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  1. #1
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    Front Tire Washout

    During the Fat Bike Birkie the trail conditions were pretty ideal. ( posted some pictures in another thread). Well groomed and firm trail. The area that seemed to be holding me back was cornering at the bottom of the hills. My older Dillinger (4") was washing out. Due to the firmness of the trail and my 205 Lb weight, I was running 9psi in the front and 10psi in the back. Given that I am coming from a roadie background, with limited MTB skills, I know technique will yield the greatest improvements. But, since I cannot buy experience, I thought I would look at some tires. I see 45nrth increased the size of the side lugs on the D4 to help reduce what I was experiencing. Have people noticed an appreciable difference in cornering with the new D4 vs the old one? What about the D5? The D5 looks to have side lugs closer to the older style. I am riding a 2015 Mukluk with Mulefut rims.

    I am looking for something that:
    • will inspire more cornering confidence than an old D4
    • that is studded and
    • will not cause a large rolling resistance penalty on hard packed snow


    Ideas?

  2. #2
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    Drop your pressure, practice cornering on a snow parking lot, run studs.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    During the Fat Bike Birkie the trail conditions were pretty ideal. ( posted some pictures in another thread). Well groomed and firm trail. The area that seemed to be holding me back was cornering at the bottom of the hills. My older Dillinger (4") was washing out. Due to the firmness of the trail and my 205 Lb weight, I was running 9psi in the front and 10psi in the back. Given that I am coming from a roadie background, with limited MTB skills, I know technique will yield the greatest improvements. But, since I cannot buy experience, I thought I would look at some tires. I see 45nrth increased the size of the side lugs on the D4 to help reduce what I was experiencing. Have people noticed an appreciable difference in cornering with the new D4 vs the old one? What about the D5? The D5 looks to have side lugs closer to the older style. I am riding a 2015 Mukluk with Mulefut rims.

    I am looking for something that:
    • will inspire more cornering confidence than an old D4
    • that is studded and
    • will not cause a large rolling resistance penalty on hard packed snow


    Ideas?

  3. #3
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    I have experience with older D4s and D5s. While they roll fast they are terrible at cornering in almost any condition. Perhaps a studded set of 45NRTH Wratchchilds or 26 x 3.8 studded Bontrager Gnarwhals might be better? They won't roll as well but should be a much better tire overall. For racing, maybe a combination of a D5 rear with a Wrathchild front? I guess it depends on how much cornering there really is and if you are losing a lot of time there?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nurse Ben View Post
    Drop your pressure, practice cornering on a snow parking lot, run studs.
    Thanks. My pressure certainly was higher than normal given the hard packed groomed conditions. It was great to start, but as 250+ riders in front of me wore in a groove and the sun warmed conditions did get a little bit softer. In hindsight stopping to air down a bit may have been time saved at the end.

    I do have studs, XL's on the outter two rows of lugs and Terrene studs in the middle rows. I do think the little extra they provide in hard pack saved me a couple times.
    The snow angel I made 8 miles into the 28 mile race made me slow down a bit.

    I know practice is key. I also found it helpful to follow some people's lines, although I probably annoyed them from time to time with my brakes squealing behind them.

  5. #5
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    Are you sure your pressure gauge is accurate? I know it's different for a 4" tire than the 5" I run, but 9 and 10 psi would be way too much for me. You should probably drop to something more like 7 front and 8 rear.

  6. #6
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    I also weigh 205# and my default tire pressure on D5s is 5# in the rear and 4# in the front. On firm conditions, I might go as high as 8 in the rear, but would still keep the front around 5# or to handle the washout effect.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodownzero View Post
    Are you sure your pressure gauge is accurate? I know it's different for a 4" tire than the 5" I run, but 9 and 10 psi would be way too much for me. You should probably drop to something more like 7 front and 8 rear.
    Yes, gauge is accurate. Normally I would agree, but snow was very firm. Talking with others at the race pressures were pumped way up, even for lighter riders. Here is a picture of the groom:



    To give you a further idea of the firmness I was able to climb 15+% grades without spinning out a 4" Dillinger with 10.5 psi.

    In retrospect I am thinking 7-8 in the front may have helped.

    It was still a hoot and I did better than I thought I would.

    While a new D4 with large side lugs would probably be optimal for this race, I may go D5 on the front (will not fit in back with 2x crank). That will help with flotation when not riding such a pristine trail.

    Wrathchilds look like they would fit and would have otherworldly grip, but would be slow rollers.

  8. #8
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    Completely different animal, but I run a Surly Bud on the front of my bike on an 80mm rim at probably 5-7 psi depending on trail conditions. Less in snow.
    I like this tire in all conditions no matter what rear tire I'm running. I weigh about 250 and I lay into corners and have not had a washout. Love that tire.
    If you don't want to go that big maybe try a Van Helga.
    I like turtles

  9. #9
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    I have a set of studded D4s (new this year and came with my bike). They roll and corner well on hard pack but have the tendency to wash out in deeper snow especially on off camber terrain. If I was racing on groomed hard pack/icy type trails, then this would be a tire I wouild strongly consider. I will look for other options (at least for the front) for next winter. I will say that the studs have saved my bacon a few times this winter on the ice. Whatever I choose as replacement(s) will include studs. The Terrene Cake Eaters are on my short list.

  10. #10
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    IME, running a D4 or D5 at lower pressures causes an annoying amount of tire squirm. The low psi that many advocate only make sense on really soft trails. On well packed trails for me (at 275) find the D4 and D5 run best at slightly higher pressures (10-12R / 8-10F). Anything less than 9psi in the rear is really squirmy on the fast flowy trails. And yes, I have tried all sorts of pressures and, yes, my guages are accurate.

  11. #11
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    I ordered a D5. Milltown has the unstudded version for $100 shipped. I will stud it up and give it a whirl.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Yes, gauge is accurate. Normally I would agree, but snow was very firm. Talking with others at the race pressures were pumped way up, even for lighter riders. Here is a picture of the groom:



    To give you a further idea of the firmness I was able to climb 15+% grades without spinning out a 4" Dillinger with 10.5 psi.

    In retrospect I am thinking 7-8 in the front may have helped.

    It was still a hoot and I did better than I thought I would.

    While a new D4 with large side lugs would probably be optimal for this race, I may go D5 on the front (will not fit in back with 2x crank). That will help with flotation when not riding such a pristine trail.

    Wrathchilds look like they would fit and would have otherworldly grip, but would be slow rollers.
    I haven't ridden in snow, so take it with a grain of salt, but I'm running about 6 psi front and ~6.5 rear on my Bud/Lou. With the rigid fork, I ran even less in the front (as low as 4 psi) but with the suspension fork, it felt too squirmy and so I added some air. If I was going to use it in snow, I'd drop these pressures by another ~2 psi.

    I also weigh 153 pounds, so I'm sure you need a bit more air, but even with 4" tires you shouldn't need double digits. My gf has a Wednesday and she runs about the same pressure as me with the Nates, so 2-3 more psi ought to get you there. Remember that fat tires have a pretty narrow range of pressures; going from 5 psi to 6 psi is a big difference, and the jump from 6 to 8 psi is much bigger. They can take more, but I can certainly feel a lot of difference between 6 and 8 psi.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    During the Fat Bike Birkie the trail conditions were pretty ideal. ( posted some pictures in another thread). Well groomed and firm trail. The area that seemed to be holding me back was cornering at the bottom of the hills. My older Dillinger (4") was washing out. Due to the firmness of the trail and my 205 Lb weight, I was running 9psi in the front and 10psi in the back. Given that I am coming from a roadie background, with limited MTB skills, I know technique will yield the greatest improvements. But, since I cannot buy experience, I thought I would look at some tires. I see 45nrth increased the size of the side lugs on the D4 to help reduce what I was experiencing. Have people noticed an appreciable difference in cornering with the new D4 vs the old one? What about the D5? The D5 looks to have side lugs closer to the older style. I am riding a 2015 Mukluk with Mulefut rims.

    I am looking for something that:
    • will inspire more cornering confidence than an old D4
    • that is studded and
    • will not cause a large rolling resistance penalty on hard packed snow


    Ideas?
    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Completely different animal, but I run a Surly Bud on the front of my bike on an 80mm rim at probably 5-7 psi depending on trail conditions. Less in snow.
    I like this tire in all conditions no matter what rear tire I'm running. I weigh about 250 and I lay into corners and have not had a washout. Love that tire. ...
    +1 on the Bud for soft conditions (or pretty much anything).
    I'm ~190# and run down to about 4psi for mush, and up to 7 for hardpack.

    Quote Originally Posted by fisherk View Post
    I have a set of studded D4s (new this year and came with my bike). They roll and corner well on hard pack but have the tendency to wash out in deeper snow especially on off camber terrain. If I was racing on groomed hard pack/icy type trails, then this would be a tire I wouild strongly consider. I will look for other options (at least for the front) for next winter. I will say that the studs have saved my bacon a few times this winter on the ice. Whatever I choose as replacement(s) will include studs. The Terrene Cake Eaters are on my short list.
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    I ordered a D5. Milltown has the unstudded version for $100 shipped. I will stud it up and give it a whirl.
    Oh well, I guess you're not getting a Bud. What do tire studs do to improve riding in soft snow? I thought they were for ice.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post

    Oh well, I guess you're not getting a Bud. What do tire studs do to improve riding in soft snow? I thought they were for ice.

    -F
    Conditions were far from soft. Studs were not necessary for this race, but conditions can vary. I would rather have studs and not need them than need studs and not have them. Here is a video of the race taken by a guy that finished in the top 40, I was way behind them in 250th+. I did my snow angel on the slight left hander that they passed at the 35:15 minute mark:

    https://youtu.be/kEssRhYFAkc?t=2043

    Sadly was was only going about 20 mph compared to the guys in the video doing 28. :O Perhaps my largest gains to be had by growing a pair.

  15. #15
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    Studs do very little, if anything at all, to improve riding in soft snow. They do quite a bit to improve handling on overflow sections of trail and I would say that they also improve grip on hard pack. The overflow can be treacherous on some of the single track trails in southcentral Alaska. This is especially true when riding at night. Even with a light one can actually be on the overflow before being able to stop. Riding on water covered ice without studs is not fun. The studs provide just enough grip to be able to control the bike. Other than the studs the D4 does not perform well for the type of trails I mostly ride. Thus, I will be looking for other studded options.

  16. #16
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    Bluecheese,
    Just a heads up the Wazias and Cake Eaters wash out worse than the D4s or D5s. Just my $0.02.
    ptarmigan hardcore

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Co-opski View Post
    Bluecheese,
    Just a heads up the Wazias and Cake Eaters wash out worse than the D4s or D5s. Just my $0.02.
    Thanks. I was looking at those at the Terrene display. They did not seem to have very pronounced side lugs so I shied away from them. I like the redesigned side lugs on the D4s and wish they and put them on the D5 as well.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCheesehead View Post
    Conditions were far from soft. Studs were not necessary for this race, but conditions can vary. I would rather have studs and not need them than need studs and not have them. Here is a video of the race taken by a guy that finished in the top 40, I was way behind them in 250th+. I did my snow angel on the slight left hander that they passed at the 35:15 minute mark:

    https://youtu.be/kEssRhYFAkc?t=2043

    Sadly was was only going about 20 mph compared to the guys in the video doing 28. :O Perhaps my largest gains to be had by growing a pair.
    I could see where those guys got a little light going over that little rise. That looked more like a road race, though, than a fatbike race. I've never even seen a course like that.

    I was mentioning the Bud because I did a short race a few weeks ago and conditions were very soft, ~30*F. The Bud up front (and Lou out back) gave me a noticeable advantage in the tight singletrack where others were obviously struggling/sliding, and often falling, when they tried to push the pace. Out in the open, on the straights, it held no advantage at all. Although one area of the course on a wide open downhill right hander had drifted making it ~10-12" deep, where the rest of the course was 5-6". It had been "groomed" (sorta), but it was still deep and soft. There were tracks going every-which-way there as riders fought for control, but I was able to carve into it pretty successfully, even carving across other tracks. It was a good feeling. Loose and unstable in all that mush, but good.
    On less rutted areas and firm snow like you had, the Bud gives me confidence to lean hard on it while unweighting the rear, which allows the rear to drift pretty controllably. I even sometimes "steer with the throttle" a bit, but that can be very tiring. I probably run ~4psi in soft conditions, and maybe 7-8 in firm. On the course in your vid I could see running a solid 8psi. It loses on ice, though. Not sure how well studs stay in a Bud.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  19. #19
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    A studded fat bike tire with a lot of rolling resistance on hardpack? Hmmm. Wrathchilds have big lugs and great grip. Traction don't come easy. Maybe a larger non studded tire in hardpack? Anything but the D 4, really.

  20. #20
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    OP needs to try Bud.
    I like turtles

  21. #21
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    I don't have a lot of miles on them due to injury/surgery in December but Terrene Cake Eaters could be a good option for you... They roll extremely fast (I have the 4.7 120tpi studded) on hardpack snow. I did a PB on almost all segment on my 20km ride yesterday. Conditions were icy and sketchy. Lung are relatively small in center and bigger on the side. I tried them in softer snow and with lower pressure, They performed surprisingly well. To me they are now my go to tire (mounted on a DTSwiss BR2250) and I keep my Bud/Lou\clownshoes for softer conditions. I'm 200lbs naked.

    Check this great review:
    https://fat-bike.com/2018/03/terrene...d-term-update/

    Front Tire Washout-img_2553.jpg
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    I could see where those guys got a little light going over that little rise. That looked more like a road race, though, than a fatbike race. I've never even seen a course like that.

    -F
    Yep, someone commented afterwards that it was "a road race on fat bikes". It is pretty unique to ride a surface that is groomed 25' wide at it's narrowest point.

    Thanks all for the input. Snow testing will likely have to wait till next season. It's pretty warm in SE Wisconsin. I'll work on technique on some dirt trails.

  23. #23
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    I'm a fan of the Wrathchild tires with the XL studs. The aggressive lugs might give more bite than your D4. I would also consider lowering the pressure in front quite a bit. You won't lose that much rolling speed but the softer tire will bite much better. I might suggest 6-7psi for your weight. Another important consideration is weight distribution on your bike. The higher your stem and handlebars the more weight you will have on the rear tire and less on the front: resulting in less front end grip. Look at your bar height. If you take out some spacers if you have some under the stem and put them on top. If your existing set up does not have spacers under the stem, see if your stem can be flipped to lower your bars. Alternately you can buy a bar that has less rise. I think 10mm drop is a good place to start. Even 20mm if you have the bars really high. I hope that helps!

  24. #24
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    Good points, G. That center of gravity is fun to play with. I like when I'm predicting and projecting it out in front of me a few feet, somewhere between me and the line I'm looking at in the snow or ice and the berm and that tree I'm elbowing.
    I like my grip-studded Bud in any conditions, just looking at the tread it obviously doesn't slide out easily, and is smooth-rolling if pumped up. I don't race, though I'd consider it if it were like that Fat Birkie video.
    Last edited by dudeist; 03-14-2018 at 04:18 PM.

  25. #25
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    This non-tire option is really just food for thought (and more expensive), but nobody mentioned it, so here I go. Having a relatively wider rim in the front compared to the rear will aid in cornering and reduce washout. Imagine the front wheel pulling your through the corner in the direction you steer and the rear wheel pushing you into the corner along the center line of the bike. When you have the same tire/rim combo front and rear, the pull coming from the front and the push coming from the rear are similar. Increasing the front rim width or decreasing the rear rim width puts the bias more towards the front wheel pulling through the corner and less towards the rear wheel pushing into the corner and washing out. For snow-only traction issues, I'd be more inclined to increase the size of the front rim to 100mm if you're running 80mm.

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