WTB Slickasaurus Tires

/ Thursday, 21 May 2009 / Bike Related

WTB Slickasaurus Tires Review – May 28, 2009

http://www.wtb.com/products/tires/hybrid/slickasaurus/

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.

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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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