Review: WTB Byway 650bx47 tires

Plus tires aren’t just for mountain bikes anymore. With the success of oversized tires firmly established in the dirt, the originator of the plus tire movement is moving to road bikes as the next likely target. Yes, Road Plus is a thing, and in a lot of ways, it might be an even better application of oversized tires on smaller wheels.

Designed to fit into endurance road bikes designed around midsize 700c tires (28-35), the Byway (and its knobby-less cousin, the Horizon) claims to add comfort and versatility to drop bar bikes.

The Byway uses a dual compound, with firmer rubber in the center for speed, softer on the sides for cornering grip. The tan sidewall is a good compromise between thin and supple or thick and supportive. I like the transition from slick to file tread to slim cornering knobs.

Tubeless setup on a set of Sun Charger wheels was accomplished with a floor pump, and I stuck to 40 psi for the entire review period. At those pressures, the Byways rolled along pavement much like a wide 700c tire, but the 540 gram weight was noticeable when picking up the pace or trying to chase down a wheel. I won’t be entering any road races with these tires, but outside of that, they won’t ruin your day, even if your ride is solely on pavement.

But not riding dirt on these tires would be a crying shame. They absolutely shine in dry, loose conditions, adding a level of comfort and control that had me wishing for a dropper post to go get just a little more rad. I’ve spent some time on Horizons, and they can get pretty sketched out in loose gravel, the Byways manage to keep it all together. Those tiny cornering knobs don’t look like much to riders used to mountain bike tires, but they make a noticeable difference. Those knobs give up some corner speed to the Horizons on the road, but since most of my road riding is done getting to the dirt, I’ll take that trade-off.

They aren’t ideal in wet conditions, as the side knobs become very unpredictable in off-camber situations. That slick center doesn’t offer much traction for braking in the slime. That said, they do a lot better than expected, and being gentle with pedal, steering and braking inputs kept me upright through a lot more slop than I expected. WTB recently released the Resolute, a slightly skinnier tire with similar side knobs and actual tread in the middle of the tire, which should make it a better choice when things get sloppy.

I’m going to guess that most riders of my weight will be fine at pressures lower than 40 psi, but I was happy with the cornering and sidewall support at 40, and combined with a steel frame and fork, these tires are a magic carpet ride, even compared to the 700×38 tires I was previously using. I’ve become pretty adept at pinch flatting on dirt roads, even with pressures as high as 55 psi in 700×40 tires, so I’m very happy to have some proper tubeless tires that can handle my dirt-road antics.

I tip my hat to WTB for the design of these tires. It would have been easy to stick bigger knobs on the Horizon casing, but this minimalist approach keeps weights reasonable while keeping the positive on-road ride characteristics almost completely intact. Its only real weakness might be that it only comes in 650bx47. A few 700c sizes would probably sell like wildfire.

Make no mistake, these tires are more about pavement and dry dirt than smashing berms and shredding gnar. But there are literally dozens of tires that do that. This tire provides just enough confidence to always want to find out what is down that dirt road or gravel path or not-too-steep singletrack, while rolling well. And I’m not going to lie, that tan sidewall is hot as hell.

Price: $68

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This review originally appeared in issue 201 of our sister publication, Dirt Rag. Are you interested in mountain biking, gravel riding, bikepacking and anything dirt related? Check out the magazine and subscribe today! 

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New 700c tires from WTB are ready for adventure

Hot on the heels of its 650b Road Plus announcement, WTB says it will expand its line of 700c tires for all kinds of roads.

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The new Exposure tire with its new, multilayer casing brings WTB’s excellent TCS tubeless technology to a road size. Available in 30c with a slick tread or 34c with cornering knobs, it’s ideal for road bikes that aren’t afraid to get a little dirty. WTB claims a weight of 345 grams or 370 grams. It will retail for $80.

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If your idea of a “road” is something most folks would be afraid to drive on, the new Riddler tires take the tread pattern that first debuted on WTB’s 27.5 mountain bike tires and applies it to 700c. The idea is that the closely spaced center knobs roll as quickly as a file tread, but the full-sized cornering knobs still offer all the bit of a mountain bike tire. It will be available in 37c and 45c with the TCS Light casing for $55 and in a big 29×2.25 version for $68. It looks like a great choice for gravel racing and bikepacking.

 

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WTB adapts popular Nano tread to new adventure tire

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WTB released a new, gravel-specific tire named the Nano 40c today at Quality Bicycle Products’ Frostbike product expo. The tire employs a high volume 40mm casing, rounded profile, and centerline tread pattern designed for speed, consistency, and ample cushioning aimed at the rapidly emerging gravel market.

WTB says they were inundated with requests for a gravel racing tire at the 2013 Frostbike show and decided to use the classic Nano tread as a starting point.

Ultra endurance athlete, Jay Petervary spent time on early prototype tires and was impressed with the speed and comfort the tires provided, having initially requested something in the 35c range. To further the Nano’s racing credibility, WTB will be sponsoring the Trans Iowa gravel race in late April as well as Jay Petervary’s own Fall Gravel Backyard Pursuit with Nano 40c Race tires.

WTB Nano 40c tires will be available in Race and Comp versions starting April of 2014. Nano 40c Race tires will feature a folding Aramid bead, Lightweight Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh in at 470g, and retail for $49.95. Nano 40c Comp tires will feature a wire bead, Durable Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh 550g, and retail for $31.95.

WTB also wanted to give a shout-out to Mike Varley of Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station, Calif., as well as Sean Walling of Soulcraft in Petaluma, Calif., for their invaluable input and insight into the design and creation of the WTB Nano 40c tire.

 

 

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WTB debuts new adventure tire: Nano 40c

wtb-nano

WTB released a new, gravel-specific tire named the Nano 40c today at Quality Bicycle Products’ Frostbike product expo. The tire employs a high volume 40mm casing, rounded profile, and centerline tread pattern designed for speed, consistency, and ample cushioning aimed at the rapidly emerging gravel market.

WTB says they were inundated with requests for a gravel racing tire at the 2013 Frostbike show and decided to use the classic Nano tread as a starting point.

Ultra endurance athlete, Jay Petervary spent time on early prototype tires and was impressed with the speed and comfort the tires provided, having initially requested something in the 35c range. To further the Nano’s racing credibility, WTB will be sponsoring the Trans Iowa gravel race in late April as well as Jay Petervary’s own Fall Gravel Backyard Pursuit with Nano 40c Race tires.

WTB Nano 40c tires will be available in Race and Comp versions starting April of 2014. Nano 40c Race tires will feature a folding Aramid bead, Lightweight Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh in at 470g, and retail for $49.95. Nano 40c Comp tires will feature a wire bead, Durable Casing, DNA Rubber, weigh 550g, and retail for $31.95.

WTB also wanted to give a shout-out to Mike Varley of Black Mountain Cycles in Point Reyes Station, California as well as Sean Walling of Soulcraft in Petaluma, California for their invaluable input and insight into the design and creation of the WTB Nano 40c tire.

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