Product Preview – 3 NEW Tires from Bontrager

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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

P1170705This 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

bontrager gnarwhal mountedsideI 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!

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Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. Help!!
    I am looking for a tire that is just under the size of a BFL mounted on a 100 mm clownshoe.
    I have these on a 907 and work fine with low pressure but anything above 15lbs they begin to rub front and back.

    • My 907 is wearing Bud/Lou with enough clearance that I’m contemplating trying a 5.05 on it. Although I never inflate more than 10 psi and go as low as 3r 2.5f. Perhaps you have the 170 rear end version…

      Beists are labeled 4.6″. Check out the thread on MTBR. Lotsa peeps running em on various makes.

  2. Uggghhnn I wish the made a Gnarwall in 26×3! Would be perfect for the baby fat Troll with the Rabbit Holes. :'(

  3. I’m going to ride in the Fat Attack Race, 240 km along the beaches between Port Elizabeth and Kidds Beach in South Africa in February 2016 and need advice of the best tyres to use, optimum pressure and any riding tips that are out there. Can anyone help ?

    Rod Ward Able
    South Africa

    • Rod, try asking Christian Gauvin on Facebook. He rides for a Rocky Mountain Bicycles sponsored team out of Quebec Canada. He has raced his Blizzard all over the world! Beach races, snow & ice XC, downhill and regular singletrack. He gave me some great recommendations to get started.

    • how do they perform?
      I’m looking for three seasons tire (won’t use them in snow)
      Trying to decide between Rougarou, Jumbo Jim’s or B Nimble
      Thank you in advance

      • I would add 45NRTH Husker Du’s and Vittoria Bomboloni into that mix as well. We’ve tested all of the tires on your list, except the Rougarous. The 45NRTH HD won the Gnomie for best tire of 2015 in the 4″ category. All of these tires are low to moderately knobbed sub 4 inch dirt trail or super groomed snow/race tires. The bomboloni has side knobs that are more aggressive than all of the others mentioned, but still has a low knobbed, fast rolling, contact patch in the center of the tread. I really am looking forward to hooking up a pair of rougarous on some buff singletrack, but that is going to have to wait till after mud season.

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