45NRTH Tan Helga 27.5 x 4.0 Review

Back at the very end of 2019, I started riding a set of 45NRTH Van Helga 27.5 x 4.0 tires on a pair of Fatback Big Su wheels. We shared ‘first looks’ about the Tan Helgas and the Big Su Wheelset HERE & HERE. This story will be a review of the Van Helga tires and the Fatback Big Su wheels will get their own review HERE.

Snow Performance

Last winter was the best snow season that we’ve had in the last five years. Looking back, I can see that I’ve been lucky enough to be able to ride some sweet groomed singletrack this past winter. This winter, when the trails were nicely groomed, I mounted a set of 27.5 x 4.0 Van Helgas. and rode the white roller coaster trails at Win-Man, Duluth, CamRock, Kettle, Silver Lake, Levis Mound and more. I did a few of the Hugh Jass Races last winter and the Tan Helgas delivered me to the finish line and totally harmonized with my brown leisure suit race kit.

Several people have commented on how nice the tan-walls look on my all-blacked out Corvus. I like Black Tires on Black Bikes but to each their own, when it comes to color schemes. These tires more than make up for any cosmetic considerations with performance. Van Helgas on groomed snow enjoy a really generous sweet spot when it comes to the kind of conditions that they can handle with ease. The tire has a great balance between rolling fast and traction on groomed snow. I found these tires to be highly versatile. They punch above their weight when it comes to what you might think that a 4.0 tire can provide as far as flotation in soft sand or deeper snow. If you like to run one set of tires for dirt or snow, the Van Helgas would be a great choice.

Dirt Performance

I was talking to Adam Blake last week and I’d just got done with a singletrack ride on Tan Helgas that was nine miles of tacky hero dirt on a brisk sunny day. I was singing their praises and Adam said: “The Van Helgas took everything that we love about a Surly Nate and just upped the tech across the board.” I couldn’t agree more.

The cornering traction on these tires is robust and confidence-inspiring. I’m running 8 psi tubeless on a set of Fatback Big Su wheels. The climbing and braking traction is also pretty stupendous with the Van Helgas. Part of me wants to say that the Van Helgas might be a little bit overkill or too much tire for our Wisconsin buff dirt singletrack but that’s counter-balanced by the fact that they feel like they don’t create any sort of perceived rolling resistance penalty. These tires rip on dirt. There’s a rutted chunky switchback out on my local twisties and when I ride that spot with other tire/wheel set-ups, I’m on the brakes to the apex. With the Van Helgas, I can let go of the brakes and carve that turn at speed and never worry about washing out. The amount of traction is ridiculous! This tire nails the sweet spot that provides a good balance between traction sweet chewiness and the jet-fresh flow.

So if you’re looking for a new set of sneakers for your fatty that can live the four-season fat-bike lifestyle you should take a long hard look at the 45Nrth Van Helgas. I’d run them on my fatty any day or month of the year. These tires rip – nuff said!

The 45NRTH 27.5 x 4.0 Tan Helgas earn 4.98 out of 5 gnomes

More Van Helga Discussion!

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. Hey Gomez. In your opinion, how does the 26”wheel stack up against a 27.5”wheel? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages are between the two?

    • That’s a great question! There’s kind of no short answer to your question. But here’s part of what I think of B-Fat. If you like the way a 29+ rigid bike just can steamroll through pretty rocky rooty trail. If you notice that when you run big meaty 4.8 tires on your fat bike that you love the way that rides but maybe don’t want that much tire, then B-Fat gives you that taller wheel diameter in the 4.o tires with surprising amounts of flotation when compared to a 26 x 4.0 tire. There are situations (like a groomed trail) where the B-Fat Ralley Sport Package shines but it also handles the soft stuff pretty damn well (but I think it takes a little more bike handling skill? or attention). The discussion about B-fat goes wider and narrower from the 4.0 tire width. Above you have the huge 4.5 tires (even taller than 29+) (a full inch taller than 26×4.8) and in the narrower category, there’s 2.8-3.25 Plus bike tires or the 3.7″ fatbike tire tires on 35-50mm wide 27.5 (plusfat). We should do a zoom meeting show on that subject. But here’s a little known fact: The Men’s Fat Bike Birkie was won on 26″ wheels the last two years in a row by the same cat – Corey Stelljes.

  2. To jog your memory, I ran into you and Travis during your recent visit to Anchorage. I was riding Van Helgas on Big Su rims on my Ten Beers twin, a Fatback Corvus FLT prototype. You mentioned that the Van Helgas were a good tire, and I agreed. I almost said “If you have any stroke with 45NRTH, as them to make a 26″ version built on the Dillinger 5 size casing.” Well….I’m saying it now. Please.

    • I like your taste in bikes and wheels. I want a 27.5 x 3.7 Bontrager Rougarou Please.

    • Hi Gomez,

      I hesitate between a pair of Maxxis Minion FBF + FBR 27’5×3’8 and a pair of Vanhelga tan wall 27’5×4 ‘to ride on my Wtb i45 Tought, to ride on dry rocky or slightly sandy terrain, what would you think would be? the best choice !?
      I would really like the tires that are as rolling as possible with the least resistance.
      Thank you in advance for your feedback !!

      • What about Bontrager Hodags? or Dillingers? Both are lower rolling resistance than either VH or Minions.

        • I have already had the hodag, very good tires with low rolling resistance but I am looking for tires with a lot more grip for more Trail / Enduro practice.
          I had the minions that I found with a great grip but I hesitate with the vanhelga which if they were more rolling could be well seen their slightly higher volume.

          • The VanHelga roll better than the Minions, they are less penalizing on the rolling, right !?

          • Rolling Resistance is a tie, but I stand by Van Helga > Minion (> means greater than)
            Another consideration might be which one is in stock and available to purchase.

          • Here in Europe , we have 27’5 Minion FBF and FBR in stock in lot of online shop and the VanHelga is available in small quantity in Tan or black 60 and 120 tpi .
            I have ride the Hodag and Minion in 27’5 x 3’8 , the dream for me it’s solidity and grip of Minion , weight and Rolling Resistance of Hodag and a little more volume of Minion.
            What buy , Minion , Vanhelga or if you know on other model !?

          • Dillinger 4’s would be – the grip of a Minion with the weight and Rolling Resistance of Hodag…but you should buy those Van Helgas Dadio. I gave mine away and I miss them very much.

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