Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vee Rubber...

With all the big tire companies, it finally took a small tire company to produce that tire in what I consider the "magic size" for my cross frames. I really like the Panaracer Fire Cross 45, but on the road, it's a dog. Great off road. Slower than molasses on the road. For several years, I had been hoping for a mid-size tire that would perform well on and off road. I contacted folks at WTB asking about a 700x45 Nanoraptor. I got in touch with Kenda to express my desire for a 700x45 Small Block 8. In both cases, it was all about volume (not the tire's). Not enough OEM demand for such a tire.

Well, either there is now OEM demand or a small upstart decided to take the bull by the horns and make a bunch of tires in the mid-size range. Mid-size in that they are smaller than what might be considered 29" and larger than the typical cross tire. Somehow it doesn't surprise me too much where the tires came from. A while back, Vee Rubber hired Jim Wannamaker away from Kenda. Jim did a lot to put Kenda in the ranks of a premium brand and looks to be doing the same with Vee Rubber.

Vee Rubber will be releasing several new tread pattern in multiple sizes. The sizes I'm interested in are their 700x40, 700x47, and 700x50 (a.k.a. 700x40, 29x1.75, and 29x1.95). I recently picked up the X-C-X 29x1.75 and the "12" 29x1.95 as they were the only models/sizes available at the time. I'm looking forward to giving each one a go sometime next week. For now, here's some photos of the tires mounted on a Salsa Delgado Cross. It's like they were made for the Black Mountain Cycles cross frame.

On the technical side, the actual width was 2-3mm less than the labeled size. Weights are listed as 580g +/-30g for the model 12 29x1.95 and 610g +/- 30g for the 1.75 X-C-X model. That's a 60g swing in weights. A lot, I think. Actual weights were all at the +30g point. Still acceptable to me. Oh, and the price, $45.95 each. Pretty good considering the price of big tires is pretty much north of $50 for most tires these days.


The 1.95 "12" model looks pretty good in back.

The 1.95 "12" has good chainstay clearance with the wheel in the front half of the dropout.

Graphics are a little loud, but when you are branding a product, you want folks to know what it is.

Tread pattern of the 12.

The Vee Rubber X-C-X 29x1.75 (700x47)

Chainstay clearance with the 1.75" X-C-X.

Tread pattern of the X-C-X 1.75

(What's playing: Tin Star Mind Over Mattress)


Guitar Ted said...

I've had my eye on these as well. Thanks for the mounted shots, Mike. How's the clearance with the fork?

The "12" looks a lot like my favorite Bontrager XR-1, which flys on gravel and packed dirt.

blackmountaincycles said...

Good clearance up front too. I'm looking forward to giving both of these a go.

MMcG said...

Those look like winners!! Nice tires!!

Ari said...

Chocolate Chip Granola bars to VEE rubber for coming up with this. The WTB Mutanoraptor in 700x44 is sorely missed and I pleaded with the WTB guys to bring it back with no avail.

blackmountaincycles said...

The WTB 44 Mutano and the 38 Interwolf were a couple of my favorites that are sadly no longer available. I have one each that still have about 30% of their life left.

Velosopher said...

Sorry to be late to this show -- just found your marvelous Web site.

The Vees look great.

I'm an enthusiastic Vaya owner since a year ago. Bike came with Small Block Eights, which I like a lot in 35s, but I like to try out trails, nasty double-track and easy single-track, too. Went searching for 42 mm tires -- Salsa's recommended max size for Vayas -- last week. Wow.... almost NOTHING, beyond anvil-like commuter tires. I finally found the brandy-new Conti CycloXKings in just that size, with a more aggressive tread than those Vees. Now to find a dealer selling them!

Schwalbe Marathon Extreme 42s also looked beautiful... but the price certainly did not.

blackmountaincycles said...

There will be more tires in the 40 and up range coming soon, including Clement. That new Conti tire will be nice. Conti does currently have the Cyclocross Race in a 42 that is readily available. It's only in a steel bead version, but the weight is reasonable.

Velosopher said...

Right you are, and thank you, but I prefer the more aggressive tread on the Kings for a tire that's an "alternative" to my Small Block Eights.