WTB is set to unveil a new 650b endurance road/gravel tire dubbed the Horizon 650x47c Road Plus TCS [tubeless compatible system]. The new rubber will make its official coming out on bikes from Hunter and Soulcraft at the upcoming North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento, California. WTB says the Horizon tire measures the same overall diameter as a 700x30mm road tire. This builds upon the same school of thought as WTB’s 27.5+ system, where an oversized 27.5” tire equates to the same height and diameter as a traditional 29” mountain bike tire.
WTB Horizon 650x47c Road Plus TCS tires feature WTB’s lightweight casing and dual DNA rubber compound with pre-production sample weights of 515g. The Horizon 650x47c Road Plus TCS tire will retail for $68 with a projected availability of June 2016.
“At the same overall diameter as current endurance road bikes, the geometry remains unchanged. Bottom bracket height, axle to crown, relative angles, all stay the same,” explained Chris Feucht, WTB new product development manager. “Only additional chainstay clearance may be needed, though a lot of existing bikes on the market already clear this size.”
WTB has compiled a list of currently compatible frames, which can be viewed here. Additionally, several bicycle brands have models arriving this fall that will accommodate WTB’s new tires. Kellen LeBlanc, product manager for Masi Bicycles, commented on the upcoming Masi Speciale Randonneur, available to dealers starting in September 2016. “The Speciale Randonneur is a sport touring bicycle designed for long hauls at speed while still retaining a comfortable ride,” said LeBlanc. “It’s designed to be loaded with weight on the front fork while also boasting a superb ride quality. Like traditional randonneuring bicycles, 650b tires are a must, which is why we have chosen WTB Horizon Road Plus TCS tires.”
One name conspicuously absent from that list is the recently launched Cannondale Slate, which is also outfitted with 650b wheels/tires. “The product manager at Cannondale was worried it might be too tight, said Clayton Wangbichler, WTB public relations and content editor. “So, it would probably fit but not be compatible since they need 6mm of clearance all the way around a tire.”
Conversely, Brodie Bikes, Miele, and Rawland will all be supporting the new WTB size, and while Masi has opted for enhanced gear carrying and compliance benefits, others are aiming for ultra-light mixed-terrain usage as seen through 3T’s new low spoke count and wide carbon fiber wheels optimized for Road Plus. The 3T Discus Plus wheels will be offered in LTD, Team, and Pro versions with the Team model arriving with preinstalled Horizon 650x47c Road Plus TCS tires.
“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 less abuse on the body – and expands on this without having to push a bigger overall wheel than necessary. Our TCS version of the Horizon 650x47c Road Plus tire really takes advantage of this extra volume, allowing for a smoother ride on the road, a larger contact patch and lower pressure for taking things into dirt, and a more stable ride while touring or carrying extra weight.”
For more information visit www.wtb.com.