeless), I would be interested to see how the tire’s handling might improve. That said, I can’t wait to push this tire a bit harder through the wetter fall and winter months to see how it performs in adverse conditions.
Editor’s Note: This product was purchased by the reviewer, and we did not receive any monetary compensation in exchange for the content of this review. We strive to provide an honest and objective review of the product’s strengths and weaknesses to our readers.