You’d be forgiven for overlooking Vee Tire Co when considering your next tyre purchase. It's not exactly mainstream and well-known in the western cycling community, but it's got an increasing presence in the OEM market and is deadly serious about making a move on the big players.
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Vee Tire Co is in a great position to make this move too. With six factories across three countries, it's a family-run company and is becoming a force to be reckoned with, already supplying an incredible number of OE tyres to the motorbike and motorcar industry.
The owner’s son, Bike Sukanjanapong, heads up the mountain bike portion of the operation, and is a cycling super fan, living and breathing everything mountain bike — as his chosen English name clearly indicates.
Having sponsored the Propain DH World Cup team for the last few years, and a few other select riders such as super-stylish French freerider Vincent Tupin, Vee has been working hard to create a DH and enduro tyre. Enter the Snap WCE.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE tyre information
A quick glance at it and you’ll spot similarities with the fabled Maxxis Minion DHF. Look deeper and there are some slight differences, but with the DHF’s fantastic reputation, which is race proven, emulation is a wise move.
That’s where the similarities end, though. While the DH Minion gets a selection of compounds including a 3C Maxx Grip version that has 70a/40a/42a compounds across the tyre and a Super Tacky 42a compound model, the Snap WCE Top 40 has a 40a (measured) compound across the whole of the tyre’s tread, making it softer than Maxxis’ offering.
Although Vee Tire Co says that the tyre is a 42a compound on its data sheets.
The 42a Top 40 compound extends through 70 percent of the tread’s depth on the side knobs and is then bonded to a 52a compound that provides structural support to the otherwise incredibly soft and malleable tread blocks.
They’re tubeless ready and have an incredibly tough 72TPI casing.
The tyre is available in both 29- and 27.5-inch variants but currently only comes in one 2.35in wide option. It’s recommended that the tyre is mounted on a 30mm internal width rim and should be inflated between 22.5 and 50psi.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE tyre weights, prices and availability
The 29x2.35 tyre has a claimed weight of 1,315g, while the smaller 27.5x2.35 tyre is projected to weigh 1,235g. Both tyres retail for £54.90 / $74.50 / €64.78 and should be available to purchase now.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Tyre ride impressions
If you play with and flex the tyre’s knobs in your hands and fingers it becomes instantly obvious how and why it offers so much grip. The tread is exceptionally pliable and can be twisted, bent and pushed around with ease.
Luckily, this doesn’t translate to a wishy-washy, vague feeling tyre on the trail. Vee Tire Co has managed to strike the extraordinary balance between friction-based grip thanks to the soft compound and a slow damped feel, and carcass rigidity, to stop folding and flex when pushed hard.
I was sceptical about the tyre’s very square-looking profile though. Square profiles can make the transition between grip and losing traction quite sudden.
Once again, Vee Tire Co's incredibly soft compound means the tyre doesn’t suffer from this on-off feeling of traction, instead it has a more predictable transition before the tyre slides. This is thanks to the tyre’s knobs bending over as you lean the bike into turns, thus creating a more rounded profile.
The trails I was riding at Bike Connection in Massa Marittima, Italy were a mixture of hardpack rocky ground and looser, marble-like dirt and smaller rocks that did their best to upset and alter trajectories and line choice.
On this terrain, and to my surprise again, it felt like there was virtually limitless grip. I was able to push the tyre hard around flat turns without fear of over- or understeer, going considerably faster than I would normally have dared.
The slow tread rebound and solid tyre casing produce an impressively well-damped feel that was able to make short work of these marble-like surfaces. This meant the tyres didn’t ping and bounce off rocks, roots and other bits of terrain.
Obviously, this level of grip does come at a price, and in this tyre’s case it wasn’t especially fast-rolling. Although the grip on offer is enough to convince me that this wouldn’t matter too much, it would be interesting to perform roll down tests with harder compound versions to quantify the time losses.
It would also be interesting to discover how long these tyres last, given how soft the compound is, and I'm going to be putting them through their paces on my home trails in the near future, so stay tuned for more.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Tyre early verdict
Crazy levels of grip that inspire confidence and speed on the toughest trail surfaces.