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Vee Tire’s Snowshoe in Snow Review

By : Jesse LaLonde

 

For better or worse I’ve become a creature of habit. Eat, sleep, ride… the same routes. This may seem mundane to some but it allows for a healthy balance both mentally and physically while providing a level testing field when needed.

LUGLIFE

Enter the Vee rubber Snowshoe 4.7. Falling on the lighter end I was interested to mount these  to my 100mm clown shoes. Upon mounting it was apparent that the SS wasn’t pulling it’s width. I overinflated and still had difficulty reaching 4.25. In fact, the tire didn’t appear comfortable on the wide rim. The side wall bulged well beyond the outer tread leaving me concerned for obvious reasons.

HOBOHEAVEN

Day 1: Over the river, through the park, and into hobo heaven. With .75 of fresh snow fall the night before I shared my route with only deer and rabbit droppings. Slowing for a small tweak in pressure I continued down the trail at approximately 8psi. It was slick under the fresh fall leaving me a bit frustrated as the sticky silica compound failed to clear snow making it difficult to clear sections that were natural in the past. In addition the self steer was kicking in telling me I may have dropped the psi a tad much. With mixed emotions I retreated after 20 miles dismissing my experience as day one dial in.

Day 2: Hovering around 12psi I set off on the same route with the addition of a “Northwoods training” loop which includes a handful of punchy climbs, extended off camber sections, and a group of challenging log overs. I went into the ride with the intent of stretching the lungs and truly pushing the snow show to its limit. WEIGHTCompared to the day before my route was well worn by dog walkers and fellow cyclists allowing me the freedom to hit race pace. As I railed the first mile of single track I was walking a fine line between bike practice victory and carnage. Approaching a clearing I negotiated a small s turn before a sharp 90˚. Bam! hip meet log. Lying on my side I laughed to myself thinking of how long it’s been since I’ve taken a hipper. Brushing off and continuing on I couldn’t help but wonder if my wide rim was distracting from the intended form of the tire causing the mishap. It wasn’t long after that I took hit two in similar fashion proving my w-i-d-e rim theory true. Throughout the next week I rode all trail including a trip out to Elm Creek which is arguably the best fat track in the world. It wasn’t until then that I realized the true capabilities of the short lugged snow shoe. The well manicured trail at EC consists of nearly all single track and is so buff that it’s hard to blame the trail. As I set off temps lingered in the single digits setting me up for primo traction. On this day the snow shoe did everything it should do proving that conditions are king.

While I’m intrigued to set the snow shoe up on my latest project (47mm North Paws) I think I have a lock on these guys all in one big run on sentence. The Snow Shoe comes in at fighting weight (5.05lbs or 2291grams a pr) and it’s possible to diminish side lug performance by running them on a 100mm rim while 4-8psi does wonders for trail traction it feels like mash potatoes everywhere else and allows the vortex of self steering to overtake this short lugged, inaccurately measured, fast rolling tire that performs ok in deep snow, better on groomed trail, and awesome in well kept single track preferably between 0-18˚ while set up between 12-17psi.

Editor’s Note – Jesse is one of the top three fat-bike racers in the great lakes. A threat to win every race that he enters, Jesse is the man behind Bare Knuckle Brigade and one bad ass Muthah! ~gomez~

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7 Responses to Vee Tire’s Snowshoe in Snow Review

  1. Guymer Firmer January 16, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    Hey Jessie,
    Been waiting for this write up. I ride EC all the time along with Hellside. And I have a Moonie. I run a Bud and Lou in the loose stuff at high psi, work great but its a big tire and heavy still it works best in the loose. I run the BIG Fat Larrys on the hard pack, They work great when its like a side walk…. But I saw this Snow Shoe and my thoughts, this tire would kill it on the Moonie… and at EC with conditions like the Fat Forty last year. Are they week when it comes to corning on 100m rim? There are not many options, I think the Larrys lack a lot at speed too… The Bud and Lou are Velcro. Wish I would have seen you out there at EC and got to see the tire and maybe tried it…. I go to Vee’s website and doesn’t look like you can even buy it yet? What gives + or – on the Snow Shoe? And here’s to the Brother Hood!
    Thanks you the great write up… makes me want to hit EC right now.
    Guy Hiney
    Anoka,mn.

    • J. LaLonde January 17, 2014 at 8:30 am #

      Hey Guy, thanks. I actually like the BFL’s… a lot! They don’t perform great in loose stuff but they seem damn near perfect for a track like elm creek. You’re right, the snow shoe does kill it on a well manicured track. I would venture to say more so then anything else i’ve ridden. My biggest issue it is when I’m pushing to the limit I was loosing traction in the turns. Even at EC when the conditions were spot on I was getting wash out at race pace where I normally wouldn’t get it with other tires. I contribute that to the width of the rim. I plan to put these tire on my new set up as soon as it’s done. This includes northpaw 47mm rims. I have no doubt that this will change my perception of cornering with the snow shoe. Hopefully I’ll see you out there someday.

  2. MG January 16, 2014 at 2:34 pm #

    I think you’re hitting on the right point — the Snowshoe isn’t a great tire on a 100mm rim, but on a 65mm Marge Lite, it’s pretty good, as the narrower rim crowns the tire more, lessening the tendency to self-steer.

    I also cut ramps into the single center knobs, leaving the row of double knobs alone, as they already have a slightly ramped profile (running reverse of the marked direction on the casing). It rolls slightly better now with no compromise to lateral grip (that I can discern).

    Good review!

  3. Guymer Firmer January 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Self Steer is due too not enough air in the front tire.
    It is a feeling of a long raked out steering neck. The less the rake the quicker the steering…. air up the front tire to quicken the steering…

  4. kevin January 20, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    ive been running this tire as just a rear lately on a 90mm rim. it’s not a 4.7 but it is definitely larger than anything else that has some grip and can fit on a 170 rear. been running bfl’s for a lot of trail miles. its nice to get aggressive but still have float. there’s certainly better front tires. but im pleasantly surprised at how much i like it in the rear…wait that doesn’t sound right!

  5. Erik January 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

    Ok, here’s my take. Running a Trek Farley with marge lites and quality super light 2.7 tubes. Usual tire is a 120 tpi knard 3.8 with 7lbs of air. Put on new 4.7 snowshoes looking for more traction. Tried 7psi, 10psi, and 12psi. Not impressed with any of the additional traction I didn’t find. Tires actually felt like they washed out in corners more than the knards, and felt no different, maybe worse on climbs. I thought the tire packed up a lot also as other people have mentioned. Had about 6″ of fresh powder and it was 12 degrees out. Rode snow packed roads, snowmobile trails, and single track. I’m not a pro, but have been a mountain biker for over 20 years and managed a shop for 5+ years.

    • dave nackey April 1, 2015 at 7:38 am #

      I used these 4.7 snowshoes all last fall and winter and other than self-steer on pavement didn’t have any of the problems mentioned. In the deep snow in Feb. 6-8″ I was using 3 lbs front and rear with tubes on 80mm rims and had no problems at all. I’ve got 400+ miles this year so far and just took them off and switched to v8’s

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