45NRTH VanHelga Tire
When it comes to winter riding gear, I am irrevocably picky.
In summertime, I’m frivolous, carefree, forgiving. I proudly don the ‘anything goes’ mentality. Should I forget a pair of gloves or wear a pair of chamois that I’m not crazy about, ‘No big deal! It’s just for a ride,' I’d say to myself in my best French accented, laissez-faire mental voice.
But when winter rolls around with its brutal riding conditions and it’s hard earned miles, I become much more shrewd and hard-to-please. I transform into a harsh critic and a cold-weather gear connoisseur. I want the best of the best, if only to make the hard days in the saddle just a little bit more bearable.
Anyone else out there like me?
In the process of building my dream fatbike, I was determined to get my hands on the VanHelga tires. 45NRTH has long been a company that I trust when it comes to making the highest quality winter riding gear. They say that the VanHelga is their ‘do anything’ tire.
Upon installation, I was really impressed with how well my bike rolled. The rotating mass of my wheels felt instantly lighter. The tubeless setup took the first time. Upon riding, the tires felt light and nimble in comparison to the Maxxis Minions I was running before. My concern was spiked that the VanHelga might not be quite beefy enough to handle loose gravel riding in the shoulder season. I was wrong. These tires are CAPABLE. The triple-siped knobs on the outsides of the tires provide lots of good digging on loose corners and stabilization even on icy sections of trail. The grip on this rubber is wonderfully confidence inspiring and I’ve found that the tread pattern provides smooth transition between shredding uphill and power stroking the downs.
The VanHelga shines when riding loose powder, where the large-and-in-charge siped lugs dig into the snow and provide traction through sharp corners, brash acceleration and even fast braking. The VanHelgas are manufactured with a dual compound rubber, which provides a longer life for the harder tread in the middle and provides softer tread on the outside which helps riders to achieve more controlled cornering.
For unpredictable snow trail conditions, the VanHelga is your best bet. They aren’t the lightest tire in the 45NRTH line up (1410 grams for the 120 TPI 27.5 x 4.0), but the extra weight definitely pays off when you find yourself heavily leaning into corners and shredding time off the clock in the downhills.
The VanHelga is available in 26 inch and 27.5 inch diameters. I will be using the 27.5 x 4.0 VanHelgas as my race tire this Fat season. I will report back with more performance metrics after a few races. But until then, with just over 150 (mostly snow) miles on this rubber, I can comfortably say these things are majorly ShredWorthy!