Vee Tire’s Apache flagship road cycling tyre is fast, reliable and durable
I fitted Vee Tires Co’s Apache clinchers back in August and since then I’ve managed to ride getting on for 500kms on them, largely made up of longer (for me) distances with a couple of metric centuries thrown in. That’s probably enough time for me to form a reasonable opinion of them and I must say, on the whole, they’ve shown themselves to be good companions.
The Apache is the flagship road tyre, manufactured by Vee Tire Co – Thailand’s largest tyre manufacturer. The Apache is a folding clincher which is sensibly available in black. And it features lots of technology to render it comfortable, fast and puncture-proof, with the promise of grip in both wet and dry conditions. The test tyres are fitted to my “best bike”, a Neil Pryde Diablo with older style Reynolds Attack carbon wheels.
I have to say that I think the Apache’s look pretty good. For example, I like the way the logos are largely kept to the drive-side – since the tyres are unidirectional, this makes it easy to see they’re fitted correctly and rolling in the right direction. On the off-side, a single “B-proof” logo is easily centred over the valve and Hey! Presto! (see what I did there?), you have that instantly professional look. There’s none of that problem when you centre graphics on one wall of the tyre only for it to be off-centre on the other side (I have to confess slight OCD-ness about that).
The day after I set the tyres up (see “Vee Tire Co’s Apache Clincher Tyres – First Look Review” on Girodilento) I went out on a club run and naturally (-ish), the conversation turned to tyre choice. When I asked some of the other club riders what they thought, the first comment I got was that I’d find 25’s more comfortable. My Reynolds Attacks are a little long in the tooth and maybe their internal width doesn’t allow the Apaches to achieve their full size on the rim. As I mentioned in the first look, the Vee’s do appear narrow.
I’m not sure if the photo conveys the point, but I put my bike next to another machine wearing an equivalent pair of German tyres which appear to be a lot more substantial than the Apaches. However, if you’re a hard and fast rider, with great handling skills (unlike me), the rounded cross-section profile of the tyres would possibly fill you with the confidence of grip right to the shoulder with your bike canted over in a quick corner.
I’d inflated the tyres to the recommended minimum on the box and was expecting a harsher ride than I’d experienced on other tyres. However, on the road, I found the Vee’s surprisingly compliant and comfortable, even considering that I was running pressures somewhat greater than is my habit. No doubt their 185tpi casings contribute to this, as well as providing decent road feel. I won’t go into how unwelcome some feel is due to the state of road surfaces where I live.
I’m not a fast rider, and accepting the fact that the first ride was a group ride, when I reviewed my performance on Strava, there were a number of PRs. One in particular was set on a long-ish (5km) segment where I know I spent time sitting up and chatting to one my buddies. It could be that the narrowness of the tyre is manifested in lower rolling resistance. If that’s the case, it augers well for the Vee’s as I suspect that free speed is always a welcome trait.
After putting on the Vee’s on my bike, the weather initially stayed quite fair. But I was keen to see how they performed in the wet. A couple of weeks later, it was drizzling when I set out on a 100km circuit and although the weather cleared up significantly, I had a couple of short downpours to endure. At this stage, even though the tyres had a bit of distance on them, they still had an “as new” appearance and I’d had concerns that friction hadn’t yet cleared the releasing agent which frees rubber from its mold. I’d also lowered the pressure to around 90psi, and I see that the website now shows a recommended minimum of 85psi.
Back to the story; I’ve recently read reviews that some tyres are more confidence inspiring once they’ve been scrubbed in for 100 miles or so. I thought the shiny-looking boots could be problematic, but I needn’t have been concerned because Vee Tire Co’s Apache’s held the road faithfully in the rain. That said, I’ll be honest and say that a wet road surface tends to make me ride cautiously.
On the subject of wet riding though, VEE make a point of saying that their tread pattern has been designed to maximise clearing rainwater on wet rides. I think we all know that bike tyres are too narrow for a build-up of water to cause aquaplaning – maybe they ride a lot faster in the wet in Thailand. Or maybe that all changes if you’re riding long fast descents at 100kph+. However, the tread pattern adds a nice graphical touch which ties nicely into the branding on the tyre.
I did eventually run into a downside during a ride on a nasty, greasy day when the roads were wet in places and covered in fallen leaves, or mud, or gravel in other places. Several times, when rising out of the saddle during climbs, I found my back wheel slipping. A couple of times, riding up to junctions, the back wheel lost grip under braking. It left me with a slight loss of confidence when riding downhill and made for some tentative moments on some of the steeper descents. This was during a club ride, and I hasten to say that I wasn’t the only person struggling with grip.
On the whole, however, Vee Tire Co’s Apache is a decent tyre, and certainly evidences the investment that the company has made in producing a lightweight, fast-rolling tyre which incorporate a lot of material technology. As a testament to this, in 468 kilometers on all sorts of surfaces and in all kinds of weather bar a deluge, they’re performed reliably and proven to be nicely puncture resistant. I’d say that they’re definitely worth considering as the weather starts to close in.
More info here: https://www.veetireco.co.uk/