WTB Venture 650B X 47mm Tires: At The Finish- by Guitar Ted
The road to the end of the “Road Plus” reviews has seemingly been reached here. Well, that is as long as WTB doesn’t introduce yet another Road Plus tire. So it is time to wrap up our thoughts on this fourth entry from WTB in its 650B Road Plus line which seems to be a dirt all-arounder in terms of purpose. You can check out our mid-term thoughts from Guitar Ted here and Grannygear here.
When asked if he wanted to contribute anything beyond his “Checkpoint” post, Grannygear deferred saying that his feeling about the tire had not really changed. It was good on the SoCal dirt, but anything packed hard or on pavement was, in his words, “draggy feeling“.
I would concur with that take, and here is why- The Venture’s central tread pattern is molded to be pretty deep. The thinner “ribs” which make up that central tread portion of the Venture are fairly flexible. It would then stand to reason that on a hard surface, like concrete or asphalt, that those parts of the tread design are flexing and losing the rider some speed. Of course this is merely conjecture, because we have no way to prove that, but I’d be willing to bet we’re not far off the mark there.
This leaves the Venture as more of an all-around dirt and gravel specialist tire. Perhaps the one you might use bike packing, or for those places where smoother dirt roads are the norm. On loose gravel the tire is fine, but those treads in the middle of the Venture are kind of a moot point. There is where the Byway probably makes more sense. But then, that is why we have four Road Plus tires to choose from, in my opinion.
At The Finish: The Venture is a tire that has a lot of grip in demanding situations without resorting to any momentum-sucking knobs for its grippy nature. (See the Sendero) While it shines in various off-pavement scenarios, we found it to be less than inspiring once the route crossed over into paved territory. There the tire felt as if it were taking away somewhat from our efforts.
It has all the same characteristics of the Road Plus line in terms of tubeless performance and ride feel overall. That’s a good thing if you are coming off a Horizon, or a Byway, you’ll know just what to expect there. However; we feel like the entire Road Plus line is a bit “less” than it could be. Chalk it up to both Grannygear and I being old 29″er/650B + fans. But the feeling was always, “What if this tire were a 700c? What if we could have a 50mm version?” It isn’t that the Road Plus line up is bad, especially if this size tire is all your bike could fit, but volume is king, and big wheels roll over stuff better than smaller ones do. UPDATE- 5/28/19: WTB announced today that this tread pattern will indeed be offered in 700 X 40mm and 700 X 50mm sizes.
Personally, I am a fan of the Road Plus tire, and the Venture is a big addition to the line. The size has just enough volume and width to allow it to get away with things, especially in the case of the Horizon and the Venture, that a tire like that has no business getting away with. The Venture is the tire I would put on for something like a week long bike packing adventure using drop bar bikes, or if I lived in a place where dirt roads were the norm. It is a tread pattern with grip and it needs a surface to bite into for it to shine. Otherwise I am a Byway man for the roads here in the Mid-West. But with four solid choices in the Road Plus line, there is sure to be one that fits what you need best.
NOTE: WTB sent over the Venture tires for test and review at no charge to RidingGravel.com. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.