Mitch Codner puts Vee Tire Co's SNAP WCE 2.5" to the test.
Words: Mitch Codner
Vee Tire Co is likely a manufacturer that most haven’t heard of, but chances are you have used a tyre produced by the greater Vee Rubber Group in your time. The Vee Rubber Group has been around since 1977 and has been producing car, truck, motorcycle and bicycle tyres in Thailand for the global market for over 40 years so they know a thing or two about tyre manufacturing.
Vee Tire Co was established in 2013 to focus more effort on developing high performance cycling products. Using their experience in manufacturing and with help from some of the sport’s top athletes, Vee Tire Co have produced a number of products that have won races and performed at the highest level of many cycling disciplines, including mountain biking. Vee Tire Co not only manufacture their own tyres but they also manufacture tyres for many other tyre brands.
I've had the is the Vee Tire Co Snap WCE to test in the 29x2.5” size in what Vee calls their Gravity Core Casing with their Top40 rubber compound. A 72 TPI (threads per inch) construction keeps the casing together, and the tyres have a wallet friendly price of $69.99. The WCE is designed with Downhill and Aggressive Enduro riding in mind.
The Gravity Core ensures these tyres have been built to tackle the harshest conditions without falter. Vee claims this longevity will cost you 1370 grams a tyre and our own test scales confirmed that Vee are fairly close to the money with their production, with only a minor 50g difference over our test tyres. The measured width of the tyre was also within millimetres of the claimed 2.5” width. The weight puts these tyres in line with many other downhill casing tyres on the market however the 72 TPI construction means an overall stiffer construction.
Vee’s Top40 compound is actually a dual compound construction. This means a harder wearing rubber is used at the core of the knob’s construction while a slightly softer compound is used for the top layer to provide greater grip. However the top layer is not so soft that it’s all worn out by the end of your first ride like some other manufacturer's soft compounds. The Top40 compound is more an all-round performance compound which provides good longevity and consistent wear.
While Vee Tire Co may be one of the largest tyre manufactures in Thailand, or the world, not all tyre sizes or options were available at the time of testing. Some may prefer a slightly narrower tyre in the rear and some may prefer a larger option in the front but sadly the WCE is only available in a 2.5” in either 27.5 or 29 in the Gravity Core casing option. I would have loved to see a WCE available in a 2.4” variant or with the lighter Enduro Core casing option for those looking for a slightly lighter weight option for trail riding – 1370g per end is pretty noticeable when you're not just out shuttling.
Mounting and Setup:
Mounting the WCE was uneventful, as it should be at this point in the tubeless game. Vee's mountain bike range of tyres are all Tubeless Ready which makes for easy sealing. The tyres were tight to fit which made for easy inflation but not as tight as other manufacturer's downhill casing options which at times can be a bit laborious to mount.
Setup is where things get a little more interesting. I mounted the WCE 29x2.5” front and rear to my Giant Reign which has 30mm internal width carbon rims fitted with CushCore Pro front and rear. Even when mounted to a wide rim the WCE still maintains a nice round profile without squaring off and impacting tyre performance. This is exactly what you should expect with the current crop of modern tyres designed around wider rims.
Dialling in the right pressure was the real trick with these tyres. Thanks to the Gravity Core casing and the 72 TPI construction Vee has produced a much stiffer tyre than most on the market. What this means is that you can comfortably run anywhere from 2-3psi lower than normal without the risk of damaging your rim, puncturing, or folding a tyre off the rim under heavy cornering. The lower pressure also means you can maintain a reasonable level of compliance through rough, choppy terrain resulting in more grip, less fatigue and potentially greater speeds. For me the pressure sweet spot was 19psi in the front and 21psi in the rear, down from my usual 21psi up front and 23-24psi in the rear.
On The Trail:
Once the set up was all dialled in, it was time to hit the dirt and see what the WCE could do. I tested these tyres on some of the roughest trails south east Queensland has to offer in a variety of conditions and they did not disappoint.
Surprisingly on the ascent to the local test loop the tyres certainly didn’t roll or feel as heavy as the weight would have you believe. While the added mass compared to my usual Enduro tyres was noticeable, the rolling speed wasn’t scientifically slower (based on my timing) and I didn’t feel as though the bike was dramatically heavier. This comes down to two factors. One, the Top 40 compound isn’t as soft as you would expect for a downhill casing tyre and two, the forward ramped centre knobs help to improve efficiency without impacting braking performance. These combined help to counter acted the overall weight, which in turn makes for a tyre which is relatively easy to live and climb with compared to other tyres in this category.
Looking for fresh rubber? Check out our other tyre reviews below.
As we all know, what goes up must come down, and when it comes time to going downhill the WCE really started to shine.
The tall side knobs partnered with a stiff construction made for a tyre that corners with absolute confidence and urges the rider to push harder, rewarding those with the cohones to do so with impressive cornering speed.
The pronounced centre knobs provided both adequate and consistent braking and acceleration traction when entering and exiting turns, and this allowed for heavy braking into corners without loss of confidence in the front end and no issues keeping the power planted during acceleration on the way out.
While the WCE boasts wide spacing for dirt clearance in sloppy conditions, there isn’t a noticeable lack of traction when transferring from centre knob to side knobs during the initial turn in to a corner like some other widely spaced tyres can suffer from.
While the overall grip of the tyre was very impressive the stiff construction did lead to a harsher ride over rough terrain, this left me with slightly less confidence than I would have liked in some scenarios when conditions got really rough. While the lower TPI casing makes for a stiffer construction which improves cornering performance and reliability, it does make the tyre less malleable which doesn’t conform to the trail as well as competitors' 120 TPI tyres.
The Vee Tire Co Snap WCE does exactly what it is designed to do. It is a Downhill and Enduro tyre with impressive levels of grip, a reliable construction and consistent wear. All of this comes at only a small weight penalty and at a very affordable price point, which is a worth consideration given how consumable tyres can be.
While the stiff construction is a downside in certain scenarios, I think the compromise to go with a lower TPI and keep the cost of the tyre down was a wise decision. I would highly recommend these tyres to those looking for an overall impressive tyre at a friendly price point. They will suit riders who race on a budget or those hard charging riders who spend lots of time on their downhill or Enduro bike.
- Low price
- Excellent grip
- Reliable performance
- Limited sizing options
- Too stiff of a tyre at times