Tires take a long time to develop, and molds are expensive. But when you’re one of the largest bicycle tire manufacturers, you have the luxury of equipment and resources at your disposal. And Vee Tire Co. takes full advantage of that to help their athletes. Vee’s Factory Ride program lets them test a completely new tire in production-level constructions for World Cup level racing in just 6 months, which is crazy quick.
They say they can make changes in as little as a week when the team riders need it. Shown above is a prototype with different rubber compounds.
This image stack shows a different Flow Snap prototype in the middle that was ridden at Val di Sole in nasty wet, muddy conditions in wildly variable weather. They could have ridden a spike-style mud tire, but The Six Pack-Propain team riders chose this throughout the whole weekend. Compounds and casings are different, and the center knobs are more ramped than the current version, and the side knobs aren’t rotated as much.
For now, you can get the standard black Flow Snap or this new 27.5×2.35 in tan wall with Tackee rubber compound.
We rode the Flow Snaps on the new Marin Alpine Trail enduro bike and they handled wet roots pretty well and hooked up predictably on the dirt around Let Gets Bike Park’s natural trails.
Other new (or new-ish) models are the Rail Sports and Zilent Sports road plus tires for 650B gravel and touring bikes.
They’re 650B x 47, with the Rail Sports getting more aggressive tread for dirtier terrain.
Tioga Binary smooth gravel bike tire
Tioga recently unveiled their Glide trail mountain bike tires, and now they’ve got a new 700×40 option for smoother dirt roads and paths. The Tioga Binary has a very smooth center section, transitioning to surprisingly tall and long ramped side knobs.
Their Glide MTB tires also use ramped side knobs with the goal of keeping your rolling speed high while still providing adequate grip. Here, that’s probably the same idea, but in a tire made for people who may only occasionally go off road.
Pirelli Cycl-E urban e-bike tires
The game is heating up for high speed city e-bike tires, and Pirelli is bringing their motorsports heritage to the party with four new designs.
The tires mimic everything from dry conditions road racing tires…
…to moderately treaded dirt path tires, with two that look like they’d be good all-weather options in between. At first, they’ll only by on the new Stromer ST5 e-bike, but expect to find them on more city and touring e-bikes in the future. And for sale aftermarket.
Prototype Michelin Force XC Gum Wall
If you were to look at Michelin’s website, you’d think nothing had changed since they relaunched their mountain bike tire line in early 2017. But these are the second set of prototype Force XC tires we’ve spotted and analyzed. The difference here is that the rear has been customized, which suggests they (or at least the sponsored riders on the BH Bikes XC team) are testing a faster rolling rear that keep the stickier rubber.
Michelin offers the Jet XC with lower profile knobs and a more consistent center knob spacing that should roll faster than the stock Force XC, but the Force XC has their stickier Gum X3D triple compound rubber.
Here, they snipped or shaved down the center knobs. There’s no word on what the casing differences are, though we suspect they’re racing on a more supple 150tpi casing that’s possibly lighter…although the stock Force XC 29×2.25 is already respectably light at around 675g.