Wednesday, May 2, 2012

First ride Vee 12...

I finally wore out my last set of old WTB Interwolf 38 tires.  These are among my all-time favorite cross tires for a lot of my rides on my cross bike.  However, they probably would have been a bit overwhelmed by the ride I did at Annadel State Park last Sunday.  There's quite a bit of nice, buff single-track, but there is also plenty of baby head sized rocks littering many of the trails.  It really should be considered a trail system for mountain bikes and that's exactly why I brought my cross bike.  

I outfitted my bike with the Vee Rubber 12 tires the day prior and gave them the ultimate dirt test last Sunday.  How did they fare?  Two big, enthusiastic thumbs up, that's how they fared.  The 1.95" size designation is a bit generous.  The actual measurement is a bit under that.  However, I'm not too picky on the printed size on the sidewall.  They are what they are.  And they fit in my cross frame perfectly.  They really turn my cross bike into a sweet riding, drop-bar mountain bike.  Rigid, of course.  I mounted them up on the cross wheels I've been running since the mid-90s:  Mavic Open CD rims, first generation XTR hubs respaced to 130mm in '95 to fit my cross bike at the time.  Mounting them up, I realized that my rear rim is not long for remaining laced to the hub that has been its mate for 15 years.  The effects of braking have worn some serious concavity into the sidewall and it's due for a replacement.

So, they fit the frame fine, how'd they ride?  Brilliantly.  I ran a bit over 40 psi in the tires - 42, I think.  It seemed like I could have let a bit out, but I did not pinch flat and they had great traction climbing, so I think 42 is a good number for me.  I'm not a big fan of running pressure as low as possible.  I don't like the squirmy feel of super low pressure and if I'm descending a paved section, I don't want the tire peeling off the rim pushing the limits through a corner.  The one area where these tires will probably be a bit sketchy is fast cornering on loose gravel.  That thumb-sized gravel where nothing really seems to work well.  But as long as you are aware of that limitation, you can plan for your cornering speed and keep yourself upright.

Another area where they worked well is on the asphalt road.  They rolled fast and cornered predictably.  There are no tall knobs to squirm on pavement, so they corner almost like a road tire.  The don't have much buzzing or hum and feel very fast on the road.  Pretty darn great all-rounder tire.

Bottom line:  I dig these tires.  They are definitely staying on my bike and I will be rebuilding my wheels with some new rims, maybe some Velocity Dyads or Synergy rims.  

Vee 12
Post ride with no real wear showing.  But then it was only one ride.

Good chainstay clearance with the axle in the forward section of the dropout.

Vee 12
Again, close with the wheel forward, but plenty of clearance.

Open CD
Mid 90s Mavic rims

V Frong
Great clearance up front

It was interesting that out of 5 of us on last Sunday's ride, only one rider used a hydration pack.  Everyone else was on the water bottle.

I also love these Bell Lap handlebars on my cross bike.  The anatomic section just fits my hand perfectly.

Specialized cranks.  On a bike unencumbered with a bunch of monkey motion hardware, you don't need the ultra-low gears found on many bikes today - 24 x 30 low gets it done here.

XTR + Rollamajig
The Avid Rollamajig + XTR derailleur is an outstanding combo.  

The heart of a great wheel

(What's playing:  KWMR The Latin Alternative - great program, check it out)


Jon said...

Thanks for posting on the Vee 12s; I've been curious about them in the 650b size. As a Vee seller, would you have any info on when the 650b Vee will be available, and if you'd carry them?

Guitar Ted said...

Nice write up. I will be checking those out for my gravel grinder. (Understanding cornering limitations, which you called out quite correctly)

Love those old XTR hubs!

Unknown said...

Look like they'd be a great fit on the Peregrine too. For rims, I just got a set of the H+Son TB14's in. Take your Open 4Cd's[double eyelet, welded, machined brake track], make them wider at 24mm outside, and run with it! I'm super impressed with them. Not build yet, but soon to be.

blackmountaincycles said...

I've built up some wheels with those TB14's and have a few pair in stock. They built up really nice. Great looking classic rim.

Jon, I'm not sure what Vee's tire release schedule is, but I think the 650b tires are estimated for a fall release. Vee seems to have introduced too many tires in too many sizes and are busy catching up their production. I'll probably have some in 650b when they are ultimately available.

james said...

Hey Mike,
Would you ever consider running these tire tubeless? Perhaps on a Stan's 355? Of coarse this would be used at lower pressures, less than 40 psi.

blackmountaincycles said...

Tubeless? Honestly, no, it hasn't crossed my mind. I suppose they could.