Fresh Gravel: WTB Announces 650B “Plus” Road Tire

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WTB Plus Size Road Tire
While it isn’t a new idea, WTB is dubbing the Horizon 650B X 47 tire as “Road Plus”.

Fresh Gravel: WTB Announces 650B “Plus” Road Tire

There was a time when converting steel road bikes to fat, 650B sized wheels and tires was a niche that was a pretty popular thing. The road bikes at the time were steel, had a bit more room in the rear triangle, and the forks had wider clearances at the crown which accommodated these puffy tires with a similar overall diameter to a 700c X 25-28mm tire. Of course, when carbon fiber, skinnier tire trends, and an overall focus on Pro Tour and criterium racing all came into vogue, the ability to retrofit a road frame with bigger 650B rubber was lost. It has been many years since the idea has been bandied about, but WTB has reignited the idea now with their Horizon 650B X 47mm tire. WTB Plus Size Road Tire

The idea works in 2016 because of the recent proliferation of gravel/adventure road bikes which have opened the door, so to speak, for these 650B conversions to be viable once again. This time around though, WTB has banked on its previous success in promoting the 27.5+ mtb tire and wheel combo and are marketing this tire as a “Road Plus” set up. Touting its TCS tubeless capabilities and an opportunity for riders to gain a cushier ride with more traction, WTB is saying this makes your cross bike, gravel rig, or adventure road bike more versatile and capable across a wider variety of terrain and riding styles.

The idea has legs, as it has been something that camper bikes from the 40’s and 50’s during the 20th Century have utilized. More recently, the rando bikes with “low trail geometry” that are custom made have utilized similarly sized tires. So, nothing new about the intended application or conversion opportunities here. What is new is the tubeless compatibility with a matching road rim from WTB and the marketing.

Cannondale Slate bikes are using tires similarly sized, and while WTB states that this is a tire aimed at those wanting to get “plus” sized rubber into their cross, gravel, or road adventure bikes, it has to be wondered if this portends a release of more bikes fitted with tires like this from the get-go. Like the B+ mtb bikes that have come out in the wake of the WTB Trailblazer 2.8″ tire, will we be seeing a “Road Plus” category of bikes emerging from manufacturers in the near future? Maybe, and if so, a wave of groans about how the bike industry is creating niches and components to part us from our money will certainly be heard from all corners of the cycling world. Only thing is, and keep this in mind, it isn’t really a new idea, as has been outlined here.

Note: WTB sent over the images and information used in this post.

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Guitar Ted

Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004, he 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 backroad events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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5 thoughts on “Fresh Gravel: WTB Announces 650B “Plus” Road Tire

  1. Interesting indeed. I’ve been thinking about slapping a light-ish pair of 27.5 XC wheels with Specialized Fast Trak 2.0s or similar to my Kona Rove. With smaller, lighter wheels the rotating mass could be even less than on 700x40c.

    Of course the Fast Trak has a MTB tread that could mean more rolling resistance than the file pattern seen on many gravel tires. Whether it would be noticiable, dunno.

    1. @Timo

      If you ever return to this page and see my question, I’d be interested to hear how you got on with 27.5 tyres in your Rove. Is it an AL, or an ST?

      Thanks

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