WTB Byway 650B X 47mm Tires: Checkpoint

<Back to News Home |

WTB Byway 650B X 47mm Tires: Checkpoint- by Guitar Ted

The “Road Plus” category of tires that WTB instigated with their announcement of the Horizon was increased by one model this Spring with the addition of the Byway. We introduced the review here about a month ago now and so it is now time for an update on how this new tread design is doing.

The WTB Byway tires have a bit more range of capabilities than the Horizon tires do.

The test of the Byway continues with more gravel and even some mud and wet roads this Spring. In these tests, it becomes more and more apparent that how the Byway feels is going to mirror what I found in terms of ride feel with the Horizon. The two models of “Road Plus” tires have identical characteristics in this category. It is obvious then that what we are looking at is how the Byway’s tread pattern increases the range of use over that of the Horizon.

Thw Byway’s main difference from the Horizon is this tread pattern. Otherwise the tires are nearly identical in ride feel.

When we break things down in this way, the review becomes much easier. I will again reference the Horizon review here and also here are the 700c vs 650B thoughts I had posted last year . You will find more links to explore there when you click on those if you want to do more research.

So, with that out of the way, I will say that the Byway is a nice “Jeckyll and Hyde” tire. By that I mean that it has some of the great rolling characteristics of the Horizon but it also has the capability to go into looser terrain and hold its own there. The key is how WTB shaped the casing and in how the tread works with that. Take a closer look at the image at the top of this post. In profile, you can see how all of the center, smoother section of the Byway’s tread is taller than the side knobs are. Using air pressure, one can make sure that on paved surfaces, the Byway is only contacting the road with this smoother rolling center section of tread. The rider then has the option to either allow the Byway to sink down slightly in softer, unpaved terrain, or to lower the air pressure, and then the rider can gain traction and stability from the side knobs and diamond shaped file tread areas.

The rides I have done on the Byway in mud, looser dirt, and on loose gravel show me that the side tread does have a positive effect upon the drive characteristics and on the stability of the tire. It is markedly better than the Horizon is, obviously, but how does this stack up with other tires? The only direct comparison I can give in this format is the Terrene Elwood.

The Elwood is a tire that has tread all the way across the casing, but the center tread is small and lowered in comparison to the Byway’s traditional looking file tread center section.  The speed of the Elwood on harder surfaces cannot quite match that of the Byway, but it is close. Where the Byway and the Elwood really differ is in how the casings are shaped and in how effective the tread is at grip. In this comparison, the Elwood is a better tire, both in terms of stability on loose gravel and in terms of grip, overall. In my view, the Byway is a much better tire for those who are going to split time between pavement and gravel at a 50%-50% ratio, or for those who have even a bit more time on pavement than that. The center, smoother section of the Byway and the way that the tire can be kept up on that smoother rolling center section with air pressure would be a winner in that kind of scenario over the Elwood. Horses for courses.

The Byway is quite capable of eating up miles of gravel, but it rolls on pavement great as well.

So Far……The claims of a “60/40” dirt to road ratio by WTB seems about right so far. On pavement the Byway is super smooth. With the dirt being loose and somewhat muddy here of late, the Byway showed me a better experience than the Horizon did. The knobs and diamond shaped tread on the Byway lend just enough traction to pull you through on dirt and mud, but this isn’t a mountain bike tire. You get less rolling resistance everywhere with the Byway versus a mtb tire, but if you are thinking “aggressive single track”, you should look elsewhere. The width is spot on and the tubeless performance has been okay so far. I will be riding these across more gravel and paved surfaces in the next weeks and I will be back with the “At The Finish” update soon.

Note- WTB sent over the Byway at no charge for test and review to RidingGravel.com. We have not been paid nor bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.

Discuss and share your questions or thoughts about gravel bikes, gear, events and anything else on the Riding Gravel Forum.

[adrotate group=”1″]


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

Related Articles

11 thoughts on “WTB Byway 650B X 47mm Tires: Checkpoint

  1. How do these size-up, are they a true 47mm or do they measure up narrower? I like the look of them but am concerned they would not fit the rear spacing offered by my Slate…even though the WTB fit guide say’s they would fit.

    1. My Horizons fit on the Slate, the Terrene Elwoods do not on the back because of the side knobs…so wonder if the Byways would be the same issue.

  2. Just set up a pair of Byways on WTB i19 rims. I’m getting a tic over 45mm but the i19 are a mm or so narrower than the Aileron which list at 20mm inner width. Installed with a regular floor pump, no soapy water needed, probably the easiest tubeless install I’ve done. Thanks GT, for the reviews!

    1. @Alex Xiao- Thanks! And by the way, the Byway set up initially for me at under 47mm as well. Given some time at pressure and with a ride or two, I think you can remeasure and find that it has stretched a bit.

  3. So is there really any reason now to buy the Horizon’s over the Byways? I bought a pair of the former just before they release the latter, and am now kind of regretting my decision. 😛

    1. @Sully- Sure there are reasons to buy one over the other. It just depends upon how you usually ride.If your rides are predominantly paved, or on hard surfaces, get the Horizon. If you get predominantly into gravel, softer dirt, mud, or sand at times, get the Byway.

      The Horizons are decent gravel tires, but really shine on harder surfaces. Especially if the roads are curvy. You’ll just have to decide if you user profile best matches the Horizon.

    2. yes! If you ride aggressive on pavement, side lug rolling is almost as bad as pedal strikes. 😉
      I’ve rolled my 40c MSO’s off the lugs a few times at 20+ in town in intersections, its a dicey feeling…lol

      I also apparently need to invest in a 650 wheelset now for the byways. Not really interested in rolling a 40c MSO 100 miles on pavement to ride gravel.

  4. How about the byway In the front and the horizon in back ? the front tire will always need more grip th

  5. I can’t decide between Horizon or Byway.
    I’m a newbie gravel biker and use the stock tires of my Cannondale Slate. But recently I discovered the tires are slightly deformed.
    I like to run in max pressure at the tarmac and as low as possible when off-road, but I couldn’t find any information about me not/max PSI for the WTB 47c tires.
    Anyone could please help me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.