With all the gravels going on these days, you’ve got to have the right tires. Tops on that list is versatility. You have to be able to smoothly roll all the roads (pavement, gravel, singletrack). But, above all, you need to have control and confidence everywhere. WTB’s venerable Venture tire tread is just that with their new TCS Light casing that delivers plenty of punch when needed and added suppleness for improved ride feel.
WTB Venture 700c x 40 TCS Light SG2 Gravel Tire Features:
- All-new TCS Light construction
- New 120 tpi casing for improved ride quality
- SG2 Puncture Protection
- Dual DNA compound
- Weight: 550 grams (actual)
- MSRP: $59.95
Super-versatile gravel treads
WTB’s Venture tread pattern is one of my favorites. With a good blend of off-road and gravel traction combined with respectable rolling resistance has these tires among the best I’ve tested. Now, with the new casing, they are a touch more supple and should prove to be more puncture-resistant. Why? WTB has added wall-to-wall SG2 Puncture Protection and is now introducing a 120 tpi casing for a suppler ride. The goal is to also increase sidewall air retention, but that’s been a bit of a miss for me.
I loaded up the WTB Venture SG2 40’s onto a set of Roval Terra CLX wheels without tools, levers or anything. It did take a little TLC to get one of the tires to inflate with the Blackburn Chamber Tubeless Pump, but I got it figured out. At 25mm wide internally, the Venture measured out to 39mm, then stretched out to 41mm after breaking them in. So far, I’ve only tested these tires aboard the 3T Exploro RaceMax and I’ve gotta say, these are the perfect tire for maximum velocity, traction and fun aboard that racy machine.
While I have other sealant options, I typically opt for Bontrager TLR Sealant — mostly because I have it in abundance. It has worked well for road, gravel and MTB applications and I appreciate the blue color for spotting leaks. I initially loaded these up with 3 oz sealant in both tires. They seated up nicely and the bead sealed with a pop. After an initial ride, I noticed some sidewall seepage, which is odd because WTB touts the SG2 as having improved sidewall air retention. Hmmm.
Some tires need a bit of dried sealant inside to prevent air leakage. Was that the case with these? I emailed WTB and they suggested adding more sealant. I added another 2 oz front and rear and hoped for the best. Things improved, but seepage still happened with bubbles and drips showing up after a few days hung up in the garage. I have since removed the tires and will re-install on another wheelset and report any changes in this behavior.
Some seepage aside, the Venture tread pattern may just be my favorite of all WTB’s tires. I have ridden a myriad of their gravel tires and I find the Venture’s to roll smoothly on road while also digging into dirt and gravel. Particularly, the edge grip is phenomenal on singletrack and winding gravel roads. The magic lies in the seemingly-random sizes and shapes of the treads. With small patterns on the shoulders and larger, blockier knobs on the edges. Down the center, the medium blocks are close together for rolling performance. The more I look at the pattern the more impressed I am. It’s a random, calculated bunch of rubber treads and it works (#science).
Was I able to notice the difference between 60 and 120 tpi casings? That’s like splitting hairs, but I will say that these new SG2 tires feel really nice and smooth. I have loved the way these tires respond in rough terrain and felt comfortable on road, gravel and singletrack at 34/36 psi front/rear. I’m sure I could go lower, but that’s my typical pressure and I find it great for these tires and others I commonly ride. I have ridden these through the winter on wet trails and gravel and on into spring with dry, loose conditions. Across that terrain spectrum, the Venture 40’s shine.
- Could be my favorite gravel tread pattern
- SG2 puncture protection saw zero punctures (not even goat heads)
- Supple feel
- Ability to go between terrain without worry
- Quiet on the road
- Still seeing some sealant seepage (improved after 5 oz sealant)
- Can be finicky to inflate
- Likes to grab and flip little pebbles
The Bottom Line: WTB Venture TCS Light SG2 Tires
No question, WTB’s Venture tire tread pattern is a winner. They roll fast and grip like champs when pushed hard in gravel and dirt. And, they ride pretty well on the road. I’m still seeing some sidewall seepage and you may need a compressor to seat them, but once you do, you’ll be rewarded. The updated 120 tpi casing offers improved puncture protection with added suppleness for a smoother ride.
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