With the growing popularity of the adventure bike category, innovative solutions to common problems are popping up all over the place. One of these innovations is actually an old idea with a fresh twist; 650b wheel sizing with high-volume tires, mounted on standard road frames. WTB is at the forefront of this movement with their Horizon tire and KOM 650b TCS rim.
The Horizon Road Plus tire brings supple plus-size traction and smooth riding characteristics beyond where the pavement ends. A smooth centerline and all-weather herringbone pattern with cornering channels make anything possible, just like the size. High-volume road provides deceivingly svelte performance on pavement, with resiliency that isn’t shaken by chasing confidants down dusty dirt roads.
By decreasing rim size from 700c to 650b, manufacturers can fit more forgiving high-volume tires onto wheels that will fit most conventional road or touring frames. Road Plus retains the same geometry as existing endurance road bikes but adds a high volume, tubeless 650b wheel and tire in place of a 700c. With the 650b x 47c Horizon Plus having the same overall diameter as a 700 x 28c tire, it only requires a little more chainstay clearance than a traditional road tire.
The benefits to a plus tire have already been tested in the mountain bike world, where a popular trend is to run plus-sized 650b wheels in 29″ wheel frames. The overall geometry stays almost identical, but with a comfier, grippier, faster rolling ride and better floatation on loose surfaces. As air volume increases you can run lower pressures for increased comfort and traction without significantly changing rolling characteristics.
Putting this new technology to work is Masi, with their new adventure bike, the Randonneur 650B. The Randonneur represents a complete 650b solution to anyone wanting to dip their toe into the emerging road plus world without having to go down the laborious custom build route (or having to empty your bank account). So far it’s has received stellar reviews from bicycling.com and roadbikereview.com.
Reborn for 2017, the Speciale Randonneur rolls efficiently over rough back country roads or down your local trail, providing a truly rewarding cycling experience. The fully double butted chromoly frame and fork is both lightweight and strong. Front and rear fenders fitted as standard, and numerous additional rack and bottle mounts combine to deliver a formidable package for the adventure rider.
• Double-butted chromoly disc frame w/ rack & fender mounts, 3 bottle mounting locations & integrated seat clamp
• Full chromoly Masi Uni-Crown curved blade fork
• Shimano Tiagra crankset, 10-spd shifters and derailleurs
• New Brev. M 12-degree flare alloy drop bar
• WTB Horizon 650b x 47c ‘Road Plus’ tires mounted to Brev. M tubeless compatible disc rims
If you’ve been looking for a more comfortable or resilient ride from your road bike, or want to try out adventure riding, we recommend checking the road plus system. Head to your local Live to Play Sports dealer to find out if these wheels will fit on your bike!