Review: Vee Rubber Trail Taker 650B Tires

27.5 Tires

“They stick like glue on just about anything…”

The Trail Taker has a rounded profile, but with their knob width of 2.5″ they present quite a large footprint on the ground, especially when run with low pressures. This footprint and their tread design gives tractor pulling traction up just about anything, including loose gravel and dirt. Even though the tires only have a carcass of 2.25″, the tall rounded profile and knobby width give them good floatation and adequate volume. The tire is very pliable and sticky and conforming, and when climbing up gnarly rough terrain, including ledges, rock gardens, roots and slabs, it offers incredible traction and composure. They stick like glue on just about anything, and if you keep pedaling with the proper weighting, it will continue up amazing stretches of terrain. Their volume, flotation and stickiness also make them great going downhill, and they really shine on rock slabs and slickrock. Those same characteristics make them work well for braking, where you can come to a standstill quickly, and in addition, they float through gravel and sand with aplomb. I got to use them in wet sloppy snow and mud, and they adhered to rocks and roots without any slippage, and although they track and pull through the mud, they tend not to clean themselves.

The side knobs can sometimes be a bit tricky to initiate for cornering and deep turning, and you have to press the inside edge of the handlebar with some finesse to get them to work properly, otherwise they can washout on occasion. Once you get the hang of playing with the tires in this manner, you can roll the suckers to your heart’s content, and really toss them over. Flying down flowy trails is a hoot, and grabbing some air, and rolling in and out of berms is a joy.

They aren’t the fastest accelerators, and their fat width and the need to run them with low pressure means they aren’t the best rollers, so they feel a bit ponderous on fire roads and butt smooth climbs. You can point them into just about anything, but they aren’t the most precise steering tires, though it’s very minor issue. One disconcerting oddity of the side knobs, is that they like to make a loud pinging noise as they plop off rocks and root, but fortunately, the tires always stay online and never venture anywhere, so it’s more of a subtle annoyance than anything, with no loss of performance.

The sidewalls aren’t the stoutness, but can take some punishment, and I have tossed them into some ugly sharp rocky terrain, and they haven’t suffered any tears or damage. As a front tire they have been very durable, but they do seem to wear more quickly in the rear, especially along the center section. I think because of its traction characteristics, you can apply a lot of power to the rear, and along with prodigious braking, it exacerbates the wearing.

I think they work the best with a wide rim, so rims like the Pacenti DL31, Velocity P35 and Syntace W35 will help the fat tire bulge out as much as possible, and offer superior stability and float, and will pull in the height just a hair (they are pretty darn tall).

Bottom Line
The Vee Rubber Trail Taker 2.4″ 650B tire offers excellent traction in almost any terrain, highlighted by a superb ability to motor up the rockiest and rootiest conditions on a trail. It likes to be run with low pressures, which works in synergy with the wide knobs and tall rounded profile to create a tire that is pliable and conformable, with a large footprint. It likes to fly down flowy trails and rock gardens, and works well on rock slabs and slickrock. It can take some finesse to use the side knobs for cornering, but if used properly the tire can be railed like a demon. The sidewalls and tread were durable, though perhaps not the stoutest, and their rolling resistance and acceleration wasn’t the best. Be warned, with their 2.5″ knobs and 27.75″ height, they might not fit properly into every rear triangle.

The Trail Taker comes at a good price point, and offers excellent traction, float, and braking. Meaty, Beaty, big and bouncy!

Pros

  • Superb climber up rocky/rooty terrain
  • Sticky, pliable and conformable
  • Excellent traction and braking
  • Low pressure monsters
  • Monstrous wide tires – large footprint

Cons

  • Mediocre rolling resistance and acceleration
  • Rear wears quickly
  • Sidewalls aren’t the stoutest
  • Side knobs can take some finesse to use

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Review: Vee Rubber Trail Taker 650B Tires Gallery
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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • derby says:

    Hey Brian, I tried a TT up front, moving a slightly worn front Neo-2.3 to the rear, on 30mm rims. And that combo felt terrible. The Neo in back felt much more stable with better lower speed traction riding in rocks and loose than the TT in front, with only a few fast turns on that one ride. The pointy center of the TT tread slipped sideways much easier than I am used to with Neo’s

    I lowered the pressure a lot, not sure how much below the 25psi I had started, which helped reduce the side slip a little. TT’s at both ends would balance much better, I should try that.

    It does like to lay over deeply on it’s side. I don’t have much fast turny, slalom type, hardpack trail locally, I bet it would be great laying it over side to side in fast slalom conditions.

    I did measure one of mine at 800grms and 28 inches tall calced from many equal rollout circumference measurements Must be from a different production batch than your shorter and lighter samples.

    I was ready to sell my pair for cheep, but should give them a try front and back after hearing you like them so much as a pair. Thanks for the review. – R

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Derby – To me the rear is where it shines, but it does require some low pressures for it to come to life. The Neo’s are a much stouter and stiffer tire, so I would thing that combo would feel a bit disconcerting, as the TT is more pliable, with a squiggling feel in comparison. Most of my terrain is either very rocky or deep gravel. Here are a couple of local trails where they worked well: https://vimeo.com/63418187 and https://vimeo.com/61167850

  • Izzy says:

    Wow 2.45-inch knobs! ;p
    Kidding aside, I wonder how these would work as a front tire on a hardtail.

  • PWRide says:

    I’ve been riding these for about 2 months now. Pretty good tire, but I just noticed the other day that I’ve lost 5-6 lugs on the outside of my rear tire. All of them are missing inline. I wonder if I got a bad tire.

    • Brian Mullin says:

      Sounds like you might have had a bad tire? I tear tires to pieces, and have yet to chunk any knobs off.

    • tonyd says:

      PWRide- I work for Vee and would love to see a photo of your tire…and replace it with a fresh newbie. Thanks!!

      tonyd.

  • Cliff Swanson says:

    @PWRide and @tonyd… I was running a TT tubeless, mounted on a Pacenti TL28 rim on the front of a Turner 5 Spot. I had exactly the same experience with many of the side lugs on one side coming off. I noticed it while riding for a week around Moab in mid-May. I went back to a Neo Moto, which I like better. I, too, figured I had gotten a bad tire as a single. Reading this now I wonder if there is a real design or materials issue.

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