At the cross roads I thought, “Huh. I could go a bit farther and drop down this winding canyon connector road.” OK, why not? And this rambling continued, even when the road choices kept coming along and even when I knew the conditions would be much more than any road bike would be comfortable in.
What do I expect from these new bits of rubber? WTB has a nice casing on their tires, or at least all I have been on. They ride well and have decent durability, running well tubeless. I expect the Byway to be a solid all-road tire, the Venture to be a grippy little thing on hard dirt and I have a 70 mile mixed surface loop in mind with tons of climbing that the 36c Exposure ought to be excellent for.
I just do not feel that they hook up exceptionally well on dirt paths, although as a mixed surface tire, and on smoother surfaces, they do OK. The strong points of the Overide are what seems to be a long life to the tread and a fast rolling nature.
Put these tires on if you have a lot of paved road in your gravel loops, or if the bike you have needs to do double duty as a commuter, or touring bike. Give the Strada USH smooth, dry, dirt of finer crushed rock to run on and you won’t be disappointed. In these scenarios the USH is at home. Plus, with the choice of a tan sidewall, it can class up the look of just about any bike.
Similarly, wet mud riding does not impart a secure feeling when using the Strada USH. But then again, if you even think that is a good idea, well…..good luck to you. The obvious point here is that the Strada USH is best on dry dirt and gravel and is absolutely at home on rough, broken up pavement.
But back off a bit in surface conditions and the Overides are up to the task. On the road they sure seem fast enough to me, and there is not enough tread to worry about any deflection under fast cornering on the road.
Out of the box I felt that these tires looked great for most gravel road and dirt road riding. Donnelly says the side tread areas are a “scaled up herringbone” pattern, and while that is accurate, it does not give you the sense that I got when feeling the tread with my hands.
WTB today released the news that their popular Byway model is now available in several 700c sizes with their TCS tubeless ready casings. These offerings will also be available in both black side wall and the traditional “Road Plus” skin wall colored side wall. All are TCS tubeless compatible with WTB’s “Dual DNA” rubber compound.
Two words kept cropping up whenever Grannygear and I discussed these Boken 700 X 40mm and Boken Plus 650B X 47mm tires. Those words were fast and smooth. The IRC Boken models are some of the fastest and most comfortable tires we’ve tried.
There were times when I got on top of a gear on the pavement and completely forgot that I was on a gravel tire. Now the WTB Resolutes are good rolling for what they are. The IRCs are a step up from them. The Hutchinson Overides are another level completely. I bet the 35s really fly.