Rubbing your thumb over the Road Runner from Vee Tire Co when it's in its box, you just know it's going to be grippy – the compound feels practically tacky against your skin. And it doesn't disappoint once you put tyre to tarmac.
The Road Runner comes in three sizes, covering all the options that are required by road riders these days. You get a choice of 23mm, 25mm or 28mm, although the UK website only shows the 23 and 25mm as being available.
Swapping the Vees with a set of the excellent Continental GP4000S IIs on one of my bikes, the Road Runners come up trumps in all areas. At 210g they're a bit lighter than the German brand's, with grip levels to match, and rolling resistance was pretty much identical with some simple roll down tests.
Vee, like most tyre companies, keep the details of their compounds secret, so all I can tell you is that it's called Continuum. In the dry the tyres really grip well and give you loads of confidence to keep banking the bike over. Mini roundabouts and the like can be taken flat out and I've yet to find the tyres' limits of adhesion.
The 185tpi (threads per inch) construction is pretty supple and about the normal thread count for a tyre of this kind. At 120psi (the middle of their recommended pressure range, 100-145psi), they don't feel overly harsh on rough road surfaces, and certainly match the aforementioned Contis and a pair of Michelin Pro 4 Endurance models I've been using.
When the ground is wet there is little change to those grip levels. You've got to take the bends a bit easier, like you would with any rubber, but the Road Runners don't break away without warning or feel skittish.
Puncture resistance is taken care of with a Kevlar belt, and while the majority of the miles have been clear, I did catch the tail end of hedge cutting season with no issues whatsoever. There are a couple of little nicks in the tread from flints and sharp stones, but nothing has made it through to the tube.
For added protection the tyres have Synthesis sidewalls, the composition of which Vee Tire Co have again kept secret. They are supposed to be more robust than the standard option, so I'm hazarding a guess at some sort of reinforcing material. Whatever it is, it doesn't seem to have made the sidewalls too harsh.
Wear rates seem pretty good so far after 400 miles, but I'll keep an eye on them and report back should anything untoward happen.
The Road Runners are folders, thanks to the Kevlar bead which hooks under the wheel rim for a secure fit. As far as fitting them goes, getting them onto a pair of Mavic Open Sports wasn't an issue at all after applying a decent amount of thumb pressure to get the last bit over the rim edge. And you can pop them back off without having to resort to a tyre lever.
Overall the Road Runners are very good tyres, easily matching the ride quality and grip of the Conti GP4000S II and Michelin Pro 4 Endurance models I pitted them against. The price is decent as far as RRP goes, but being able to get hold of the opposition at marked down prices could be a thorn in Vee's sidewall.
Fast-rolling, supple tyre that offers confidence-inspiring cornering grip, and sensibly priced at RRP
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Make and model: Vee Tire Co Road Runner Tyre
Size tested: 700C, 25mm
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 Road Runner is aimed squarely at the road with no tread pattern whatsoever, bringing excellent grip and rolling resistance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Kevlar folding bead
*Kevlar protection belt
*Reinforced Synthesis sidewall
*23mm, 25mm & 28mm options
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A brilliant set of race tyres for the summer bike, though they can handle the wet too.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grip levels.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
At full RRP they're nearly 50 per cent more than the heavily discounted Continental GP4000S II.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The Road Runners are excellent tyres in pretty much every aspect and are a pleasure to ride, especially in the bends. It all depends on whether you can swallow paying the full RRP, as I can't find any discounts to match those on the opposition.
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Mason Definition
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!