Thailand-based company, Vee Rubber, has been developing and producing tires since 1977. They make tires for vehicles ranging from semi trucks to go-karts and everything in between. In recent years they have dedicated more energy to the US market and motorsport tires specifically. The VRM-401 “V-Grip” is largely a result of those efforts.
Vee Rubber has elbowed its way to the crowded table of ADV or dual sport tires using the proven approach of taking what already worked and making it better – clearly getting their inspiration from the Continental TKC-80 Twinduro. I suppose Continental could view this as flattery, but concern might be a more reasonable reaction to this coo for the adventure tire throne.
At first glance the VRM-401 looks unmistakably like the TKC-80, with large tread blocks and gaps between for a self-cleaning design. Closer inspection reveals that the V-Grip’s traction blocks extended notably farther out onto the sidewall of the tire and that the front is slightly more aggressive than its Continental counterpart. The only thing that did not impress me when I first got the V-Grips was how shallow the tread on the tires were directly from the factory. They looked every bit an adventure tire though and with their claims of being a true 40/60 (on-road/off-road) tire from Vee Rubber I was excited to get them dirty!
Our first outing together on my KTM 690 Enduro R was to an ORV Park on a particularly wet and soggy day. On the trails that day the V-Grips really impressed me, outperforming my expectations in less than ideal conditions. I found the limitations of the V-Grips and my riding skills that day, but nonetheless agree with Vee Rubber’s claim of this being a 60% off-road tire.
The rest of my testing consisted mainly of gravel and dirt roads/trails with the occasional rocky streambed and one trip to the beach. The only real pavement miles consisted of my trips to and from riding locations and a handful of times I commuted to work. These tires had a great “bite” in almost all conditions I tested them in and I accredit that directly to the traction blocks that extend far onto the sidewall of the tires. There have been claims about the great “stickiness” of Vee Rubber tires and I found this to be true with the VRM-401’s also. Throughout testing I hardly ever aired-down with the exception of when I rode in deep sand and I never had a flat of any kind. I did however get a disconcerting gash in the rear tire while riding through a jagged rock garden, but it never caused a failure.
On pavement the V-Grips were well-mannered, handling freeway speeds with ease and inspiring confidence in corners. No notable tire hum and they seemed to do just as well on wet pavement as they did when it was dry.
Life expectancy of the rear tire was the only gripe I have with the V-Grips. After only 1,000 miles the rear tire had become mostly ineffective on my off-road ventures. I probably could have milked the rear a little longer due to the great shoulder and sidewall tread blocks, but the gouge I’d acquired made me uneasy and the remaining tread blocks were cracking at their bases. The front, on the other hand, looked brand new at the same mileage; in fact it showed almost no signs of wear at all!
I think the V-Grips are a fantastic 40/60 tire with real potential to be one of the best tires in their class. Vee Rubber has been working on a harder compound version of the VRM-401 and I think that should make a lot of other tire companies nervous! These tires have a lot of redeeming factors that I believe make up for their relatively short life span. I highly recommend these very versatile tires to any rider who is willing to sacrifice some longevity for superb grip and traction.
– Great traction
– Held up to rough testing
– Easy to spoon on and off!
– Short lifespan (rear in particular)
Available Sizes & Pricing:
– 150/70-17 ($169.61)
– 110/80-19 ($119.28)
– 90/90-21 ($97.49)
– 130/80-17 ($111.12)
– 140/80-18 ($116.97)
– 150/70-18 ($160.85)
Prices shown are manufacturer’s recommended retail prices, correct at the time of writing.