Vee Tire Rocketman Tires: Getting Rolling- by Guitar Ted
Vee Tire is not a household name in the bicycle tire world for most cyclists. Sure, you may have heard of the company, but name a gravel oriented tire that they sell. I know. It’s hard to come up with anything. But with this new design, the Rocketman, Vee Tire hopes to move the needle in the gravel tire range. Let’s take a closer look at what we have here for test and review.
What It Is: Vee Tire doesn’t show much about this tire, so we have little to go on, and our inquiries for information have- so far- been unanswered. So, this is what we know now about this model.
The Rocketman gravel tires are variants on Vee Tire’s currently offered Rocketman MTB tires which have Vee Tire’s MPC rubber compound, 120TPI casing construction, and cost around $40.00-$50.00 dollars. We are left to assume that this tire is something similar, but I must stress that as of this posting, we have no confirmation of these specs. If Vee Tire answers our inquiries we will update this post with the proper information. We can say that as of this post, we have seen no specific information on the Vee Tire website about this tire. UPDATED 11/4/20: We received this information from our Vee Tire contact today regarding this tire as follows:
“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. ”
We received two sets of Rocketman tires. One in 650B X 44mm and one in 700c X 44mm. Yes, that is not a typo on the 650B tire. It is a 44mm wide tire. This automatically places that model in a unique place amongst gravel tires.
We do not know at this time whether or not the Rocketman comes in a black sidewall version, but ours were skin wall, and a very ‘fleshy’ colored skin wall at that. There is no mention of any puncture protection with this model, and any real particulars can only be guessed at. Again, we apologize for the lack of details. We are running with what we have got.
First Impressions: I can say that these tires seem reasonably lightweight and they tipped our scales at 542/547gm for the 650B size and 524/515gm for the 700c size. The side walls feel rather flexible, suggesting that they do not have any protective belts there at least. the tread is rather aggressive for a gravel road tire, but the arrow style of the pattern seems to have an overlapping layout which suggests a fast rolling center tread area.
These tires came straight from the factory with no retail point of sale tags or boxes of any sort, so we may be looking at preproduction issue tires here. That said, there were a few visible flaws in the 650B tires where the black rubber tread cap was applied to the carcass. Nothing major that would deem them questionable, but such minor flaws on production tires meant for consumers may not go over well, if that carries over to Rocketman tires consumers see. Otherwise Andy T and I were rather impressed with the tires.
Andy T has mounted the Rocketman 650B X 44’s on his Twin Six Standard Rando for now. They aired up easily on his Easton wheel set with the aid of the compressor at Andy’s Bike Shop. The 700c tires also required a bit of assistance from my small compressor to seal up but otherwise were nothing out of the ordinary. I set up the 700c X 44mm tires on Irwin Cycling alloy wheels. Air retention has been average. You will need to air these tires up more often than say, the Hutchinson Touaregs, which are the gold standard for air retention in tubeless tires so far.
So Far… The Rocketman is a bit of a mystery tire from Vee Tire Company which we hope to clear up soon. Not just in terms of specs but also in terms of on-road performance. Gravel roads, that is. Andy T will be handling the 650B side of things while I will be testing the 700c versions. We both have had short rides on these and we can say that they roll faster and with more ease than the tread might suggest. In our next post, the “Checkpoint“, we will detail what we have learned about the Rocketman while riding various surfaces. Stay tuned.
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.