We got out order in last Wednesday and, just like a kid at Christmas, tore the box open, oogled them and then had to play with them even though we weren’t done unpacking all the other fat-bike fun parts.
We got in 6 tires and the geek in me couldn’t resist weighing them all to see what the tale of the scale would say. In grams 1310/1310/1320/1320/1350/1390 (Yes O’Gara, I saved the 1310′s for you!)
I mounted the Husker Du on the front wheel of my Northpaw on a 65mm Large Marge and before even throwing it on the bike had to compare it to the Surly Larry I was running on the bike previously. Interesting thing, the Husker Du is narrower that the Larry, at least on the Large Marge, 90mm vs 94mm for the Larry. Not a huge difference but noticeable. Interesting for a tire that comes from a company who’s “products provide the ultimate in comfort and control.” Not a big deal for me what the “intended” purpose was because after mounting it on the bike and eyeballing the tread a bit more this tire simply said to me “trail tire!”
So, for the first few rides I left an Endo on the rear and hit the trail. Actually the first part of the first ride was beach. Interesting beach, not the smooth, endless ribbon up north of Port Washington but the varied and rocky beach of Grant Park south of Milwaukee. About the first mile and a half was mini-dunes and saturated sand. The Husker Du did fine for floatation on the sand. Then we got to the rocks. Not the cute, pebbly kind but fist-sized, baby-heads all the way up to horse-heads. Colin and Gomez were on Moonlanders and this was one of those types of terrain that those big, honkin’ BLFs on 100mm rims are just better for. After dropping the tire pressure to about 7PSI in the rear and 8 in the front I was able to ride about 75% of the mile and a half stretch while the Moonies were able to ride maybe 90%. The husker Du worked fine and had really good traction but the narrower width was a handicap. The plus side was that even when I was pushing, I was keeping up, mostly! The Moonies were spinning along in low gear and as long as they kept churning and staying light on the front tire they were advancing at a walking page.
The rocks behind us, we climbed up off the beach and hit some local bluff’s edge trails that were pretty greasy because the temps were in the 50′s, in January, in Wisconsin. I kid you not. Anyway, there was a layer of greasy mud over a firmer base and the Husker Du was confidence inspiring. I’d crank around a corner and the tire would stick well while the Endo would fishtail and get right back in line. It was a lot of fun. I also noticed that while the tread has fairly closely spaced lugs, it wasn’t packing up with mud too badly.
My next ride was mostly a town cruise with short sections of urban trail thrown in. The Husker Du rolls well but seems pretty similar to a Larry or an Endo. I did notice more on the road than on the beach or greasy trail that with the narrower profile and the slightly smaller diameter the Husker Du quickens up my steering a bit and makes attacking firmer trail a lot of fun. I am mounting up the rear wheel with the second husker Du this week and will give more impressions as I get more time on the tires.
We also a report in from Dirk in the Twin Cities,
I was thinking it might be good to share my thoughts on the 45NRTH’s new Husker-Du tires, seeing how they just got to the stores on Wednesday. I finally got a decent ride on them off-road/road/snow/slush on Don’s rideThursday night.
First off, they roll nice – feel a little softer than the Larry or Endo, not as harsh as the Nate. I’m not sure if it’s a softer rubber compound or if it’s because of all of the small knobs for the tread pattern that make it feel “softer”..
They have pretty damn good traction – not quite up to the Nate’s level, but much better than the Larry (note, I’m riding Nate upfront, Husker-Du on the back in reverse).
Their one down side so far (which is kind of big one), they have a shorter sidewall than the Nate, Larry, & Endomorph – which for a snow tire, seem counter-productive to me…I’m not sure why that’s the case, it’s not any wider than the others either (even though they have 26×4.0 on the side – and what 45NRTH was advertising prior to it’s release). On the ride last night I did smack my pedals a few times, at the time didn’t think much of it – but now, thinking maybe it’s because I was a bit lower and not used to it. (these smacks didn’t happen on roots/stumps, they mainly where on the up hill side or on a sharper turn).
Overall, I’d say I like them just a bit more than the Larry, but would much more if they kept the sidewall the same as the others.
Here’s one where you can kind of see how the sidewall is lower (sorry, don’t have another wheel to build up to put them side-by-side).