While WTB’s Byway 47’s may not be the original gravel tire, in my mind, nothing says gravel tire like the tan sidewalls of WTB’s 650b rubber. That iconic look accompanies the reliability and versatility that WTB tires are known for and the Byway 47’s are a chip off the old block.
WTB Byway 47 Tubeless Road Plus Tires Features:
- 650b x 47mm only
- Dual-compound rubber
- Tread pattern rolls fast, but grips rugged terrain
- TCS for easy tubeless
- Best for: pavement, gravel, hardpack, dirt
- Weight: 535 grams (stated)
- MSRP: $70.95
Are you gonna go Byway?
Perhaps WTB can get Lenny Kravitz to sing the Byway theme song, but they don’t really need that kind of celebrity firepower to sell these tires. The WTB Byway 47 road plus tires are versatile and fun — no matter where you ride them. Mounted up with a set of Zipp 303 Firecrest 650b wheels, the Byway’s seat up in a jiffy and maintain their air pressure quite well on the 21mm internal width of these tubeless-ready rims.
No way would you ever want to ride these with tubes (unless it’s an emergency situation, mid-ride), so thankfully, these are “tubeless easy.”
Running tubeless, I’ve been satisfied with tire pressures in the 35-40 psi range for my 170 lb. weight. I’ve varied things up depending on the terrain — from Utah granite gravel to Minnesota brown dirt gravel and everything in-between. Of course, the lower pressures yield improved traction and comfort on the roughest terrain, so vary it up based on your conditions. Too much pressure and they feel bouncy, too little and they feel sluggish. Just fiddle around with it and find your sweet spot.
On Colorado’s famous gravel roads, I was able to ride a little higher pressures because they are typically so smooth (~40 psi). However, keep an eye out for the loose pebbles atop these smooth roads because the fast-rolling center of the Byway 47’s will let loose on hard corners, acceleration and braking. On the gravel roads in Minnesota, I was able to ride a lower pressures ~35-38 psi. for a proper balance between long gravel sections and endless rolling pavement. Really, you just need to fiddle with it to find the sweet spot. And, as other testers will say, you may even prefer lower pressures than I’ve been riding.
The mix of smooth center and angled file tread, followed by diamond file pattern and large knobs on the sounders has proven to be an outstanding mixture of traction and smoothness everywhere. I’ve really appreciated the extra width of the WTB Byway 47’s on several occasions where I got off the singletrack or into loose sand. Every time, the tires kept me aloft and allowed me to return to the trail or out of the sand pit unscathed.
With tires of this size, you can’t escape crosswinds. You’ll get blown around in a stiff wind, but you already knew that. Yup, it happens. And, with all that extra girth, handling is a little bit sluggish compared to the fastest road tires, but you knew that too. Expect excellent cornering and overall handling, but don’t expect these to handle like your favorite pair of 25mm road tires.
In my roll-to-stop testing, these do yield just a bit to the fastest road tires, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised just how fast-rolling these are on long pavement sections. Honestly, you don’t even think about them as being a detriment because the ride is so darn smooth and fast.
- Easy tubeless setup
- Rolls fast and smooth on pavement
- Extra traction when things get dicey
- Love the tan sidewalls
- Have proven solid on mixed terrain
- All big tires like these will catch crosswinds
- A little understeer due to the added girth
The Bottom Line: WTB Byway 47
Iconic. Versatile. Reliable. The WTB Byway 47’s have been a fantastic companion as I’ve ventured into the road plus realm of gravel tires. Aboard the Open UPPER with Zipp 303’s, the Byway 47’s have performed amazing on everything from singletrack to rough gravel, open road and bike paths. They don’t yield as much as I thought they would to proper road tires and they deliver aplenty on all types of gravel roads.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com