Review: The Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Has Predictable Handling & Loads of Grip

Apr 13, 2021
by Dan Roberts  
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot


While Vee Tire Co is still a relative newcomer to the mountain bike world, the company has been in operation since 1977. They starting with developing rubber compounds and then moved to making moto tires before entering the bicycle tire market in 2013.

Vee Tire partnered up with Propain Factory Racing during the 2018 World Cup Downhill season to develop a versatile tire specifically for gravity riding. The Snap WCE is what emerged and was the lead tire in the company's gravity offerings for quite a while.

It's been available in a 2.35" width for a little while now, but the recent addition is the wider 2.5" version to both the 29" and 27.5" diameters.

Snap WCE Details

Wheel Sizes: 27.5" & 29"
Width: 2.35" (59.7mm) or 2.5" (63.5mm)
Casings: Gravity Core
Compound: Top40
Bead: Folding
Recommended Rim Widths: 25 - 30mm (inner width)
Weight: 1,250g to 1,360g (claimed) depending on size
Price: $74 - $76 USD
More info: Vee Tire Co


Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The Snap WCE is available in only the Gravity Core casing option aftermarket. Some bikes can come specced with the lighter Synthesis casing.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Top40 is the softest compound available and leverages their knowledge in developing compounds for drag racers of all things.

Design & Construction

The Snap WCE, was initially being pushed as a full-on gravity tire, and came with their DH Core casing. But after testing Vee found that the lighter Gravity Core casing offered enough protection against punctures, and as such, the Snap WCE is only available in the Gravity Core casing option aftermarket. Some bikes, however, might come specced out of the box with the Synthesis casing option that drops the weight by up to 240g per tire, depending on size.

There's only one compound available aftermarket too. The Top40 is their softest compound available and is designed to deliver slow rebound properties in a bid to maintain grip over roots, rocks and in the wet. The softer compound extends through around 70% of the side knob tread depth where it is then bonded to a firmer 52a compound that provides a more solid foundation. Found on OEM versions of the Snap WCE, like that Synthesis casing, the Tackee Compound uses a mix of 49 and 52 shore rubber.

All Snap WCE models are tubeless ready and have recommended pressures between 22.5 and 50 psi. I'm not sure many gravity riders need 50psi but it's nice to see a manufacturer quoting recommendations closer to real world pressures, even if many riders would likely dip below 22.5psi.

Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The threads of the casing are somewhat visible through the rubber but never frayed or deteriorated during testing.
Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
Large, sharp edged blocks sit in the outer row, alternated with L-shaped blocks.

Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The wider spaced centre blocks have a pronounced ramp to them and a smaller sipe, while the more narrowly spaced blocks take more of a tapered shape and add in horizontal sipes.

When pumped up to 25psi on a 30mm inner width rim, we measured a tire width of 68mm, which is 4.5mm wider than what Vee quotes. For reference, a 2.35” Schwalbe Magic Mary measures in at 61mm and a 2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF measures up a couple of millimetres wider at 63mm. So the wider 2.5" Snap WCEs are quite a bit wider than two of the most common DH tires on the market.

The tread pattern uses a squarer outer block design, with alternating big rectangles to slightly smaller L-shaped blocks that edge slightly further into the first channel, both having a central vertical sipe along them. There's no chamfers on the outermost edges, like the Snap Trail version of the tire, instead it's a sharp edge around all the outer blocks.

The centre knobs follow the alternating theme but go from wider spaced, more angled rectangles to narrower spaced trapezoids. Again, there are sipes in the blocks but they now alternate between more vertical on the wider-spaced knobs, although for only half the block length, and a full horizontal sipe for the tighter positioned ones. There’s a leading-edge ramp on both types of centre knobs while the wider-spaced central knobs have an extra ramp built in as you move through the block. The thread pattern is quite widely spaced.

Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot
The Snap WCE measures up 4.5mm wider at 68mm than its claimed size of 2.5" or 63.5mm.

Tire fitting was a doddle and can be done by hand on most rims with a couple of tire levers. I had the tires fitted first to some Hunt carbon fibre rims, which did need a bit of a redder face to get them on over the rim. Later I swapped to some DT Swiss EX 1700 wheels and fitting was easier. Both wheelsets, though, only required a few gentle pushes on a high-volume track pump to get the tires seated. I ran the same tire front and back and had the tires set up tubeless at 22psi front and 25psi rear with no inserts.

The Snap WCEs weigh in at 1350g for the 29" x 2.5" and 1250g for the 27.5" x 2.5". Interestingly the claimed weights for the 2.35" wide versions are actually a bit heavier than the 2.5" wide versions, 10g - 50g. This is down to the narrower tires using a longer tread block and so having more material on the tire.


Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

Performance

Out of the bike park season in the Alps there is still a lot of riding on offer and the Snap WCEs were tested quite extensively in the steep forests of the Vaud region in Switzerland and the more shaped and hardpack trails around the city of Thun.

Lots of the autumn and winter riding spots require a bit of an effort to get to the start of the trails from the top of the lift up, many of these being a roll or pedal on a tarmac road to access the trailhead. While it's not a race to get to the start it's nice to just roll and enjoy the views, but with the Snap WCEs it took noticeably more effort to keep them rolling at the same speed as friends on other gravity tires from the likes of Schwalbe and Maxxis, even full-on mud tires in some cases. Changing bikes confirmed that the Snaps do roll quite slow. Swapping to a Schwalbe Magic Mary in Ultra Soft compound there is a bunch less rolling resistance and required a lot less pedalling to keep the tires rolling compared to the Snap WCE.

Once the terrain changes from tarmac to fire roads or trail traverses and climbs the added resistance is still noticeable, but so too now is the grip of the tires, which offsets some of the woes of the slow rolling. There's a nice bunch of bite in the soft ground and grip is there while climbing over rocks and roots both in smooth seated climbing portions of trail and more pulsing out of the saddle pitches.

On the downhill side of the trails, and on the rockier sections of trail where you want to stay off the brakes to maintain speed but have to let the bike dance underneath you, the control was really good and the tires definitely pinged less of every small rock and root that was trying to fire you off the trail. Adding the brakes to the equation didn't result in any sudden changes in character and allowed you to scrub bits of speed while still not being pinged around.

Really leaning the tires over and in flat corners leads to some impressive grip and feedback. At some point all tires will lose grip and once they do it's in that zone before you're on the floor that a tire's feedback is really important. Properly leaned over, which is what most 29er bikes need and can achieve, the Snap WCEs have a wonderful transition from grip to sliding that is nice and palpable and is the standout performance characteristic for these tires.

Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

That zone feels pretty big and allows you to lean without worry and even play around with the available grip in that sliding zone. Entry speed and lean angle can be messed around with, safe in the knowledge that you'll know when the tires will go and that if it all goes pear shaped, you'll at least have some time to respond by deploying an anchor. Not once in all the riding did the tires give a sudden surprise in their character, be it firing off at a weird angle from heavy loading or a snap (ha) loss of grip. That can lead to some pretty interesting personal challenges with just how much you can lean or how late you can leave the braking.

This character also transitions into the wet, when the off-camber sections of trail require some aggression rather than passengering to get the most out of. For sure, there's less grip than in the dry and you can feel the tires sliding around in the slime or greasy roots and rocks, but there's still a good amount of feedback, control and composure that helps you lift your eyeline and try and imagine that it's dry.

Compared to the likes of a Schwalbe Magic Mary, which I had on a number of other bikes while I was testing the Snap WCEs, there is a touch more mechanical bite from the Schwalbes as the knobs seem to get more anchored into the soft dirt. On hardpack ground the Snap WCE is as grippy and predictable as the Magic Mary, both upright and leant over, but the Snap does have a touch less wander to it with its larger flatter tread design. And compared to the DH casing Schwalbes, the Snaps are only around 20g lighter. Although tire weight seems to vary quite a lot, in and out of the specified tolerances.

In the mud the Snap doesn't clog up to the point of making it a slick tire and sheds the dirt relatively easy and even at quite low speeds. Even in some really thick bits of mud that have clogged some other tires in the past, and then caused absolutely zero grip, the Snaps never really had that problem and kept the knobs out there ready to work.

Vee Tire Co Snap WCE Photo Kifcat Shaperideshoot

Braking on the Snap WCE is a nice affair, with the feeling that the braking edges are working and digging into the ground when the bike is upright, and carries over when you also lean the bike. You can for sure get the tires skidding with hard braking, but once again there's a nice transitional window that's predictable and something you can easily feel and play with.

When temperatures drop then even the crazy soft Top40 compound stiffens up considerably. Riding at around -3°C there is definitely a change in the tire feel and that zone from grip to slide does become a little narrower. The tires also ping a little more off rocks and roots but there was still enough feel in the tires to push on and up the speeds with some confidence. But this is in some more extreme riding temperatures that would usually see the skis out of the shed had it not been for the lack of snow.


DURABILITY

After the past few months of testing, the tires are definitely wearing out, but they still are in rideable condition. All the knobs are still firmly attached to the tire despite trying as I might to rip them off and the tire is wearing nice and even across its entirety. There's no sense that the tire might be ready for the rubbish while still looking like it has some mileage left in it. The sharp braking edges on both the centre and edge blocks have been taken off, and you can tell in the performance, but it’s not lead to a sudden change in the tires character.

Deterioration of grip with the tire wear has been nice and constant, with no sudden drop in grip as you wear through to a different compound in the knobs, likely due to that softer compound covering such a big percentage of the tread depth. It’s still possible to lean them over with confidence even if the edges of the blocks aren’t quite as sharp as they once were.






Pros

+ Predictable feel with traction, especially when sliding
+ Good crossover performance from dry to wet conditions
Cons

- Fair bit of rolling resistance
- Only one casing and compound on offer





Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe Snap WCE is a very predictable and versatile gravity tire and never really gave us any issues thanks to its tough construction.

There is noticeably more rolling resistance whenever the trails aren't pointed properly down, but the grip is great, and more than that, the feel when the grip starts to drop and sliding takes over is one of the best characteristics of the Snap WCEs and allows you to take risks, lean the bike over and ride fast knowing what they're going to do.
Dan Roberts







PHOTOS: Kifcat / Shaperideshoot


72 Comments

  • 136 1
 Dans gotta be one of the best additions to the Pinkbike Team in recent times. Really enjoy the depth of his reviews.

Also, can we make floating tire shots standard from now on?
  • 13 0
 Only if you forget to tighten your thru axle... friday fails photo epic?
  • 2 0
 Yeah for sure. After he reviewed the ohlins rear shock. I was sold on his tech break downs.
  • 4 0
 Henry and Seb are both great too
  • 1 0
 100% agree with the addition of Dan. He and Levy have raised the bar IMO. This tire if pretty much an older Butcher I think though.
  • 1 0
 100%, great attention to detail and covers all angles. Always worth reading his reviews.
  • 1 0
 Very intelligent review. Makes me interested in a tire that I probably will never buy
  • 58 9
 "Only one casing and compound on offer" Why is that listed as a negative? You just gave this tire with this very compound and casing a good review. It doesnt make this tire any worse, that there are no other variations.
  • 20 13
 Beat me to it. Watch and learn Maxxis.
  • 46 1
 I agree to a certain extent, but the exclusive use of super soft compounds won't be to everyone's taste. There's a lot of people who will destroy a tyre like this in a very short period of time and would probably prefer to sacrifice some grip in favour of longevity. It doesn't mean this tyre performed any worse, but it makes it less attractive to some people.
  • 10 2
 @codfather1234: I have been running maxxis maxxgrip and the vee top40 compounds for 2 years now. This is much more durable than maxxgrip and even 3c maxxterra in my experience.
  • 3 8
flag OpeSorryAbootThat (Apr 13, 2021 at 5:26) (Below Threshold)
 @rain164845: I can't comment on the Vee compound but the maxxterra only seems useful if you want to turn your tire into a reverse semislick (disclaimer: I don't live in a place with much steep stuff so not a ton of braking happens)
  • 16 0
 I completely disagree. Different applications use different casings. I want a full DH casing for my downhill bike and a lighter casing for my trail bike. Weight saving and performance differences are very noticeable between most casings. Plus I usually go heavier casing out back. Definitely a con that only one casing and compound are offered...
  • 5 0
 @bhuck12: VeeTire has a trail specific tire (Snap Trail) with lighter casing and the Snap WCE and Attack for DH missions in Gravity casing and enduro casing, give yourself a chance and try em out.
  • 5 1
 Lack of a faster rolling/more durable rear tyre option by the same manufacturer is certainly a con in my book.
VEE is not the only company guilty of that, though.
  • 1 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: what's a reverse semi slick?
I like max terra on the rear of my trail bike in the dry.
In total lose like sand or powder a stiffer knob is better. Dry rocks is not as good, hard pack not as good, obviously wet isn't as good, but I feel they roll faster. And when riding 4x per week the the max terra sure holds up a bit longer
  • 2 0
 @englertracing: Reverse semi slick in that the side nubs wear / tear off but the center tread doesn't due to the harder compound. So you end up with all the tread in the middle of the tire and none on the sides (the opposite of a semi slick).
  • 1 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat:
Yes I see what your saying.
And it's mostly true.
I usually shit can them when the sideknobs are getting undercut.
  • 28 0
 I just love the floating wheel picture at the start. @pinkbike, your challenge is to now recreate that with full bike pictures.
  • 2 0
 Hahaha that is tempting
  • 5 0
 Alternatively, I would be satisfied with a „fully compressed“-shot of a huck-to-flat for bike reviews.
  • 22 0
 The downhill "snap", to go with the gravel "crackle" tyre. Their third tyre, the "pop" is deeply unpopular for reasons the marketing department cannot determine.
  • 5 0
 Haha, don't forget the disappointing sales with their DJ-specific "catastrophic failure".
  • 6 1
 @Dan: when you say it has significantly more rolling resistance than a Magic Mary Ultra Soft, do you mean the Super Gravity casing? If so, this tire, in my opinion, is limited to lift assisted riding only (or masochistic riders).
  • 2 0
 I've seen that mentioned elsewhere for these tyres (sorry, bad memory, no link), and that had put me off buying them for the enduro bike
  • 2 0
 I have a wce on the front off my Enduro bike and I haven't found it to much off an issue doing big rides out on it. It definitely does roll quite slow but I don't mind that trade of for the amount of grip it offers!
  • 1 0
 @oliofiat: do you feel it offers more grip than a Ultra Soft Magic Mary?
  • 2 0
 They're lift service only. The ones that came on my bike (tack-ee compound) are misery to pedal with.
  • 6 0
 Whare did nokian go.. I found a 24x3.0 in gazalodi in my attic the other day still in good condition it used to be on my big hit ahhh the good old days...... Nokian were years ahead decades ago what happened to them??
  • 1 0
 Looks like they’re sticking to their specialty of winter tires these days. www.modernbike.com/nokian-suomi-tires
  • 1 0
 I had vee dh tires in 2001. They were a good cheaper alternatives to nokian back in the day.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: hello, fellow old rider. Thank you! I was mildly confused when the review stated that Vee entered Mtb in 2013...I could have sworn I have copies of decline from 08 or 06 or something with Vee tire ads, and I remembered them being sold next to Tomac Kendas...
  • 1 0
 @VwHarman: you would be very right good sir. I sold them in the bike shop I worked in. 2.6 and 2.3 stouts were their staple. m.pinkbike.com/buysell/335629
  • 4 1
 I'm gonna have to see a bunch of these on bikes WITHOUT tread blocks ripped out before I even think about stocking them in my store. I don't see a lot of Vee tires in my area, but every time I DO see a bike equipped with them there's at least a couple tread blocks missing. Maybe they're good in more loamy areas, but they die a quick death in Los Alamos.
  • 2 0
 Bought a pair from Vee at Sea Otter for $20 each a few years ago and tore half the blocks off in a single day at Northstar. I figured at $40 for a pair, what did I have to lose. The answer was $40 and paying full price for replacements do I could ride the next day. I am not an aggressive rider, don’t have issues with knobs undercutting on other tires, and can usually get 30+ days out of a set of tires on my downhill bike. Never again.
  • 1 0
 Still? Early 2000's there dh tires were dirt cheap. Would tear knobs off but they were cheap and good for the price.
  • 3 0
 I rode the Snap WC front and Enduro rear and would agree with the main points made. Very good grip, very predictable, but oh my I couldn't live with the rolling resistance on the climbs. Moved the Enduro to the front and put a Hans Dampf on the rear again and happy now. However the Enduro is now nearly done after 6 months, so not very impressed with the life either.
  • 2 0
 I wonder how car/truck/moto/bmx/golf cart tire manufacturers have largely managed to resist plastering sidewalls with huge, gaudy graphics. I’m just gonna guess it’s because they want people to actually purchase them..
Therefore, according to marketing statistics, the average boomer golfer has a better sense of style than a mountain biker. That’s pretty rad, actually.
  • 2 0
 Meanwhile, I'm still mad that Maxxis removed the dice from the High Roller logo.
  • 1 0
 An interesting comparison would be this tire against the E13 LG1 DH, which is also manufactured by Vee. I've always wondered if this compound is the "Race" compound used by E13 or if you can get a Vee with "MoPo"?
My son's bike has 20x2.2 skin-wall Vee Crown Gems, he seems to like.
  • 2 0
 "...entering the bicycle tire market in 2013."

Are we sure about that? Unless there's some Mandela effect, I remember riding Vee Tires back in 2003/2004, they were cheap and decent.
  • 4 0
 You probably saw Vee Rubber, which is their parent company. VeeTireCo is the 'premium' brand. Kind of like Maxxis is athe premium brand of Cheng Shin Tire ( CST ).
  • 1 0
 After riding these tyres on 2 different bikes and sizes personally I’d scrap them unless doing pure gravity riding, rolling resistance is incredibly noticeable from the moment you first ride them. Can feel them stick like glue to pavement, the grip isn’t that stellar on trail either however very predictable.
  • 1 0
 I've owned 3 different Vee Tires over the past 4 years (Mtb and cyclcross) and every pair have started losing treads like a seven year old loses teeth, after ~100 miles of riding. I'll never buy another one of their tires again.
  • 1 0
 A spot on tyre choice, I’ve been running the WCE up front and snap rear for a good few years now. It’s the fit and forget tyre combo. Only take them off when they are worn out. Other than that just adjust pressures to suit conditions.
  • 2 0
 More people should realise how good VEE tires are! This company has done their homework well and I can sacrifice some rolling resistance for snake bite free riding.
  • 4 4
 I had the pleasure of riding these tyres a wee bit and pretty aggressively too.

The Vee rides nothing like a Maxxis or a Schwalbe.
They are definitely not a copy of them either.

Have done a few aggressive laps on the Vee tyre, they are very capable tyres, I would race the over Magics any day of the week, they rolled pretty well too for the type of tyre they are (not saying that rating a Dh tyre on its tarmac is the wrong thing to do but each to their own), they were very predictable in the corners with good positive grip (unlike a magic which is just vacant).

Vee, Kenda etc make good Dh tyres, its nice to step away from the major sponsors of riders and see what the other guys have to offer.
  • 3 0
 I had vee tires on my marin san quentin. Like riding through syrup
  • 1 0
 Sticky with extreme resistance to movement, perfect description of Vee tires.
  • 3 1
 So happy to see Dan has started lining up his logos and valve stem. Such an important detail.
  • 1 1
 I am curious if the bikes for the rolling resistance comparison were the same. There can be a lot of other variables involved.
  • 1 0
 Looks just like my old Maxxis High-Rollers I used to love. Count me in for DH race width 2.35 rear 2.5 front.
  • 5 3
 Looks like a... Butcher?
  • 1 0
 Thatis not an enduro approved caliper bro, lacks the screen..
  • 1 0
 This guy loves his Vee Tires.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z3CB2QlhaE
  • 2 0
 #lookslikeaminion
  • 3 3
 Looks like a...............butcher. Hopefully its not as shit.
  • 3 0
 The Butcher could be a fine tyre if it had a softer compound and didn't get holed so easily. And it sounds like this tyre has got those aspects nailed.
  • 1 7
flag justwaki (Apr 13, 2021 at 1:12) (Below Threshold)
 @chakaping: I don't know man, Butchers side knobs are not as meaty as minion, they remind more of high rollers which in turn have tighter spacing so there is more support. Even Magic Mary seems to have a wider foot on each knob, knobs are spaced slightly closer together and it is still a bit on the squirmy side. Butchers always feel vague to me and I am fine with vague tires as long as they are predictable. Butcher just lets go on me. it's surely not the worst tire ever, but in my books not really up there.
  • 1 0
 @justwaki: very early butcher were drifty with profiled side knobs. New ones are sick
  • 1 0
 Oh SNAP, another minion
  • 1 2
 A snappy tire it seems to be.
  • 1 4
 So it meets the DH WC riders expectations? I guess their expectation is that their sponsor will either be Maxxis or copy Maxxis.
  • 2 4
 minion much?
  • 2 0
 Not if I dont have to.
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