Review: Vee Tire Co's Super-Sticky Flow Snap WCE Tires

Submitted: May 12, 2019 at 16:35
by Mike Levy  
Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE


Vee Tire Co probably doesn't rank too high on your list of possible rubber to buy when the time comes, if it's even on your list at all, but the Thai company is hoping that'll change with their Flow Snap WCE. Designed as a full-on downhill or enduro race tire, the $74.50 USD WCE is loosely based on their standard Flow Snap but with some big changes to the casing shape and rubber compound. It's still intended to perform in all conditions, though, and the sturdy sidewall protection means that it comes in at a substantial 1,381-grams on my scale.

The Flow Snap WCE can be had in both 27.5 and 29" diameters, but you're out of luck for a few months if you want some high-volume rubber as it's only available in a single 2.35'' width right now. Vee will release a 2.5'' width this summer, though, which makes a lot of sense.



Flow Snap WCE Details

• Intended use: Downhill / enduro
• 'Top 40' 42a compound
• Sidewall protection layer
• 72 TPI casing
• Sizes: 29x2.35'' / 27.5x2.35''
• Weight: 1,381-grams (actual)
• MSRP: $74.50 USD
• More info: www.veetireco.com

Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
The Snap WCE sports all the hot patches, but the most interesting ones is the 'Top 40' in blue and white that references the WCE's soft rubber compound.


Construction

The standard Flow Snap tire and the WCE version reviewed here do look vaguely similar, maybe in the way that everything looks vaguely similar to a Minion, but there are enough differences between the two that I'm surprised they share a first name.

The older tire gets the same cornering lugs all the way around, but the WCE gets an alternating layout that sees an 'L' shaped lug followed by what looks to be what's used on the normal Flow Snap. The idea, Vee Tire says, is to ''give support during the transition from center to side section.'' There are no separate transition lugs per se, but those 'L' shaped blocks reach out to center lugs that look similar on both tires. They're higher and ramped on the WCE, with the latter feature likely intended to compensate for the former. Either way, these won't ever be extra-fast rollers.


Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
See those 'L' shaped legs on the left? Those act as transition lugs, Vee Tire Co says.


The casing is different, too, with the WCE seeing a rounder cross-section that's intended to make the tire more predictable at a range of angles, whereas a squarer shape with more pronounced shoulders can have a bit of an all-or-nothing delivery of traction. All is great, but it sucks when nothing happens when you need it to, so I've always preferred a rounder casing.

The tread pattern and casing shape are new, but the biggest difference between the standard Flow Snap and the WCE model is something that you can't even see: The rubber compound.


Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
The casing profile is round but not as round as some. It measured bang-on 2.3'' wide when on a 25mm wide (internal) rim.


A terrible compound can ruin an otherwise great tire, be it the traction or durability, and the older Flow Snap makes use of some pretty damn gooey 48/52a 'Tackee Compound' that feels as soft and slow rebounding as anything else out there. But the WCE takes it a step further with their 'Top 40' compound that works out to a squishy 42a. That's right around a pencil eraser, by the way, and leads to the obvious question of whether this stuff is going to last more than a few skid-filled laps. We'll see.


Why the heck is Shore A durometer and why does it matter?

It's a way of measuring a material's hardness, usually some type of rubber. Named after Albert Ferdinand Shore, the Shore A scale is the most common way to do it in North America, and it's also what we use for bike tires. The scale runs from 30a to 95a, with lower numbers being softer and vice versa. For some reference, a pencil eraser is somewhere around 40a, while a skateboard wheel can sit between 75a and 100a. There's a Shore D scale with a harder range, and a much softer Shore 00 scale where a gummy bear comes in at 10.

If you want to find out what your own tires are running, a rubber's Shore number is measured by a durometer, which sounds impressive but you can find inexpensive ones for around $30 USD. It works by measuring the depth of an indentation made by a specified force, and all you need to do is press the pin into the rubber until the unit's foot touches down.

As you can imagine, the softer the rubber, the easier it'll be able to conform to the ground and provide traction, but it's not just a matter of going with the softest compound for the most traction. A tire has to last more than a few runs, especially when they cost so much, and a soft rubber compound rolls noticeably slower than a firmer compound, too. There's a lot of science going on here as well, with all sorts of additives being used to create soft compounds that don't tear apart at the sight of some rough granite or, depending on the requirements, to increase reliability and traction. One example is the stock tires on an inexpensive bike; they need to be sturdy because a casual cyclist doesn't want to replace them soon or end up with a flat tire every other ride. We have different needs, of course, which is why our tires don't last all that long. There's also how the rubber rebounds, known as its resilience, but that's a whole other conversation.

While we use the Shore scale to sort out our tires, it's much more important in other industries where the rubber might need to stand up to a very specific kind of abuse. A notable example would be the Challenger shuttle explosion that was put down to a single O-ring that didn't react well to the cooler than expected temps.




Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
The ramped center lugs are there for speed, but I'm not sure how much they matter.


Performance

The WCE's snapped into place onto a few different types of rims quite easily, and I even managed to seat the beads with a normal floor pump. They held air right off the bat, too, as they should. On a set of 25mm wide (internal) DT Swiss EX 1501 rims, they measure in at just a hair over 2.3'' wide, which isn't as meaty as a lot of riders prefer these days. Sure, a lot of the world's best racers are still running tires that width, but a good portion of the general riding public seem to be looking for something in the 2.5'' (or wider) size when it comes to aggressive tires - the Snap WCE looks skinny compared to the likes of Maxxis' WT range.

At 1,381-grams, they aren't exactly light but that isn't exactly the first concern for a downhill or enduro tire, either. That said, a 29'' x 2.5'' Assegai weighs in 40-grams lighter, despite the extra width. Vee Tire Co will need to offer some wider options shortly.

Rolling speed is... Actually, who cares? The Snap WCE feels like it's in the same ballpark as other downhill tires in this metric, which is to say that it feels like your fat bike has a flat tire and diabetes took one of your legs. It's likely a bit quicker than something with taller lugs like a Magic Mary, Shorty, or the like, but it damn well better be. Thankfully, the low marks for keeping momentum is made up in the traction department.


Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
The edges are gone, sure, but the lugs are still where they belong and there are no cracks at their bases.


The Snap WCE tires saw a good mix of conditions, from bone dry and dusty to slick as snot and mucky, and Vee Tire co's all-around designation for their new downhill rubber is spot-on. They seem to clear mud quite well, and while the pattern isn't as open or tall as a true soft-conditions tire, they certainly hold their own against anything else of similar ilk. They're also much, much more predictable when crossing over wet bridges or roots than a soft-conditions tire like a Magic Mary, and I found myself not worrying about "catching the bike" as often as usual when it gets skittery over a section of shiny anacondas.

Braking traction is about par for the course - no better or worse than a Minion DHR II - but I did find myself trusting them in the corners more than anything else I've ridden lately. They deliver an extremely predictable feel at both ends when leaning them over, but seem to really excel when the ground is loose over hardpack. In those conditions, they might be my favorite downhill tire, with all the feedback being very gradual instead of surprising, even when they do let go. There are no surprises going from upright to leaned over, so maybe there's something to those 'L' shaped lugs, and when they do slide, it comes across as more measured than what happens with other tires.


Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
Vee Tire Co. Flow Snap WCE
Longevtity? Nope, that's not what these tires are meant for. This is how they looked after fifteen rides. There's loads of traction, though.


The 2.3'' width and low-volume casing (compared to some other DH tires) do make for a less forgiving ride than a larger option, which is something to keep in mind if you're looking for some big tires to help take the edge off. If you're the type of rider to check your tire pressure before every ride to make sure it's exactly where you want it, and you can notice a difference of a few psi, you'll likely also notice that the smaller volume passes more through to the rider than a larger tire. Expect a larger volume version to hit the market in a few months.

At literally twice the weight of a sporty trail bike tire, the Snap WCE sports plenty of rubber and casing to keep you from having to reach for a plug or tube. I didn't have a single flat while using them, even when I had them as low as 17 psi, and didn't suffer a single burp, either. So, top marks for reliability, but maybe not for longevity... A tire like this isn't designed to last all that long; if you're looking for something to run in the bike park all season, this ain't it. After fifteen rides, the Snap WCE on the rear of my bike is looking a little worse for wear, but there are some details to point out. First, the cornering lugs are all still where they belong, and there isn't even any cracking at their bases. Second, instead of entire lugs checking out or chunks getting ripped off, all of them seem to be wearing evenly, with slightly rounded edges and some loss of lug height. They're not going to last long, but they won't fall apart on you.

The Snap WCE isn't designed to last long - Vee Tire Co chose performance over longevity - but they're also not shedding knobs ala Schwalbe of a few years back.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Flow Snap WCE doesn't have a popular hot patch but it does have the performance - they're reliable and extremely predictable. That said, don't buy them if you're looking for a set of tires to run all season as they're too soft to last. Mike Levy








67 Comments

  • + 94
 The new tire and worn tire images are not the same, lug design is completely different wtf?
  • + 22
 Seems like the L lugs moved to the centre from the edge, perhaps the lugs are so soft they can move around when needed, that really is Magic.
  • + 9
 The worn tyre is the older harder compound Vee Snap! Which is basically a completely different tyre...
  • + 17
 This is the pre production model. They are working to stop this happening at the moment. They will have it perfected by the time they're ready to hit the shelves
  • + 22
 Well, this is awkward...
  • + 6
 @dh1stan: haha classic generic answer, must have overused the reality stone with the 'snap' part of the tyre
  • + 4
 @dh1stan: Not pre-production. Left corner specific.
  • + 5
 Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think the rotated L lugs are the rear tyre. Does it have front/rear specific models?
  • + 3
 @Ktron: Oo good point. ?
  • + 1
 @dh1stan: "Fix it in the shrinkwrap" - Frank Zappa. Although of course, we should eliminate shrinkwrap.
  • + 1
 @Ktron: But in the second picture they show the tire with the L lugs mounted on the front of the bike.
  • + 2
 This is not a review. Just paid for advertising.
  • + 45
 So the side knobs literally changed angle and shape as they wore?
  • + 7
 Is it a bug or a feature? ;-)
  • + 0
 @Stokedonthis: :-D haha
  • - 2
 All I see is upside Pinkbike logos... I need a doctor
  • + 2
 Mike needs to stop drinking when writing up his news articles/posts.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (May 15, 2019 at 2:14) (Below Threshold)
 @in2falling: he doesn't drink... he dips donuts in Jim Beam
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Yes you definitely do, but that's not new Smile
  • + 2
 they got scared they were looking too much like a minion !! hahaha
  • + 11
 'Sure, a lot of the world's best racers are still running tires that width, but a good portion of the general riding public seem to be looking for something in the 2.5'' (or wider) size when it comes to aggressive tires'

Why do the pros not bloody listen when the whole industry and their dog are telling them wider is obviously better?

They could be even more betterer!!!!
  • + 4
 "Wider is better obviously" nope. People are just sheeps.
  • + 4
 @Twowheelsjunkie: I thought Canadian's got sarcasm?
  • + 0
 @dubod22: I thought they got spelling too
  • + 4
 It's funny, I just put an older set of 26mm internal width rims with 2.3 DHR II front and 2.3 Aggressor rear and I swear they are more predictable, feel more maneuverable and have comparable traction versus the 30mm internal rims with 2.5 WT DHF and 2.4 WT DHR II that they replaced
  • + 0
 @mtbgeartech: Cant say anything about 2.3" tyres on narrower rims but 2.5WT is miles better than maxxis 2.3 on 30mm rims
  • + 1
 @zyoungson: I won't disagree with you there. The 2.3s on lighter and narrower rims are pretty damn fun. I'm on a 29er so that extra rotational weight is noticeable.
  • + 13
 Can some company have enough sense of humor and call their new tyre "Dominion"?
  • + 4
 Da Minions.
  • - 5
flag WAKIdesigns (May 15, 2019 at 2:50) (Below Threshold)
 @Boardlife69: or Maxxis should release a new edition of Minion DHF and call it Session.
  • - 3
 Hayes already dropped a brick when calling their brake that. Not sure if I'd want one of my products be associated with that movie in 2019.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: this one is very good
  • + 2
 I rode a Vee on the rear of a bike I had a shot of for a couple of weeks. I was impressed with its hook up, grip and acceleration, even in damp conditions. It certainly doesn't ride like a minion for those thinking it looks like one! Good to see new brands coming onto the market. Tyres wear out, why buy an expensive bike then expect the most important part of the bike to last forever!
  • + 6
 A Vee for 75 bucks ...are you people gone completely bonkers??
  • + 2
 when you can easily find some MagicM, DirtyD, DHF or HR2 with the right compounds for sub 40€ on the interballs. Only way I'd try those Vee Tires are if they were 30€ a tire. Maybe it is time some tire company open their eyes and go direct sales like bike brands.
  • + 3
 On the last two pics, the tires seem to miss the L shaped lugs, guess it's the older version and some how got messed, arrange your desktop Mikey!
  • + 2
 Another Minion DHF copy for more money. No thanks.
Make it $35 and you will sell them.
  • + 2
 Am I the only one that still struggles to accept any enduro/all mountain tyre that is heavier than 1/1.1kg!?
  • + 1
 Yup, I tried flimsy EXO and such few years back when I started Enduro, rapidly started to use the tires of my DH bike, never looked back. And I don't need a pool noodle in my wheels either so it's a win-win
  • + 1
 @Balgaroth: Double Defense/ Super Gravity + good noodle (preferably cushcore or procore) for the rear over full-on DH casing any day. Tyre slamming against spongy noodle vs just air/just rim any day. Damping effect is glorious. Makes you want to stay off the brakes on rough stuff
  • - 1
 As good as this tire looks, the weight is a killer for me. Seems finding a good all around tire under 800 grams is tough. I know this site leans heavily on the enduro/DH side, but there are a lot of us that ride XC, trail type stuff that want lighter tires. I cannot stand the feel of a heavy tire on my bike. Anywho, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
  • + 2
 waswaiting for this review, thanks altough it seems like they reviewed the different proto
  • + 1
 Good looking tire! Heavy but I like the low durometer rating! Only time will tell how the general public likes them. Maxxis and Schwalbe are the two big guns these days
  • + 1
 Still waiting for a GRAPHENE!! tire that weighs grams, is puncture proof and fast rolling, yet super sticky and compliant. It's almost 2020, shouldn't we have this by now?
  • + 1
 Ramped centre knobs.. fast rolling ..... aggressive side knobs, basically looks like a minion. Seems to check all the boxes for an off brand mtb tyre review
  • + 1
 Excellent value if you consider the price per pound. Other than that, not so much.
  • + 1
 The L-shaped knobs are oriented in the wrong direction... so an even worse minion copy.
  • + 1
 My Rocket Ron's I use on the rear even last longer than 15 rides......16 rides to be exact. Don't take my money.
  • + 1
 If the 2.35" version is already at 1.3kg, then how much will the 2.5" variant weigh?
  • + 2
 I too have wondered "Why the heck is Shore A durometer"
  • + 2
 At that price my wallet would snap and all the money would flow away!!!
  • + 0
 looks like same tire to me, outside knob 3rd up from bottom of pic has the exact same pebble stuck in it, so does the knob 2 below that
  • + 1
 Calling your new tires "snap" dont make a whole lot of sense now hahaha, put them on, snap that turn..
  • + 3
 ????????????????????
  • + 2
 oh look another $75 tire that falls apart. PASS.
  • + 2
 $75 tyre for 15 rides and still not a minion...
  • - 2
 @pikebike will you please stop reviewing counterfeit minions unless they’re actually better than minions. Last week we had Hutchisons fake minions and now this. It’s getting past a joke.
  • + 13
 have you even read the review?

"in those conditions, they might be my favorite downhill tire"

So yeah, he basically says they're better than minions for loose over hard Wink
  • - 1
 @ismasan: haha yeah course they are. I think I’ll stick with my maxx grip 2.5 dhf though like everyone else will be.
  • + 1
 I am a V rubber, grinder and pounder
  • + 0
 Looks like the minion dhf's slightly overweight twin
  • + 1
 Dishing fail!
  • + 0
 Looks like a Minion
  • - 2
 Gag me with a spoon! Basically another Minion LoL The price fix going on with tires right now is fucking insane!
  • - 1
 They look familiar
  • + 6
 Yep. Like a Session

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