Over the last few years there has been a surge in companies coming out with fat bikes due their growing popularity and well to be honest, because they're a ton of fun to ride. One of the biggest challenges fat bike manufacturers and dealers over the past few years have faced has been the lack of options when it comes to parts for fat bikes. Especially when it comes to tires. Surly was one of the first companies to come out with decent fat bike tires followed by their sister company 45 NRTH. Recently however, it seems that ever tire manufacturer is getting on board and that is a good thing because there will be a ton more options and price points available for the fat bike market. Here is a quick Tech Note and review from Joel here at Fyxation regarding the new Panaracer Fat B Nimble fat bike tire.
Lately, it seems like I've been having more conversations about tires then I do about fat bikes. I personally think because ride quality begins at the tire and based on my conversations with others, I'm not alone. One of the companies that just jumped into the fat bike tire market is Panaracer. Panaracer introduced their tire called Fat B Nimble which is a 26x4" fat bike tire available in both steel bead 60 TPI and a Kevlar folding bead 120 TPI. Pararacer mountain bike tires are highly respected and with the release of a more affordable fat bike tire I was excited to see how it would compare to more expensive Surly and 45 North Tires. With an MSRP coming in at only $65 for the Wire Bead and $90 for the Folding Bead these tires are a great value and I wanted to see well they would hold up out in the wild.
Out of the box the Fat B Nimble Steel Bead 60 tpi tire looked like a great 4 season all around tire, even though it closely resembled the 45 North Husker Du tire. The tread was hard fairly aggressive while still looking to have a faster rolling resistance. There isn't as much tread on the side wall on these tires which I think would impact deeper snow rides but I'll have plenty of time to find out with winter still holding on here in Wisconsin. The tire weight came in at 1420 grams.
Next was time to mount these tires up and go for a ride. I threw these on one of our Fyxation Blawkhawk demo bikes, which come stock with the Sun Ringle Mulefut 80 mm rims. Mounting the Panaracer's was a bit hard to get the bead to seat onto the rim. I tried 3 tires deflating and re-inflating the tire to about 40 psi and the bead still won't go on. With a little help from some Uncle Dick's Bead Slip, the tire finally seated. Out of the box the tires did seem a bit narrow, but once the were on the rim they came out to be 3.6 inches from wall to wall. They only seemed to be narrower since the tread doesn't go as wide as most other tires.
I took the tires on a quick 3 mile ride. I tired to hit a little bit of everything from city riding, to hard pack trail, ice trail and snow pack trail. Luckily, now that our office in Riverwest, it is much closer to all of these. First I ran the tires a 15 psi, on the bike lane and dirt trail. The tires felt fast and hooked up on the trail. The ground is frozen, so grabbing shouldn't be a problem, but once spring comes we'll see how they'll do with some mud.I then dropped the tires down to about 6 psi to test the tire with the low psi in the snow. When I tested these we did just get about 1 inch of new snow, which a good introduction to getting use to the new Fat B Nimble's. Right away I did notice some auto steer coming from the tires. It was enough to notice and it did affect my riding abilities. That might change if there were more snow with that low of psi. In the new snow the Pararacer's did float quite well while grabbing the corners and hills.
Overall, these tires would shine in Spring, Summer and Fall with the harder psi riding. The auto steer does affect you enough were the Panaracer's don't do well with the low pressure riding. I also did notice that the printing on one of the tires wasn't straight as well (shown in last picture) not sure if this is a consistent error or if we just got one (only a minor printing error to be picky). The Fat B Nimble's would be a great affordable option to take off your winter tires and not feel guilty riding these all over the place the rest of the year.