At A Glance
I've enjoyed watching the gradual rise of VEE Tire Co as they have slowly manoeuvred themselves into the mountain bike world with some quality tyres. Battling the big brands is tough, and the tyre market is dominated by just a few names and a huge heap of brand loyalty from consumers. VEE Tire Co is not a new company and has had a range of tyres for some time, but only the last couple of years have they attacked the aggressive mountain bike category.Buy Tyres on
I was initially impressed by their robust 'plus' tyres a couple of years back as they had sidewalls that could take some abuse, something of a rarity in the first wave of plus-sized rubber. The tyre in question here emerged last year as the Flow Snap, and I ran the 2.35 version to good effect. This year, production has ramped up and the 2.6 versions were delivered; I was keen to try the high volume version.
VEE Tire Co call it a plus tyre, but I would disagree, given they will fit modern 'standard' frames without too much fuss. The 2.35 is available in 27.5 and 29er, with options of Enduro Core and Gravity Core casings. The 2.6 comes only in 2 ply synthesis sidewall to keep weight down and costs £58 GBP, which makes it pretty competitive.
They use a 72TPI casing and the compound is a mix of 42a and 52a for a harder wearing centre line.
On The Trail
These days tubeless is pretty easy with the right tyre and rim. The Flow Snaps mounted up fine on a variety of rims with only a track pump and very little fuss. The shape is best on a 30mm plus width rim, anything narrower gives a bulging profile and could make the tyre unstable.
They are a non-specific front/rear tyre, so they do aim to be an all-rounder. Up front, the tyre gives good psychological confidence, with big shoulder knobs and a wide profile which screams grip. The soft compound adds to this confidence, but does add a little drag to the rear wheel, and I did notice this on long, easy climbs. On more technical climbing, obviously, the added grip was appreciated and the large volume offers plenty of traction. The centre line of the tyre is reasonably closely spaced so this does aid rolling resistance yet doesn't offer as much mechanical grip from the lugs as a spike tyre.
It is the mix of spike sides and all-rounder middle that give the sweet spot for the Flow Snap. In descent the front allows corners to be carved with confidence and the shoulder dig into most surfaces with ease. Having had a summer of everything from dust to mud, I haven't felt the need to swap the front tyre. Out back, I've gone to a semi-slick in the dry, but that's been the only time I've swapped it out for the conditions. A semi-slick Flow Snap would be cool!
Dropping down wet, muddy rooty trails, the central line of tread reminds you that it is not a full spike, and brake dragging down steep terrain doesn't have a huge effect. You can't throw the anchor out the back like you can with a mud tyre, but then this is an all-rounder.
Cornering is a pleasurable and predictable experience and although the larger volume takes a little adjustment the grip is there in spades. Unlike the 'plus' tyres of 2.8 or 3 inch, the volume is sufficient without getting 'wallowy' or unpredictable. This is in part to the Enduro Core sidewall which helps prop up the tyre at low pressures.
Talking of sidewalls, I've not managed to split them at all, which is pretty surprising for a perennial tyre destroyer. I would suggest they rest in the reliability zone along with Super Gravity (Schwalbe) and Double Down (Maxxis).
Weighing in around the 1000g mark, they aren't a lightweight option, but the blend of traction, comfort and reliability is excellent. I wouldn't call it a plus tyre, as it fits in plenty of modern frames and easily in any Boost fork and allows riders to experiment with a bigger size easily.
A great all-rounder from VEE, a tyre truly capable of performing all year, on all surfaces. 2.6 is a winning size and gives great grip and comfort without sacrificing 'feel', or compromising sidewall strength. The cost is competitive and VEE Tire Co is certainly worth considering alongside the 'big' players.
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.