Two of our Bike Black Ribbon Staff Writers take a crack at reviewing the tire that made the fat-bike industry bend over and spread their rear triangles….Surly’s Bud & Lou!
When it comes to bikes and pieces and parts and whats good and what sucks and what weighs how much and whatever else there is to know about such things, I’m a bit of Know-it-None. But I can tell you when my bike goes and when it doesn’t.
I do know this – Bud n Lou make it go, more.
Last year I swapped out my matching set of Big Fat Larrys for the newest kids on the block at the time, Bud n Lou. The Big Fat Larrys weren’t in bad shape by any means, I just like the look of a bike that looks like it was built for stomping zombies. And that it does.
Alright, now I’m going to try and talk techie and expose my theory on why these are probably better than the previous stock BFLs. Hang on to your socks, or just drop ’em, I don’t really care.
The thing about fat tires is the lower the pressure, the more float you get right? But low pressure = more work to turn that wheel. Lower means slower in most cases. My experience with Bud and Lou is that you can keep that pressure up and still get good traction. I’m not telling you how many grams it weighs, or the tpi, but I will say that the 7mm block height is what keeps this thing from spinning out on a gnarly snow covered climb as long as you keep your rear end over the rear end. In the words of the Might Mini Jeff O’Gara “Those F@#$ers Dig”
The noise on pavement scares the crap out of just about every pedestrian and other bike out you come up on. It’s nice not having to ding a bell when you’re rolling around a campus coming up behind hung over college kids at 8:00 a.m. They might as well be zombies, but they usually hear the roar of the rubber and get out of the way. Usually.
I’m also a big believe in the width. The Bigger the Better when it comes to knobby rubber, that what I always say anyway. Or, I’m going to start.
Angry Andy’s Review
Snow Days with Bud and Lou
Remember when we were kids, and we’d wake up to a snowy morning hoping there was so much snow that school would be cancelled? We’d call our friends and all meet up to play in the snow, maybe build some snow forts, or have a snowball fight. Or if you hung with delinquent friends as I did, you’d go skitching, (if you don’t know what Skitching is, check your age, and ask an adult).
Since owning a Fat Bike, I have a renewed love of waking up to a fresh snowfall, or even better a snowy evening so I can go out and play. Although now’a’days noone “calls”, it’s either a text or a meet up thru FB. Sometimes it’s hard to get together, between work, family, and adult responsibilities, but there are two friends that I know will always help me have fun in the snow….And that’s Bud and Lou!
The 2013/2014 Midwest winter has been an epic one, ranking in the top 4 or better for snowfall and cold temps, making it a Fat Bikers paradise! With all this snow it’s been imperative to have a good set of gnarly tires to get thru it. This will be my second season running the Bud and Lou combination, and quite honestly I couldn’t be happier. I’ve been a big fan of directional and front and rear specific tires for years, and the Bud and Lou combination just reaffirms that. Lou helps me get thru the tough stuff, with its wide center “paddle” blocks and aggressive block size and knob spacing. While Bud keeps me on track with it’s 3 distinct inline center rows that track the snow like a hungry Yeti looking for prey.
There are quite a few new tires hitting the market this winter, which some of them looking very promising, but I have yet to see any with such massive tread blocks like Bud & Lou. I’d have to say Nates are about the next closest thing when comparing thread block size. The new 45NRTH Dillinger 5 looks to be promising with it’s 5” profile, it should provide some good snow flotation and contact patch, but the tread depth looks a little shallow for deep loose snow conditions.
I guess a lot of it boils down to what type of terrain and surface conditions you ride on. I’ve run my Husker Du’s on groomed snow and they were amazing, and for sure were faster than Bud & Lou, but in deep snow conditions they just didn’t cut it, and I found myself washing out and losing traction on climbs. And as most anyone who has ridden a fat bike in the snow or sand, you know that air pressure is key to getting the most out of you tires. Weighing in at 200 lbs I have found for most conditions 5 to 6 psi in the front, and 6 to 7 psi in the rear is what works for me. Get it wrong and a potentially good tire can perform mediocre, or down right horrible.
I’ve used Bud and Lou in every snow race I have run to date (as that’s what the conditions called for) and they never let me down, I could push them harder than any other tire in my arsenal, with total confidence. I’ve also run them a couple times over the summer on hard packed trails and they were pretty good. A little heavy, and the massive knobies felt somewhat lose on hard packed turns deflecting under load, but never gave way or let loose.
I do occasionally get a little bit of tire rub when in my low gears, running a 1×11 with a 170 rear hub, but it’s a small price to pay for massive traction.
Overall I’d give Bud and Lou 5 out of 5 Gnomes. – Angry Andy