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  1. #1
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    Cake Eater vs Gnarwhal

    Curious if anyone has much time on the Terrene cake eater 27.5 x 4.5 and also the Bontrager Gnarwhal 27.5 x 4.5?
    I've ridden the Gnarwhal's a bit, seemed like good soft condition tires, but wondering if the CE is close to the same grip? It seems like the CE is a bit bigger, but maybe lower profile lugs? This would be for a front tire.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Seriously Nobody has tried both of these tires???

  3. #3
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    Search for Gnarwhal vs Cake Eater came up with this...

    Cake Eater vs Gnarwhal-gnarwhal-cake.jpg

    ...sorry.

    I only have experience with the Gnars (studded)

  4. #4
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    Ok I don't even care anymore about the tires..that is awesome!

  5. #5
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    Iíve got about 8 days on the Cakeater 27.5x4.5.. all of my rides on them have been glare ice or rain soaked frozen crust. They are slightly taller and a fair bit wider (mine measure 4.48@12psi on 80mm rim) than the Gnarwhal but the lugs are shorter. For me i wanted a less agressive studded tire with more float than the gnarwhal and these so far check the boxes, obviously havenít been able to ride any deep snow but the hookup on ice was really damn good considering they only have 180 studs.

  6. #6
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    Are you in Anchorage? All the local shops Iíve tried have told me the new Cake Eaters arenít in yet. I really want to see that tire in person. I heard that the Cake Eater studs arenít as tall for lower rolling resistance, but I hate the sound of that. The tire already has half as many studs as the competition. However, the reported size of this new Cake Eater is intriguing. Trying to make up my mind between the 4.5 cake eater (which would require me getting a 27.5 wheelset) and Johnny 5.

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheesehead View Post
    Iíve got about 8 days on the Cakeater 27.5x4.5.. all of my rides on them have been glare ice or rain soaked frozen crust. They are slightly taller and a fair bit wider (mine measure 4.48@12psi on 80mm rim) than the Gnarwhal but the lugs are shorter. For me i wanted a less agressive studded tire with more float than the gnarwhal and these so far check the boxes, obviously havenít been able to ride any deep snow but the hookup on ice was really damn good considering they only have 180 studs.

  7. #7
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    Iím in the valley, I preordered mine when they first became available. I chose the unstudded version and studded mine with regular concave 45Nrth studs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Willum View Post
    Are you in Anchorage? All the local shops Iíve tried have told me the new Cake Eaters arenít in yet. I really want to see that tire in person. I heard that the Cake Eater studs arenít as tall for lower rolling resistance, but I hate the sound of that. The tire already has half as many studs as the competition. However, the reported size of this new Cake Eater is intriguing. Trying to make up my mind between the 4.5 cake eater (which would require me getting a 27.5 wheelset) and Johnny 5.

  8. #8
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    Willum, I've been riding the 26x4.6" CE in the rear for a year now and the traction is about on-par with a D5 in deep snow, and better on ice that a D5 with cheap rounded-tip studs (not recommended, get the concave ones!).

    I should have a 27x4.5" CE in my hands very shortly for fondling.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheesehead View Post
    Iíve got about 8 days on the Cakeater 27.5x4.5.. all of my rides on them have been glare ice or rain soaked frozen crust. They are slightly taller and a fair bit wider (mine measure 4.48@12psi on 80mm rim) than the Gnarwhal but the lugs are shorter. For me i wanted a less agressive studded tire with more float than the gnarwhal and these so far check the boxes, obviously havenít been able to ride any deep snow but the hookup on ice was really damn good considering they only have 180 studs.
    What bike? Any pics?


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  10. #10
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    I have both in stock but no reason to ride either yet. Probably only a few weeks away.

  11. #11
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    Fatback Corvus, no pics at the moment..

    Quote Originally Posted by solarplex View Post
    What bike? Any pics?


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  12. #12
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    Ive ridden both, but I am also extremely biased.
    Tires for real rides: www.terrenetires.com

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Willum View Post
    I heard that the Cake Eater studs arenít as tall for lower rolling resistance, but I hate the sound of that. The tire already has half as many studs as the competition.
    So, one thing is that we do this on purpose. Our studs are considerably sharper than anything else on the market, so after testing, we found that we could both reduce our stud counts, and reduce our stud heights and have similar traction to tires with a greater count. We are riders and engineers, so please keep in mind that we didnt just do that for the sake of it, but actually tested it against the other primary studded tires out there, and found that by shortening our stud, we were able to have similar, if not better traction, but also less rolling resistance.
    Tires for real rides: www.terrenetires.com

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCheesehead View Post
    Iím in the valley, I preordered mine when they first became available. I chose the unstudded version and studded mine with regular concave 45Nrth studs.
    I did the same thing with the Gnarwhal and the xl 45 North concave studs, pretty awesome grip on ice, better than 200 grip studs on Bud and Lou.

    -Nolan

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon View Post
    So, one thing is that we do this on purpose. Our studs are considerably sharper than anything else on the market, so after testing, we found that we could both reduce our stud counts, and reduce our stud heights and have similar traction to tires with a greater count. We are riders and engineers, so please keep in mind that we didnt just do that for the sake of it, but actually tested it against the other primary studded tires out there, and found that by shortening our stud, we were able to have similar, if not better traction, but also less rolling resistance.
    Interested on your take of your sharper studs as compared to the new concave 45 North studs. In my head it seems like more surface area is better than a small, sharper stud. I only have experience with the grip studs and a small amount of time on the concave studs. So far the concave studs are way better for me. How do your studs differ from the others in which you feel they are superior?

    -Nolan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon View Post
    So, one thing is that we do this on purpose. Our studs are considerably sharper than anything else on the market, so after testing, we found that we could both reduce our stud counts, and reduce our stud heights and have similar traction to tires with a greater count. We are riders and engineers, so please keep in mind that we didnt just do that for the sake of it, but actually tested it against the other primary studded tires out there, and found that by shortening our stud, we were able to have similar, if not better traction, but also less rolling resistance.
    Do you have a stud cross section view we can use to evaluate this claim?

  17. #17
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    The Triple Cutter studs have 3 visible, sharp points. It's visible evident that they are "sharp" compared to a regular concave stud. The 45NRTH XL concave stud has a fairly "sharp" rim, but not stab-you-in-the-finger sharp. Just look at the photos:

    https://terrenetires.com/pages/studs
    https://45nrth.com/products/wrathchild
    I have 45NRTH XL studs on the shoulders of my Cake eater and they really grab. I will try Terrene TC "standard" length studs on my next set.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanuckMountainMan View Post
    Search for Gnarwhal vs Cake Eater came up with this...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Gnarwhal Cake.jpg 
Views:	61 
Size:	60.3 KB 
ID:	1226611

    ...sorry.

    I only have experience with the Gnars (studded)
    That made me laugh my balls off.
    I like turtles

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ten80 View Post
    The Triple Cutter studs have 3 visible, sharp points. It's visible evident that they are "sharp" compared to a regular concave stud. The 45NRTH XL concave stud has a fairly "sharp" rim, but not stab-you-in-the-finger sharp. Just look at the photos:

    https://terrenetires.com/pages/studs
    https://45nrth.com/products/wrathchild
    I have 45NRTH XL studs on the shoulders of my Cake eater and they really grab. I will try Terrene TC "standard" length studs on my next set.
    The bikestud studs are similar diameter and height compared to the terennes. Based on what I've experienced so far, I think it's overall surface area and height that have a lot to do with penetration and grip. The smaller the surface area and the higher the height, the better the penetration, up to a point, where things like machine screws start folding because they are sticking out too far. It'll be interesting to see if this also affects longevity, as the older 45N studs hold up for a LONG time IME. So far, it seems it's more about stud count and location, rather than triple cutter vs. not, I think those factors about overall height and diameter are probably more relevant, then if you can put down more studs in contact with the ground, the J5 is putting around twice as many down at any one time than my D5s.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolan17 View Post
    Interested on your take of your sharper studs as compared to the new concave 45 North studs. In my head it seems like more surface area is better than a small, sharper stud. I only have experience with the grip studs and a small amount of time on the concave studs. So far the concave studs are way better for me. How do your studs differ from the others in which you feel they are superior?

    -Nolan
    With studs, less surface area is better. That's why the concave studs are better than grip studs. With the concave studs, only the material on the outer diameter is in contact with the ice.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon View Post
    So, one thing is that we do this on purpose. Our studs are considerably sharper than anything else on the market, so after testing, we found that we could both reduce our stud counts, and reduce our stud heights and have similar traction to tires with a greater count. We are riders and engineers, so please keep in mind that we didnt just do that for the sake of it, but actually tested it against the other primary studded tires out there, and found that by shortening our stud, we were able to have similar, if not better traction, but also less rolling resistance.
    Can you speak to how the pointed studs hold up compared to the alternatives? I ride a fair bit of plowed bike path to get to our groomed trails. Flat tipped studs have held up great for me, but I am slightly concerned that the blacktop will destroy my Cake Eater studs really quickly.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadkins View Post
    Do you have a stud cross section view we can use to evaluate this claim?
    Are you a certified stud analyst?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by the mayor View Post
    Are you a certified stud analyst?
    Probably no more than you are.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by amadkins View Post
    Probably no more than you are.
    I think " I know you are but what am I" would have been a bettererer reply.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeny View Post
    With studs, less surface area is better. That's why the concave studs are better than grip studs. With the concave studs, only the material on the outer diameter is in contact with the ice.
    That doesn't make any sense, the concave stud has a larger contact patch than a pointed stud so how does a pointed stud have more area? Yes the concave studs are thin but the entire circle is bigger than a pointed stud, like the grip studs, making the surface area bigger.

    -Nolan

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by chequamagon View Post
    So, one thing is that we do this on purpose. Our studs are considerably sharper than anything else on the market, so after testing, we found that we could both reduce our stud counts, and reduce our stud heights and have similar traction to tires with a greater count. We are riders and engineers, so please keep in mind that we didnt just do that for the sake of it, but actually tested it against the other primary studded tires out there, and found that by shortening our stud, we were able to have similar, if not better traction, but also less rolling resistance.
    Thanks for the reply. A few questions:

    Which studs are in the pre-studded cake eater 27.5x4.5 - the standard triple cutter, the low rolling resistance triple cutter, or the ultra traction triple cutter?

    Also, Same question, but for the J5 pre-studded? The ďultra tractionĒ version of triple cutter studs look really interesting, but I donít know if any of your tires come pre studded with them.

    If the ultra traction studs are only available in packs and not pre-studded, is there a way to get them for less than 80 cents per stud - such as by buying a larger pack? What if I buy 700 of them to stud two J5s?

  27. #27
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    Traction on ice with studs is not about larger surface area, it's about sharp edges and points to grab the ice with LESS surface area for a higher pressure per area.

    Consider how a ski pole tip grips ice much better than a frying pan. It's about penetration into the ice. Concave studs have essentially 2 edges; inner and outer, and LESS surface area, therefore increased pressure per area than a flat stud. This is beneficial. A flat stud has a flat surface that can slide on the ice with less penetration due to the larger surface area.

    A triple cutter stud has three sharp points that penetrate the ice. Whether or not this is better than the double edge of a concave stud is debatable. It's a slightly different approach; just like the difference of trying to grip ice with the point of a knife, versus using the sharp edge of the knife to dig in.

  28. #28
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    I think it's a combination of what is being said here in terms of the studs. I don't think that sharpness (like stab you sharp) is necessary, since it will bite into the surface enough with the weight of rider/bike. Most of the forces impacted on the studs would be almost a sheer force like if you were trying to accelerate or stop on ice. I'd rather have a nice square profile because it's going to basically force the side of the stud into the ice to dig in. It doesn't need to necessarily pierce the ice.

    Additionally, I think the concave would be a better shape than a smaller fine stud because when you have these forces, you basically are looking at the width of the stud. For example, the same stud design that is a larger diameter stud will have a bigger cross section to grip the ice. It's a trade off. If you want it to go deeper into the ice then it has to be narrower, which won't grip the ice as well with that side load. I think it's a bad trade off to be smaller because the the supple tire casing and the low air pressure in the tires, I don't think that a sharper stud will necessarily go in significantly deeper to offset the size difference.

    I would think the concave stud would have the best of both worlds since it has a larger size to it (diameter), but the inside is removed to focus the weight on a smaller area to go deeper.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ten80 View Post
    Traction on ice with studs is not about larger surface area, it's about sharp edges and points to grab the ice with LESS surface area for a higher pressure per area.

    Consider how a ski pole tip grips ice much better than a frying pan. It's about penetration into the ice. Concave studs have essentially 2 edges; inner and outer, and LESS surface area, therefore increased pressure per area than a flat stud. This is beneficial. A flat stud has a flat surface that can slide on the ice with less penetration due to the larger surface area.

    A triple cutter stud has three sharp points that penetrate the ice. Whether or not this is better than the double edge of a concave stud is debatable. It's a slightly different approach; just like the difference of trying to grip ice with the point of a knife, versus using the sharp edge of the knife to dig in.
    Thanks for the explanation, I was confusing surface area with the outer diameter of the concave studs. I agree the bigger diameter combined with the less surface area and sharp rim seem like a performance upgrade compared to a grip stud.

    Just seeing the triple cutters for the first time, pretty cool, my only concern is getting cut up in a crash. Did that with the grip studs, right through my pants cut my calves up good! I guess it's a no win situation crashing with any kind of stud.

    -Nolan

  30. #30
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    Very rarely do the tires fly into my legs/arms/face on any crash on any kind of bike. I canít say Iíve ever had this happen in 5 years.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Very rarely do the tires fly into my legs/arms/face on any crash on any kind of bike. I canít say Iíve ever had this happen in 5 years.
    No but I did rub my dog with a set of xl 45nrths, he keeps his distance now

  32. #32
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    Also, the reason I'm running studs is so I DON'T crash
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Also, the reason I'm running studs is so I DON'T crash
    Agreed. I'm 6'9" with 41" inseam and +5 ape index so when I crash there are a lot of arms and legs all over the place so I'm an outlier. Actually as bdundee stated, I find I cut myself more walking around the bike in the garage or loading it up on the roof of my SUV than crashing. Still have the grip studs in my Lake 303's, safety first so there's no downtime.

    -Nolan

  34. #34
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    I saw the factory-studded 4.5 cake eaters in person today on 27.5x80ishmm rims. I was able to compare them to 26x4.0 cake eaters as well as a J5 on a 90mm rim and a Bud with grip studs on an 80mm rim.

    The new 4.5x27.5 cake eaters have the taller ďstandard sizeĒ triple cutter studs, as opposed to the ďlow rolling resistanceĒ studs that come on the 27.5x4 and 26Ē cake eaters. Note that these are NOT the ďextreme tractionĒ triple cutters that are similar to the 45nrth XL stud, just the standard triple cutter that comes on the J5 and the wazia.

    I heard multiple reports that last yearís Cake eaters, 26x4.6 and 27.5x4.0 versions, did poorly on ice compared to Dillingers (along with a couple of reports that they did okay on ice). The taller studs on the 27.5x4.5 cake eaters may help with that, but they still likely take a back seat to the Dillinger and Jonny 5 for ice traction due to having about half as many studs on lugs near the center of the tire tread.

    The 27.5x4.5 cake eater looks to be almost the same width as the Bud on an 80 or the Johnny 5 on a 90, but about an inch taller diameter. So the size is the most noteworthy thing about this new cake eater. Unfortunately you have to choose between this new size and ice traction. Maybe next year theyíll have the Johnny 5 tread and stud pattern on this new 27.5x4.5 carcass! Options pre-studded with the Terrene extreme traction XL triple cutter studs would also be cool.

  35. #35
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    I am debating between a cake eater (27.5 X 4.5) vs the Gnarwal for a front tire. What would be the best?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by manteufel View Post
    I am debating between a cake eater (27.5 X 4.5) vs the Gnarwal for a front tire. What would be the best?

    The blue one.

    You need to tell more about you, where and how you ride, etc... for anyone to have any concept of how to respond.

  37. #37
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    I ride in Quebec Canada, mostly hardpack, but we do get a lot of snow here and I ride everyday. So there will be a mix of conditions, on some occasions a few inches of fresh snow.

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    Will probably go with the cake eater in the back and a gnarwal front. Some people seems to indicate the 26 X4.6 washes out easily up front. There is not many reviews online. How easy is it to switch a tire when set up tubeless?

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by manteufel View Post
    Will probably go with the cake eater in the back and a gnarwal front. Some people seems to indicate the 26 X4.6 washes out easily up front. There is not many reviews online. How easy is it to switch a tire when set up tubeless?
    Going to be weird. 4.5 CE is 4.5Ē true width. The gnarwhal is 4.25Ē wide. CE is 1/2Ē taller than gnarwhal.

    I would run dual CE or dual gnarwhals over a mixed batch. The gnarwhals arnt as slow as they look


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  40. #40
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    How easy is it to switch a tire when set up tubeless? I will try the cake eater first then switch to gnarwhal if I dont like them.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by manteufel View Post
    How easy is it to switch a tire when set up tubeless? I will try the cake eater first then switch to gnarwhal if I dont like them.
    It's probably better to try both tires with tubes first,
    then switch to tubeless once you've picked your favorite tire.

    Gnar's tall wide spaced lugs are very good for grip/traction, and studded they are AWESOME for Winter
    but there is a give&take with a bit more rolling resistance on hardpack or dry surfaces.

    I currently have my 27.5x4.5 Gnarwhals (studded) front and rear (with tubes) on 80mm MuleFut's for Winter,
    But will have my lighter Barbegazi's (same size) setup tubeless on Carbon (Lightbicycle) wheels next Summer
    ...should drop ~3-4 pounds off my Farley 7 and roll a lot quicker

    Cake Eater vs Gnarwhal-fat_farley_3.jpg Cake Eater vs Gnarwhal-fat_farley_1.jpg Cake Eater vs Gnarwhal-fat_farley_2.jpg
    Last edited by CanuckMountainMan; 3 Days Ago at 08:43 PM.

  42. #42
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    Good idea. I will try them with the tubes first, less messy.

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