The idea is simply to bring supple plus-sized traction and a smoother ride to the roads where the pavement ends. WTB’s new 47mm Horizon tire is the first in a new Road Plus tire standard that aims to wrap fatter road rubber around 650b wheels for a better and more plus ride for mixed surface road riding. With a plus-size tire on a 650b rim it ends up with the essentially the same outside diameter as a bit more typical 700 x 30mm road tire, but with a lot more volume. In essence it is the same train of thought that puts fat 27.5+ tires in frames that also suit 29ers, maintaining overall tire dimensions but with added performance benefits. Roll past the jump with us to take a closer look…

images courtesy of WTB

Road Plus aims to enhance the capabilities of endurance road and gravel bikes, giving riders the ability to comfortably take on even more adventurous rides. As tire construction gets better throughout the industry, it is becoming more feasible to make a large volume tire that doesn’t have to weigh a ton. And WTB tells us that these higher-volume tires also help tune down road noise, and virtually smooth out the vibrations from imperfect dirt and gravel roads.


Since the new Road Plus wheel tire combo maintains the same 700c outside diameter, it will fit in most bikes that can accommodate a more conventional wide road tire. (It only needs a little more chainstay clearance than most recent endurance road tires.) WTB has even already started to build a special compatibility website to list all bikes that can fit the new tire standard, and will be constantly updating it to make it easy to see if it will work for you. They’ve also said that several new bikes will come to market later in the year spec’ed with the tires, like a new Masi Speciale Randonneur coming to dealers in September.

Much like Cannondale did in regular production with their recent outside-the-box Slate gravel bike, now that there are so many more options for alternative sized wheels it wasn’t really necessary to keep growing the wheel+tire combo when you could get all of the added volume benefits with 650b. No sense in turning a bigger overall wheel than needed when you can gain compliance and volume, plus the added traction from low pressures (and tubeless) while keeping the overall tire diameter the same.


The new Horizon 650 x 47c Road Plus TCS tire is light folding road tire designed for asphalt, gravel, and dirt road riding. The dual compound tire gets a smooth centerline tread and stickier herringbone cornering shoulders, plus a welcome tan sidewall that will make any bike look classy. At a claimed 515g it will sell for $68 when it is available to purchase this coming June 2016. TCS means it is tubeless compatible, so you’ll get even more added low-weight, low-rolling resistance, and flat protection benefits dropping the tubes. If for some reason you still aren’t ready to make the leap to road tubeless, WTB will also be offering a lower cost wire-bead version for use with tubes this summer as well. For those sticking with 700c wheels, WTB has new tubeless compatible 30 and 34mm Exposure slicks in the works too, expected to debut in March (see the 30mm version in the size comparison pic above.)

The Horizon will first show up this weekend at NAHBS on some custom bikes from Soulcraft and Hunter Cycles, so we’ll make sure to get a closer look when we arrive in Sacramento.


  1. If only a bike existed to take on mixed road riding and already had high volume. I’m thinking I’ll call it a cross bike or maybe mountain bicycle.

  2. It just looks like an old randonneuring setup that Jan Heine has been preaching about for years. How is this a new thing? More like reintroducing French 1950s trends.

  3. As long as we’re doing trends and not standards, I’m okay with that.

    We’re already bringing 650B/584mm back. Now all stems have to be 0.2mm smaller in diameter.

  4. I run rather large rubber (michelin mud2) on my Crux for road riding which is the same effect except my wheels effective diameter is more like 32-34 inches than 29/700mm. Which isn’t really a big problem, in fact it’s quite nice to have taller wheels.

    It feels extremely smooth, but the aero properties of the tires is so-so.

    Basically, I feel like a good 700mm, tall tire (ie one that wouldnt compromise aero that much, and also have no threads, because the mud2 does..) would be just fine and achieve the same – but the industry will most likely never create one.

    All in all though with that kind of tire on the road, it doesn’t matter how stiff your frame and wheels are (the crux is VERY stiff, which I love), you will not feel the road, even in slightly bad conditions.

    I def. think its the way to go for endurance, tourers, etc. the difference is awesome. Probably not good for pure racing though (its heavier and not as aero even if my perfect tire would exist)

    • Should be fine as long as it’s not a Stan’s rim, or Stan’s licensed design (e.g. Sun Ringle). Those rims are slightly, deliberately oversized to work with the wider tolerances of non-tubeless tires. The only hard & fast rule in tubeless is TCS ≠ Stan’s.

  5. Are there issues running a TCS tubeless tire tubeless on a non-TCS rim?

    I tried a Hutchinson tubeless road tire on a WTB TCS rim and it wouldn’t hold air more than 2 days.

    • You have to make sure to use UST/ETRTO/ISO compatible tires with the same compatibility rims. TCS follows those standards, but many others, like Stans, do not.

      I have used a Hutchinson tubeless road tire on TCS rims with no problems, though…maybe you got a dud?

    • Not at all! TCS means it’s got a more square bead (like a UST tire) designed to seal tighter against the rim and will readily accept sealant. There is no reason why you couldn’t run them on regular rims just fine. It will function just like any other tire.

  6. I like the idea . . I put some 50 mm Cruz tires on 700 c wheels to see if they would fit my GT Avalanche . . They do fit . . but I would prefer a tire made for the 27.5 wheel

  7. i’ve been running super motos and now big one’s for a while on a rigid carbon 29er and it’s the bees knees. chase down the fat guys on TT bikes, get all bmx around town and hit the trails. all on one bike

  8. +1 to what Champ said. The performance benefits of these wider tires are becoming more and more backed up by real world data. Some of his other ideas are well grounded too (lower pressure, fenders for most all bikes, dynamo lighting, etc). If other companies want to get on board, it’s only good for us. Try finding Compass (the Jan Heine house brand) at your local bike shop right now. It’s really tough; you pretty much have to go through his website and hope he has stock on hand. More companies = more penetration = more likely you’ll be able to get your hands on it.

    But Jan Heine can keep his French Re-enactment Bicycles. They’re definitely a taste that I don’t have (although if you like them, by all means, go for it). Give me disc brakes, carbon components, bike packing bags that aren’t those huge square handlebar mounted atrocities, bottom brackets that aren’t square-taper and a host of other modern inventions please.

    • Some of the old stuff exists for good reasons, it’s not all an affectation.

      Front mounted bags are a lot easier to access while riding than frame and seat mounted bags. That counts for a lot when you’re doing a timed brevet event. Not so much an issue if you’re just bike packing or commuting. Also those big box bags are more aerodynamic than saddle mounted bags.

      The square taper SKF bottom brackets Jan sells last a LOT longer than most of the “modern” designs and also don’t creak. Pair them with the Herse crank he sells and it’s still lighter than almost any comparably priced non square taper crank.

      Just because a component is made of carbon doesn’t automatically make it better (or even lighter!) Not for nothing that Shimano stopped making carbon cranksets. Carbon is great for some parts such as handlebars as it allows you to create shapes you can’t create using alloy tubing. Also great for rims, at least on disc equipped bikes. For seat posts and stems it offers little more than insignificant weight savings (and usually offers less strength!) I do think it’s a near perfect frame material though there’s way too much emphasis these days on weight and stiffness rather than comfort and durability, IMO.

      Disc brakes are pretty much there, I’m missing rim brakes less and less. Also don’t miss friction shifting, especially when riding off pavement.

    • I have tried Compass tires (Barlow pass – 700x38c) and the roll really well, but unfortunately Panaracer doesn’t have the compound that other makers seem to possess. The tire has almost no traction in the wet. I have broken the tires loose in corners on a couple occasions, ones that I have ridden hundreds of time at speed on other narrower tires in the rain. The first couple times I passed it off as a one off (perhaps there was some oil on the road), but over and over again I consistently find these tires have less traction.

      It is a shame because I really like the way Compass the roll. I will be interested in trying WTB take on things as I think they have access to better tire compounds.

      Now if only Continental could combine their good tire compounds with some casings that didn’t roll like bricks.

    • This IS just the old 650b. Also, I don’t understand trying to match the 700x30c diameter (nobody I know rides this size anyway). To reduce weight and have lots of air volume, 26″ wheels make a lot more sense. Use whatever wide tire you like. You can make any size frame to use 26, small to large. No need for 650b or 700c for that matter.

    • You changed the weight in this post from 415g to 515g… I was really hoping it was their own website who made the mistake, 415g would have been super sweet! Oh well.

    • I’ve been riding 2 x 27.5 Schwalbe Big Bens on long tours, commuting, “gravel roads” — here in SoCal that often means XC mountain biking. Lighter than Marathons, and they set up tubeless just fine. Great grip, wet or dry, and OK rolling resistance for this size of tire. They are definitely NOT as fast as 25 mm tires on a road bike. But way smoother. And they can be had for a relative pittance.

  9. Last summer I ran a set of old 2.5 hookworms on my spare 70mm fatbike wheels for riding with the family on paved and unpaved trails. What’s that called? I need a niche-label.

  10. Oh yeah, I run the Big Bens on a Co-Motion Siskiyou set up for long-distance touring, really solid steel bike. Love it!

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