Surly Edna 26 x 4.3 Review by Ron Stawicki

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Getting Dirty With Edna


Few bike parts can affect a bikes fun factor like tires. You can roll with a generic stem or hubs and I doubt it’ll ruin your day but mount up some cheap, heavy tires to your favorite bike and you’ll probably want to trade it in before you can finish a loop at your local trails. I like to nerd out about tires; design, casing, knob height and spacing, and sizing to rim width as most of you reading this probably do too.

When Surly announced their Edna 4.3″ tire was coming out it piqued my interest. I like to run their 3.8 Nate and Knard tires in the non-snowy months then switch to some 4.6’s once the white stuff decides to settle in. I’ve honestly never really been a fan of how most 3.8″ tires work on 80mm rims for trail riding. The casings usually seem too flattened out and the sidewalls too rigid and stretched.  Could these be the perfect year-round tires for my Wednesday? I ran into Gomez at our local trails and he offered to let me try a set out for a while.

As soon as I received the tires I began ogling them. Hmm, 60tpi casing, 5mm ramped center knobs, 6mm reinforced shoulder knobs, tighter spacing than Nate but still open on the edges. Additional tire geekery can be found covered in our initial post here. I quickly set them up tubeless on My Other Brother Darryl rims. I’m happy to note they set up easily with a hand pump and held pressure consistently after a couple rides. I can’t say that about all tubeless ready tires, so we were off to a good start.

Mounted in the Wednesday at 10 psi, with the rear axle all the way forward I barely have the 6mm of “legal” clearance at the chainstays. Even if the casing stretches a little with use I’m comfortable with it. Clearance in the front with a Bluto or a stock rigid fork was no problemo.

The first two things I noticed on the trail were the height and GRIP of the tires! The rolling diameter is considerably taller. The height allows it to rival a 27.5 X 3.8 that some of the fat bike racers are getting all excited about, but with a full .5 inch of extra girth to go with. Mind you, it doesn’t feel heavier, just taller to the point that I pull about a gear lower to go just as fast.

Once you get rolling and start hitting corners, hang on! The amount of grip on hand is scary compared to some of Surly’s previous offerings. The lean angles I could push on the Wednesday would make a superbike rider jealous and had me considering mounting plastic pucks on my knees to find the limits. Those additional biting edges work together and the tires just would not give up.

Rolling resistance isn’t bad either. The center knobs are ramped and the spacing is a little tighter which limits the tread squirming as it interacts with the ground, keeping you rolling smoother. Our conditions this fall have ranged from damp and slick to buff hardpack. I’ve run the tires between 7-15 psi but have found the happy pressure on dirt to be in the 8-10 psi range.

On to Winter!

Our first lick of snow came a couple days before the Hugh Jass Fat Bike race in Lake Geneva, WI. About an inch of fluff would give me a chance to try the tires on new conditions in anger. Well, as angry as you can get playing Hammerschlagen between laps and taking beer shortcuts. Set up at 4 & 6 psi (F&R) the Edna’s took to the course as if the snow wasn’t even there. Packing and gripping the light crunch allowed me to make up time in the singletrack. As the sun came out, some of the corners began to glaze over into an icy surprise that threw most riders off. Fortunately, this is where the supple casing helped out and kept the side knobs from breaking away, allowing me to stay on the gas. I was thoroughly impressed and happy with a near podium result!

Over the holidays, I got the chance to head north and finally put the Edna’s through some actual powder. The mecca of Wisconsin mountain biking, Levis Mounds, offered everything from grippy, packed single track to 6″ inches of undisturbed fluff. Aired down to the 4 psi range, I never had a problem hooking up even on the steepest, powder-covered granny gear climbs. Likewise, the tread never felt squirmy on the hard pack or steep descents. Definitely, confidence inspiring when you’re shredding the backcountry in single digit temperatures.

I admit, the fat-bike snob in me wasn’t sure if a $95 MSRP tire would be all that fun but I’m glad Edna proved me wrong. Is she for you? I’d say if you have a modern fat bike that accepts 4″+ tires and you want a great year-round tread with a little more cush, or a lighter weight set for your 5″ bike without giving up grip, Edna would be worth a look. Surly prides themselves on making durable, versatile products that are a great value and they definitely seemed to accomplish that with the Edna.

For more information about the Surly Edna visit –

About Gomez 2576 Articles
Just an old cat that rides bikes, herds pixels, ropes gnomes and sometimes writes stories. I love a good story.


  1. I concur. The Edna is my favorite fat bike tire I’ve used thus far. She HOOKS UP!!!

    If I were to add anything to your great review I’d say Edna is extremely resistant to washing out when going off the “straight and narrow” groom/hardpack snow.

        • Thanks for the rim info Johnny Sea.

          Just as an FYI for readers that wonder if a tire will fit on their bike – Most Surly tire fit questions can be answered by measuring the space between your chainstays and reviewing Surly’s Tire Geometry page. Just remember that you’ll need 6mm clearance on each side of the tire. They have all of that data for each of their tires mounted on 65/80/100 mm rims. The space between the chainstays sometimes can change within models, depending on the size of the frame. So measuring is the most dependable way to know if a tire will fit on your specific fat-bike. Other variables to consider, would be drivetrain configuration and bottom bracket Q factor.

  2. I’m running the Edna since October, about 900k. On trails, dirt, snow and pavement. Love them. I’ve even ridden the Rakpha Festive 500 with them.

  3. Sweet review. I’m putting Bud/Edna on the Better Half’s Watchman – did you play around at all with tread direction on the Edna in the rear?

  4. This review gave me a a pretty good idea of what to expect coming from Nate’s or Lou’s, but how does it compare to the Bud upfront?

  5. For reference, the Ednas set up tubeless very well on Marge Lites (with Surly nylon rim strips and invisible duct tape), and they barely fit on a Salsa Bucksaw 177mm rear. I’m close to the 6mm frame and chain clearance, but no issues so far! They were also a few grams lighter than my Surly Nates.

  6. Anyone have REAL WORLD experience with these on a Ritchey Commando (officially rated for 4″)? DT BR-710 rims. 1×9 raceface x microshift 11-42 9sp. rear. Desiring more width in sand.

    • Rivendell now offers a 7 speed 13-42 cassette, so that could buy us 4″ Fat bike owners more of a possibility of running these super tires!!! 7/8 speed shifters needed of course. It looks like I will end up answering my own question soon. The limiting factor seems my chain hitting anything wider than my 3.8’s when in the 42 rear ring, so the 4mm more outboard 7 speed cassette will still let me have a 42T low rear but run these tires (I hope!).

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