Linking on-road efficiency with off-road grip in dry conditions, it’s been easy to see why the WTB Byway is a popular choice for riders who predominantly ride rougher roads and light gravel.
Optimised for hardpack, roads and gravel in dry conditions, the WTB Byway features a smooth central line flanked by low-profile diamond-shaped knobs in addition to a more pronounced regular tread on the tyre’s shoulders.
These SG2 tyres feature WTB’s new Nylon insert, which offers greater puncture protection, reaching from bead to bead, as well as the increased thread count of 120 TPI compared to the standard 60 TPI. This comes at a 50g weight penalty per tyre.
WTB Byway SG2 performance
Although tubeless setup was straightforward, the Byways did need reinflating a few times before they were totally happy.
At first, the tyres measured up very narrow at 36.7mm on 23mm internal diameter rims, but after a few rides, they widened to 38mm. That’s still a few millimetres shy of the claimed 40mm, which can make a noticeable difference on the ride.
Given that the Byway tread is predominantly pretty slick, these offer a surprising level of grip in dry and tacky conditions, over hardpack, gravel, roots and rocks.
They did come unstuck a little on steep, loose descents, though, where I would have liked a little more tread for greater control.
As they come up narrow, I was cautious with the tyre pressures (I’ve had a tyre snakebite on a rocky descent of this width before), so the ride felt pretty harsh.
If you have the frame clearance, I’d recommend the 44mm width or even the 650b×47mm option so you can play around more with lowering the tyre pressures.
Touted as a tyre for dry conditions, I can’t be too harsh about the Byway’s performance in the wet, but it certainly isn’t one for year-round riding. Try turning at speed in the slop and you’re likely to wash out.
On the road, the Byway is a dream: nippy and confident in the corners.
The combined Nylon insert and 120 TPI puncture protection of this SG2 tyre worked effectively to prevent any punctures. Especially handy in hedge-cutting season!
WTB Byway SG2 bottom line
If you enjoy riding predominantly on tarmac and rougher roads with a few light gravel or hardpack dirt sections thrown in, the Byway SG2 is a great option, though I’d opt for a wider tyre to run them at lower pressures.
How we tested
Tyre choice has a fundamental impact on how your gravel bike rides, so we put seven of the latest and best-selling gravel tyres to the test to find out which offers the best grip, speed and puncture protection over the rough stuff.
Keeping things consistent, all of the testing was done on the same bike – a steel, custom-built Mercredi – and on the same wheelset, WTB’s new carbon CZR i23 gravel wheelset featuring 23mm internal rim widths.
The criteria for selecting the tyres to test was a wheel size of 700c and a tyre width between 38mm and 45mm.
Tyres were set up using a track pump and Schwalbe Tire Booster, before heading out onto a local testing loop as well as various gravel races and events.
The local testing loop around Bristol included a real mix of terrain, from gravel tracks to hardpack dirt, grassy banks, rooty singletrack and tarmac, and each set of tyres was tested in wet and dry conditions.
For more tyre recommendations, check out our list of the best gravel bike tyres tried and tested by the BikeRadar team.
Also on test
- Michelin Power Gravel
- Panaracer GravelKing SK TLC
- Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M
- Teravail Cannonball Light and Supple
- Vittoria Terreno Dry TLR
- WTB Riddler SG2
|Price||AUD $90.00EUR €60.00GBP £55.00USD $77.00|
|Weight||470g (700c x 40mm) – actual - 463g claimed|
|Features||Available sizes: 700c x 34, 40, 44mm and 650b x 47mm
Colours: Black or tan sidewall options, black only for SG2 variant
Tyres: Tubeless compatible
|Puncture protection||SG2 bead to bead Nylon insert|