Tyres. The only parts of a bicycle in contact with the ground. Needless to say, they are key to the performance of the bicycle while keeping you safe at all times. The most well-designed bicycle that showcases perfect geometry and latest, high-end components, coupled with excellent riding skills, will amount to nothing if the tyres cannot grip the ground optimally!
VEE Tire Co., a brand of tyres hailing from Thailand is one of the first names which comes to mind when it comes to fatbike tyres and they also make tyres for a myriad of applications and many of Coast Cycles’ bicycles, including our Buzzraw funbike and upcoming full suspension all-terrain bikes, are fitted with VEE Tire Co. tyres as standard.
We caught up with Mario Zimmerman, Product Manager (right) of VEE Tire Co. at Taipei Cycle 2017 and asked him a variety of questions on the latest trends, technology and what’s new for the brand.
What are the new tyre models for mountain bikes?
We introduced new models mainly in the categories of +PLUS, Gravity/Enduro and XC/Trail. For +PLUS, we have a new model and casing for Rail Tracker and new specification and sizes for Crown Gem and Bulldozer. For Gravity/Enduro, the all-new Flow Snap and Flow Smasher were developed with our unique technologies: Gravity Core and Enduro Core. Last but not least, for XC/Trail, the Rail Tracker is made to get you through the rough stuff and it’s going to the Olympics! We have also added the Rail Escape for Endurance trail riding. In fact, the entire Rail family is perfect for XC and trail riding!
Are 27.5+ and 29+ mountain bike tyres still popular?
It’s hard to say if 29+ is still popular because it wasn’t very popular to begin with and only attracted a certain bracket of riders. However, 27.5+ is definitely more than just a niche product and many bicycles will be introduced in 27.5+ (with widths ranging from 2.6 to 3.0 inches). To add, 27.5+ is more or less the standard for electric mountain bikes around the world, especially in Central Europe.
What are the new tyre trends for mountain bikes?
The latest trends are still related to new wheel sizes and tire widths. In general, riders are looking for tyres with more air volume besides considering the compound used. In the looks department, skinwall has become fashionable and VEE Tire Co. has the unique Skinwall-Synthesis technology which not only gives added protection against punctures and cuts but also looks fabulous. I would also like to add that aside from tyres, rims for mountain bikes have become wider. Many competitors in World Cup racing are using these types of rims.
What about tyres for road and commuting?
VEE Tire Co. has a variety of tyres for cyclists using road and commuting bicycles and like the mountain bike tyres, wider tyres (25 to 30 mm) are becoming more and more commonplace. Even professional riders competing at the UCI level have switched from 25 mm to 28 mm. The reason why this is happening is simple: less rolling resistance, improved aerodynamics and increased comfort and safety. You will see a new line-up of commuting tyres at Eurobike 2017!
How has 2016 been in terms of sales and brand recognition?
To compete in a market which is dominated by just a few brands is challenging and we don’t expect things to change overnight. However, I can confirm that brand awareness has improved greatly. Also, our wide range of tyre models and applications influenced our business in a very positive way. Moving forward, we need our present distributors to continue to work with us to grow market share and we are thankful for Coast Cycles’ help in Singapore!
How can VEE Tire Co. be as famous as the established brands?
We need to keep doing our best every single day and we must continue do develop our products in the same speed as we did in the past two years. VEE Tire Co. is ready to compete against the top tyre brands in the market and we need concerted efforts from everyone to move forward. It’s all about buidling trust in the brand and the products we offer. Like they often say: there are no shortcuts to success and only steady work will pay off for!