Vee Rubber Trax Fatty first impressions – UPDATED

I got a chance to ride the new Vee Rubber Trax Fatty 29 x 3.0″ tire this weekend.  I didn’t run them tubeless as I just got them the day before the ride but I plan to put run them tubeless right away. The front is a Velocity Dually 45mm and the rear is a Surly Rabbit Hole 50mm rim. The tire specs seen in the photos below are on the Dually.  After 12 hours on them Saturday here are my impressions of the tire and how they ride.

  • They are higher quality compound than the only other option available right now – the Knard. The Trax Fatty is a tubeless ready tire and the sidewall feels like it, yet it’s lighter in weight than the Knard (just barely). It *feels* like it should be heavier, but it ain’t.
  • The tread pattern seems nothing really special but it’s actually pretty good especially at low pressure. It rolls fast because of the closely spaced center knobs. The center knobs are also taller than the Knard.  This tread pattern is identical to Vee Rubber’s 36er tire and pretty close in design to several of their other tires with the double ramped block knobs along the centerline with a “V” siped on top.
  • The tire’s profile is very square compared to the very round-profiled Knard. The side knobs on the Knard are the widest point of the tire whereas the casing is considerably wider than the knobs on the Trax Fatty. Seems to me the square profile is becoming the new norm with people using wider rims with 2.4’s. But what I’ve found in my own riding is this leaves the tire more prone to sidewall slices and premature-chucking-in-the-trash. Especially when you’re running the tires at low pressure like 29+.  Instead of the knob’s catching the sharp rock and making that obnoxious popping sound, the sidewall gets scraped and maybe ripped.  We’ll see how these hold up. The Trax sidewalls seem burlier than the Knards so I have high hopes. And the one (long) ride I’ve done on them they did great in very rocky terrain.
  • The Trax grip better on steep climbs than the Knard, seated and standing. The Knard tended to slide out on roots, rocks, dirt, even at 12psi.  The knobs are just so slight and unsiped. The Trax has burlier knobs and i felt more connected to the ground.
  • The Trax’s look small compared to the Knard. They appear like a regular if bigger MTB tire. Maybe I’m just used to the Knard now.  But comparing their size they are at most 2.8″ width at their widest point. This to me is a good thing. The Trax fits with more room inside my Fox 32 Talas 120 fork without ‘pinging’ as many rocks against the fork bridge, and it’s easier to build a rear triangle around than the Knard. I now have room to spare at the chainstays with a 73mm BB shell and a few mm’s room in the lowest cog.  But the tire is taller than the Knard so the volume must be similar. This is also good – similar cush at low pressure.
  • I found with 15psi the tires felt way too hard. I’ll be starting all over again experimenting with different tire pressures to see what works best. I’m thinking tubeless with 12 is going to be the call for my style of riding and trails.
  • I’m still not feeling them corner as well as I would like, but that should be helped with running them tubeless and at lower pressures.

Ok…all for now.

UPDATE-
6 weeks or riding and I have some butyl rubbing off the sidewalls (see last picture). This is really early since I don’t even live in a really rocky area. The threads are showing in spots, giving me less confidence in their sidewall and their long term durability. Could’ve received a bad tire, I don’t know. Compared to the Chupacabras I’m not impressed at all with their handling on dirt or pavement. There is counter steer and they aren’t intuitive while railing into corners. I may use one on the rear wheel just because the Chupa is rubbing the chain in the 42t cog. These are good if your frame or fork won’t fit any other tire but I’d wait for the Bontrager Chupacabra to come out or the Maxxis Chronicle.

 

7 Responses

  1. Already left my reply on FB, but thanks again for the review along with the measurements etc., very helpful. Lookin’ forward to your tubeless review…and to try them for myself.

  2. Just what I am looking for, more in between tires. 3.0″ tires are too difficult to fit between chains and tires and forks. 2.8″ or even 2.75, 2.6, 2.5 is much better. I’m still really attached to my Hans Dampfs for now.

  3. Do you know what year that fork is? Apparently the bridge shape is different on newer models. Thanks!

    • I just got the fork this summer so it is the 2014 model! It’s the 32mm stanchion Talas with the 15qr. I think that’s the only one that fits. Or I got randomly lucky.

      • Cool, thanks! After looking at a bunch of photos I think the bridge is slightly different on the 2014. Also just noticed you’re using the Dually not the Rabbit Hole, d’oh! Wondering if that extra 5mm rim width will kill the clearance.

        Also just noticed the sidewall wear. Sigh, so far the Vees seem way tougher than the Knards were but I guess not that long of a lifespan either.

      • I was running a Dually but now I’m on the ibis 941’s. In my experience, the wider the rim the wider the tire profile but it’s not a ton different. On my 2007 Fox Float with a QR the Knard on a RH fit fine. Swapped to a Dually and the tire wouldn’t clear the bridge on the top. Wheel wouldn’t spin! This new Fox Talas has more clearance, I think mostly due to the 15qr lowering the axle center around 6mm. Speculation there since I don’t have a non 15qr to compare it to.

        The best current option for durability and ride quality is the 27tpi Knard in my opinion. Heavy as hell though. I don’t like how the Trax Fattys ride enough to choose them. The Bontrager Chupa’s are the far and away winner.

      • Argh, I guess I’m just really impatient and need to realize there just isn’t any perfect tire/fork combo yet. My knards would constantly get sidewall gashes from pinch flatting and rocks.

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