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XLADV Project Bike: Vee Rubber

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Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a bit of a tire snob.  :lol:   I think what that means is that I've not been afraid to voice my opinions on various tires I've ridden in the past.  I'm probably known as a Heidi-hater (Heidenau) but that's simply because I just don't think it meets the needs of the type of riding I like to do.  I'd use a Heidenau maybe on a trip to Alaska but not on the types of trails I usually ride.

 

I'm a knobby-lover!  I like a good beefy knob.  I need that off-road traction, mostly for sand and rock here in the desert Soutwest.  Knobbies are good for mud too but that's something we really don't see much of (luckily).  Jimmy Lewis stated it well, that having a good knobby tire off road on an adventure bike is really a safety issue and it's something he would never attempt on another style of tire.

 

I can tell you right now that I really like what I see in these VRM-401 tires.  They look comparable to a TKC-80, Kenda Big Block, Karoo 2 or maybe even the new Anakee Wild tire we haven't seen here in the US yet.

 

The size/types I'm running are the 90/90 B21 M/C 54Q tubeless up front (hello KTM 1190 R and HP2 owners!) and the 150/70 B18 M/C 70Q tubeless in the rear.  Both say "M+S" (mud/snow) and neither appear to be directional.  The model # on the tire is simply "V401."  Both are DOT stamped.  These are classified as a 40/60 pavement/dirt tire.

 

Priced at $161 for the rear and $98 for the front.

 

I'm stoked that the rear wheel we're getting from Woody's Wheel Works is tubeless!  Those 10 min flat tire fixes sure are nice!

 

These knurls I see on the tire are probably just cosmetic tire porn features.  I'd guess they'd aid in ice/snow but they'll be quickly worn off in less than 100 miles.

 

The size and spacing of the side blocks indicate this tire will likely corner well too, but I'm very conservative on the pavement and will not push these in wet conditions.  My biggest question here is does it corner on dry pavement as well as the TKC-80?

 

The front says the max load is 467 lbs at 33 psi cold and the rear says 738 lbs at 33 psi cold.  I typically run 38/40 psi front/back on highway and then air down to something like 30/28 for off-road.

 

Sizes appear to be (right now): 110/80-19; 90/90-21; 130/80-17; 150/70-17; 140/80/18 and 150/80-18.  What would be really cool is if they made them for the new LC GS/GSA line in 170/60-17 and 120/70-19.

 

The variable block shapes tell me this tire may be designed for minimal highway noise.  I will report back on that later.

 

The block spacing vs the TKC 80 tell me that I should expect to notice a bit more off-road traction and clean-out.  Perhaps the variable block shapes is an attempt to mitigate the more optimal (for dirt) block spacing.  More traction without the extra noise, basically.

 

The tire's weight does seem a bit lighter than others I've put on and that may be due to a kevlar belt on the carcass.  So that saves weight and gives me a bit more confidence for puncture-resistance.  That's a feature I like on the Mitas E-09 Dakar.

 

The one thing I'm most interested in discovering is the tread life!  One of these reviews said the compound is "softer than the Kenda Big Blocks" but I'm not sure if that's vs the old Big Blocks that lasted me 900 miles or the re-formulated blend that is said to last longer.  Shall I set a mileage bar right now?  Given the horsepower and weight of the 990 and my style of riding, I would be pleased to get at least 2,000 off the rear; ecstatic for 3,000+.

 

The tires I'll be comparing this set to are my usual favorites:  Conti TKC 80, Karoo 3 and Mitas E-09 Dakar.

 

And in terms of pricing and availability, I still do no have any information on that.  I've googled the tire and seen reviews but so far I haven't seen anyone selling them.  My guess is Vee Rubber is working on distribution agreements right now.  I've seen their ads before in ADVMoto magazine and judging by how long it took Mitas to get back into the US motorcycle market, these things are known to take time.

 

Anything I'm missing here?  Tires typically generate the most discussion, so please let me know your thoughts on this new tire.

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Spoke too soon!  Vee Rubber does have some distributors lined up already you can purchase these tires from:

 

Ad   Vee Rubber (PHS) 5r

 

Automatic Distributors

Metalsport

Moto Race

Nola Wheels

Performance Tire

St. Louis Wholesale Tire

Van Leeuwen Distributing

 

I have ordered from Moto Race before, so they'd be my first go-to.

 

I called Moto Race and while I didn't see them on their website, they do have some in-stock and can order more.  They have them on their eBay store as well.

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Got that rear on for our High Sierra trip tomorrow. Went on great but I'm thinking this tire compound is tackier and could benefit from some lube on the dish part of the rim to aid in seating.

Can't wait to test these out in the dirt!

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0c84888cfd0dabcb5793b62950d9bc10.jpg

After 1,000 miles, my VRM401 rear doesn't look too bad. Maybe one more long trip or three Saturday's of desert rides left in it.

Super impressed with not just the off road grip but the road manners as well.

It wasn't easy to spin the back wheel in the dirt because of all that grip which made for faster dirt cornering and more confident hill climbing. The front tire's dirt cornering is quite strong too.

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I just swapped my rear for a Mitas E07 so will be running the 401 up front with the 07 on the rear at ToD. I didn't get the distance I thought I might from my original rear. Too much high speed highway here in SoCal perhaps! Are riding or trailer int to ToD?

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I just swapped my rear for a Mitas E07 so will be running the 401 up front with the 07 on the rear at ToD. I didn't get the distance I thought I might from my original rear. Too much high speed highway here in SoCal perhaps! Are riding or trailer int to ToD?

I love that 401 front and much better than the flat crown of the 21" TKC-80.  I can turn easier and feels like a lot more grip.

 

I'm tentatively trailering up Thur with Rich.  He's bringing his 690.

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