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  1. #1
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    Newb Fat Biker Tire Questions

    Have just under 100 miles on my new to me Pugsley this month. It had the 120 tpi Nates mounted tubeless, however the shop I purchased it from said that they might give me a false sense of security on ice, so that if I intended to take in some of the local groomed single track, they suggested I get some studded snow tires.

    Most of my miles have been on groomed multi use trails, ie snow mobile, snow shoe, where fat bikes are also welcome, or local gravel roads. the Nates were really good at gripping, didn't seem to pack with snow, and I felt pretty confident on the fat bike group rides I'd been on that included snow/ice covered city street sections pretty much letting it rip.

    Got the 45Nrth Dillinger 4's with 240 studs, 120 tpi mounted tubeless last week. First ride was another group ride with city streets, and I was going to attempt my inaugural groomed single track. The weather was in the teens, streets were hard packed, the tires were confidence inspiring. I was in too high of a gear when I entered the single track, and couldn't seem to get enough traction for enough momentum to even keep going to downshift. I abandoned my attempt so that I wouldn't hold the rest of the ride up, and just waited for the group. Disappointing. Went back last night to practice the single track again. Weather had warmed to the upper 20's so streets that were quite firm the night before the snow was now loose, not quite slushy. I had a hard time keeping upright, and the front tire would seem to slide out at times...unnerving. I might have had as much as 10psi in there, probably a little less, certainly no more than that. Too high? Or, is that just how the Dillinger's are going to be?

    I definitely had too much psi for the single track. I could ride it, but just barely. If my tire wavered near the edge of the snow pack, it was almost sure to go ahead and keep sliding off. Snow did pack in the treads, and I felt like I maybe had less traction than the Nates? To be fair, I mostly ran the Nates at around 6psi, maybe.

  2. #2
    turtles make me hot
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    I have never had to run a studded tire so I may not be of help but I have plenty of experience running Bud and Lou and Nate on snow.
    Studs offer nothing on snow. They are for ice. That's why you liked em on pavement. You also had too much pressure in the Dillingers for packed or groomed snow.
    Do you have the new orange Pugs? Why did you swap the Ednas for Nates?
    I like turtles

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    I have never had to run a studded tire so I may not be of help but I have plenty of experience running Bud and Lou and Nate on snow.
    Studs offer nothing on snow. They are for ice. That's why you liked em on pavement. You also had too much pressure in the Dillingers for packed or groomed snow.
    Do you have the new orange Pugs? Why did you swap the Ednas for Nates?
    No, I have an older Pugs in battleship gray. It was never built up stock, was the shop owner's personal bike. This one will go up to 4.8 in front with the Moonlander fork, but I'm limited to 4 in the rear...guessing that's why he had it with the Nates. With the softer snow on the road and self steering/sliding out, going to 6psi would cure?

  4. #4
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    Dillingers are great for hard packed snow and ice. They roll fast, at the expense of soft snow traction. Nates offer great traction in soft snow, but only roll slightly better than if you mounted a stop sign on your rim. A studded VanHelga would be awesome...

  5. #5
    turtles make me hot
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craptacular8 View Post
    No, I have an older Pugs in battleship gray. It was never built up stock, was the shop owner's personal bike. This one will go up to 4.8 in front with the Moonlander fork, but I'm limited to 4 in the rear...guessing that's why he had it with the Nates. With the softer snow on the road and self steering/sliding out, going to 6psi would cure?
    Probably. I run my 4.8's at 9 psi on singletrack. Always softer in snow.
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  6. #6
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    And like Bluecheese said, Dillinger has a shallower knob than Nate. You'll notice a difference.

    A few years back, my son had HuskerDus on his bike. Whenever he tried to follow my line he would wash out and fall.
    I like turtles

  7. #7
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    Sounds like you got some weird advice, your lbs suggested a less aggressive studded tire for groomed or soft snow riding. That sounds like the opposite of what youd want in your conditions.

    I just took my gnars off to go D4s and they definetly push a little bit more than the gnars because the center tread is 1/3 the height but I just run them lower

    I suggest lowering the pressure until they self steer and then increase it til it doesnt.

    The D4s are my favourite tire to date and I've tried about 4 different 45nrth tires. I ride my D4s in the groomed without any issues but they're definetly no gnar or flowbeist. I think they're worth the reduction in rolling resistance and dont miss my gnars beists or wrath childs.

    The D4 is an extremely mild "race" winter tire and not really an adventure deep soft snow groomer tire. You definetly sacrifice traction for speed with the D4.

    Currently running D4s in all conditions and I'm not regretting them

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saskrider View Post
    Sounds like you got some weird advice, your lbs suggested a less aggressive studded tire for groomed or soft snow riding. That sounds like the opposite of what youd want in your conditions.

    I just took my gnars off to go D4s and they definetly push a little bit more than the gnars because the center tread is 1/3 the height but I just run them lower

    I suggest lowering the pressure until they self steer and then increase it til it doesnt.

    The D4s are my favourite tire to date and I've tried about 4 different 45nrth tires. I ride my D4s in the groomed without any issues but they're definetly no gnar or flowbeist. I think they're worth the reduction in rolling resistance and dont miss my gnars beists or wrath childs.

    The D4 is an extremely mild "race" winter tire and not really an adventure deep soft snow groomer tire.

    I think they suggested the D4's because I intended to ride at least some on a fairly local groomed single track that has a tendency to become icy. That, and the majority of my miles are local gravel/pavement that will have a little/lot of ice.

    I had read that the Nates had fairly harsh reviews on their rolling resistance. I was prepared to not like them...they didn't bother me too much though. I had expected to find the D4's to be a noticeable improvement on pavement over the Nates, but my actual results seemed to show the opposite, even where the surface was dry pavement.

  9. #9
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    Sounds like the quintessential snow riding experience. So many subtleties to the temps, conditions and gear. Read up on it sure, but go ahead and experiment with the equipment you've got.

    Was it right? Was it wrong? Is there something better/worse? Yes, no and maybe to all the questions all at the same time.

    -10psi is probably too high for snow riding unless conditions are perfect
    -upper 20's slushy streets, you were riding in mash potato snow, that's just how it is. You could possible make it marginally better but it is still going to suck. Skinny tires might actually be better to cut through the slop and find traction.
    -studs work well on glare or sheet ice (snow)
    -regular fat may work just fine if it's churned up and re-frozen since there is a lot of irregularity to the surface

  10. #10
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    Nates were my exclusive winter tire for a couple years when I lived in snowier climes. Great traction in snow. Agreed, they're not for ice, but icy conditions were limited enough that I just stayed home those couple days per year when that was an issue.

    And yeah, your pressure needs to drop. A lot. I don't even run 10psi in 4" tires in the summertime. I usually top out around 9psi. On packed snow, I'd usually be around 6psi or so. But if the snow was really soft/loose, I might go as low as 0 psi (measured at around 2psi in a warm basement prior to the ride - in colder temps, that pressure would drop). There were a couple of rides where I was the only fatbike making any progress in fairly deep snow. Even riders with 5" tires gave up. Pressure probably had a lot to do with it (these were mostly folks who brought out their fatbikes for a couple of rides per year, so probably hadn't figured out the tire pressure differences with fatbikes yet), as well as a general unwillingness to push themselves and figure things out.

    I tried riding in snow with 1st gen husker du tires once. That didn't last long. Wasn't even much snow (maybe a couple inches tops), but those tires were no good in it no matter how low I dropped my pressure, so they became my summer tires fast.

  11. #11
    rth009
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    You will find that snow/ice conditions are highly variable. Ive been riding fat bikes in MT in every kind of snow and ice imaginable since fall 2011 (and skiing and snowboarding long before that) and despite how much I watch the weather I cannot predict what the conditions will be like until I get on the trail.
    Dont get discouraged, sometimes its hard. Sometimes your're please when you can pedal forward 10' at a time.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bme107 View Post
    -regular fat works if it's churned up and re-frozen since there is a lot of irregularity to the surface
    fify. This is the kind of stuff I rode a lot in Indiana winters. Glare/sheet ice was fairly rare, so I never bothered with studs. But churned up and refrozen slop has really good traction, actually. Just have to watch out for occasional spots where meltwater pooled and froze into patches of glare ice in a sea of refrozen slush. On one ride, I hit a spot like that rather suddenly and did a surprise 180 spin. Never crashed. Put my feet down and was fine, but it scared the hell out of me.

  13. #13
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    Thanks all. I have been winter riding for a few years, but fat is new, obviously. Will drop my pressure and keep experimenting. I can see maybe another set of wheels with alternative tires to swap around in my future....not an entirely bad thing I like buying bike stuff.

  14. #14
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    Your pressures sound way too high but it does depend on your weight. As a starting point weigh yourself including clothes and your riding kit like a backpack, do it in Kilos. Now divide that figure by ten to get a starting PSI (If your scales don't do kilos, divide the pounds by 22).

    After that adjust for conditions, the tyres themselves, day of the week, etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bob_w View Post
    Your pressures sound way too high but it does depend on your weight. As a starting point weigh yourself including clothes and your riding kit like a backpack, do it in Kilos. Now divide that figure by ten to get a starting PSI (If your scales don't do kilos, divide the pounds by 22).

    After that adjust for conditions, the tyres themselves, day of the week, etc.
    Frankly I do not see validity in the weight to psi correlation with that formula. Experiment. You might be as high as 16psi on the road and 0psi in soft snow. Weight is simply one of many variables.

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