Three Tires From WTB: Venture 40mm At The Finish – by Grannygear
With more knobby-ness than the other WTB tires in this trio, the Venture looks like it might be a perfect do-all So Cal tire with very tightly spaced micro-knobs across most of the tread and some larger knobs on the very edges just above the sidewall. It looks like it would be a smooth roller too, and that matters to me as I spend quite a bit of time on pavement in between dirt sections. Would it unseat my favorite WTB Resolute as ‘that’ tire?
It’s the heaviest of the three we have been looking at from WTB at 509g (the Resolute is 460g) and is also true to size, being 40mms across the side knobs. The side knobs are actually wider than the casing by a bit so that affords extra protection for fending off rock strikes to the sidewall. WTB calls out the 700x40mm Venture as weighing 472g. That is quite a bit different than my samples, so something to note. The Resolutes 700x42mm are bigger and lighter it seems.
So how are they out there in the real world? Depends on how you are using them. After some time on them I think they might be the best So Cal dirt road tire I have tried from WTB. When I say So Cal, I am thinking dry dirt, packed down hard with some sand and rubbly overburden. Why? Those compliant micro knobs. They are like dozens of tiny, dirt gripping fingers that really do not like to let go when climbing, braking or turning. I can’t remember a gravel bike tire that hooked up like these when out of the saddle and climbing. It’s hard to get them to skid under braking, even when you want to. Tenacious is the word. That buys a lot of confidence.
Pretty cool. Now then, mud. I would have to think that mud would be less than optimum for the Ventures, just looking at them tells you that. Those little slits between the knobs pick up small gravel and hang on to them, which is not an issue other than I would look down and think I had picked up some thorns or something.
On the road, they rolled very smoothly but they never really felt fast. Smooth, yes. But not fast. They felt lazy when accelerating and I don’t think it was the weight as much as the tread design. Seated pedaling on steep pavement sounds like “grrriiippp, grrrriiippp, grrrriiippp” with the rear tire making little Velcro sounds as the knobs distort and let go, rolling off the surface of the road. You can take your fingernail and feel the compliance in the small knobs. If I were a bettin’ man, I would wager that the small, easily distorted knobs are squirming under load on pavement and stealing some speed here. It’s a trifle, really, and riding on pavement is hardly a chore, but it bears mentioning.
Also, the Venture has a bit of a peaky shape to it. So, steering off center happens quickly, even more than the other tires in this review series. Even more than the WTB Exposure 36, and those were slicks, so you would think they would be more agile feeling. Not so. It actually caught me off guard the first couple of turns as I got more than I expected at first. I adjusted to it of course, and actually liked the way it perked up what is typically a slowing steering gravel geometry.
That peakiness was also in play in not so good a way when I was in deeper gravel (real gravel…not dirt). At times the Venture would hunt around instead of staying on line, and that was not something I had ever felt with the Resolutes. I could be wrong, but I suspect the tire shape here.
At The Finish: The Venture 700c X 40mm tires are a great tire for where I live, and it also comes in a 700x47mm and a 700x50mm size. If I had a bike that could take that size tire, I bet the 700×50 Venture would totally rock our local single track trails. The Venture 700×40 is a honey of a tire for dry dirt roads and If the way you use your gravel bike fits this tire’s best attributes, give it a run. I doubt you will be disappointed.
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.