I now have about 30 hours riding on the Dillinger 4 Studded fatbike tire in a wide variety of conditions from hard pack to powder to 4″ of slush. I can say in no uncertain terms that this tire is the best fatbike commuting tire to own if you are commuting with a fatbike on roads that are icy and dangerous. The studded tires outperform chains and big lugs in a variety of icy conditions, especially on glare ice. I did a comparison review of all three side by side here. That being said the performance for these tires in anything more than 1″ of fresh powder is suboptimal, especially on the front tire. The front tire tends to wash out pretty easily in turns as the tread pattern seems to make the fresh snow feel like a well lubricated surface. When the powder gets to be 4-6 inches deep you really start wishing that you had a Surly Bud on your front instead of the Dillinger 4. 45NRTH also sells a Dillinger 5 which is a 4.8″ studded tire that I have yet to try, but has a similar tread pattern. The tire I tested was the 27TPI wire rimmed tire with steel-carbide studs which weighed in at 3.78lbs with 240 studs and a street price of around $135.
This tire is a good rear tire option for frames like the X9 Boris which doesn’t really have clearance for chains with a 4″ tire. It is also a decent option as a front tire for late season hardpack with a bike like the Deadeye Monster which can’t fit the larger 4.8 Surly Bud.
These tires really seem to excel later in the season when the daily thaw/freeze cycle sets up a thick outer crust that will easily support the weight of the bike. I found myself going out morning after morning at the very break of dawn to ride in the woods before the sun came out and softened everything up. It was positively magical to be able to ride anywhere I wanted to, without having to stick to the packed down single track trails. The studs seemed to grip the snow and hard packed ice particularly well and I found myself climbing impossibly steep 35 degree slopes with confidence with these tires.
I’ve noticed that narrow studded tires tend to grip better on ice than fatter ones and the grip improves with higher tire pressure. These seems to be the opposite of riding on powder where wider is better and lower tire pressure generally equals more traction.
Rating System is 1(worst) to 5 (best)
Powder – 3 : Surprisingly bad
Mud – 3 : Decent tread means it doesn’t slip out too bad.
Ice – 5 : Way better than chains or anything else I’ve found to date.
Singletrack – 4 This tire actually does quite well and the studs tend to grip wet logs really well.
Road – 3 Lots of road noise and you’ll wear down the studs pretty quick on asphalt.
Rolling Resistance – 3 The studs seem to make it resist rolling even more.
Weight – 3 Less than what I expected but still pretty heavy.
I really want to thank Larry from Boxy Bikes for loaning me these tires to test. In the end I decided to buy them for myself, as they are excellent late season additions to my fatbike tire collection.
Update : After over a year of serious abuse I lost about 25% of the studs in this tire. To be fair I had been riding it year round, but still this is an unacceptable loss for a tire this expensive.