Three Tires From WTB: Getting Rolling

Three Tires From WTB: Getting Rolling – by Grannygear

WTB Tires: Venture, Byway, and Exposure

When WTB introduced the “Road Plus” 650b x 47mm tire into the marketplace, they did it with tread patterns that were unique…there were no 700c versions. It was a brilliant tire size although at the time I thought, “Huh?”.

So now we are seeing 700c versions of some of these Road Plus tires. We have two of them to sample, one set in the Byway design and one set in the Venture, and we also have a poofier version of the Exposure 30, the Exposure 36. I have been using the Exposure 30 on my road bike for a few seasons now and I know it well. It is a really fun road tire, plumping up to 32mm on a decently wide rim, something that just amazes the roadies in the groups I ride with…”Is that your gravel bike?”. So the 36mm version ought to be quite good as a road-prioritized ‘big’ tire.

We weighed the samples as follows: Byway 40: 443g/420g Venture 40: 509g/504g Exposure 36: 371g/356g. The Byway 40 also comes in a 34mm and a 44mm size in 700c. They have the Road TCS casing and come in skinwall or blackwall. From the WTB website:

Byway is for days of endless hardpack exploration and gravel grinding while also providing noticeable efficiency on any pavement linking it all together. A swiftly smooth centerline is paired to a textured intermediate section that provides a seamless transition onto small outer knobs for unwavering traction in loose dirt and gravel. Prominent outer knobs also extend down the sidewall to provide an additional level of defense from roadside unpleasantness of all shapes and sizes.

Byway 700c x 34 is an identical replacement to the previously named Exposure 34 tire. We renamed the tire to creating a uniform naming structure where all tires are named according to tread pattern.

Features:

  • Smooth centerline for efficiency with diamond shaped outer knobs for grip in the dirt.
  • High volume tire enables comfortable ride.
  • Dual Compound rubber means a fast rolling tire with great corning traction.
700 X 40mm Venture tire

The Venture is a more aggressive tire with very closely set, angled mini knobs. The casing is also Road TCS and they come in skin or blackwall. From the WTB website.

Among our most versatile drop bar tires, the Venture delivers optimal performance across the widest range of conditions to serve as a truly set-it-and-forget-it gravel tire for riders who demand traction across a wide variety of terrain. Elevated centerline ridges provide consistent working edges that dig in whether hammering up a climb or leaning into a turn. Two rows of outer knobs provide confidence regardless of how hard you’re cornering while also providing substantial sidewall protection. Venture is the tire of choice when the destination is unknown but you’re sure to encounter a variety of terrain along the way.

Features:

  • The large, high-volume footprint of each Venture tire allows for more working edges of the tread to always be in contact with the terrain.
  • Rounded profile with vertical channels to enhance cornering characteristics.
  • High volume casing enables comfortable ride.
  • Dual Compound Rubber means a fast rolling tire with great corning traction.
700 X 36mm Exposure tire

The Exposure 36 is a complete slick. Road TCS casing and color options like the others, it looks like a dream tire for roughly paved roads. From the WTB website

The smooth centerline of the Exposure optimizes efficiency while hatched outer edges provide cornering confidence on rough, unpredictable surfaces. Exposure is a high-volume tubeless tire designed to tackle crumbling tarmac while still delivering the fast-rolling benefits of a semi-slick road tire. Mount up a set and hit the open, yet sometimes rough, road.

Features:

  • Supple tubeless casing allows for lower pressure and improved traction.
  • High volume road casing enables comfortable ride.
  • Dual Compound Rubber means a fast rolling tire with great corning traction.
  • Smooth tread for the ultimate on-road performance.

Since these are not completely new tires as far as the tread design, and the fact I have three to review, I will put quality time on each and then do a solid impressions post on each separately

WTB Tires
The Byway (top) and the Venture from WTB in 700c X 40mm size.

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 36mm Exposure ought to be excellent for.

I have been on the 40mm Byway for a bit now and I am really liking it, having just come off the 38mm Hutchinson Overides. The Byways are as fast, maybe faster, and ride better than the Overides, feeling more supple at the same PSI and approximate tire volume. But, they are not 40mm wide tires. Where’s the beef? After a week or so of use they are sitting at 38mms wide at 40psi,tubeless. That may or may not be a bad thing, depending on what you need them to fit, but it is something to be aware of.

Be back soon…going riding.

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.

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Grannygear

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 RidingGravel.com in his spare time.

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14 thoughts on “Three Tires From WTB: Getting Rolling

  1. Eagerly looking forward to your review on the Byway 700cs. Have two wheelsets, one with some Pararacer GK Slicks for bad roads and hardpack, and WTB Resolutes on the other for proper gravel/dirt road conditions. Curious to see if a slick centered Byway is faster than the impressively fast rolling WTB Reolutes…

  2. I just mounted the same Byway 700x40c to replace my GK slicks. Like grannygear, these blow up skinny – 38mm @ 40psi on i25 rims tubeless. Only rolled around with them for neighborhood ride, but they do feel fast…comparable to the GK slicks – maybe even faster!?

    I curious about the 36 Exposures – based on the pics above they look to be the same width bead-to-bead.

  3. Grannygear – did you measure the bead to bead for all 3 tires? from the pics above Byway and Exposure looks to be about the same, while the Venture does look wider.

  4. @Leo…The Byway is faster seat of the pants wise. It’s smaller and lighter too. Now there is a 44mm version of the Byway and I am told that is true to size. There is no way I would swap your Resolutes for Byways for “proper” gravel use. But those GK Slicks are more in line with these I bet.

    @smoothmoose…I grabbed a tape measure, so in inches this is what I found: Exposure 36 just a hair under 3.75″ across the tire bead to bead flattened out. The 38mm Hutchinson Overides are .4″ even The WTB 40c Ventures are 3.75″ exactly. A 40c Nano is 4.125″. So not exact science here, but it is a telltale sign of things to come.

    gg

    1. Thanks. Sounds like the case of the shrinking casing at WTB. I know tires stretch overtime, but 38mm on my already wide 25mm rims seems a bit anemic. My first ride on the Byways 40c was promising this morning – I’ll be curious how they compare to the Exposure 36 as these are on my commuting wheelset that sees 80% tarmac the rest on light to pristine gravel.

  5. The french translations of conditions and usages are a true delight ! But I hope WTB engineers make better job thant the commercial team…

  6. @all…I did a quick mount of the 40c Ventures as well as a 37c Riddler on the same rim. The Riddler was smaller than the Byway by 2mm but I expect it would expand a bit after some time inflated. It was about 36mm. The Venture was about the same as the Byway’s casing width, but the more aggressive tread added some girth. It was about 39mm, so it might get to 40mm after some time.

    The Byways sit right in the middle ground.

    gg

  7. I expect to burn through my first set of Clement Xplor MSOs (700x36c) this spring, by which time I’ll have about 3,000 miles on them. Have loved them so far, and will be riding a lot more gravel in 2020 (probably 60% pavement/chipseal to 40% gravel).

    Pretty sure all the gravel here in SW Iowa is limestone, about 3/4″ or so? Anyway, it seems the Venture is too aggressive for all the paved riding we do, so how would you expect the Byways to hold up to a fair amount of gravel travel?

    1. @Cole Epley- I, like Grannygear, seldom get to wear out a tire, so I cannot tell you how long a Byway will go, but I can tell you it handles chunky gravel just fine up here in East/Central Iowa. Should be okay for you as well. Just keep in mind that air pressures will make or break your experience, so be sure to experiment for your weight and style of riding to find the best pressures for you.

  8. @Cole Epley…Well, the MSO is much more aggressive than the Byway is. Not sure if you could live with that or not. As far as durability/longevity, that is hard for me to say as I seldom use anything long enough to know unless I make it a staple part of my set-up. Even then, as soon as a tire needs to be tested, there goes that idea.

    gg

  9. RE: Exposure 36….mounted up the set onto some 21-ish mm wide rims and they are nice and plump at 38mms, maybe just a hair less. Ooooo…..these should be fun on the road. If the weather allows, I will find out Friday.

    gg

  10. Mounted the Exposures on 21internal and they plumped to 38 too. They are friggin fast. I’m so happy with them. Have taken them on tarmac, packed dirt, and some single track so far with no issues, other than being in love which isn’t an issue really.

  11. I recently got a set of Riddlers 37 and they were just too slow and draggy for the type of riding I wanted to do (hardpack / road / dirt) I was also unimpressed with the casing (leaked air a lot and came with holes in the tan sidewalls – looked like stitching holes).

    Because of that awesome experience with WTB (but mostly because of the tan sidewalls) I decided to go with Byway 34 / old named Exposure 34.

    I have been very impressed with it. For the riding I do they are better than the Riddlers. The grip seems to be the same and they are a lot faster on hardpark and pavement. I did 7 miles on steep wet loamy / rooty double track (Up Randall and a long Bolinas ridge in Marin) and was super impressed with them. They performed like I would expect tires to, gripped really well and slipped on wet roots. And this was at 50 PSI.

    I also climbed up Eldridge grade to Mount Tamalpais which is just super super rocky / pick your lines / I guess I am riding up a creek trail and again no issues there.

    The Byway 40s would allow you to drop pressures a little more for a little better grip in those conditions (but honestly, I don’t feel the need) and the 34s did not feel draggy on the road.

    The Byway 34s also seem better constructed than the Riddler 37s and hold air far better. Overall really happy with them.

    WTB seems to have a lot of really really miss tires for me. But, the Byway 34s seem to be a hit for my area and can do it all.

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