The 650B tire range from WTB’s Road Plus line is now complete with the release of the Venture. We just finished up with the aggressive Sendero model and we have tested both the Byway and Horizon in the past. Perhaps no other tire in the four model range has generated so much interest as the Venture has already. It seems it is a highly anticipated tire, judging from the feedback we’ve already gotten. Let’s take a closer look at it here.
What It Is: You’ve heard all about the Road Plus thing and you probably are aware that all the Road Plus tires are built on the same casing with the same width- 47mm. The variances are in the tread design, so let’s focus on that bit.
What we see immediately is an interesting file tread pattern with depth to it. The tread is arranged in ridges and form a chevron pattern across the face of the casing. This is lined with “Sendero-like” knobs along each side. To be fair, these knobs are their own thing, not exactly like Sendero’s tread blocks, but you can certainly see the “family resemblance”.
This model features the “LightCasing”, Road Plus DNA Rubber, and a TCS Aramid bead. These are tubeless ready, of course, and we expect very good tubeless performance, just like we’ve seen with all the other Road Plus tires so far.
First Impressions: My initial impression upon seeing the tread was that this was a tire that may be more about grip than I thought it would be. The file type pattern in the middle is a bit deeper than traditional file tread is thought of as having for depth. There is a tighter run of tiny knobs up the middle, which should aid in faster rolling. The edge knobs promise some stability in loose gravel and in cornering. I’d expect that these tires will be really good on smoother dirt roads or where actual gravel is sparse to non-existent. A tread pattern like this doesn’t look like a good match for sticky, loamy dirt or mud though. We will see about these things during the testing though, hopefully.
Installation, Measurements, and Tubeless Performance: The weights of each tire were 531/526 grams each. This was lighter than WTB’s claimed 555 grams. The Venture is not as heavy as the Byways we weighed, but are close in weight to those. The Sendero is the heaviest of the four Road Plus tires. So with the Venture, you get a middle of the road weight in terms of the Road Plus range.
The tubeless set up on the Irwin Cycles Aon GX 35 650B wheels was easy, with a simple floor pump set up. After 24 hours at 40psi, the casings measured just a bit over 46mm, however, at the outer knobs, the Venture was much wider. The outer knob measurement was a bit over 48mm. This in comparison to the Sendero, which also measured out at 46+ mm initially, but stretched out eventually to measure over 48mm. The Sendero’s knobs did not seem to protrude as far out as the Venture’s do, so after a few rides I will revisit the measurements and compare again.
The initial test rides have shown that the rolling resistance isn’t unusual and the tires felt like a typical Road Plus casing, meaning these tires are pretty smooth feeling. I will be looking for how the tread grips and rolls on gravel in upcoming rides. I also will be reporting on unusual conditions in my next update, since we are in the midst of Winter.
So Far….. The final entrant to the Road Plus range of tires from WTB is said to be the “most versatile” one by WTB. That’s yet to be seen, but this tire looks the part. The file tread is interesting and looks grippy. The typical good traits of the other Road Plus tires we’ve tested shine through with the Venture as well. Stay tuned for our “Checkpoint” post coming in a few weeks.
NOTE: WTB sent over the Venture tires for test and review at no charge to RidingGravel.com. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.