After the unboxing I mounted the XLs up to my Bigfoot and hit the trails. I wanted to get these tires in as many types of terrain as possible to see if they are more than a snow tire. I also wanted to run them at different pressures to see if that has any impact on the XL's performance.
I ran the tires at five, seven and ten pounds on 80mm rims with tubes. I actually noticed a difference in the amount of pump strokes (floor pump) that it took to inflate the tire over a 4". I would not want to be on the trail and have to inflate one using a mini bike pump.
The types of terrain visited included:
- groomed walking trails
- mountain bike trails (soil, roots, rocks)
- loose rock
- beach rock
- water + slippery rock
- rock (Canadian shield)
- a little snow
I did find that the lower the pressure and the harder the surface, the more self steer. Increase the pressure, the contact patch decreases and voila - less self steer with a decrease in traction.
I was not able to find a type of terrain that these tires did not feel right at home. Fording water, climbing rock, and slogging through mud these tires XLed (get it !!). Pavement and concrete were not the most challenging terrain, but at the right pressure the tires will rumble down the road drawing all sorts of attention.
Unfortunately I was not able to fully test them in snow. However, if I were a betting man I would say that they would not let you down.
Bottom line, if you are looking for a 5" fatbike tire you have to put the Snowshoe XLs on your shortlist.
Be sure to check out the video for additional information and snippets of the actual terrain conquered by these amazing tires.