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I'm beginning to believe I want at least three sets of tires. Conditions change, and I'm not convinced any tire can do it all as well as running the right tire for the conditions at hand.
  • Big Float and Traction - 4.8 - 5" Tires really earn their keep when the trails aren't groomed, but you pay a weight penalty on groomed trails and the only ones in this class that can accept studs are the Terrene Johnny 5's. (I am intentionally ignoring the Snowshoe XL as it is inferior to Bud, Lou, Johnny 5, and 2XL in every way)
  • Studded - I suppose you could have studded Johnny 5's, but I've noticed over the years that you have either icy conditions, groomed conditions, or fresh powder. So if you can run something like Wrathlordes you still get fantastic traction while saving on weight at the expense of some float.
  • Groomed / Dirt - I'm sure there are some tires that are great in the dirt or on groomed snow and not the other, but I tend to think these conditions are similar enough. If not, then I suppose you need four sets instead of three.
If you disagree I want to learn. But I got here because I love my Bud & Lou for float and traction in deeper snow and I love my Wrathlordes when it's icy. The Bud & Lou pull double duty for groomed conditions and as a backup bike if I were unable to ride my 29er.

For which sets would you choose 27.5 x 4 over 26 x 5 (few of us can fit 27.5 x 4.5). Which tires are your favorites in the conditions described (e.g., are you a Jumbo Jim or a Tan Helga fan)?
 

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I ride 2XL's on 105mm rims when it's fresh, soft, and deep.

Studded J5's when there's ice present on the above rides.

I switch wheels to a 27.5 x 4.5" studded set, with Gnar 4.5" front and D5 rear, for when it's packed and fast with or without ice.

And I have a set of 29 x 3" that I ride in non-snow months. Usually XR4's, sometimes XR2's.

Worth mentioning: We don't -- ever -- get "groomed" trails. If we did I might feel like the Gnar up front was overkill.
 

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I could see it. Studs of icy conditions, something wide for sand, some like some 3.8 nates for gravel/firm trail.
 

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Three here also:

5.01 XXL on 100MM rims for soft snow or sand
4.8 JJ on 90MM rims mixed condition riding, mostly warm spring-summer-fall. Lots of sand where I'm at.
4.2 Van Helgas on 65MM rims; actual width is closer to 3.8. Not much issues with ice where I live now, these work great on groomed trails where snow gets packed hard, or people creating ruts from too much tire pressure.
 

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Snow bike (Salsa Mukluk) started on Dillinger 5's non-studded, but as this hardly ever sees any resemblance of a groomed trail, I swapped to Johnny 5 studded, great step forward in traction / float; these are mounted on 80mm MOBD surly rims. I went studded as I wanted as big a range for them as possible without swapping tyres/wheels, roads I cycle on between trails can get icy, i'd rather run studs than not in any snow condition therefor. Only drawback with the Johnny 5 seems to be lateral grip in powder, front wheel washes easily, fast descents and off camber, you need to keep your wits about you and run the front soft, this and they are a little heavy, but c'est la vie. For summer duties on this bike, I have built a set of i40 29 plus wheels which run XR2's, there isn't a huge amount of mud where it gets ridden.

Beach bike (907), again on 80mm rims, running 4.8 liteskin Jumbo Jim's; If I saw a lot of groomed trails I would use this, I prefer a 4.8 to 4.0.

Plus bike (niner) runs XR4 front XR2 rear, really like this setup, gives the grip needed on the front end but still rolls well for the summer trails.
 

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Johnny 5 on DT ,710 80mm. Just done a big stint in snow and ice in Aviemore. Very happy with them sub 3 psi.

Van Helga on 710 rims, all rounder for me.

29ers are Vigilante 2.8 on 35 rims. Trail centre use, plus local hard trails.


Big Fat Dummy on 4.8 / 120 minions for all round duty, 29er on 50mm rim, 3" tyres but can't recall what ! Shame on me!

I have a tubed wheel set that I switch about Dunderbeist , Mammoth, Husker Du, 4.0 Minions, 3.8 Larry's.
 

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I only have one set at the moment. Studded D4s on 70 mm wheels.

But in a very fortunate series of mistaken communications I have a really nice set of 80 mm wheels, and have been thinking of putting a set of D5s on those for a bit more float (though that kind of riding is a low percentage of my total).

The interweb at least seems to think these will fit on the back of my Beargrease (no brainer up front).

Opinions would be appreciated on whether this would be 1) hugely noticeable, 2) a nice bump in flotation, or 3) not worth the bother.
 

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I only have one set at the moment. Studded D4s on 70 mm wheels.

But in a very fortunate series of mistaken communications I have a really nice set of 80 mm wheels, and have been thinking of putting a set of D5s on those for a bit more float (though that kind of riding is a low percentage of my total).

The interweb at least seems to think these will fit on the back of my Beargrease (no brainer up front).

Opinions would be appreciated on whether this would be 1) hugely noticeable, 2) a nice bump in flotation, or 3) not worth the bother.

Bigger is always better. Might be smart to go with a different tread to complement what you already have.
 

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All depends on your riding conditions. IME, every time i ride in winter, I could encounter ice. So any winter tire would have to be studded. Even if only 0.00001% of your ride is ice, it still breaks your wrist or whatever. So for me it comes down to one set for winter, one for the remaining 3 seasons. Preferably on separate wheels. that way you have less hassle and can optimize diameter and rim width to each tire. This is just my opinion based on the winter conditions I encounter and the areas I ride in. My neighbor could ride in different conditions and have different ideas. Someone living in a different climate will think even differently.
 

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If you have the money to get 3-4 sets of wheels and tires, fine. Otherwise, switching fat tires is just a pain in the ass, unless you race, of course.

For winter riding without worry, I suggest a studded set of tires with decent knobs.
 
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I want all the tires! Even the crappy no traction,self steering ones,want to experience them all for myself! But really I will have to be satisfied with 3 sets,but that will be between 2nd Fatback and my Wo. Right now I have a set of Van Helgas on Alex Blizzerk 70 and some old Jumbo Jims on Mulefuts. I have another set of hubs waiting to see what rims become available later in the year,likely want some wider 27.5 so I can try the 4.5s, the JJs are not worn but have gotten worse about self steer,they are the original tires from my 2016 Wo. I’m thinking Johnny5s studded for the 26 rims,thatcovers float conditions and Icy conditions. Keep the VH on the Blizzerk and get something fast for the coming 4.5 27.5 build,but knowing me once I have that 3rd wheelset I will start eyeing frames to just build up another fattie...why swap tires or swap wheels when you can just grab another bike?
 

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Bigger is always better. Might be smart to go with a different tread to complement what you already have.
Agree on the bigger, and open to other tread recommendations, but for clearance reasons, nothing bigger than a D5 is possible out back.
 

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What do you want them to do that your D4's aren't?
Just looking for a little better float in new snow.

Not my priority or focus, but I've got the wheels hanging on the wall, begging for some tires........
 

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More tires is usually good...except IMO you want to be very good at changing tubeless tires. If you struggle with it, you are just going to leave the tires on and not change them, because it's too much of a hassle, and the tires will sit around. There also has to be a pretty big payoff that you are looking for to go through the effort of changing tires. Racers do it looking for any little edge, like their trimmed race tires vs. studded, etc. Multiple wheelsets makes this a little easier, but is obviously way more expensive. The "partially set the bead before pumping" technique has radically changed my ways, allowing me to set tires with a hand pump, if necessary. Not that I recommend the hand pump part, but good to know it'll work in a pinch. Still, it's nice to have a few options. IMO, you want an "all around" option that works pretty well for most conditions and then something more extreme. The only way I'd recommend a smaller 3.8-4.0 is for something like a clearance limited FS fat-bike on very hard conditions. Tires that small just aren't much fun in the winter on trails IME, even from the point of view of not having as much volume when conditions are not-snow and just ice, you can simply lower pressure more with the bigger ones and get a more supple ride without banging rims off the ground.

D4s are a pretty poor tire IMO. Decent for dry conditions, but for winter, it's "all we had" for years and I think that's why it was so popular. I tried to use it for racing after using D5s for a few seasons and I just couldn't understand why people like it, it was pretty bad all around. The D5 was at least decent at most things, while still rolling pretty well. The D5 has enough volume to make the softer conditions fun, as long as it's paired with a wide enough rim for the sidewall support. On a skinnier rim it's kind of "meh", but a decent all around option on at least 80-90mm.

Anything that is more aggressive than the D5 IME starts to get real draggy real fast in most non-soft conditions. Ok if you want to use more watts and don't care about speed/effort, but there are some pretty aggressive tires out there now and they do not roll anywhere near as well.
 
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Discussion Starter #18
Lots of good feedback. I own a carbon wheelset with Bud & Lou on them (tubeless) and a Fatback Big Su wheelset with Wrathlordes (tubed for now). I've been debating on a 27.5 wheelset that I'd use when I don't need studs nor the extra float from Bud & Lou, but I am not convinced it's worth the expense or hassle. I'm leaning toward some 29+ wheels at this point...
 

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I'm beginning to believe I want at least three sets of tires. Conditions change, and I'm not convinced any tire can do it all as well as running the right tire for the conditions at hand.
  • Big Float and Traction - 4.8 - 5" Tires really earn their keep when the trails aren't groomed, but you pay a weight penalty on groomed trails and the only ones in this class that can accept studs are the Terrene Johnny 5's. (I am intentionally ignoring the Snowshoe XL as it is inferior to Bud, Lou, Johnny 5, and 2XL in every way)
  • Studded - I suppose you could have studded Johnny 5's, but I've noticed over the years that you have either icy conditions, groomed conditions, or fresh powder. So if you can run something like Wrathlordes you still get fantastic traction while saving on weight at the expense of some float.
  • Groomed / Dirt - I'm sure there are some tires that are great in the dirt or on groomed snow and not the other, but I tend to think these conditions are similar enough. If not, then I suppose you need four sets instead of three.
If you disagree I want to learn. But I got here because I love my Bud & Lou for float and traction in deeper snow and I love my Wrathlordes when it's icy. The Bud & Lou pull double duty for groomed conditions and as a backup bike if I were unable to ride my 29er.

For which sets would you choose 27.5 x 4 over 26 x 5 (few of us can fit 27.5 x 4.5). Which tires are your favorites in the conditions described (e.g., are you a Jumbo Jim or a Tan Helga fan)?
Can get expensive running so many sets of tires, also time consuming changing them out. I guess I took the expensive route. Where I live we don't get groomed trails, they're walked on all winter. Lots of freeze- thaw cycles. I have a set of studded dillinger 5's on mulefuts for snow and a 29 plus wheel set with 3.0" vittoria cannoli's for the dirt.
 
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