|Vanhelga on Whiskey #9 rim (L) and Lou on Clownshoe (R)|
The only thing that is missing from the Lou/Clown Shoe combo is that these tires are not tubeless and the rims are not tubeless designed either. (Yes....split tube, yadda,yadda,yadda.... Read on!) If this sort of set up was designed to be tubeless? Wow! That would rule. Which brings me to............
The Vanhelga and Whiskey #9 carbon rims I built up for a customer at the shop where I work were also a revelatory experience. I have been pretty vocal about Surly/45NRTH's products pricing and lack of tubeless features. While this doesn't do anything but make affordability worse, it does bring tubeless functionality to fat bike riders that actually works well, at least it sets up well tubeless.
I've set up a lot of tubeless tires and the Vanhelga/Whiskey #9 combo is amongst the best I've done. Easy inflation with a floor pump, (and no- I didn't use a Bontrager Charger), but the tires were a bear cat to get on the rims. That's good, but in the field serviceability may be tough. (NOTE: Whiskey does not condone the use of tire levers.) That said, I could do the deed bare handed. albeit it took a lot of hand strength and my paws still ache from the effort. That's a small price to pay for tire bead stability at low pressures though, I'd say.
The Vanhelga tires themselves seem really aggressive in terms of tread design. The size is 3.8-ish on the 70mm wide Whiskey rims, so don't go expecting big flotation characteristics here. The grip should be outstanding though. Maybe if I had a "fat bike as mountain bike" set up, I'd consider these. The Vanhelgas are, at any rate, a good view into what could be for all fat bikers. If this sort of set up could be done on aluminum rims, (less expensive), and in the 4.8" size on 100mm wide rims, I'd be very interested.