Three Tires From WTB: Byway 40mm At The Finish – by Grannygear
I am keeping this review process short since this is not a brand new tire design, but rather an expansion of the size range into 700c from 650B. That you can read about in my opening post on this and two other WTB tires. However, I have enough hours on it to get a pretty good feel for the performance on mixed surface rides and in moist soils.
First of all it is not a 40mm wide tire. It is, after enough time mounted to grow to the maximum potential, a 38mm wide tire. So that can be good or bad depending on what your needs are. The tread design is not aggressive so I am not sure if more volume would be important to me in this tire. If it was, then there is a 700x44mm version of the Byway. I hear it is true to size but I cannot confirm that.
So it’s a bit skinny if you are expecting a 40-41mm result. However it will fit more frames this way. Mixed bag, for sure. Personally I came to like the size as I think it compliments the intended use of the tire. A 38mm wide tire is pretty good for mixed surface use where I live and this one rolls very nicely on the road. It’s fast. Faster than my 42mm Resolutes. They are pretty light too. And it also feels very supple, noticeably more so than the similar sized 38mm Hutchinson Overides. I ran 40 psi pretty much all the time as I did with the Overides and they are the same volume. Tubeless performance was as expected.
We have had a lot of rain early on in the season so dry soil is not what we have. It’s hero gravel (dirt, really) for the near and distant future. Even so, I do not expect this to be a prime choice for full time dirt use…maybe the Venture or Riddler is that tire. My most recent ride was a 3 hour loop of 1/3 dirt with some bike path and open-road work on either end. I also used it on moderately paced group road rides. I never felt like I was handicapping myself in any of these conditions with the Byways. The side knobs would be useful in ruts and soft corners where some tires in this vein are very smooth all the way to the bead. The Byways felt very linear on faster paved corners, steering with no odd transitional feelings, etc.
At The Finish: I have to say that these are compelling tires for mixed surface riding in our So Cal conditions. The casing size is just enough, the tire is fast, it rides well, and has some side knobs for increased grip on looser corners. I like them very much.
They are just not as big as the hot patch says they are. And I have to say that annoys me. I have gotten used to tires being bigger than they say they are. But it has been while since I had one smaller. I understand that tire construction is a bit of a complicated thing and I guess exact sizing is a tough target to hit. Still…that will not keep me from running the 700×40…ahhhh…make that 38…WTB Byways. Even the cost at $59.95 each, is reasonable in this day and age of $75.00+ tires.
Note: WTB sent over the three models of tires to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.