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Photo: Matt Miller.

I’ve slowly but surely been checking out some tires from the Thai tire (Thaire?) company, Vee. After reviewing their heavy duty Snap WCE downhill tire, and the all around Flow Snap, I’m now on the trail and XC tire, the Rail Escape.

The Rail Escape is “designed for endurance racing in mind,” according to the description on the Vee website, but I’d say there’s much more to it than endurance racing, and it could even be a little too much for someone with weight and rolling resistance as top priorities. That being said, it’s been a pretty killer trail tire thus far.

Specs

  • Dual compound
  • Tubeless ready
  • Folding bead
  • Tire casing: 72 TPI (120TPI version also available)
  • Weight: 29×2.40, 845g
  • MSRP: $55

About the tire

Photo: Matt Miller.

Vee uses a dual compound with a harder 58A durometer rubber in the center and a softer 48A rubber on the sides. Like the other tires I’ve tested from Vee, they use the Synthesis sidewall in the Rail Escape. Synthesis is a woven, Aramid layer that goes in the sidewall for greater puncture and cut protection, and I feel like it gives the tire a bit of suppleness as well.

Examining the tread pattern a little, it’s safe to say it resembles a Maxxis Ardent. The center knobs on the Rail Escape vary in spacing, with every other knob set slightly more spaced apart. (Every other set of center knobs on the Ardent is wider than the others, rather than spacing them apart.) Then there is a single transition knob between the center and the side knobs on the Rail Escape, which looks slightly smaller than the transition knobs on the Ardent. The side knobs are also offset every other knob, like an Ardent.

Where the Rail Escape really differs from the Ardent, is in the price, and not even so much in the weight. Let’s find out how much different the performance is.

Ride impressions

Photo: Matt Miller.

I’m  wary to throw just a regular ol’ trail tire on my bike. In my case, running Maxxis Ardents on my normal smasher has always resulted in punctures, frustration, and in a lack of trust.

However, I’m always excited to check out new tire offerings and Vee hasn’t let me down yet. I ran the Rail Escape in the rear with the Snap WCE in the front. What’s more enduro than a fast-rolling trail tire in the back with sticky, heavy downhill knobs up front?

I’ve used the Rail Escape in a wide range of terrain by now. My local trails have been damp, hardpacked dirt. I rode the tire on the Western Slope of Colorado on the Palisade Rim trail and the Ribbon in Lunch Loops, which mix in a lot of rock, hardpacked dirt, sharp and square-edged rocks, and also in Buffalo Creek, which is basically cat litter.

The Rail Escapes have a good rolling speed with their low knobs, and even manage a solid grip up bumpy rock and root climbs. Down rock gardens in the Western Slope, I was reminded of the tires’ thin sidewalls when I put some weight down through rock gardens and found the rim. Still, the tires bounced right back without any sort of puncture or tear.

The Rail Escape’s round profile means good cornering. It’s easy to find the side knobs when you lay the tire over sideways. I thought for sure I’d find the tire’s weakness on a big loop in Buffalo Creek. On trails that were packed down, or completely loose cat litter, the Rail Escapes managed the loose dirt exceptionally. I had to work hard to break them free, and I was surprised to see how much grip they offer.

Final word

Photo: Matt Miller.

The Rail Escapes are probably the best tire from Vee that I’ve tested yet. The Snap WCEs are great, but heavy. The Flow Snaps are decent, but not the best tire I’ve ever ridden. The Rail Escapes fit in perfectly as a trail tire. The weight is on par with an Ardent, they’re durable and tough and dig into the trail without slowing you down, and are reasonably priced at $55 USD.

Thanks to Vee for providing this tire for review.

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# Comments

  • Entrenador

    Matt, thanks for the thorough review. Two questions:
    Any chance you measured them, and on what rim? Safe to assume that like most other brand’s mtb offerings, these come in a bit shy of their claimed 2.4″ width?

    Also, the photos appear to show centered knobs a bit less ramped than Ardents. One of my critiques of the Ardent as a rear is that the ramps yield a bit less climbing traction. Wondering what you see in person.

    Thanks again.

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