The Surly Lou Is The Mad King Of Rear Fatbike Tires

Better traction and lighter than running chains, the Surly Lou costs a bit more than slipnot chains at around $130 street price and ~1528g. The treads are monstrous at 7mm deep and this tire is the best one I’ve tried yet in deep powder.

The best rear tire I have tried. No need for chains with this beast on.

The best rear tire I have tried. No need for chains with this beast on.

A couple of weeks ago I did a review on the Surly Bud which is the 4.8 fat tire that is designed to be mated with its evil twin brother the Surly Lou on the rear. The treads are perpendicular to the tire in the rear (Lou) and parallel with the tire in the front (Bud).

The only problem I have is finding a fatbike that will take both the Bud and the Lou on both the front and rear tires. I have 3 Bikes Direct fatbikes and the Boris X9 and Bullseye Monster will fit a Bud on the front but the rear is too narrow for the Lou. The Deadeye Monster is the opposite and will fit a Lou on the rear but the front fork is too narrow for a Bud on the front. I’m not complaining since all these bikes are not advertised to fit 4.8″ tires at all, only 4″ tires. Although I have never actually tried these two tires together on the same bike, but even on their own, they really shine.

At lower speeds the Lou does not spin out and sink like many other fat tires do. At <5psi pressures the tire feels incredibly soft and floaty and riding it just feels awesome. What doesn’t feel awesome is when your battery dies and you have to pedal home. This tire has a lot of rolling resistance at lower psi and most of the time I just get off and walk with the bike instead of wasting energy trying to pedal and getting nowhere.

Rating system is 5 (best) to 1 (worst)

Powder – 5 : Have yet to find a better traction tire. Great even on the front wheel of an AWD build like the Reaper.

Mud – 5 : None better.

Ice – 4 : Not as good as studs but close.

Singletrack – 5 : This is my favorite tire to ride singletrack with on my Single Speed.

Road – 2 : So much road noise it’s scary to pedestrians. The tread seems to wear fast on asphalt.

Rolling Resistance – 2 : I have yet to find a tire with more rolling resistance than this one.

Weight – 3 : About what you’d expect.

It is likely that I will run a Lou on the front of my All Wheel Drive fatbike prototype even though it is designed for the rear as the Lou has better traction than any tire I’ve tried to date.

It is likely that I will run a Lou on the front of my All Wheel Drive fatbike prototype even though it is designed for the rear as the Lou has better traction than any tire I’ve tried to date.

If the distance between your chainstays is over 4.5 inches and you aren’t running a super wide rim then the Lou might be the right rear tire for you. It was for me.

Ride On.

19 thoughts on “The Surly Lou Is The Mad King Of Rear Fatbike Tires

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