Terrene Tires and the Krueger Brothers (Tim & Ryan) sent us an assortment of their newest fat-bike sneakers that they call Cake Eaters. I’ve been spending a fair amount of time riding the un-studded 26 x 4.0 Light construction version mounted tubeless to a set of 80mm wide Reynolds Elite Carbon rims bolted to my murdered out Fatback Corvus FLT, Ten Beers.
Are you familiar with rocker Pat Benatar? She had a hit song back in the 1980’s “Heart Breaker”. If you just change a few words around you get a rock’n soundtrack to run through your head while you read the rest of our review of these fat knobbies.
You’re a Cake Eater
skid maker, a berm shaker
Don’t you mess around with me
You’re a Cake Eater
climb maker, a stud taker
Don’t you mess around, no no no
The fact that I’m riding the Cake Eaters (Un-Studded) means that there’s a studded version! Ken Blakey-Shell is testing the studded version of the same tire over in the upper thumb part of the Mitten (Michigan) and we’ve both written spotlights that have all of the weights, measurements and biorhythms of our respective test variant. So now there’s only one thing left to do…and that’s review the way they ride! In this case, by ‘they’, I mean the 26 x 4.0 Light construction Cake Eater.
We only had one of these 4.0’s so I spent the month of November with the Cake Eater up front and the Month of December with the Cake Eater out back. We usually review tires as a pair, but I think the manner upon which I tested the Cake Eater 4.0 forced me to focus a little bit closer to how the tire performed in the front vs the rear. It does, however, introduce the variable of another brand/model tire into the overall ride performance.
November started out with an early season snowstorm that laid down 3 inches of the light fluffy variety of snow, just a few hours drive north of us, so I packed up the bike and got all of my winter riding gear out to go up to the Nicolet Roche National Forest for the weekend. The paramount reason for the trip was the arrival of the Fatback Corvus FLT that I mentioned above. I built the new ride up with the Cake Eater up front and a gnew HuskerDu in the back. They set up tubeless very easily. I had a great weekend of riding in the snow and extended my trip to get down to Big Eau Pleine to ride before all of that snow melted. That was the only snow riding that I did with the Cake Eater up front. I was happy with the way that the tire performed in the snow, but I did crash a couple of times when the shoulder knobs of the cake eaters broke loose in corners. I chalk that up to first snow of the year, new bike, not having my tire pressure dialed more than any deficiency in the Cake Eaters design. Not to mention, my pilot skill (or lack thereof).
The rest of the time during November, we had killer mountain bike weather. It was the 3rd warmest and driest November in the books, so the Cake Eater spent plenty of time riding singletrack up front on my Corvus. The Cake Eater passes the dirt test with flying colors, but it should be said that I prefer a moderately knobbed tire. If your favorite singletrack tire is a Wazia or a Nate, then you might not agree with my assessment. I’m willing to give up a little traction to marginally reduce rolling resistance and the Cake Eaters are in that moderately knobbed category.
December teased us with repeated dustings of snow along with periodic melt backs that felt like the extended dance mix of the movie Ground Hog Day. We kept on getting an inch or two of perfect ‘first snow of the season’ conditions followed by total melt-back to dry trail. These were the kind of snows that are semi bonded to the trail surface and provide really great riding conditions. When I moved the Cake Eater to the rear of the bike, I mounted a Vittoria Bomboloni up front. I love the Bombo as a front tire because of the nice aggressive shoulder knobs on that tread pattern.
The Cake Eater in the rear checks all of the boxes. I ran it for awhile in the reverse direction and in the recommended direction with great success. The Cake Eater exhibits excellent climbing traction as well as braking and cornering under braking loads. I’m telling you straight-up…this tire is a baller – or maybe a Berm Shaker!
The Cake Eater has worked very well for our particular conditions, but we never got to test them in any deep snow and we really never got to test them on really buff groomed snow. About the deepest snow conditions that we did experience with the Cake Eaters (so far) was a fresh couple of inches over the top of melt-degraded groomed singletrack at Levis and the tires were great. I got to ride quite a few stretches of the trail and get first tracks on the fresh top layer of snow. When we take all of that data and add the versatility of being able to add studs and the Cake Eaters start to look like the tire that could knock the old 45N Husker Du out of the best moderately knobbed 26 x 4.0 tire category and maybe give studded 45N Dillingers a run for the crown for best studded moderately knobbed 26×4.0 tire, but time will tell. We need to get these tires into some deep ungroomed and onto some sick grooming to make those kinds of bold predictions, but the potential is there IMHO. I’m giving the Cake Eater a 4.5 in the front and a 4.98 in the rear for an aggregate score of 4.74 gnomes out of a possible 5 gnomes!
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