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Finding the right Gravel tire can be a bit tricky. But, WTB has your back by offering a wide range of tires for gravel riding from almost road tires to really skinny XC tires. Our friend, Ryan, just put on some new Venture tires on their bike. See what they think!
Not going to lie, I knew what I was getting into when I purchased a set of the WTB Venture 47's. I first came across them on a stock build gravel bike (Kona Rove ST) and immediately knew they were something special. I had sold that bike and eventually replaced it with another, which came spec'd with WTB's Horizon, the slick version in WTB's 47c family. The Horizon is a great tire, but it's slick and can only do so much good as your road surface starts to loosen up.
So in the world of WTB, the Venture is the second most aggressive gravel tire they produce to date. In order from all-road slick to aggressive mountain bike treads, it's Horizon-Byway-Venture-Sendero. The Horizon is the all-road slick, the Byway is a center-slick with a touch of cornering tread, the Venture is a file tread with a little more aggressive cornering knob, and the Sendero is an all out mtb knobby sized down to a 47.
In my opinion, the Venture is perfect for the rides that are very much mostly gravel but you might be riding a few road miles to leave the pavement behind. It's not going to roll as quickly as the Horizon or Byway's, but you're not going to notice them holding you back on short paved stints either. They aren't noisy at all, they roll well, and the file tread has plenty of grip on all surfaces unless you plan on shredding it on the mountain bike trails.
The only non-WTB tire I can compare this to is the Gravel King SK in 650x48. The Gravel Kings can be had for a bit cheaper and they are a bit more voluminous but, in real-world riding, the extra volume didn't amount to a more supple ride. In-fact, I could run the Ventures at a few extra psi and still road more plush than I could get the SK's to feel. I don't nerd out too much on the casing specs, but that must be where the difference is. They are both great, but in my case the ride quality convinced me to spend a few more bucks on the Ventures.
Mounting these on some WTB i23 Asym rims was a breeze!
Did not have to fight to get the bead on and I used a small compressor/tank to set the bead before adding sealant. I used 3oz of Orange Seal and outside of a few psi I need to add maybe once a week they hold air perfectly. No frustrating slow leaks or anything of that nature.
So if you're on the fence about which 650b gravel tire to go with, definitely consider the WTB Venture or one of the other 47's in WTB's lineup. Horizon is 100% paved. Byway if you're B-roads are a little loose on top in spots, but still in pretty good shape. If you're undecided between the Venture and Sendero, here's my advice. If you're riding very little pavement but still tame enough for vehicular traffic, Venture's are perfect! If you're at the trailhead and wanting to really see how far you can take drop bars, go Sendero!
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