Vee Tire Co.? Or better Vee Rubber? USA or Thailand? Damn confusing, isn’t it?
Our „Behind the Scenes“ mission is on to trace people and stories that stand behind FATBikes and tell you about it. Today it’s all about „Vee“ – the brand that is a reliable source for huge tires that make our bikes FAT!
Hier gehts zur Deutschen Version!
A while ago we had our first contact with Vee when a Bulldozer was mounted on a 2015er Rocky Mountain Blizzard. And it was awful… Rolling resistance was as high as pulling a pot whale along a highway with equally agile cornering. Then, when a 2016 Blizzard came in for testing, we discovered a new and much more agile Bulldozer Tire. Now we wanted to know: who or what stands behind Bulldozer, Snowshoe and all the others? Found some answers!
Mr. Sukanjanapong and his grasp for… rubber
Well, it may be the nature of the beast that rubber plays a key role in this article where we’ll speak about one of the currently most active and innovative manufacturers of FATBike tires. Once upon a time Mr. Sukanjanapong who emigrated from China and lived in exile in Thailand started to make his fortune in rubber. To be precise Mr. Sukanjanapong grew rubber trees and fed himself and his family from the return of caoutchouc sales. About 40 years ago back in 1977 his son, Vitorn Sukanjanapong, founded the „Vee Rubber Co LTD.“ to produce bicycle tubes from his father’s natural rubber. Also the three brothers of Vitorn entered the company. And as all their names start with „V“ the Vee Rubber Co. LTD company logo is set from four „V“.
Sounds like a traditional family business? Yepp, damn right!
Yet today Vee Rubber Co. LTD is a global company with more than 4.000 employees and an annual output of approx. 25 million tires of any kind. Nevertheless Vee Rubber Co still is a (Sukanjanapong) family owned company that covers a large portion of its rubber need by its own plantations. By the way: if additional rubber is required only prime quality Thai rubber is purchased.
As in good old times also R&D is done in-house and production is covered by three production facilities around Bangkok. The vertical range of manufacture also includes mold making within Vee’s own factories.
Okay, enough of Vee Rubber history!
Let’s speak about what we are really interested in: FATBike Tires! Mario Zimmermann, who runs the European distribution of Vee Tire Co., told us how Vee got into this business. But hey, wait a minute! Vee Tire Co? Right, and now we’re just in the middle of the story!
Vee Rubber Co. LTD has some good products – however as they are focusing on good quality sold at reasonable price the market perception of the brand is everything but „high end“.
So, a premium approach was needed. And how could one do better than founding a subsidiary with a fancy name in the USA? So Vee Rubber America Inc. – better known as „Vee Tire Co.“ was founded in Atlanta. Brand ambassador is, who else could it be, „Mr. Bike“ Veerewat Sukanjanapong, son of Vitorn.
Around the same time back in 2013 first ideas came up to produce FATBike tires.
And Veerewat said: „Let there be FAT!“
And his developers replied: „Sure, no prob!“ Thanks to existing know-how, rubber inventory and production facilities for high volume tires the first Vee Tire Bulldozer and his brothers saw the light of the day.
However many riders had similar experiences as we had and so, being accompanied by some glasses of „Chang“ or „Leo“ (the favorite beer brands of Vee Rubber developers as we were told), auto steering and rolling resistance were brought to their knees. This was achieved by e.g. improving the Silica Compound to get a lower rolling resistance. Thanks to the in-house R&D teams it took only one season to change Vee’s FATBike tires from being naughty childs to something well mannered.
Meanwhile the FATBike section has become so important for Vee Rubber Co. that it uses separated production lines within one of the production facilities. So to say it’s a manufacture embedded into the regular serial production.
Make it your own!
And this gives some advantages. We mentioned Vee Tire Co. to be „innovative“ and „active“. Example needed? Besides the wide range of tires offered and fast reaction to rider’s needs Vee Tire Co. manufactures tires in selected colors. So you can realize individually colored labels, side walls or even profiles.
If the size of the order is big enough even fully individually colored tires including your own labels are possible. That’s maybe not the right approach for a FATBike club. But how about a FAT-Bike.de Edition? We’d take a pair of them!
What’s up next?
So, how about the future of FATBikes tires made by Vee Tire Co.? Mario could not tell us all the secrets, however: it’s gonna be lighter, more performing and fail-safe. Vee Tire Co. currently works on various projects that will make FATBiking even FATter and also continuously improves its existing products. In any case Vee Tire Co. is supposed to be a major player in FATBikes tires for the next years. Ambitions are high!
Listening to Mario Zimmermann leaves you with the impression that this nice Swiss guy somehow considers Vee Rubber company as part of his family.
For us Vee Tire Co. is the producer that currently does not only have the widest range of tires available but also gradually evolves to become market leader for technology and performance.
So Vee Tire also pushes the other tire makers which should push the entire development of FATBikes tires. For us Vee Tire Co. has become an inherent part of our little, FAT world and we’ll keep a close look onto their developments.
So, have a great ride! Or as they say in Thailand: Nạ̀ng dī!