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.
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.