New to the UK market are Taiwanese rubber company Vee Tire with their range of tyres covering pretty much all disciplines. The Apache is their light weight flagship road model, and a sticky tread compound means they have been decent performers especially in this current inclement weather. Keep your eye out for the Puncture Fairy though.
The Apaches weigh just 180g each which is pretty impressive. You can certainly feel that 50 or so gram difference compared to typical tyres like Conti's Grand Prix 4000s when accelerating or climbing in the hills.
This weight kept down by the absence of a puncture protection layer. The Apache is literally constructed from its sidewall material and the rubber compound. This makes riding on wet, grit strewn roads a bit of a lottery especially now that it's hedge cutting season. I suffered two punctures over the couple of months of testing on the Apaches, my first since last June.
There is a stronger 'Synthesis' sidewall version available which costs an extra four quid and might be a better option if you ride in all weathers.
A lot of fast tyres use dual compounds with softer shoulders to get grip in the corners and a harder central section for longevity from pounding out the miles. Vee use just one though on the Apache's and it feels pretty soft making it very grippy and sure footed in the corners whether they are tight or flowing, wet or dry.
The 23mm tyres we've got in for testing look unbelievably narrow considering nearly every test bike arrives with 25mm or 28mm tyres these days. On a standard width Mavic Open Pro rim they sit with a smoothly rounded profile rather than the more bulbous shape you can get from some manufacturers' tyres. This provides you with a consistent feeling from the tyres as you go from upright to banked over.
They roll well at 120psi on the majority of road surfaces although they can get bounced about a bit on broken tarmac. For main road use though they give a nice feel and certainly keep spinning smoothly with the 185tpi casing absorbing small imperfections.
Overall the Vee Tire's Apaches are decent performers, especially in the dry. They offer low rolling resistance and loads of grip which lets you keep the pace up on the twisty sections and they're good enough to be raced on. The only real issue is the lack of puncture protection which becomes risky if you are racing or riding in wet weather. If you're only going to use them on your dry day bike I think the sacrifice is worth it for the weight advantage.
Price wise the £30 market is hotly contested but the Apaches hold their own against the completion and as wear levels don't seem to be too high I'd say they are a decent investment for lightweight race tyres.
If you want something wider than 23mm Vee also offer a 25mm and 28mm size.
Plenty of grip, low rolling resistance, best kept for dry days as prone to punctures
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vee Tire Co. Apache
Size tested: 700x23
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Apaches are Vee Tire's flagship road tyres and offer light weight and loads of grip.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Tyre Casing: 185
Bead: Folding Bead
Recommended pressure: 100-145 PSI (7bar-10bar).
Sizes: 700x23c (synthesis sidewall available)
700x25c (synthesis sidewall available)
700x28c (synthesis sidewall available)
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Grip levels and rolling resistance are very good.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The rubber compound.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of puncture protection layer.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The Apaches are great road tyres that offer loads of grip and low rolling resistance making them a good choice as a race tyre. The price is competitive considering the performance and competition too. The risk of punctures takes the shine off though.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.