Three Tires From WTB: Byway 40mm At The Finish

Three Tires From WTB: Byway 40mm At The Finish – by Grannygear

Granngear's Topstone with WTB Byway 700 X 40's mounted

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.

Detail of WTB Byway
They say 40- We say 38.

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.

Bicycle in rural setting
The Byway made for a good all-around tire in SoCal.

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.


Author: Grannygear

Grannygear hails from SoCal and spent most of his cycling days as a mountain biker from the formative years of mountain biking all the way up to the present day. His day job is in the tech sector, but he has spent time writing about off road 4X4’s, 29″ mountain bikes, and cycling in general. Grannygear and Guitar Ted have worked off and on together since 2009 after a chance meeting at Interbike. With gravel cycling on the rise, Grannygear has been exploring how this genre’ works in SoCal and now does guest pieces for in his spare time.

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12 thoughts on “Three Tires From WTB: Byway 40mm At The Finish

  1. I hear your frustration with the sizing. I wish the tire manufacturers would just give us a bead-to-bead measurement, which would be universal and not dependent on rim width. That way everyone would be able to figure out true sizing on their own!

  2. I purchase a pair of WTB Byway34 Tires for my wife’s gravel bike and had nothing but struggles getting a seal. I purchased the whole kit (Byway tires, Muc-Off sealant and Stan’s valve stems) new from my LBS. The tires mounted easily and pressurized with little effort but once I put sealant in I started to notice pinholes in the sidewalls. The first night the tires went flat by morning and the pinhole count was modest. This cycle of going flat over night went on for four days and the number of pinholes exceeded a hundred. You could clearly see a pattern consistent with the underlying fabric weave. (photos available) I’ve never seen a tubeless tire so poorly constructed with hundreds of pinholes requiring four days to fully seal but according to WTB Rider Support that didn’t surprise them or warrant further comment.

    1. @Jim Tremblay – Sorry to hear that. I never have had any issues with WTB tires to date, but changes in manufacturing sources or practices are not out of the ordinary in the bicycle business. Sometimes these changes reflect in quality control issues. In my experience, this is not as uncommon as one would hope.

      In my opinion, that problem you have had, as described, is a warranty issue, unless there is more that I do not know.

      1. Had the same issues with the Byway 650B x 47 … Sidewalls were punctured with dozens of little pinholes. Using Stan’s sealent did the job quite well, after two days and a refill tyre seems to be sealed now.

        I am using tubeless tires nearly from the beginning of the tubeless system for my MTBs and now also for the Gravel bike. Never had such perforated sidewalls. There seem to be quite a few people having the same problems.

        Nevertheless, now everything is sealed, and I really like the tyres for paved and fast gravel routes.

        Cheers, Chris

  3. I’ve read elsewhere that Byways easily suffers from punctures and sidewall issues when on gravel. There’s been enough negative reviews that I’m now hesitant to buy them.

  4. I’ve been running the Byways at 700x34mm on my “do it all” drop-bar bike. Zero issues, same as all my prior WTBs (Riddlers, Nanos). I ride them mostly on cracked pavement and packed dirt.

    They’re on my first set of non-WTB rims (Easton EC90SLs, whereas before I had WTB i19 rims), and the tires definitely don’t “latch on” as solidly, and will de-pressurize after two weeks (the i19 would last months without going noticeably flat).

  5. I ran a set of Byway 40Cs for most of this past season.

    I never learned to trust these tires. A few punctures that led to flats–thankfully never leaving me stranded–and a general feel that I could not get used to.

    At about 3,000 miles the tires seemed to really fall apart–would not hold pressure and felt squishy as all get out. Same story with my Venture 40Cs from the season before. Maybe it’s a WTB thing.

  6. Have the SG2 version of this tyre in 40 (well, 38 really) mm, 700C size. Has been mounted on my bike since August and I’ve got about 3100 km (2000 mi) on them. I use these for my commute, which is 90% on pavement and during the weekends I ride gravel on them. Where I am ‘gravel’ means mostly compact, fine grit, some double tracks with chunky gravel and also flowing singletrack through woods.

    Imo the Byways are great on any hard and dry surfaces: fast rolling, great grip. Haven’t had a leak that required roadside repairs in this time (they’re set up tubeless). In the wet, they do very well on pavement but they’re a huge risk if there is ANY mud covering the road: no grip at all. This is not surprising for a semi-slick, obviously.

    Annoyances: the sidewalls. They simply do not seal up completely. I still have pinpricks that slowly ooze sealant. Also, although I didn’t encounter catastrophic damage, they do take hits on rough terrain and these add up. 2 weeks ago I participated in an event that had me ride through areas with flinty gravel, then over tree roots etc and they took a lot of hits on the thread, some of which slowly kept bubbling sealant over a matter of days (!). To qualify this: I passed a tidy number of guys who were busy with sealant, plugs and inner tubes while I breezed along. The leakage i experienced was not large but enough to lose 14 psi/24 hours for a couple of days and annoyingly, they failed to seal up completely, it was like a slow hemorrage. Then it slowed down until now I’m at a pressure drop of about 7 psi/24 hours. I can live with that but the damage is probably cumulative and I expect that in another month I’ll have to swap them out after 4000-4500 km.

    All in all: I like these because they’re fast and hold their own on compacted surfaces. If I’d regularly ride in mud, no way that i’d keep them. Would purchase again, with my daily commute that’s 90% pavement I’m not about to compromise on rolling speed.

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