Bike setup: first generation Mukluk, size L. Rolling Darryl rims laced and 2.4-2.75″ Q-Tubes to save as much rotational weight as possible. The tires were tested in the 6 psi range; typical of pressures I’ve ridden other tires, for comparison’s sake.
Very positive first ride (and second, third and fourth rides at this point). I managed to get out on snow twice with the tires. Admittedly both times were about as perfect as winter riding can be; temps in the mid 20s and nicely packed snow on the trail face. All tires were gripping well both days. However, once you did exceed the limits of traction or got off line just enough to get in to the deeper, looser snow at the edge of the trail face, that’s when differences started to appear between the Husker Du and the competitors. It was very easy to pull the tire back from the brink with some body english and judicious brake application. After spending lots of time on the original fat-bike tires, it’s been my experience that once you start to lose it, it’s way to late. The larger margin of error provided by the Husker Du is a nice change. Fresh and/or deep snow conditions have unfortunately not presented themselves yet, but given the performance so far; I can’t wait to try them.
Two more longer rides were done after the recent snow melt. One included about 16 miles of pavement to get to the trailhead and the other included some significant ice mixed in with patches of bare dirt and some packed snow. On pavement the low rolling resistance provided by the fairly continuous center rib was much appreciated. A low pressure fat-bike tire is always going to be a lot of work to keep rolling, but the Husker Du is up there with the best of them. Riding some of the competitive tires on pavement can create a real buzz or vibration through the bike; the HDs also create some vibes, as any MTB tire will, but it’s much less prevalent. “Portage” on pavement between sections of dirt or snow is much nicer on the ‘Du. Ice was also a factor in Minneapolis’ December. The ‘Dus aren’t studded, but the additional molded sipes in the tread provide many more biting edges to grabs as much traction from the ice as can be had. When the tires do start to slip, the breakaway is communicated effectively, allowing you plenty of time to get a foot down as needed.
Overall, my experience with the Husker Du has been positive. I found increased overall grip compared to the original fat-bike tire designs in all areas: acceleration, cornering and braking. When cornering during low traction situations it was easier to get the tire back on line if grip was lost. And, for the all-arounders out there, riding this tire on the pavement to get to the groomed trails won’t wear you out before the fun even starts.