WTB continues to push the envelope of new sizes, shapes and styles of tyres with three new tyres aimed at the exploding adventure road bike market.
Keying off the nomenclature of mountain bike treads, the Horizon Road Plus is a 650b tyre so plump that its total diameter equals that of a 700c 30mm tyre.
The 700c Exposure is a tubeless tyre with a slick centre and small knobby shoulders that comes in 30 and 34mm options. And the new Riddler brings low-profile and tightly spaced MTB knobs to the 700c set in 37 and 45mm widths.
The burliest of the three, the Riddler is aimed at riders taking the 700c bike to the dirt, whether for gravel racing or just off-the-pavement adventuring.
“We’ve taken a tried-and-true tread pattern from other riding disciplines and used it to expand what gravel is capable of,” said Evan Smith, WTB’s tyre engineer. “The only issue with this versatile of a tread pattern is that we want to run it on all our bikes. With this in mind, the Riddler 37c was designed with our ’cross bike leaned up against the desk, while the Riddler 45c was dreamed up while exploring gravel roads.”
The WTB Riddler 700c will go on sale in June for $54 (no UK or AU pricing yet, sorry), with a claimed weight of 560g.
Aimed at riders looking to roll on both pavement and gravel, the Exposure is a tubeless tyre with a fast-rolling centre hedged by filed-tread shoulders for better cornering grip when off the asphalt.
It will come in two widths, with claimed weights of 345g (30mm) and 370g (34mm), and will sell for $79
Horizon Road Plus
The biggest outlier of the trio, the Horizon Road Plus is a 650b tyre with a whopping 47mm casing. BikeRadar showed you this tyre in a gallery from our coverage of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS.) This huge casing means the tyre’s overall diameter is the same as a 700c road tyre in a 30mm width.
As the ‘plus’ name indicates, the logic with this road adventure tyre is the same as a 27.5+ system, where an oversized 27.5in/650b tyre comes out to the same height and diameter as a standard 29in mountain bike tyre.
This raises the question, of course, as to who exactly has a road bike with 650b wheels — or a frame that can handle such a wide tyre. WTB has a list of compatible frames, mostly from small builders, and says more are in the works. Kellen LeBlanc, product manager for Masi Bicycles, said the upcoming Masi Speciale Randonneur, for example, will be equipped to take Road Plus this September.
The Cannondale Slate has 650 x 42mm own-brand tyresmade by Panaracer.
“The key to Road Plus is its versatility,” said Will Ritchie, WTB’s drop bar category manager. “It furthers what’s great about current endurance road bikes – more compliance, less road noise and abuse on the body – and expands on this without having to push a bigger overall wheel than necessary.”
The WTB Horizon Road Plus tyre has a claimed weight of 515g and will sell for $67 beginning in June.