First Look – 45NRTH Van Helga 27.5 x 4.0 (Tan Helga)

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Otis w/VanHelga in 2014

It’s been a number of years since I’ve ridden a pair of 45NRTH Van Helga Tires. The best that I can tell, it was back in 2014. We’ve published two reviews by a couple of different product testers and the results are all pretty positive. Ken Blakey-Shell wrote, “I think the thing I dig so much about these tires is how big the “sweet spot” is. The way I think of the sweet spot for a tire is that it is the range of conditions where a tire has the ability to perform in the top 10ish% of tires available. Some tires like the 27.5 Van Helga seem like they are a great option in a really wide range of conditions and other tires only have a very narrow range of (if any) conditions where they shine. With the Van Helgas, you can be confident that you will have a really good setup for most conditions outside of when you have ice or deep powder.”

Aaron Hautala said this about the Van Helgas. “Even though Vanhelga was not designed for the dirt, it performed incredibly well there. At first glance, I assumed the tread would have a 5 out of 5 rating for Traction….and It does. However, what took me aback is the limited rolling resistance this tire created on the dirt. Drop the post, point your hips, and throw your weight into it. Seriously powerful traction, to the point where I’d say “whoooooooooooah” coming around the corners due to the gravity fest.”

The wrinkle that has the Tan Helgas back in the spotlight is a new 60 tpi version with tan sidewalls. Tan in place of Van (it’s a play on words). Last week, I interviewed Cole House after his win at the Snow Crown Shelltrack race and we talked about his ride on a set of 45NRTH 27.5×4 Tan Helgas. You can listen to that interview HERE. Let’s take a look at these new school retro sneakers with this popular race-proven tread pattern!

Our two test tires weighed in at 1422, 1423 grams. With the tire laid out flat the bead to bead measured 224mm and the tread to tread was 125mm. The tread on the Tan Helgas center knobs are 5mm tall with intermediate knobs at 5.5mm and shoulder knobs at 4mm.

The tread is heavily siped and consists of alternating rows of five and then four chunky knobs. The Tan Helgas came right out of the packaging to get mounted on a pair of Fatback Big Su 27.5 x 75mm wheels. Both tires mounted with a resounding POP on the very first shot from our California Quiet air compressor. I injected two syringes of Stan’s in the front and two syringes of smurfy blue Bontrager TLR sealant in the rear. The next day, I had to add a little air but after they got ridden they set up air-tight. The Tan Helgas grade out very high for their easy tubeless set-up.

Ten Beers with Tan Helgas – Lean and Meaty

The Tan Helgas mounted to the Big Su’s measured 100.5mm wide at the casing and 98mm wide at the outer edge of the tread.

The Tan Wall version that we’re testing has a 60 tpi casing. The Black version comes in a 120 tpi casing. So far, I haven’t felt any negative effects but I’ve been running between 8-12 psi for a little dirt and mixed pavement gravel riding while winter hit the reset button before the new year. We’ll see how things go at lower pressures on snow in the upcoming weeks. The Van Helgas are designed for groomed snow, so that’s what we’ll be hunting over the next month. I’ll be piling up the miles and report back somewhere down the (groomed) trail amigos!

For more information about the 45NRTH Van Helgas visit –

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


      • Reminds me of your old school Van’s or air walk sneakers. If the 45nrth and VanHelga was done up in reflective these would really be smoother then Vanilla Ice.

  1. Not only does this set up look cool as all get out, it sounds like the 3 season nirvana set up I’ve been looking for, sweet!

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