Gravel Grinder News: WTB Debuts Sendero, Venture Road Plus Tires- by Guitar Ted
WTB launched their “Road Plus” vision for 650B tires and adventure/gravel bikes with the Horizon in early 2016. Then the Byway followed it up. Since then, things have been quiet on the “Road Plus” side until today. WTB announces two new 650B X 47mm tires which will double their Road Plus offerings and give riders a full range of choices from pure slick to knobby “mtb-like” tires. These new Road Plus tires, with the appropriate wheels, should slot into many new 2019 bikes coming out now. (Not to mention several older gravel and all road bikes) The two new models are the knobby “Sendero” and the intermediate tread model dubbed the “Venture”. Let’s have a look here……
Sendero 650B X 47mm: WTB says both of the new offerings here are extending the Road Plus concept “by carrying drop bar riding even further into the dirt, where conditions are increasingly unpredictable and diverse.” So we can think of this new Sendero model as perhaps the most mountain bike-ish Road Plus tire of the two new offerings. In fact, WTB says they were riding their drop bar adventure bikes further and further into rougher terrain and wanted a tire that could keep up. Enter the Sendero with its widely spaced, ramped knobs. The knobs are placed across the face of the wide and voluminous Road Plus casing replete with the signature brownish tan sidewalls that WTB has incorporated into the previous Horizon and Byway tires. The Sendero is TCS tubeless ready and production tires are said to weigh in at 568 grams. The Sendero should be available next week through WTB or your local bike shop at MSRP $67.95.
Venture 650B X 47mm: WTB claims this as an all-arounder which will be versatile across a wider range of terrain. The idea is that the Venture is a 70% dirt/30% road use option, which WTB slots next to the current Byway Road Plus tire. The Byway being more road than dirt. Of course, interpretations are best left to the rider, but we’d have to agree that the Venture looks like an excellent hard packed dirt, single track to gravel tire. In fact, my impression would be that the Venture, out of all the Road Plus family, looks best suited to many gravel events. WTB claims this tire has a pre-production sample weight of 573 grams and will be available sometime this Winter at the same $67.95 asking price of the Sendero. TCS tubeless ready, of course, as are all the Road Plus tires in the range.
Comments: It is hard to understand the vision of a company sometimes and especially when the company in question holds its cards close to its chest. So, when the Horizon hit the market, and the “Road Plus” concept was unveiled, we had no idea a range of tires was planned. Of course! It all makes sense now, doesn’t it? I think that WTB has a concept here which the average rider can now use to help them make sense of tire selection. It is a brilliant, and obvious, way to present a tire line. The percentage suggestion for dirt to pavement use here is part of the key to the entire concept and I think it could be easily grasped by retailers and riders. We will see about that….
The concept of the drop bar adventure/gravel bike moving more toward mountain bike territory isn’t lost on many of you out there and I can imagine some of you are shaking your head at the Sendero specifically. I get it, but like WTB says, they are pushing these bikes into places where the more road-like tendencies of older gravel and adventure bikes aren’t cutting the mustard. My take is that not everyone has gravel, but many have paths and trails which connect up to roads and pavement. This becomes a blurred line for the rider of what is now the “gravel/adventure bike” of today. It’s not a “mountain bike ride“, nor is it a “road bike ride“. It is something that requires a more capable, versatile machine than what we had even just a couple of years ago. Now you don’t have to choose between “mountain” or “road”, theoretically, you can do both on one bike. That’s the theory, anyway, as it has been handed down to me by others in the industry.
In that sense, the Road Plus line, from a 650B standpoint, is a great line up. You can choose totally slick to totally knobbed and in between you have choices which slot beautifully into mixed terrain type rides. Now WTB, how about doing something like this in 700c……….
Note; The images used in the post were provided by WTB in an embargoed press release and the information used here was gathered from that as well.