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Vee Tire Co's Rain Runner clincher tyres are available in 23 or 25mm widths and are marketed as super-fast all-rounders. Several weeks using the 25mm option in changeable, autumnal conditions have certainly won me over.
Their soft Continuum Compound is designed with leech-like tenacity and optimal rolling resistance, while the tread pattern is limited to water-channelling grooves and a centre strip, which seem to do their thing without fuss or fanfare.
The Rain Runners' vital statistics of 185tpi (threads per inch) casings, 231g and 145psi max inflation were once the preserve of tubulars, but thankfully these aren't so delicate, partly because of their rugged, reinforced Synthesis sidewalls. These supposedly minimise the likelihood of cuts and other damage synonymous with wet winter roads, and I certainly haven't had any punctures, though I have been mindful to sweep flints or anything else that might create mischief clear at the end of each ride.
My benchmark for swift tyres is 120tpi, and I was decidedly impressed by the Rain Runners' sprightly, responsive nature – on par with, if not better than, some tubulars I used back in the late 1980s, especially across coarser tarmac.
Having overcome some initial caution during the first few miles, I let rip on a 1-in-7 descent with fresh rains pounding down, wound things up to 37mph, and tried to persuade them off line, flicking around ruts, road kill and similar debris with just moments to spare. Nothing doing, and this doggedly dependable theme hasn't wavered – a serious boon when tiredness and fatigue begin to creep in.
Even packing the full 145psi, the ride quality never felt harsh, but 125psi seemed optimal for me. When things turned really grotty I dropped it to the minimum 100, which offered some additional contact with terra firma without blunting their bubbly persona.
I did have one or two pregnant pauses involving a 1-in-4 descent at 42mph, bovine dung and a recycling lorry, but this was later attributable to minor over-inflation (153psi actual) and hasn't recurred since I cross-referenced my track pumps with a standalone digital gauge.
When it comes to fitting, logos and centre chevrons denote the correct rotational direction, and although folding tyres can fight back, these only rated 6/10 on my struggle-o-meter. Fitted to some very traditional Mavic hoops, the first 70 per cent proved pretty obedient when shepherded with two decent quality composite tyre levers, but the final section only submitted with a third and some primal grunting.
Ultimately, these have popped some extra sparkle into long, steady autumnal rides, and while I'd opt for something a bit harder wearing for commuting and when the gritting lorries come out, the Rain Runners have lived up to their name, and come highly recommended for training or just high speed fun.
Lively, dependable tyres for fast paced road riding
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vee Tire Co Rain Runner clincher tyre
Size tested: 700 x 25
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?
Vee Tire says: "They don't cancel races for a little rain and you've still got to make the commute home, right? Enter the Rain Runner, our 700c tire specifically designed for all levels of wet weather. The moisture channels act as both a release for water and an additional bite on hard pack dirt surface. Rain or shine, you can ride on."
So far they have delivered in all contexts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
700x25mm, operating pressures between 100 and 145 psi. Synthesis Sidewall - to prevent sidewall cuts and tears on rough and gritty, winter roads, Continuum compound for low rolling resistance.
Very sprightly tyre that inspires confidence at full pelt in the wet.
Softer compounds traditionally wear faster. There's no immediate evidence of this to date but then I wouldn't expect so after 400 miles.
125-130psi seemed optimal for my 70kg frame.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Ultimately, these aptly named tyres have delighted with their blend of minimal rolling resistance and maximum traction when roads turn wet and greasy. No punctures to date, despite regularly belting along thorn strewn back roads and scoring direct hits with glass through town.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pretty much everything given the design brief.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Can prove tricky to get on and off, so never leave home without good quality tyre levers and, at these pressures, CO2 cartridges just in case you hit that sharp with your name on it.
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
Sprightly yet seemingly dependable tyres for general road riding, and especially competent in the wet.
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)