The folks up in Waterloo sent us some of their new tires this week and we thought that we might just as well march them out and throw the old product spotlight on them for everyone to see. The Hodag is back in Bontrager’s Fat-Bike Tire round-up for two thousand and sixteen and is joined by three new models called the Rougarou, Gnarwhal and the Barbegazi. The Gnarwhal comes ready to stud or pre-studded for icey pleasure rides and races alike. Let’s take a look at what Bontrager has to offer.
The Barbegazi: A huge tread designed to confidently carry you anywhere. The bearded Barbegazi is said to thrive in the high Alps, easily floating across the snowy alpine on its giant feet. The tread on the Barbegazi measures out to a massive 4.7 inches and is designed to keep you moving through deep soft snow and the most rugged terrain. 26 x 4.7
This tire has Otis written all over it. We weighed our two test tires and they came in at 1362g and 1364g. That’s pretty svelt for a 4.7 tire. That’s three quarters of a pound lighter than running Dillinger 5’s. The tires measured 255mm bead to bead and 136mm tread to tread (when splayed out flat). I mounted these tubeless on HED 100mm BFR Rims and the casing and the outer edge of the tread measured 123mm. The tire seated on the first try. My tubeless game is good, but these were among some of the easiest tires that I’ve set up tubeless.
This is a big tire with mid intensity knobbing and those knobs have plenty of open space between them. I seriously look forward to rolling this set this winter! I prefer the low rolling resistance of a moderately knobbed tire and I don’t mind sacrificing a little traction, in exchange for a smoother roll. I think these tires are going to love my local groomed singletrack!
The Gnarwhal: A biting fat tire ready to take winter traction to the next level. Available in a studded version to confidently corner even through ice and a stud-ready version that lets you decide how much traction you need. 26 x 3.8 stud-ready and 26 x 3.8 studded
I think this is probably the best name that we’ve seen in the fat-bike tire game! It makes me think of the 80’s song by the B 52’s – Rock Lobster. Our set of test tires came in as the un-studded version of the GnarGnar. The two tires weighed in at 1413 and 1378. With the tire flattened out the bead to bead measured 212mm and the tread to tread was 116mm. We mounted these to 80mm rims and the casing was 93mm wide and the tread was 96mm wide. I’ve already put a half a dozen rides on the Gnawhal mounted on the rear of the Ritchey Commando that I’ve been testing. GFBD got pretty greasy and the Gnarwals were right at home, providing traction sweet chewiness on the black dirt of our local singletrack. I can’t wait to ride this tire,some more, when we get some snow!
The Rougarou: A fast rolling ultra-light race tire. Named after a shape shifting nocturnal creature capable of catching any prey, the Rougarou weighs in under 1100 grams and is the clear choice for a fast rolling, groomed course racer. Once the snow has melted, the Raugarou makes for a fast and fun summer of fat biking. 26 x 3.8
With a description like “fast rolling ultra-light race tire” we knew right away that we would be sending these tires to Bike Black Ribbon Test Pilot Kevin Breitenbach. Kevin is also an ITI and Arrowhead 135 champion. Kevin will be testing the Rougarous up in the wilds surrounding Fairbanks Alaska, where a balmy winter day might be twenty below up in the hills an thirty-five below in the valley. Here’s the data that we gathered from our two test tires, before we sent them off to Alaska. Weight – 1116g and 1106g – With the tire laid out flat – Bead to Bead – 210mm and tread to tread – 109mm. We mounted the Rougarous on 65mm wide rims and the casing measured 85mm wide with the tread coming in at 88 mm wide. This tire bristles with short aggressive knobs. We look forward to Kevin’s analysis of how they perform when he kick’s it into overdrive!
For more information about Bontrager, visit – bontrager.com