Vee Tire Rocketman Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The Vee Tire brand has a new entry for gravel cycling called the Rocketman. A bit of a mystery, as we had a hard time extracting any solid information on this tire from our contact, so we have opted to conclude this review as it stands currently. Not that we haven’t ridden these a ton of miles in the meantime, and actually, we even like these tires.
First off, let’s recount what we learned after posting our introduction to the Rocketman back in October:
“All versions of the Rocket Man gravel tire will use our DCC, Dual Control Compound which has been developed for speed, comfort and traction. Each version of Rocket Man features our B-Proof (Aramid Belt) for puncture protection and we will offer the tires in either a tan wall or black wall colour option. We will also offer certain models of Rocket Man with additional Synthesis puncture protection. All models use a 72tpi construction and we will offer the tires in either wire bead of folding bead, but only the folding bead are tubeless ready. ”
That was a direct quote from our contact after several requests for information. So, leaving it to our imaginations as to just which version of the Rocketman tires we were handed, we continued riding and now here is our final verdict on the tires we were sent. (We’re pretty sure it is just the “B-Proof” DCC version.)
At The Finish: A tale of two extremes here. Andy rode the 650B X 44mm versions, and while he liked the speed and grip the Rocketman in this size offers, the ride experience was ‘less’ than hoped for. This all centered around the tire’s lack of volume. As Andy put it, “The whole reason you would want to run 650B is to get a wider tire than you could with a 700c tire. Why would I want a 44mm tire when I can get a 47mm or 50mm 650B tire elsewhere?” And it’s hard to argue that point. Size matters and it is the reason to go 650B over 700c for most riders. Here is where the Rocketman in 650B was a disappointment.
In 700c it was a different story. The Rocketman had just enough compliance that it handled the chunky gravel well, while the more aggressive tread allowed for good cornering traction on both gravel and dirt. In terms of volume, the 44mm tire was right in the pocket for what many 700c riders are looking for and it is something that should fit most gravel bikes.
The hard pack and pavement performance wasn’t spectacular, but for a tire with this sort of dirt oriented tread pattern, it was better than many in its class. I did note a squeegee sort of squeaking sound when riding on chip seal or on more textured asphalt surfaces, making me think of knob squirm. That’s a loss of power there if so, and perhaps the Rocketman isn’t a great choice for those who have a steady diet of pavement in their gravel travel.
Overall, if you come across the Rocketman, you are looking at a decent tire with pretty good, but not outstanding, performance features that will serve you well on gravel and dirt. (If it is a 700c version) It is a weird size in 650B, but if that is as big a 650B tire as your bike can handle, well then…..it’s okay. I wouldn’t look at this tire as a pavement/gravel tire since the tread pattern is a touch too aggressive for that. There are better tires if that is your situation. But on a steady diet of gravel, the Rocketman holds its own, and might be a good tire to keep in mind for your bike.
Note: Vee Tire sent over two pair of Rocketman tires for test and review to Riding Gravel at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.
2 thoughts on “Vee Tire Rocketman Tires: At The Finish”
I disagree with the premise that the only reason to run 650B is to run a higher volume tire than possible with 700C.
I tend to prefer the handling of 650B wheels over 700C, regardless of the tire width.
My favorite bike was designed for 650Bx48 tires (with full fenders). It will also fit 700Cx50 w/o fenders. Mostly I run 650×38-42. 700x anything tends to feel sluggish.
I would love to have more choices for aggressive more mud-friendly 650Bx40-45 tire (such as the RH Pumpkin Ridge and sadly still excludes the RM) partly for clearance, partly as more volume isn’t always necessary.
Another bike can take 29×2.3 tires. I spend most of the Fall riding it with 650×48 tires.
@shiggy – “Most” people are looking for volume and are restricted by 700c, (usually) in their gravel bikes so going 650B allows for a more voluminous tire. You know this.
But “most” people are not you, and probably some other people too.
We understand that here. So, for ‘most’ folks, that is the only reason to run 650B.