Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vee Rubber Mission tire trials...

OK, not to long ago my rear tire (Conti X King) developed a rather annoying wobble after doing it's annual sealant cleaning and change out.  So being the rather cheap ass that I am I went looking for a deal on a new tire for the rear.  Wanted something low(ish) profile knobs but with a bit of space between for better clearing.  Conti Tires have been my brand of choice lately as they have multiple versions that all have rather well spaced knobs. I HATE it when tires have the knobs too close together as just a tiny stream crossing or minor puddle will load them up and turn into uncontrollable slicks (hint Kenda Small block 8's and other similar tires)

Anyway.. noticed these Vee Rubber Mission tires on sale and did a little checking/asking around and got rather honest but basically good response on them.  Another issue I have is a very tight rear triangle spacing that most 2.2 sized tires end up rubbing the lower chain stays and the Vee Rubber tires people say are kinda on the small side (another reason I liked the Conti tires as their 2.2 is slightly smaller and would fit, though they did stretch out over the first few weeks of use.)

Got the tire today and mounted it up.  Right out of the box I weighed them up.  21.1 ounces (about 598 grams)  Now the scale is kinda cheapo so not claiming it's accuracy but + or - an ounce is a pretty safe bet.  Nice light tire! a full ounce and a 1/2 less than the Conti X-kings I took off are, but these are 2.0's and the X-Kings are 2.2 so that's a wash.

Was a tad tight on my P-35 rims and don't think I'll be doing them trail side if there's and issue with out spoons. Though they aren't the tightest bead I've mounted. Honestly I think they are about perfect. Hit them with air to lock the bead and they popped right into place, I honestly think I could have done it with a hand pump without issue. Injected sealant, installed stem core and aired up to around 45-50lbs and gave them a good spin to foam up the sealant. Right away I noticed 3 rather large holes and a few bead leaks, but spun it up more, let the air bleed down to around 10-15lbs, let sit for a minute or 2 and then aired up to around 40lbs and everything was sealed nicely. Remember these are NOT a tubeless tire and as such they seemed better setting than most other Non-tubeless tires I've dealt with.

Some quick observations out of the box and while mounting up. The knobs on first view still folded in package was a feeling/look like they might be a bit TOO short. but after mounting and the height differences between the center knobs and the outer knobs is a nice gentle increase. I think they are going to be OK. Also not only is the tire width kinda small even for a 2.0, the side walls are rather short compared to most other tires in the same range of sizes. And speaking of sidewall of the tire, the material felt stiffer and more rugged than any other tire I've had that wasn't a UST tire. This is a good thing for me as I'm prone to tearing sidewalls out long before I wear the tread on rear tires, but for some who ride hard tails or rigid bikes that use the tire as kinda a suspension it might be a good or bad thing.. depending on the user.

Clearance of the tire to the frame was more than enough and if they made a 2.2 tire I think it would be perfect, though the 2.4 I fell would probably hit the chain stays (guessing they will stretch a bit over the next few weeks like all tires do once under air pressure but how much is the question..?) Not only is there plenty of side clearance but the space to the cross support is WAY more that anything else I've ever mounted on that bike. (As I previously mentioned, shorter side walls account for that) 

Quick test run down my driveway to take the garbage pails in I got to say that there was a noticeably ease of spin up and found myself shifting to a tougher gear by one or 2 on the rear cassette. they roll really, really well and feel noticeably light. Coming down the hill on the drive I had a really hard time getting the brakes to even come close to locking up which is a good thing as it means they are providing good traction. But when I went to take off coming back up I felt I could almost spin them out with a standing power start. But when I hit the hill going up I couldn't get them to spin out sooo... little more testing will tell. Also just for knowledge I am still running them around 40lbs  which will lower the traction to some degree. But I alway do that with new tires that aren't UST for a week or so to get the tire stretched out and make sure everything is locked and sealed. Then I'll lower it by 10lbs or so and test a few pound lower or higher till I get the feel of the tire and the best pressure for me and it to work. (I'm usually right around 30lbs with rear tires, and less and the sidewalls get all squirrely and end up rolling out and getting torn)

Normally I can tell right off after doing the quick 1/2 mile round trip of the driveway if I'll like them of not... but these I really can't.  Gunna have to take them for a real ride in a bit and see.

1st Ride update... 

Well, tore off and did a quick test run on them at a local trail. terrain mix was great as I went from clean hard pack, to solid rock/granite, to loose leaf and twigs over hard pack, to crushed stone, to loose stone over rock to pavement.. to roots and leaves, to stream crossings and more terrain.. (and that's in just like a mile and a 1/2 LOL at Rocky Neck)  Tires performed amazingly well in all conditions.  I did a few climbs and hard turns just trying to get these to break free and only twice did they slip at all and both times they reacted very predictable and safe. The tire bled off some air pressure at first and there was a few dribbles of sealant at the bead but not a mile in it all stopped and I'm guessing the pressure held at around 30-35lbs.

So far I'm very pleased with the performance of the tire. Gunna have to hit some of the more rugged and rocky trails next to see how the sidewalls hold up. 


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