BBR Test Pilot Spinner starts off our multi-user review of the Vee Rubber Vee8 fat-bike tire!
In the last few years, you may have noticed that there are a lot more options for fat bike tires. There are so many new fandangled tire options out there that even the Surly Endomorph re-tired… I’m not sure if that’s a pun or not.
Well, one of these new options is the Vee Rubber Vee8. When I first saw the tread pattern of the Vee8, I was intrigued. While big knarly ass lugs like the Bud and Lou are awesome on my snow set Moonlander, those lugs are meant for digging into whatever is underneath you. They are not so much for cruising along on a more hard packed type of terrain. Probably the same reason why a farmer doesn’t drive his tractor straight from the field to the bar and the bank and around town or whatever. I mean you could, and people do back where I come from, but the rubber on that beast ain’t made for this ride. It looked like the Vee8 could be.
When I think of the Vee8s I think of Spiderman and how he is able to climb walls with all those little hook things in his fingers and toes. Pretty cool, yet he also walks around on the streets and looks relatively normal. Anyway, all those small little blocks on the Vee8 (8 to be exact and they cross the tire in a V shape) provide way more traction than you would think in the dirt and the mud, and roll down the street in a comfortably smooth fashion. I half expected to see some issues with sliding laterally when cornering at speed in the dirt, but the tires cornered like they were on rails. Probably has something to do with the 4.0 width of the Vee8.
Overall this is a great mountain bike/commuter tire. It isn’t going to wear down as fast as a knobbier tire when you ride it back an forth to work because the pattern is pretty close knit. And it is actually just a little wider and a little lighter than your standard Larry. I didn’t get much snow time on them so I can’t speak to that yet.
So if you decide to go with a big knobby set of snow tires for the summer and you’re cruising on the trails and using it to commute to work and on pavement and everything else and get to snow season and the tread is worn to 50%, I’m gonna say “You could’ve had a Vee8″.
I had the Vee Rubber Vee8 fat-bike tires for a couple of weeks in mid-March and was able to experience varying conditions on several rides. (You can see some initial specs and “unboxing” impressions in our Vee8 product intro article.)
I first mounted the Vee8 on 70mm Northpaw rims and plugged them into the dropouts on my Tatanka. On the 70mm rim the Vee8 had a nice, rounded tread area with just a slight bulge out from the rim sidewall and had a diameter right in between and Endo and a Larry on the same rim.
I started off with a few late winter rides on Milwaukee River trails that were frozen, or at least partially frozen, with some light snow pack in places. Pretty typical around here in mid-March! The Vee8s rolled fast and had good traction. Add in that the rest of those rides were spent doing some urban assault on asphalt as well as some forays onto the sand at the local Milwaukee beaches and I was immediately impressed with the versatility the Vee8s offer.
At the Fat Bike Birkie I was doing photo recon for fat-bike.com and had the opportunity to ride the Vee8s on the famed Birkie Trail while covering the event. The Birkie trail is MADE for cross country skiing and had about a 2 foot base that had been going through a freeze/thaw cycle typical of northern Wisconsin in late March. The trail consistency was super and the Vee8s gripped very well. I was able to climb the steepest hills with very little slip and the tires gripped on the fast, downhill sweepers with more tenacity than I was expecting and, as you can see from the photo above, the tires shed the snow very well in these conditions.
St Paddy’s Day found the Vee8′s mounted on 47mm Northpaw-S rims on my Schlick APe for a bar-hopping, urban assault ride that covered about 30 miles of asphalt, stairs, gravel, beach and dirt trails. The tires rolled fast on the road and bike paths while the grip on the trails and under-bridge slag and remaining snow was super. I was running about 15psi in the front and 18psi in the rear for this foray. Pumping more air in only seemed to make the tires harder without really adding more speed and with the pot-holed City of Milwaukee streets the cushion the Vee8s offered in the 15psi range was great. Very little respect needed to be paid to the frost heaves, cracks and hollowed out potholes. Especially nice after about the 7th pub stop!
In the middle of my testing stint I lent the Vee8′s to DJ phenom Aristotle Peters to use on his Schlick APe for some jump line impressions while shredding at Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Milwaukee. He reported that the tires were great! They rolled fast, stuck well and railed the berms like they were made for the place. I wish we’d been able to get some photos because this guy can really fly and while this is neither the exact bike or the Vee8s, you can get an idea of the terrain Aris was riding here. Aris even went so far as to say that the Vee8s ought to be the OE tire on the APe for this type of riding! High praise indeed.
Over all the Vee8s felt immeasurable better than the first Vee Rubber tires I rode last year. Those felt like dead tennis balls. Vee Rubber seems to have done their homework and the Vee8s show marked improvement. Add in to the equation an approximately $80 MSRP and I think you will see these on a bunch of fat-bikes near you.
The Vee8 is due stateside sometime in late May/early June, just in time for the Summer fat-bike season and all those great beach, trail and urban rides you’ve been wanting to do!
Finally the Vee8s are on to a new BBR Test Pilot so we will have more long-term info these down the road.