VEE ATTACK FSX TIRE REVIEW
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Finlay Anderson
Earlier this year VEE Tires launched an all-new gravity range, featuring four tread designs, three casings and two compound options. The Attack FSX was one of these offerings, designed to give a high rolling speed and support aggressive cornering. We’ve been logging countless miles on board a pair of these “Fast Xtreme” tires to find out how they perform, and it’s safe to say that they’ve been a pleasure to attack the slightly drier and harder packed trails around the Tweed Valley in Scotland. Keep on reading to get the full low-down.
In the new VEE Tires gravity range, the Attack FSX is designed to be the fast offering. It’s targeted at offering a good rolling speed thanks to aggressively ramped knobs; stable performance under high cornering loads; and to offer great braking traction when it comes time to drop the anchors. The intentions of the Attack FSX are highlighted by its availability in only a 2.5” width in either 29” or 27.5”, and with their softest Full 40 compound. This Full 40 compound is a very soft and tacky 40a compound, with slow rebound characteristics to provide great damping and control.
In VEE’s new Gravity tire lineup there are three different casing constructions: DH Core and GXE Core targeted at analogue bikes; and the Override Core for eMTB. We tested the Attack FSX with the DH Core in the rear and GXE Core casing up front, and didn’t ride with the Override Core, so will focus on the tested casings for the purpose of this review.
The DH Core is unsurprisingly the most durable casing construction, designed to offer strength and rigidity capable of handling the demands of the World Cup downhill races. There are two plies of 72 TPI casing from bead to bead; an apex insert on each bead area which extends up the sidewall; and Synthesis Sidewall Technology to offer the abrasion resistance required to stand up to downhill abuse. The 29×2.5” Attack FSX in DH Core tipped the scales at an average of 1435g, and retails for $75.
The GXE Core is designed to provide enough durability for hard enduro punishment, but with a reduction in weight and improvement in rolling speed and suppleness compared with the DH Core. There is a 1.5-Ply construction using a more supple 90 TPI carcass material, which is given a B-Proof Nano puncture resistant band to bolster its strength underneath the tread. This still receives the Apex sidewall inserts, though they don’t stretch quite so far up the sidewalls. These changes combine to bring the GXE Core 29×2.5” Attack FSX in at 1225g, with a retail of $70.
Tire choice can be difficult in my home base of the Tweed Valley in Scotland during the summer. Most of the climbs have a high enough average speed and are smooth enough that rolling resistance can be quite noticeable, so any improvements can be very welcome. The trails quickly flip from loose over hardpack (although it’s been rare during this very wet summer) to greasy, with hero dirt in between if you’re lucky. If there’s been any moisture recently then the thousands upon thousands of exposed and polished roots become hilariously slippery. That’s before you get to the mud that’s been unusually present throughout most of this summer, which in itself varies greatly from trail to trail, occasionally offering up sublime grip and other times asking for a full on spike tire to give you purchase and confidence. The VEE Attack FSX tires – much like a pair of Maxxis Minion DHR2 – have proved to offer an excellent all-round compromise of all factors, and as my first time on board a VEE Tire Co offering you can consider me rather impressed.
Fitting the VEE Attack FSX tires proved to be non-eventful, with a good fit on a range of rims that often aired up without the use of a compressor, while avoiding the need to pull out the crowbar to get them on or off. There was no evidence of sealant seeping through the sidewalls once aired up, and they retained air pressure fairly well. I opted to run the DH Core Attack FSX in the rear, with the lighter and more supple GXE Core up front. This tends to be my go-to configuration with equivalent casings in other brands, offering up a lighter weight front end that conforms slightly better to maximize traction and matches the more deft touch of my hands, while retaining stability and strength in the rear where my input tends to be less cautious and more aggressive. With 24 PSI in the GXE Core front tire and 26 PSI in the DH Core rear tire – numbers which mimic my go-to pressures in competitive tires – they felt on the soft side of the right ballpark for the typical enduro abuse. On the couple of occasions I found myself in a bike park setting, a three PSI increase on each end offered the extra support to keep the tires from being overly vague through the hardest compressions.
The Full 40 rubber has a highly damped feel that’s a tad stickier than a MaxxGrip Maxxis tire, but the Attack FSX doesn’t suffer from excruciatingly slow rolling as a result, instead sitting in a fairly happy middle ground where I was happy to log the miles on an enduro bike equipped with the pairing. I’d suggest it’s very close to the same ballpark as an equivalent Minion DHR2 pairing, which is no bad place to be. Tread wear can be a bit of a lottery depending on where and how you’re riding – the Tweed Valley where they were tested for a good margin of the time is quite kind to tires in terms of wear – but the Attack FSX tires didn’t present any cause for concern even so. They’re certainly not going to outlast a harder rubber tire, but they didn’t wear any quicker than I’d expect a sticky rubber tire to, and they avoided crumbling or tearing prematurely like some soft tires can.
Provided they’re at a suitable pressure, the VEE Attack FSX tires feel reassuringly solid. Through hardpack turns and off-camber compressions, the soft rubber of the knobs holds reassuringly solid up until forces get crazy high, meaning you can load the shoulder knobs hard to initiate a quick change in direction. Dry rock and roots are handled amicably, with the sticky rubber conforming well and giving a high level of grip and comfort. The channel is not the most pronounced so there’s not a notable zone of float like you feel on a Minion DHF, giving a little more predictability but with a slight loss in bite into softer soils. Braking hard delivers a stable and settled response, and so long as you’re on terrain that’s not too loose the stopping traction is quite impressive thanks to the wide braking edges on both the center tread and shoulder knobs.
Where the Attack FSX begins to struggle is as soon as the terrain breaks up a little, and the knobs have a tendency to ride on top of loose-over-hard rather than breaking through to find the traction below. The side knobs certainly do a better job in this respect than the center tread, but it’s safe to say the Attack FSX tires prefer the terrain below to be more stable. Similarly when it gets wet, the Attack FSX has a tendency to pack full of mud fast, with the limited gaps between knobs offering little in the way of clearing ability. As the dry conditions specialist, this will likely come as little surprise, but it does prevent the Attack FSX from being a contender for a year-round do-it-all tire.
The burly tire pairing was fairing very well throughout testing until the very last ride before writing this review, during which I managed to catch a sharp rock and simultaneously puncture the tread and bead of the DH Core Attack FSX on the rear. Plugs saved the day and got me off the hill without too much of a headache, but it was a shame and somewhat of a surprise to suffer such a failure with the rest of the punishing test having been so trouble-free. It goes to show that no tire is indestructible, but as they go the VEE Attack FSX with DH Core rear and GXE Core front setup was pretty near.
THE WOLF’S LAST WORD
For aggressive riding in dry conditions, the VEE Attack FSX tires offer high levels of traction in a predictable manner, with strong (but not indestructible) casings. They begin to lose their shine when the trails get looser or muddier, but for their intended use case they’re a stellar option at a fairly reasonable price.
GXE Core 29×2.5 – 1,225g
DH Core 29×2.5 – 1,435g (avg)