When your home trails are littered with rock slabs and loose chutes, good grip becomes a very high priority. I spent a few weeks this summer riding a pair of Vee Tire Co.’s gravity-focused Snap WCE tires and they grabbed rock faces, tracked straight through root gardens and swam through inches of dust impressively well.
Vee Tire Co. might not be the first brand you think of versus companies like Maxxis, Kenda or Schwalbe, but guess what? They happen to manufacture tires for 20 different bicycle tire brands. They also spent the 2018 World Cup Downhill season developing the Snap WCE with feedback from the Propain Dirt Sixpack riders. The end result was a tire with a round profile, heavy-duty construction and a very soft rubber compound.
Vee Tire Co. Snap WCE specs:
The Snap WCE is a tubeless-ready 72 tpi, folding bead MTB tire intended for downhill or enduro riding. Providing grip is Vee Tire Co.’s TOP40 Compound, which is their softest, low-rebound compound ever at a 42A durometer rating.
This tire features Vee’s toughest Gravity Core casing. The casing is three layers thick, one of which is Vee’s Synthesis; a lightweight woven layer that provides added cut and puncture protection. The Snap WCE tires also have Apex sidewall reinforcements to reduce snake bites, and an Aramid belt for extra puncture protection under the knobs.
Built for racing, these tires are designed to handle any conditions from hardpacked dirt to slippery mud. The Snap WCE’s tread pattern features two types of tall center knobs for straight-line traction, and two different side knobs. Every other side knob is L-shaped to help smooth out side-to-side transitions, and the ones in between are square. The Snap WCE’s were given a round overall profile to ensure seamless cornering transitions.
The backsides of the knobs all have large vertical faces to bite hard under braking, and the center knobs are ramped to reduce rolling resistance. The ramping is more pronounced on every second row of knobs (the longer ones) but the other knobs have slightly angled faces as well. Every knob is siped on top and the cornering knobs are siped on the outsides so they can conform to the trail below.
The Snap WCE’s recommended pressure range is 22.5-50psi. I thought that was a bit high for a minimum, as I know some riders run their tires with less than 22psi… I ran 21-22psi myself and didn’t have any issues with the tires burping or not staying seated.
The tire’s listed weights range from 1235-1315g, but as you’ll see below my scale says they’re considerably heavier. The pair I tested were 29×2.35”. The Snap WCE is currently also available in 27.5×2.35”, but 2.5” widths in both wheel sizes are on the way.
On the uphills, I found the Snap WCE wasn’t the fastest rolling tire. The rear in particular felt a bit sluggish on the climbs, and looking at the center knobs I wonder if ramping every row might help the tire roll a bit faster.
The weight certainly doesn’t help with rolling or climbing either. I swapped out a set of Maxxis Minions (of the same width) for my test, and the extra weight was noticeable right away. The Snap WCE’s did offer great traction for climbing all kinds of terrain, especially on sketchy obstacles like off-camber rocks or slippery roots.
I wasn’t surprised to find the Snap WCE’s felt much better on the descents. What I really liked about these treads was their Velcro-like grip on rock slabs. Creeping down steep rocks, rough or smooth, was impressively easy with these tires. The TOP40 Compound feels downright sticky, and I made a point of riding all the slabby trails while I had these tires on test!
Conversely, I noticed the tires found plenty of grip and kept me in control on very loose surfaces too. My local trails get covered in inches of deep dust, sometimes mixed with loose rock. When I dove into one of these sections, I was pleased to find very predictable steering and powerful braking. I mostly ride 2.5” tires so I thought I would miss the extra width in the 2.35” Snaps, but since their traction was so good, I didn’t feel any sacrifice going a bit narrower.
Due to weather, I didn’t get a chance to ride the Snap WCE’s in muddy conditions. My area dries up mid-summer, which is right when I received the tires. I’d imagine the large knobs would bite hard into sloppy muck and the soft compound would grip slippery surfaces well, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to test their wet weather performance.
The Snap WCE’s round profile allows them to roll in and out of corners smoothly, and their aggressive side knobs bite hard into berms or flatter corners. I didn’t have too long to ride the Snap WCE’s, but after a few weeks the TOP40 compound rubber isn’t showing any significant wear. I had no punctures, snake bites or burping issues with these thick-skinned tires throughout my test.
At $74.50 apiece Vee Tire Co. has a lot of other brands beat on price, so if you’re looking for a gravity-focused tire and their weight doesn’t concern you, the Snap WCE is a very grabby and affordable option. The Snap WCE tires are available online and through dealers worldwide.