Bite the Snow, Not the Dust – Fat Bike Tires

Bite the Snow, Not the Dust – Fat Bike Tires 480 640 Carl Gammon

The component that makes your Fat Bike a Fat Bike, is large-volume tires, and the ability to run said tires. So it might not be an understatement to say that it is the single most important component choice you have. If you are unsatisfied with what you currently have, it could be because your bike originally came with a tire that is not designed for your preferred terrain. It could also be because you have a low-quality tire specification that was a compromise on a budget-oriented Fat Bike. If you are looking to upgrade, or just replace worn tires, we have the models that pros and enthusiasts trust.

There are three main areas where tires are going to differ, and you may have to give up one to gain another. There is no one “perfect-at-everything” tire. We will consider width/volume (floatation), aggressiveness of tread (bite/rolling resistance), and weight to be these criteria. “Floatation” describes how well a tire keeps you from bogging down in deep snow, much like a snowshoe keeps you from sinking in.

The Specialized Ground Control Fat tires come in two widths, 4.0” and 4.6”. They have medium, moderately spaced knobs for low weight, fast rolling, and excellent grip. Both perform well on groomed singletrack. Get the wider if you ride in fresh snow, or like to go exploring. Get the narrower if you aim for the podium, want a super-light bike, or only ride roads and groomed trails.

Schwalbe is known for making tires for the racer, featuring ultra-lightweight and fast rolling tread patterns. The Jumbo Jim Fat Bike tire line is no exception. They come with the same tread in 4.0”, 4.4”, and 4.8” widths. The larger the tire you choose, you will gain floatation in soft snow, for a slight resistance and weight penalty. The tire will perform best in optimal conditions, as they have far less bite than more aggressive tread patterns.

45Nrth is a Minnesota brand known for high quality winter adventure gear.
The Dillinger line is a fast-rolling, medium-profile knob design. The Dillinger 5 is a 4.8” studdable tire (studs sold separately) –the best tire for deep, fluffy snow (pictured above top). The huge volume will keep you stable with maximum floatation.
The Dillinger 4” Studded (pictured above bottom) is a go-to for digging in groomed singletrack that gets icy or lake rides. It has less resistance, but less floatation than the wider studded tires.

The Flowbeist and Dunderbeist are a Front/Rear-specific pair with gnarly knobs for maximum bite without the studs. Its 4.6” width also makes for great floatation over soft snow. It’s a great all-around tire that doesn’t shy when it’s slick, but doesn’t have the added resistance of studs when conditions are good.

The Wrathchild tire takes you to the nastiest conditions with confidence. At 4.6” wide, they have floatation in soft stuff and the extra bite of studs. The weight is about the same as similar 4.6” tires without studs. For the adventurer, the snow-shedding knob configuration, stable width, and ice-gripping studs offer the total package.

You may want to consider the conditions you ride in most of the time to choose the tire that is best for you and your bike. Your riding style and experience can be a factor in determining what tire is right for you as well. It is also a good idea to check with your Life Cycle staff member to determine proper fitment for your bike model.

– The Wrench

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