By : Jesse LaLonde
For better or worse I’ve become a creature of habit. Eat, sleep, ride… the same routes. This may seem mundane to some but it allows for a healthy balance both mentally and physically while providing a level testing field when needed.
Enter the Vee rubber Snowshoe 4.7. Falling on the lighter end I was interested to mount these to my 100mm clown shoes. Upon mounting it was apparent that the SS wasn’t pulling it’s width. I overinflated and still had difficulty reaching 4.25. In fact, the tire didn’t appear comfortable on the wide rim. The side wall bulged well beyond the outer tread leaving me concerned for obvious reasons.
Day 1: Over the river, through the park, and into hobo heaven. With .75 of fresh snow fall the night before I shared my route with only deer and rabbit droppings. Slowing for a small tweak in pressure I continued down the trail at approximately 8psi. It was slick under the fresh fall leaving me a bit frustrated as the sticky silica compound failed to clear snow making it difficult to clear sections that were natural in the past. In addition the self steer was kicking in telling me I may have dropped the psi a tad much. With mixed emotions I retreated after 20 miles dismissing my experience as day one dial in.
Day 2: Hovering around 12psi I set off on the same route with the addition of a “Northwoods training” loop which includes a handful of punchy climbs, extended off camber sections, and a group of challenging log overs. I went into the ride with the intent of stretching the lungs and truly pushing the snow show to its limit. Compared to the day before my route was well worn by dog walkers and fellow cyclists allowing me the freedom to hit race pace. As I railed the first mile of single track I was walking a fine line between bike practice victory and carnage. Approaching a clearing I negotiated a small s turn before a sharp 90˚. Bam! hip meet log. Lying on my side I laughed to myself thinking of how long it’s been since I’ve taken a hipper. Brushing off and continuing on I couldn’t help but wonder if my wide rim was distracting from the intended form of the tire causing the mishap. It wasn’t long after that I took hit two in similar fashion proving my w-i-d-e rim theory true. Throughout the next week I rode all trail including a trip out to Elm Creek which is arguably the best fat track in the world. It wasn’t until then that I realized the true capabilities of the short lugged snow shoe. The well manicured trail at EC consists of nearly all single track and is so buff that it’s hard to blame the trail. As I set off temps lingered in the single digits setting me up for primo traction. On this day the snow shoe did everything it should do proving that conditions are king.
While I’m intrigued to set the snow shoe up on my latest project (47mm North Paws) I think I have a lock on these guys all in one big run on sentence. The Snow Shoe comes in at fighting weight (5.05lbs or 2291grams a pr) and it’s possible to diminish side lug performance by running them on a 100mm rim while 4-8psi does wonders for trail traction it feels like mash potatoes everywhere else and allows the vortex of self steering to overtake this short lugged, inaccurately measured, fast rolling tire that performs ok in deep snow, better on groomed trail, and awesome in well kept single track preferably between 0-18˚ while set up between 12-17psi.
Editor’s Note – Jesse is one of the top three fat-bike racers in the great lakes. A threat to win every race that he enters, Jesse is the man behind Bare Knuckle Brigade and one bad ass Muthah! ~gomez~