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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ramped center lugs are there for speed, but I'm not sure how much they matter.
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.
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.
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: