From the moment that I laid eyes upon the VeeRubber Speedster tire at Interbike’s Outdoor Demo out in the LasVegas desert, I knew that I just had to ride a set. The first thing that crossed my mind, for this 26″ x 3.5″ set of snake skins, was how they would work on my rat-rod. Soon after the tires arrived at the Bike Black Ribbon Proving Grounds, I started to think about how they would work on my Pugs. The same Pugsley that I’ve been threatening to sell ever since Thparkle got between my legs, about a year and a half ago. I weighed the two test tires and they came in at 984g and 972 grams (thats super light!). I mounted the tires up on the (Fattie Lumpkin – hand-built) blood red, drilled Rolling Darryl rims that are laced to a Rohloff (IGH) and a White Industries M-16 hub up front. On the 82mm rims the Speedsters have a nice round profile.
The tires mounted up with ease and from the ‘get-go’ looked all ‘fat and furious’ ala choy! The tread of the Speedster’s resembles a BMX park tire on Rubber Growth Hormone (RGH). March in Wisconsin is the start of Mud Season. Until the frost leaves the ground, fat-bikers are left with 2 options….beach or pavement. The Speedsters may well make fair beach tires (for a lighter rider), but my beach time (during March) was split between testing the 9:Zero:7 – Tusken and the ultimate beach ‘Katana Blade’ – Thparkle, so the first deployment of our test tires was dedicated to asphalt and gravel.
I’ve found myself, abandoning my usual (spring thaw) Cross Check mileage in favor of my Speedster-clad Pugsley. After a couple of weeks of local rides, BBR Test Pilot, Colin Ford, and I shuttled out to Iowa City to attend Q7’s 2nd Annual Tweed Ride. Ten to twenty, semi-sober miles of Iowa City bar hopping seemed the pen-ultimate test for the Speedsters, plus any trip to Iowa City means that I get to visit, mi hermano, Adam, along with, a rather long list of cousins on my ‘gnome-fest ‘side.
After Colin and I got into town, we parked the truck and along with Adam (you might know him as Fattie Lumpkin) rode the fat-bikes….everywhere! Adam and Colin are markedly faster riders than me, but they were rolling Nates unt Knards on their Necromancer pugs, while I was rolling the Speedsters. Because of the lower rolling resistance of the Speedsters, I was able to keep up with those two young, jack-rabbits, without breaking a sweat. On Friday night we rode all over town and led an aggressive assault on several pitchers of PBR and slurped rounds of jello shots called “purple elastic thunder fucks”! Before the weekend was over the Speedsters were tested on a number of natural and man-made substrates that included mud, grass, gravel, carpeting and pavement…with various levels of debauchery. Through it all…the Speedsters kept me upright and performed admirably. Fattie ended up getting his bike nicked on Saturday night, but we found it the next morning just down the street from the Blue Bird, where we were having breakfast. I love happy endings! The tweed ride was a stone cold groove and the Speedsters were the best (fat) tire for the task.
After returning to the Big Whiskey, the spring monsoon started and confined my testing opportunities to wet and sometimes flooded roads. I dug out a set of SKS Fenders and slogged out a couple of rides where the Speedsters gave a confidence inspiring performance on the rolling glacial hills that rise between Twin Lakes and the Fox River valley. The 3 1/2″ width of the tires meshed very well with the SKS fenders. I ran the tires at 18(psi)-front & 20(psi)-rear and they behaved, very much, like a fat set of road tires. I was chased home by thunder and showered with liquid sunshine both times that I tried to squeeze a ride in-between storm cells that danced across the doppler radar. The Speedsters roll really fast! The ride feel is smooth and stiff.
After 4 days of torrential rain, the sun came out and I took the opportunity to hit some local gravel for a twenty-two mile out and back test ride. On crushed limestone these tires feel super grippy and fast. I ran 12 psi front and rear on the gravel and the Speedsters just ate it up! You can see how the inverted tread grips the limestone in the picture below.
These are a great set of urban fat-tires. They will excel at commuting, road or gravel touring and city cruising. I’m going to pass these tires off to Schlick Cycles Pro Rider – Aris – to see how they perform from a jump-park point of view. Stay tuned to Fat-Bike for further reports.
In the US – these tires will be available through shops that order from J&B Importers – MSRP of $60 for wire bead and $80 for folding – some time in early summer – 2013.