WTB SG2 Gravel Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
Some time ago now WTB introduced their SG2 gravel tires which are a puncture protected tire that is built on a 120TPI casing versus the non-puncture protected, 60TPI range of tires that they had offered up to that point. Now any 37mm or wider tire in the gravel tire range for WTB can be had with SG2 protected casings. Unfortunately, this is only offered for black wall tires. You skin wall fashionistas will have to look elsewhere for your puncture protected gravel tires.
I have already offered my opinions on the three SG2 gravel tires we were sent to evaluate. The 700c X 40mm Byway, the 700c X 44mm Raddler, and the 700c X 42m Resolute were the three tires I tested. In all three cases, I found that the 120TPI casing construction offset the SG2 puncture protection belt’s tendency to stiffen the ride. The more threads per square inch, the better the compliance, (theoretically speaking) and therefore the smoother the ride.
Without the more supple casing, typically puncture protected tires tend to ride in a more stiff and wooden manner. So, by increasing the casing thread count, WTB has seemed to avoid the issue of a stiffer casing even though they have the SG2 layer in the tire.
Now that’s the main point here, but I did also find that the 44mm Raddler and 40mm Byway were not as wide as advertised. Only the Resolute was as wide as the casing said, and in fact, it was wider than the patch on the side would indicate. This tire was actually the 44mm tire the Raddler should have been and the Raddler was more of a 42mm tire. Hmm…..
The Byway was particularly a letdown in this area only ever really getting to 38mm for me. I should note that Grannygear tested the non-SG2 Byway and also found the width to be wanting there. Perhaps this Byway is really a 37mm tire casing.
As far as puncture protection goes, I did ride all three on routes featuring a lot of broken glass and road nasties but none of the three ever showed signs of a leak. I will add that we just don’t have the sharp, exposed rock that some might find when venturing off the beaten path. Just keep in mind, these are not mountain biking tires, so if you destroy one of these, or any gravel tire really, doing ‘mountain bike stuff‘, well, the onus is on you there, in my opinion. I know……the bicycle industry kind of promotes this ‘under biking thing now’, but I wouldn’t bite too hard on that bait.
At The Finish: WTB has some really good non-puncture protected gravel/all road tires in their line, but there was no puncture protected version, until now. The SG2 gravel tires seem to be a good addition to the range as long as you understand that the width indicated on the side wall may not match the width of the tire in reality. Besides that detail, (a rather important one, mind you), these tires were all what I expected in each case. Smooth riding and each tread design had particular traits that could be exploited for several different situations.
Of the SG2 gravel tires I tried, the Resolute is still my overall favorite here. An all-around performer with no real down side to it. The Byway was a great choice if you have to split your off-pavement riding with a healthy dose of pavement riding. I just wish the casing had more volume here. The Raddler is an aggressive tire, (in this category) and is more a dirt, slop-season tire in my opinion. The knobs do tend to slow this model down on harder surfaces and pavement. Otherwise it has grip and does most things well off-pavement. Again, it is a shame it never really was a 44mm tire.
But overall, these are great options. With the SG2 gravel tires from WTB, a rider now has a great range of tires for a wide range of circumstances. In this, WTB has done well and we as riders benefit. What’s not to like there?
For more on WTB’s SG2 gravel tires, see their web page here; https://www.wtb.com/collections/gravel-gets-tougher
Note: WTB sent over the three models of SG2 gravel tires to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We were not paid nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and reviews throughout.