About WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes)
“WTB was founded in Marin County, California in 1982, fueled by the need to create durable and reliable mountain bike-specific equipment. Back then mountain biking was a new and burgeoning sport, and mountain bikes weren’t much more than cobbled-together oddities. The original WTB crew was captivated by the experience of riding bikes on dirt trails, and they started creating more durable and functional components for their own bikes. Soon, local frame builders sought to outfit their bikes with WTB’s high-end components. WTB was able to turn our passion for bikes into a successful business.”
A little about 650b Wheels and Tires
WTB is a huge advocate of the smaller wheel size, 650b / x 27.5″, originally made popular on the MTB side of the fence. I don’t know who, but someone figured out shrinking the physical size of a wheel, enabled a tyre with a wider casing to fit into bicycles that ordinarily lacked decent tyre clearance.
Whomever that boffin was (boffin = really smart person), also figured out that a 650b tyre that measures 47mm in width, is about equivalent to a 700c x 28mm tyre, at least in terms of its outer circumference. Very clever eh.
This potentially means, depending on the bike’s chainstay design, an older frame could be reconstituted to fit some seriously wide rubber. Wide tires in the 650b size are a total effin blast to ride on single track, drop bar style, or for some gnarly gravel roads.
WTB Venture Tire
“Among our most versatile drop bar tires, the Venture delivers optimal performance across the widest range of conditions to serve as a truly set-it-and-forget-it gravel tire for riders who demand traction across a wide variety of terrain.”
“Elevated centerline ridges provide consistent working edges that dig in whether hammering up a climb or leaning into a turn. Two rows of outer knobs provide confidence regardless of how hard you’re cornering while also providing substantial sidewall protection”
Whilst this review mentions WTB Venture 700c x 40mm / 50mm in the title, the focus of this review is the 650b x 47mm model. We received the 700c samples after our period of testing had concluded. With that said, you could safely assume the merits of the 650b x 47mm model will apply to those as well.
As at late June of 2019, the WTB Venture is available in 650b x 47mm, 700c x 40mm and 700c x 50mm. Features include:
- The large, high-volume footprint of each Venture tire allows for more working edges of the tread to always be in contact with the terrain.
- Rounded profile with vertical channels to enhance cornering characteristics.
- High volume casing enables comfortable ride.
- Dual Compound Rubber means a fast rolling tire with great corning traction.
Weighing Them Up
The sample WTB Ventures in 650b x 47mm weighed 538 grams and 561 grams respectively.
WTB’s advertised weight on these tyres is 555 grams. ‘Tis always nice receiving a sample tyre that weighs less than the advertised spec, in the case of the sample pictured above.
The 561 gram sample tyre is heavier than spec, but falls below the two percent + / – margin of the bicycle industry’s advertised weight rule.
Mounting the WTB Venture 650b x 47mm Tyre
The WTB Ventures were a doddle to mount to a pair of American Classic’s Wide Lightning 650b wheels. Sadly, American Classic is temporarily out of business?, but the Wide Lightning Wheels are one of my personal go-to wheelsets for 650b fun. The rim is of aluminium construction measuring 29.3mm internally. They are intended as an MTB wheelset and as the name implies, they are W-I-D-E. These WTB Venture tyres are not indicated on their sidewalls as being directional specific, but I mounted them in the direction that seemed logical… the chevron of the centre tread pattern pointing forward.
WTB is not in the business of manufacturing tyre sealant, thus, I rely on Orange Seal’s Endurance Formula Sealant. If you’ve not tried this sealant, give it a whirl, you will not be disappointed.
Inflation to appropriate pressure was a breeze, utilizing Bontrager’s TLR Flash Charger pump to get the job done. The Venture tyres popped easily into the bead of the American Classic Wide Lightning wheelset, and held air. Once the sealant was installed, I followed my usual routine of “shake and bake” for the tyre (shaking back and forth and rotating the wheel completely, to cover inside of the tyre with sealant). Visually, the Venture sidewalls appear as if they could be porous, but that isn’t the case. Hence, no leaking of air or sealant occurred.
If you have questions about ideal tyre pressure, do yourself a favour and check out ENVE’s super helpful tyre pressure chart.
Tubeless Tyre Installation Tips:
Always dry mount a tyre first sans sealant, to ensure it will seat and hold air. That can save making a big mess and losing a bunch of sealant.
If you have trouble mounting a tubeless tyre, these tips may help:
- Remove the valve core and inflate. This process allows a greater volume of air into the tyre and most times, the tyre will pop onto the bead.
- If this doesn’t work, apply something like Sleek Beeswax & Mink Oil Furniture Polish to the sidewall. This product is far better than soap and water and will help seat even the most stubborn of tyres. This product can be purchased from your local furniture store or online.
- Once the dry mount test has been passed, install your favourite sealant and inflate. Don’t forget to keep a fingertip over the valve if you removed the core. This simple step will retain the air you just inflated; if you’re good at juggling, you can quickly re-install the valve core and still keep some air inside the tyre. Then, inflate to the desired pressure.
How do the WTB Ventures 650b x 47mm Tyres measure up?
The Ventures measured a smidge over 47mm mounted to the American Classic Wide Lightning wheelset I mentioned earlier (see the photo below).
In my experience, most gravelly tyres increase in size from manufacturer specification by about two millimeters on a decently wide rim. As for the Ventures, they stayed at around 47.4mm – on the positive, the Ventures are not undersized.
Riding the WTB Venture 650b x 47mm Tyres
Stated earlier, WTB market the Venture as “a truly set-it-and-forget-it gravel tire for riders who demand traction across a wide variety of terrain”. So, I began my testing in my usual manner, by taking this tyre to some reclusive mountain bike trails within my USA hometown of Gainesville, Florida. My MTB skills do not set the world ablaze, in fact, I don’t even own a mountain bike. Thus, I bumble about the woods on a drop bar bike not really suited to playing in the woods… but I digress…
At my level of riding, the WTB Ventures did a nice job. There was plenty of traction in and out of the saddle and going around corners. I wouldn’t say the edge knobs are as confidence inspiring as say a true knobby MTB tyre, but that isn’t the point of this tyre. I wasn’t overly concerned when I had the bike leaned over left or right, and I didn’t go arse over handlebars due to my inept skills. In a straight line on a smooth section of trail, the Ventures are rapido! Most 650b tyres for gravelly use aren’t the lightest of beasts and the WTB Venture is no exception. However, their weight didn’t hamper me having a nice old time rolling around MTB trails.
Above, WTB Venture 650b x 47mm tyres fitted to the Donnelly G//C review bike.
Onto mixed, all-round surfaces such as dirt, gravel and pavement which is what the Venture is designed for, it really shines. Once up to speed, they tick along nicely on pavement of any kind, smooth or rough. And inflated to an appropriate pressure, the ride quality is so so nice. There is nary any howling on blacktop, the tell-tale sound of rolling resistance.
Crossing over to the fun stuff of dirt, gravel and everything else, the speed continues on hardpack dirt and gravel surfaces. Should you encounter a deep pit of despair, meaning mega chunky and loose gravel (think railway ballast) or a sand pit, the wider casing of the 650b x 47mm is really nice. You’ll likely chuckle as you drop your friends riding loose gravel as they’re floundering about on 35mm to 40mm tyres. Cornering traction is bang on superb. With that said, I am not in anyway suggesting you take dirt and gravel corners as if you’re railing a criterium corner, but those little side knobs never let me down. I didn’t slide out, fall over or lose any skin turning left or right. This is a good thing.
Even in muddy spots (unfortunately, I didn’t try these in some known peanut buttery type locations, as the rain stayed away), they performed well. Whilst I don’t have any photos of the tyres caked in mud, because the muddy spots in the photo above were rather underwhelming, the Ventures did well in the non-sticky type mud. Good traction with a minimum of sliding around the place.
I’ve mentioned this in other tyre reviews. The composition of soils and such varies across the planet, so what has worked for me in this review, may not work for you. Bear that in mind, as the WTB Venture is marketed as an all-round tyre, and not a true mud tyre.
If you haven’t figured out yet, the negative of the WTB Venture is its weight. However, in its defense, just about every 650b tyre I have ridden has been porky, which makes no sense at all when you think about it. Shrink the tyre down to 650b / 27.5, widen it a little, and hypothetically you’d expect them to weigh somewhere in the 400 gram range. But, I’m not a tyre designer and there is likely some puncture protection built in there somewhere.
This is another point I’ve mentioned in earlier tyre reviews. Gravel cycling isn’t about rapid accelerations out of corners or brutal attacks (unless you’re trying to beat up on your friends). This more pleasant side of cycling is about getting one’s tyres up to speed, rolling a nice tempo and chugging along. The Venture has that virtue covered. In fact, I received some WTB Venture feedback from some trendsetters who watch the Gravel Cyclist Facebook presence… these are direct quotes of their experiences:
- Tony R – “I used the 650b ventures at the dirty kanza this year and they were fantastic! no punctures great in loose great in hard pack couldn’t recommend them more!”
- Eric C – “The 700x40s were awesome at the Hilly Billy Roubaix. Ridiculous mud sections, steep loose climbs, and deep gravel descents. This may have been my favorite 40c gravel tire yet.” Note from JOM – Hilly Billy Roubaix is ONE OF MY FAVO(U)RITE RACES of all time. Hopefully, I can return in 2020.
- Nic V – “The 700×40’s Ventures performed without fault at this weekends Gritfest“.
- Mark J – “Its an awesome tyre, a real all rounder.”
If the above feedback doesn’t win you over, well…
Finally, I don’t go around poking holes intently into tyres or riding them over broken glass. With that said, I didn’t experience any tyre punctures during the review period… that my sealant would likely have fixed anyway. However, I’m going to assume puncture protection is a good part of the Venture’s construction. Tony R’s comment above is especially telling. No punctures at Dirty Kanza is a nice accomplishment for any tyre.
The WTB Venture 650b x 47mm (now available in 700c x 40mm and 700c x 50mm) truly is an excellent all-rounder tyre.
- Fast on hardpack – Check (tick if you’re Aussie / UK).
- Corners well with confidence – Check.
- Look good – Check – Tan sidewalls add a touch of class to any bike! If Tan sidewalls aren’t for you, WTB offer all of the Ventures in all-black.
- Not a true mud tyre but handles the non-sticky stuff well – Check.
- Wider volume of 47mm casing is nice on a mega chunky / rocky gravel roads or trails.
- Good wear properties – I don’t have 5,000 miles on the samples, but they have held up well for the approximately 800 miles I have recorded on them.
The Venture’s weight is similar to that of other 650b tyres I’ve ridden, but I do wish they were a little lighter. However, once up to speed, they maintain it well, so we can let that slide.
MSRP on the WTB Venture line of tyres is as follows:
- 650b x 47mm – $US 70.95
- 700c x 40mm – $US 59.95
- 700c x 50mm – $US 59.95
The Venture tyre can be had cheaper, depending on where you look. The Amazon links below may be helpful to you.
|WTB Venture 650b x 47mm Tyre|
|Click the Link to BUY from Amazon|
|WTB Venture 700c x 40mm Tyre|
|Click the Link to BUY from Amazon|
|WTB Venture 700c x 50mm Tyre|
|Click the Link to BUY from Amazon|
28 comments on “Review: WTB Venture 650b x 47mm Tire – And 700c x 40mm / 50mm”
How would you say these compare to the Terrene Elwoods? They seem like very similar tires. The Elwoods appear lighter, especially in the “light” version (which I imagine means you’re giving up some durability for sure).
If you could only have 2 sets of tires, 1 in 650b and one in 700c what would they be and why?
Sorry, I’m not going to narrow myself to just two sets of tyres.
Ok so let’s try this approach: I own a gravel bike that came with 700c wheels, I also have a set of 27.5 wheels from my old mountain bike. The review above really has me interested in trying these 650’s on my gravel bike. The hard part is there are SO MANY tires to choose from and it seems like just about every review says that particular tire is great. Being a working father of 2 young children I simply can’t afford to “try out” tires. Would you feel comfortable saying which is your favorite/best option all around tire in both 650 and 700?
Hello again Hans… if I head to a ride or course and I have absolutely no knowledge of what to expect, for 700c, I will ride the Panaracer Gravelking SK, usually in 700c x 35mm or 38mm. For 650b, my goto tyre has been the WTB Resolute. The WTB Venture is a better all-round tyre than the Resolute in my opinion. However, if I got wind where I was riding had rockier than expected gravel and such, I would stick with the Resolute. I really like that knobbier tread pattern for gnarlier conditions, even if it is a few mm narrower. But, if I had absolutely no idea of what to expect and I was running 650b, I’d go with the Venture.
Hopefully this helps!
PS If I’m on a road trip, I usually take two bikes and an extra two pairs of wheels… you could say I’m a preparation nut and don’t like limiting myself to just one choice, hence my earlier, shorter answer.
Thanks so much for all the helpful insight! I’m just getting into gravel. So to get started, while on a budget, I’m just trying to get a really good all around setup to enjoy myself. I’m sure there will be multiple wheel sets and tire configurations added over the years, just not yet.
Thanks so much
Hans, part of my own personal experience says that the frame & fork you’re pairing wheels & tires up to will also have an effect on what you’ll prefer to run in the end. I’m on my second gravel bike frame (Felt Broam) and I can tell you that my own experience is such that I would rather run 650b wheels with 42-50mm wide tires on this frame over 700c (ironically, which is what it comes with), but on my original gravel frame, a Jamis Renegade Exile, I much prefer the handling and feel with 700c wheels shod with 40-45mm wide tires over 650b. The reason lies in the geometry of the two frame & fork combinations…I found the Renegade was very twitchy with 650b wheels and tires, and I could handle the bike much more smoothly with 700c wheels and tires, to the point where I quit on the idea of 650b with that frame, but with the Broam, there’s a huge element of self-steer with 700c wheels shod with wide tires (45mm+), whereas the 650×47 Ventures handle so sweetly with the Broam that I’ll never go back to 700c on this frame, so the best first step is to ride your frame with each wheel & tire setup to see which size handles in your preferred manner before deciding on a final set of wheels and tires. If you like how both sizes feel, then my suggestion is, assuming you ride as wide of a variety of terrain as I do with my gravel bike, is to consider whether or not you plan to ride single track, or if it’s strictly gravel and pavement. Why? Because on rooty/technical single track, you’ll want higher pedal/ground clearance for log-overs and similar maneuvers, so you’ll want to equip your 700c wheels with the knobbier/gnarlier tires, and then the 650b wheels with the faster rolling/slicker tires. Conversely, if you’re not going to be dealing with rocks and roots, then aim for maximum width and float on 650b wheels for gravel and then configure the 700c wheels with the fastest rolling, slickest slicks that make sense. Right now, if I had a frame that handled well with both sizes, I would run one 700c wheelset with the Soma Supple Vitesse 48 slicks that I have set up on a set of Boyd Altamont Lites for pavement and gravel duty, the 650b wheels with Ventures set up for all-around duty and then for the gnarly shredfests I’d run 700c Resolutes. (I actually have such wheelsets currently set up because I just transitioned between frames and haven’t deconfigured some of my wheelsets from Renegade duty yet).
Personal experience is that the Ventures don’t roll significantly slower than the Resolutes, maybe 95% as fast, but that’s not so much because the Ventures are slow as much as the fact that the Resolutes are way faster than a knobby tire has any right to be (seriously!) on pavement. I have only compared 700×42 Resolutes vs 650×47 Ventures, so for all I know, 700×40 Venture is just as fast rolling as 700×42 Resolute, but I don’t know 100% for a fact from my own experience. I am absolutely spoiled by how stupid fast the Soma Supple Vitesse 48 slicks roll (seriously, set to the right pressure they are really, really stupendously supple and fast!) but I also get a feeling (though I’ve yet to puncture on them) that they’re basically paper thin tires, especially the SL one I have on the front that refuses to hold air for more than a week (the EX is fine for air retention). I absolutely can tell you for a fact that Venture and Resolute both blow the WTB Riddler away as far as rolling resistance. If I had to guess, it’s a difference in compounds, and the Riddler cannot come close to Resolute or Venture for speed!
How do these compare to the Byways?
Since the Venture is now also available in 700C, one has to make a decision between the Venture or Riddler. I haven’t tried the Ventures yet, but from what I read out from your review they will shine on very similar terrain. Because of the micro knobs the Riddler might be tick better on uphill sections with loose gravel , but otherwise very similar.
My personal experience is that the Riddler doesn’t roll nearly as fast as the Resolute or Venture on pavement. Riddler also doesn’t grip as well as Resolute in mud and Riddler doesn’t grip as well as Venture on pavement or dry dirt. Dare I say all the perform similarly on actual gravel. Personally, I don’t consider the Riddler to be a particularly good option in WTB’s line up, whereas the Venture and Resolute are absolute standouts in a tire genre that is rapidly filling up.
Just FYI, the Ventures are definitely direction specific (as are the byways). I will admit the marking is subtle, but it is in the black portion of sidewall. On another note, I have been running Venture in front and Byway in the rear and it has been a pretty fun combo.
I figured they were directional as indicated by the chevrons, but my crappy close-up eyesight was unable to find the directional marker haha… thanks!
JOM, does the carcass seem like the same as the Resolute? And just in terms of feel, dunno if you have run GK 48s recently enough to copper but would love to know how they compare in terms mainly of rolling resistance feel….
The 700c x 50mm Venture is listed as 47-622 ETRTO on wtb’s website. I wonder what that means. Any experience whether these are true to size or indeed run small? Would be a smart move if they did, then they might fit the majority of ‘newer’ gravelbikes that are limited to 700 x 45-48-ish
My 700×50 set mounted to WTB i23 rims measure up to 49.8mm wide at the sidewalls inflated to 55psi (installation pressure). And yes, they’re marked 622×47 ETRTO.
Hey JOM, I’m torn between these (in 650b x 47) and the Teravail Rutland tires. I’m thinking the latter would be better for muddy conditions. Have you tried them? Any thoughts?
Hello Biker Chickie… I’m afraid I have absolutely zero miles / kms on the Rutland tyres, nor do I have a set 🙁 Based on their tread pattern, they may do better than the Ventures in mud, and weight seems pretty respectable. Sorry, this isn’t the most helpful reply.
Rutland looks better in mid, but it’s more comparable to Sendero than Venture.
Cannonball is closer to Venture than Rutland is. Sorry, I don’t know which of the two would function better in mid. Sendero or Rutland both would be better for mud or loose-over-hard than Venture or Cannonball.
I meant mud both times I said mid. Typing is hard when you just had your second baby and you’re hardly getting sleep!
Reasons why I have no children, thanks for reminding me Ed 🙂
Great review, i live in Aus and am new the Gravel ridding, having a road and MTB bike i wanted something in the middle and after reading this review iv pulled the trigger on a set of Venture 650b x 47c which seems to be a good all round tyre, thanks ?
How are the WTB Venture 650b x 47 tires? What rim width (internal) do you mount it on, and what is the actual measured tire width?
Fantastic review! How do you think the WTB Venture 650s would do at The Mid South? Riding it for the first time this year, using a Salsa Journeyman 650b. Thx!
You’d have no problems on the Ventures… nothing difficult from my recollection at Mid South, just sticky mud if the rain falls… which can collect depending on the tyre, and potentially ruin your day and bike. Good luck!
Can someone with expertise and real knowledge help me understand something?
I’d very much like to run 650b on my Lynskey Sportive. I’ve been advised that it is not recommended. That’s fine, I guess, but other than ‘geometry’, I am given no other reasoning. The frame handles the 700c x 42 I have on there JUST FINE, not sure why a 650b x 45-50 would suddenly cause some failure or massive difference of performance that makes it so unadvisable.
Thanks and I really appreciate any further information.
Hi Pat, that is strange indeed. The smaller wheels will drop you a smidge lower to the ground but other than that, I don’t see any issue. I say… go for it.
Converting to 650b has two other effects from what JOM mentioned. It lessens your trail and shortens your overall wheelbase which *generally* means the handling will feel “faster” or “twitchier”. Not by a lot (on my first 650b conversion, I believe it was a 2mm trail difference and 3mm wheelbase difference), so how noticeable it will be will depend on the overall geometry of your frame. It may not be a “bad” thing either, depending on the handling characteristics before the conversion.
I’d still go for it (and have on a few bikes).
Thank you so much!
Going for it!
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