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Ride Impressions – Framed Minnesota 26×4 Fat-bike Tire

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Derrick, Ross and I have been riding the Framed Minnesota 26×4 Fat-bike Tire for several weeks now with various races, trail rides and around town hucking.

Since I am aggregating this article from different testers I’ll go ahead and go first!

My time with the Minnesota tires was spent riding them on 47mm Schlick Northpaw rims on an APe riding a mix of singletrack river trails and urban assault style shenanigans.

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The defacto fat-bike tire on my APe has been 45nrth Husker Dus for as long as they have been out. I like the balance of that tire in most conditions so it is natural that I compare any subsequent tire I test on the APe to the HuDu. There have been a few suitors in the past but none have come close to replacing the HuDu on my narrow-rimed APe. How does the Framed Minnesota do? Let’s take a look.

Firstly, there is some urban riding to do to get to the trailhead and I immediately noticed that the Minnesota rolls very well. Not scientific, but after several urban rides and pub crawls, it felt like I wasn’t giving up decently low rolling resistance to the Husker Du. In fact, it was pretty apparent that the rubber compound is harder, plus some of the knobs on the tire have a stepped pattern that seems to stiffen up the knobs when riding the pavement or hardpack trail so I’m going to give the Minnesota the nod for urban riding where on road speed and traction are king.

My time on the Minnesota came in mid-fall, there was a chill in the air but no snow had fallen. The trails along the Milwaukee River were in super shape. Set up nicely and, with most people working and/or in school, they are nicely deserted. Add in fallen leaves, progressively more on the trail as the weeks went by, and you may have an idea what we were riding on. In these conditions the Minnesota was great! They really dig in and have excellent traction. It seemed that they dug right through and tore up the leaves on the trail, not stopping until they found purchase on the trail below. Of particular note, the off camber grip was amazing. Again, I never felt that I was giving up anything to the Husker Du and, in the conditions that prevailed on the trail for the few weeks I had the Minnesotas, I believe that the harder compound was a benefit and I was glad to be on them. Another nod to the Minnesotas.

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I went for an urban beach ride with Marcus one day and hit some sections of beach that varied from nice sand to round beach rock. Though I was riding narrow rims, I felt the Minnesotas worked well. Because we had more pavement to go I didn’t even bother to lower the pressure. On a longer beach ride, I’d be on my 5.0/80mm ride anyway so for shorter forays on the sand the Minnesotas are fine. I am looking forward to the beach freezing up and seeing how the Minnesotas dig in.

We hadn’t had any snow at the time I was riding the Minnesotas so I will have to bring you an update on that down the road but suffice it to say that I was not happy about having to give the Framed Minnesotas up! Tempering the disappointment at having to pass them on is the fact that next up is another tire looking to usurp the HuDu in my go-to trail tire book, the Panaracer Fat-B-Nimble! It is a tough job but someone has to do it!

I passed the tires on to Derrick who mounted them on a Schlick APe. Derrick, a man of little words at least in written form, really liked the Minnesotas. Low rolling resistance as well as the excellent grip on our local trails made him a happy rider and Derrick was quick to point out that the value equation is pretty compelling, these tires retail for $99.95!

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Derrick put the Minnesotas through the paces on local trails, urban assault and hit the Milwaukee Urban Jungle Cross 2 event with them. The take away? A big thumbs up, and below, a hand up!

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After Derrick got done fondling the Minnesitas he passed them on to Ross Matlock. Ross is one of our newer testers and rides hard and often. Besides being a messenger the hits the trails regularly. We mounted the Minnesotas up on 82mm Rolling Darryls on Ross’s Salsa Mukluk. I’ll let Ross take this away in his own words!

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I’ll get right to it: I like this tire. Offering a nice alternative to the venerable Surly Nate, the FRAMED Minnesota 26 x 4.0 fat tire, sports a similar yet, more aggressive tread pattern, and larger tire width (+.2in), at an MSRP of $99.95 dollars each. Exhibiting very firm tread elements, the Minnesota fat tire, rolls fast on the street, and provides plenty of “cheese grater-like” grip, off-road, in both wet, and dry conditions.

My first experience with a set of Framed Minnesota fat tires was a 7-mile ride, across town, via city streets. The tires rolled fast and handled well on pavement. I was able to carry a brisk pace without overexerting myself, and of course, the tires hummed like angels.

Now, let’s get down to where the FRAMED Minnesota fat tire, really excels: off-road performance. To really test out the tires, I took a Minnesota-equipped Salsa Mukluk, with 82mm Rolling Darryl rims, out to a local park, where I completed multiple climbs up a very steep, and very wet, grass hill. I made it up the hill every time with no tire slip, even when standing up for the final few feet. Now, rule of thumb is you’re not supposed to stand up on your pedals when climbing, but sometimes you just got to. Each time, the rear Minnesota tire, dug in deep and never lost traction, even on wet grass.

Of course, after climbing a big hill, you can’t not ride down, right? After each climb, I went full speed down the hill, performing consecutive S-turns, in wet grass, seeing how far I could lean in. Every time, the FRAMED Minnesota tires would “stab” into the ground, allowing the bike to flow cleanly through each turn, even through unpredictable patches of wet leaves. The tire grip was impressive.

To add, these tires were really tearing up the grass, leading back to my earlier statement of “cheese grater-like” grip. In fact, you probably could grate cheese on this tires, and with set of Minnesota’s on your fat bike, you’ll be ripping up your neighbor’s front lawn, faster than you can say “Wisconsin.”

Thanks, Ross!

After Ross wrote the above we had a bit of snow. Ross and Derrick wet out on a trail ride where Ross found that the initial foray into snow riding on the Minnesotas proved promising. More snow is on the way and we’ll be out in it!

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Well, there you have it. 3 different riders riding different bikes in a variety of conditions and the result was the same for all 3. We really like this tire for urban and trail riding and it shows promise on the beach and the snow! Stay tuned, we are not done with these tires yet! More down the trail.

The $99.95 tire should be available now!

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6 Responses to Ride Impressions – Framed Minnesota 26×4 Fat-bike Tire

  1. Eddie Baker December 3, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    What’s with the multicam handlebar? Details please.

    • Derrick December 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Eddie that was a one off handlebar from Answer that Ross won at a local race

  2. JJ December 3, 2014 at 11:03 am #

    Your review leaves out two of the most important details… tpi and weight.

  3. Wade December 10, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    How are they for self steer at low pressure?