Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bigger Must Be Better, Right?

My Perfect Combo" BFL frt, Knard rear on 82's
There used to be one fat bike tire- the venerable, (and discontinued), Endomorph 3.7"er. Lots of things got done with that tire, and many people's complaint was that it was too squarish, causing "self steering" traits.

Then came "Larry". In the 3.8" size, people about went ga-ga when it hit the scene. It was sooooo much better than the Endo, that folks wondered if anymore Endo's would ever be sold. Funny isn't it? Now with the Bud, Lou, Big Fat Larry, and the soon to be released 3.8" Knard, no one talks about 3.8" Larrys anymore! 

I think that is telling, because in terms of this fat biking scene, Surly has whipped up a veritable frenzy over the next bigger, badder fat bike tire. And hey, maybe you need that huge, gnarly chunk-o-rubber. But ya know what? I bet most folks don't. Not even close.

We didn't have a winter like we did in 2010/'11 last winter, but that was the winter I got my first fat bike, and it came with 3.8" Larrys. You know what? I thought I didn't really need bigger tires. I thought I needed wider rims. I was riding some deep, compacted snow on those 3.8'ers, and I was doing really well. I probably would have done even better if I knew what I know now for technique, but I didn't think I needed bigger tires.

3.8" Larrys, floating...
 Then a series of events occurred that led to my acquiring some Big Fat Larrys. I put those on the Snow Dog, and my need for wider rims went away. Yes, they are bigger tires, so you could say I "needed" them, but one way or the other, rims or tires, the deal was that I needed just a wee bit more float, and I was good. Still am too.

I am still curious about what I would get with 100mm wide rims, but ya know- I ride a fat bike all year. I use it as an "all terrain bike", so I kind of think that with the tires that I have, bigger rims won't be better, just heavier. Maybe less adept at mountain biking too.

Then there are those monstrosities called Bud, Lou, and Nate. I have to say that I have not ever thought my Larry was deficient for traction here. Maybe if I lived somewhere else, I'd be singing a different tune, but a lighter weight, less blocky treaded tire is always better here, no matter if it is a 29"er, fat bike, or for 26"er bikes.  So again, bigger isn't better, just heavier and slower.

Right now, my thoughts are to just keep running BFL's on 82's for winter, and get a BFL/Knard 3.8"er combo for the other bike, and run that all year long. Until then, I'll just be pretty satisfied running the Larry 3.8"ers and I'll let you others scramble for those crazy, heavy, super knobby fat bike tires.


RGB Nameless said...

I think ( and the owner of fatbike on the picture - too ) , that Bud and Lou will be good somewhere here :


Joe said...

The Endo on the rear of my Pug is bald and still works great for my riding. It rolls fast!

Ari said...

larry 3.8's with large marge 65mm rims are no problem. I like the fact that the large marge is a double wall rim and is super durable. All year riding on fats.

Matt Maxwell said...

I am irrationally disappointed to hear that the Endo is discontinued. I know it didn't handle for poop, but I have ridden the heck out of mine.

I know that fatbiking has evolved, but most of those who want more traction from their tires need to drop the pressure. 14 psi for road, 8 for dirt, 4-6 for snow/sand. I think that might solve some folks need for suspension too.

But then I'm not bombing the downhills or shredding the gnar (if I even knew what that meant).

Steve Fuller said...

I have a set of Larrys, a set of Husker Du's and a set of Black Floyds and I feel like i have any possible needs for my Fatbiking well covered. Honestly, I haven't put any of the other tires back on since I bought my Husker Du's when they came out last year. But, I'm a snow/sand/dirt kind of guy rather than a mud rider.

Vito said...

I have wanted to get a set of 45NRTH Husker Du's, but I must say that I am quite satisfied with my Larry 3.8s. I ride primarily in Northern, MN, avoid sno mobile trails because I don't like mingling with sleds or autos. I've ridden gravel, frozen lakes, and unplowed roads compacted by snow machines. The only time I've had issues is with heavy wet snow. I believe that no tires will get you thru that without a hell of a lot of work. I don't believe bigger is better. Bigger is heavier and harder to push. That is about all.