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…
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.