I think these tires are Rad. Not in a “I am going to ride these on every ride!” kind of Rad. Rather “these things are really good at a few things and are really fun to play around on but I don’t want to ride them all the time” kind of Rad. Allow me to explain…
As you would expect from a slick, the roll really fast with minimal rolling resistance. This comes through really well on the road or on gravel when they are pumped up fairly high (anything above 15 psi). As long as you had them pumped up, there was little to no self steer. Riding them at a pressure where you don’t have self steer did take a bit away from the magic carpet ride feel of a fat tire on bumpy stuff but they were still way more comfy than a road bike and almost as fast. Wet pavement performance seemed pretty good but I didn’t do much riding in the rain with these so take that with a grain of salt. Riding on the road generally is kind of sucky on a fat bike because it is slow but with the fat slicks the Rad factor dialed up considerably because you could go fast, be comfy and then still hit stuff like curbs and other play things without worry.
On the beach the tires roll better than anything I have ever ridden. The rolling resistance is super low (for riding in sand) and there is almost as good of traction as a tire with knobs. There were times I actually liked the tire to slip because it was almost like it reduced the gear ratio for me while still getting a lot of propulsion out of the tire. It did take me a bit to figure out the proper tire pressures to run on the beach. Normally in soft conditions, the lower the tire pressure the better the ride (within reason). With the slicks I just wasn’t digging the steering control at low pressures because the front tire tended to push over the sand instead of turning. Come to find out higher pressure in the front tire is key (10-15 psi) because it “knifes” or “edges” into the sand more and gives you a lot better cornering performance. In general the tires seemed to shovel less sand onto the bike and my person compared to knobby tires. However, there was a certain specific degree of wetness where the sand sticks to the tires and gets slung off the tire like you are having a junior high peanut butter fight in the school cafeteria. We don’t have super rocky beaches but the tires seemed to do well in our rocky section even when the rocks were wet. Calling super efficent beach riding “Rad” is probably a stretch but it certainly doesn’t do anything to dampen the Rad-a-tude on a ride.
A lot of my beach riding is a one way affair due to wind. Battling a headwind on the beach is definitely not Rad. A lot of the beach riding around here has a road that parallels the beach with either a bluff or sand dunes between the road and beach. This is where the great road riding ability of the Apache Fatty synergistically combines with the good beach riding to amp up the Rad-ilishiness. Cruise downwind on the beach playing in the waves and in the sand then hop on the road (which is many time sheltered from the wind) to cruise on back.
Surprisingly, they also do amazingly well on dry dirt and gravel. With lower, more normal dirt pressures (5-8psi) they have really good cornering and drive traction. It must be all the surface area and the tire’s ability to conform to the the texture of the trails but I was consistently surprised at how hard I could push them before they would break free. The breaking free part is where these tire ascend the Radness scale though. I have never been on a set of tires that was more fun to drift in corners. Every chance I got in sweeping corners it was just BRAAAAPPPP!!! When you hit a sweeper going pretty fast all it would take was a little tap of the brakes or a little body english and you were off into drifting bliss. It must be because of the lack of tread that allows them to drift very consistently and smoothly. Add in the huge contact patch that a 4.9″ tire gives you and it made it very easy to control the drift and keep your center of gravity over the contact patch. One of the best parts is that I could drift to my heart’s delight and still have a clear conscious because the slicks didn’t really tear up the trails like a normal tire would. More BRAP without moral complications? Sounds pretty Rad to me!
The flip side of this BRAP-ability is that the tires are absolute death machines if it gets wet or there are leaves on the trails. Wet roots and logs are super scary because the lack of knobs allow the tire to go from gripping the dirt to slip and slide in an instant. The lack of knobs also don’t help you to punch through the leaves at all. You just sit on top of the leaves and they shear or slide on the ground. A similar negative effect happened in loose over hard conditions. I haven’t tried them in the snow but I have to believe that they would be equally scary.
Everyone needs a little more Rad in their life. Because of that, I highly recommend the Vee Tire Apache Fatty. Just don’t let it be your one and only tire for all conditions.
If you are interested in Uncle Gomez’s take on these tires, you can check out his report which also includes specs on the tires.
For more information about Vee Tires visit – http://veetireco.com/