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The difference between a pure road bike and a mixed-surface bike (cyclocross/gravel/groad) used to be a rather stark line. Today, we have more of a spectrum from pavement to dirt. WTB’s Exposure tire reflects that blurred line, and it achieves a remarkable balance between rolling speed and off-pavement capability.
WTB offers the Exposure in three widths: 30, 32, and 34mm. We rode the 30mm size, which has the lowest-profile tread of the three. The center rubber is entirely slick, and the tire’s shoulders have slight texture for control on loose surfaces. As you go up in size, WTB employs increasingly aggressive tread patterns. All Exposure models have WTB’s Supple Casing and Distance+ rubber compound for extra durability and traction.
Our pair of 30mm Exposure tires were rather plump when mounted on Zipp’s 30 Course wheels (21mm inner rim width). Tubeless set-up was relatively easy as well, using a compressor with Orange Seal tire sealant. At 310 grams per tire, the Exposure is comparable to a Hutchinson Sector 32, also a slick-tread tubeless-ready tire.
The nice thing about the Exposure 30mm is that it is at home on either a gravel bike or a disc road bike with ample clearance. The slick tread pattern rolls very fast on pavement. The tire’s fat profile encouraged us to ride some rough dirt and even a few mellow trails as well. As such, we pumped this tire up to a wide range of different pressures. For exceptionally rough days on gravel, we were happy running 45psi front and rear. When we felt like a long day, almost entirely on pavement, 80psi felt fast but not too harsh.
With such a low-profile tread, you have to ride a bit cautiously on really loose, fast dirt corners. They were predictable regardless, and running lower pressure improved grip, as you’d expect. The Exposure tire was a dream on fast paved descents, affording gobs of traction on hairpin bends, cornering confidently, provided the pressure wasn’t too low.
We did manage to cut the rear tire on one of our outings, but it sealed up with little pressure loss and has been trouble-free since then.
If your usual ride includes some mellow dirt paired with plenty of pavement, WTB’s Exposure would be a fine way to make your bike more capable and comfortable. If you’re a bit leery of adding rolling resistance with a pure gravel tire, this is also a great option to have. However, hardcore gravel-grinder types — those who dream of Dirty Kanza and the like — should probably size up to the 32 or 34mm Exposure models.