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  1. #1
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    Winter tires for Suzi Q

    We just picked up a lightly used Rocky Mountain Suzi Q 50 for my wife. We live in an area that gets significant lake effect snow from Lake Superior (250" season average), and I groom about 10 miles of single track for winter snow biking. I went with the Suzi Q because I'm assuming my wife is only going to ride when conditions are good, meaning firmly groomed snow and temperatures greater than zero F. I will probably ride it as well when conditions are firm (I have a Kona Wozo with 26x4.6 tires). I think we’re going to want a better snow tire than the stock Minion 27.5x3.8. It tends to stay cold here and our trails don't get a ton of traffic so ice isn't an issue and studs aren't necessary. I'm leaning towards 27.5x4.0 Vanhelgas, but does anyone have a strong argument for a different tire? Cake Eater? I assume the Gnarwhal 4.5 is too big?

  2. #2
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    I don't have any cake eater experience. If studs are absolutely not in the picture I'd lean towards the VanHelga. But that's only if it performs like the 26" version. Sometimes things just don't scale right. The 26" is really awesome for groomers whether they are packed or even with a little loose on top. The only reason I don't run them is I wanted something a little wider and with studs.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerpss View Post
    I don't have any cake eater experience. If studs are absolutely not in the picture I'd lean towards the VanHelga. But that's only if it performs like the 26" version. Sometimes things just don't scale right. The 26" is really awesome for groomers whether they are packed or even with a little loose on top. The only reason I don't run them is I wanted something a little wider and with studs.
    I agree about the 26" Vanhelga. I ran one for two winters on the back of a Norco Bigfoot and really enjoyed it. Hopefully the 27.5 version is just as good.

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    I’m hearing that the VanHelgas measure up fairly large in the 27.5” variety. How much room do you have?

    I’ve got the Cake Eaters in the 26” variety and I wouldn’t hesitate to also run them in 27.5s.

    You might be surprised with the Maxxis for what you’ve described that she’ll be riding. I’d leave them on there and spend the money on your bike instead. I’ve made it a habit to not suggest things for my wife’s bike(s) that she wouldn’t normally bring up herself. Saves me money! 😂

  5. #5
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    Winter tires for Suzi Q

    Quote Originally Posted by Once Bitten View Post
    I’m hearing that the VanHelgas measure up fairly large in the 27.5” variety. How much room do you have?
    Good question. It looks like 45nrth updated their tire measurement chart. I will have to do some measuring in the rear triangle. There is not a ton of room in the Suzi Q.

    Winter tires for Suzi Q-45nrth-tire-geometry.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by Once Bitten View Post
    I’ve got the Cake Eaters in the 26” variety and I wouldn’t hesitate to also run them in 27.5s.
    I've run 26" Vanhelgas so I know they can perform in snow. I'm guessing the Cake Eaters aren't quite as good in snow, but haven't ridden them myself. Can anyone make a direct comparison?.

    Quote Originally Posted by Once Bitten View Post
    You might be surprised with the Maxxis for what you’ve described that she’ll be riding. I’d leave them on there and spend the money on your bike instead. I’ve made it a habit to not suggest things for my wife’s bike(s) that she wouldn’t normally bring up herself. Saves me money! 
    Valid point, but I'll be able to ride this bike too
    Looks like we have some snow on the way in the next few days, so we'll see how the Minions do.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by blizzard_mk View Post
    I agree about the 26" Vanhelga. I ran one for two winters on the back of a Norco Bigfoot and really enjoyed it. Hopefully the 27.5 version is just as good.
    i have 100 miles on my 27.5x3.8 VanHelga. I LOVE it! Only issue is i wish it was "standard" size so i could run it on the back of my Fatillac...

  7. #7
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    Don’t change tires unless you can make them lighter. Let your wife experience them first and if she likes them, keep them. The Minions are probably great in the conditions your describe.


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  8. #8
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    They make a 3.8” gnarwhal now too:


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    Gnarwhals are hard to beat when the snow is soft. There are 3.8" and 4.5" options.

    I get that you're grooming lots but that doesn't mean it ever sets up into hardpack -- not before March anyway.

    I'd run the biggest Gnarwhals she can fit in the bike.

  10. #10
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    I have a set of vanhelga's waiting to get mounted on my Suzi q -70. Just waiting for the snow to fly.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Gnarwhals are hard to beat when the snow is soft. There are 3.8" and 4.5" options.

    I get that you're grooming lots but that doesn't mean it ever sets up into hardpack -- not before March anyway.

    I'd run the biggest Gnarwhals she can fit in the bike.
    Man... the gnarwhals arnt really that much slower. The ability to stand up and hammer on it like a mtb vs having to spin like a faster tire is hands down worth it.

    I washed out and spun out so much trail riding like a mtb on the barbergazis even at 4-5 psi. I had enough and got gnarwhals... studded them as why the hell not.

    Love those tires.


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  12. #12
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    The Vanhelgas do fit the Suzi but only just, the seat tube tire clearance is only maybe 2-3mm, the sides are good though. The tires have only been on for a few days and maybe 3 rides, i'm hoping they don't stretch anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Gnarwhals are hard to beat when the snow is soft. There are 3.8" and 4.5" options.

    I get that you're grooming lots but that doesn't mean it ever sets up into hardpack -- not before March anyway.

    I'd run the biggest Gnarwhals she can fit in the bike.
    We do get some good firm conditions, even in January and February, but yes, it is soft a lot. I'll take a look at the gnarwhals. The 4.5 definitely won't fit on the back of the Suzi Q, and I'd like a little more volume than the 3.8 Minion if possible. Do you know how the 3.8 gnarwhal actually measures?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Niko View Post
    The Vanhelgas do fit the Suzi but only just, the seat tube tire clearance is only maybe 2-3mm, the sides are good though. The tires have only been on for a few days and maybe 3 rides, i'm hoping they don't stretch anymore.
    Do you have the carbon or aluminum frame?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee View Post
    Gnarwhals are hard to beat when the snow is soft. There are 3.8" and 4.5" options.
    Do you have the 27.5x3.8 gnarwhal? I do not see it on trek's website.

  16. #16
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    Aluminum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Niko View Post
    Aluminum
    Cool. One more question - did you go with the 60 or 120tpi Vanhelga? Not sure which one would stretch more.

  18. #18
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    I would definitely say the vanhelga is the biggest tire you can fit in the suzi. I’m not concerned about it hitting the seat tube but only time will tell. Worst case I put a strip of 3m clear tape on seat tube but at this point I don’t see it being required.

  19. #19
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    The lugs are definitely bigger on the vanhelga.
    Snow is in the forecast for this weekend so the test should come shortly

  20. #20
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    Suzi q -70 with vanhelga's on mulefute 65s

    Tire is about the same width as the Maxxis FBF's that I removed, only with a higher sidewall. >1cm clearance on the seat tube and stays. They have a nice round profile and should be good for higher speed cornering. The ideal profile would probably be on an 80-90mm rim. They look so small next to my 5.05" bike and my 4.7" bike running clown shoes. Set up with Stan's and will let sit @ 15 psi overnight. Hopefully we get a little white stuff on the ground tomorrow so I can take them for a spin.

    Winter tires for Suzi Q-img_20181108_161350.jpgWinter tires for Suzi Q-img_20181108_161342.jpg
    Last edited by Mk3Rider; 5 Days Ago at 04:38 PM. Reason: Updated info, both tires mounted.

  21. #21
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    some good points in this thread on the same topic:

    https://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/su...a-1041002.html
    Mike
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerny View Post
    some good points in this thread on the same topic:

    https://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/su...a-1041002.html
    I hadn't seen that thread. Great info, thanks for sharing!

    I took some measurements of the 4.5 Barbegazi and 4.5 Gnarwhal at the local Trek dealer yesterday. I'm pretty sure neither of those tires would fit on the rear of the Aluminum Suzi Q.

    I'm leaning towards a pair of Vanhelgas at this point, but still considering Vanhelga rear and 4.5 Gnarwhal front. Anyone think the Gnarwhal profile would be goofy with the 65mm Mulefuts?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by blizzard_mk View Post
    Anyone think the Gnarwhal profile would be goofy with the 65mm Mulefuts?

    Not ideal at low pressure since the knobs are so aggressive. Lots of squirm. But for a lighter rider it might be fine.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by blizzard_mk View Post
    Do you know how the 3.8 gnarwhal actually measures?

    I don't have any currently inflated to measure, sorry.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by telejefe View Post
    Do you have the 27.5x3.8 gnarwhal?

    Yep, in stock.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mk3Rider View Post
    Suzi q -70 with vanhelga's on mulefute 65s
    sweet! so jealous... i love me some VH!

  27. #27
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    Thanks for all the help. I just ordered a pair of 27.5 x 4.0 120tpi Vanhelgas. We'll keep the Minion FBFs for summer time use.

    I tried to order the new tires from my LBS, but apparently QBP only sells 45nrth stuff to official 45nrth dealers. I ordered from REI.

  28. #28
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    Did a 10 mile test ride tonight with the vanhelga's. Maybe an inch of snow on a kinda frozen ground. Wish I ran more pressure tonight as I felt slow. Keep in mind the trail/ground is soft also. Everything works as advertised. The tires are taller than the minion fbf so you tend to run a gear higher on the cassette. Traction is excellent and. Looking forward to a decent snowfall now. I will put another 15-20 miles on tomorrow in some colder weather and report back.

    I started 10psi front 15 psi rear at 70f inside. Temp was 21f while riding. My guess is they dropped 3-5 psi in the cold. Not as much volume as the 26x4.7s I am use to running.


    Winter tires for Suzi Q-img_20181109_160349.jpgWinter tires for Suzi Q-img_20181109_160356.jpgWinter tires for Suzi Q-img_20181109_160401.jpg

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