WTB Slickasaurus Tires Review – May 28, 2009
In the 4th quarter of 2008, when I purchased my Surly Long Haul Trucker Complete from a local bike store, the dream of touring around the world was fairly fresh in my mind. After many hours spent sitting in front of a computer on web based discussion forums, and asking advice from other bike enthusiasts, I decided that the “pre-built” package would do for me. You can read my review on the Surly Long Haul trucker here. This review focuses on one of the components, being the WTB Slickasaurus tires.
Labelled as a “Trekking/Touring/Offroad” tire, these 26×1.5” tires come with a fairly low key style, showing only the name of the tire on the sidewall, not a reflective stripe like some other tires. The tread pattern features a groove pattern that I found works well in wet conditions.[singlepic=18,250,300,right]
Performance of this tire during my rides was rather well due to the narrow width of the tire. I took the bike through weather conditions, including freezing temperatures, rain, over asphalt, packed dirt and a light gravel roads.
Within the first 400km on these tires, I experienced my first flat. This occurred going over a bridge, crossing over very minor road debris like garbage. Luckily, it did not puncture my tube altogether and I was able to make it to a safe spot to patch the tube.
I didn’t last more than 50km that same day again, crossing a bridge, with no road debris – luckily it wasn’t too far of a walk with the bike to get out of the rain and patch the tire again. I checked the tire inside and out thoroughly for any stuck debris, yet found nothing.
10 km later, I was at the side of the road, frantically pumping my rear tire this time, after experiencing the third flat in less than 8 hours. I was able to make it to a local train, and made it back to my house, as my time schedule was altered from the previous flats, and it was becoming dark and there was a safety concern.
I patched the rear flat the next day, and went on a test ride, and not more than 20km away of riding on packed dirt/asphalt combination, my rear tire experienced yet another flat. Luckily this time it was sunny and I was able to gawk at the other people close to the beach while I waited for the vulcanizing glue to patch. I rode home, frustrated, and greasy.
Fast forward another 24 hours, I decided to ride my bike 8km over to another LBS on designated bike routes to look at their offerings. Once I unlocked my bicycle and started to ride, the feeling of something awry washed over me, and again, I realized I was suffering from a flat in the rear tire again. This now gave the rear tire a 3-2 advantage for flats. I inflated my tire 4 separate times while riding my bike home. I later sold them on Craigslist that night. I have since upgraded to the Schwalbe Marathon tires.
I for one do not think my riding is that extreme, using my touring bike as a way to get groceries, visit friends, and see local attractions. I was hoping that these tires would be able to put up with a bit more usage than the 500km that I placed on them in a short matter of time. I cannot imagine the difficulties would have experienced if I had taken these tires on a tour – I’d likely be spending half my time patching my tires and tubes. Yes, I am aware there are products that you can line the inside of your tire with, and “slime” that can be injected into your tubes (However, not for Presta Valves), but I feel that these products should only be used in the most demanding conditions. For this reason I do not recommend that the WTB “Suckasaurus” be used as a touring tire let alone a general use tire. It seems I am not alone in my views. One would be better off recommending their local bike shop install a more robust tire on their new Surly Long Haul Trucker instead.
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