Surly Nate 3.8 – Hey It Rhymes…

Although I haven’t ridden the Nate 3.8 in snow, I bought one a couple of months ago from Treefort bikes for $70 (27tpi wire bead) and have ridden it pretty extensively in the woods. The version I bought was much heavier at 1730g than the higher quality ultralight 120tpi tires at 1350g but they are also about $40 cheaper.


Although the tread gives a lot of traction, this tire still can’t hold a candle to the 4.8 Surly Lou or Bud. When I run it at sub 9psi pressure on the rear which I can get away with on the Lou I end up with pinch flats on the Nate. The tire does not ride as well as its fatter cousins, but then again it is about 1/2 the price.

The tire does come close to it’s claimed size which is a welcome change in a world of fat-tire width exaggerators. On a 80mm rim it measured out to 3.7 inches.

When it comes to fat bikes it’s really all about the tires. It seems it make sense to get the best tires that you can afford and think of them as investing in the suspension for your bike. For fat bikes that can’t fit a Lou or Bud the Nate 3.8 might be a viable option, but I would probably recommend that you spring for the 120tpi tires as I wasn’t really impressed with the 27tpi ones.

The rating system is 1-5 with 5 being the best and 1 being the worst

Powder – 4 : This tire does not suck in the snow and slush. Tracks well and looses traction very predictibly.

Mud – 4 : Pretty decent due to the massive tread depth.

Ice – 4 : On textured ice this tire holds well, on glare ice it works about as well as anything else without studs which is not really at all.

Singletrack – 4 : Holds corners quite well, works great at speed. Good lateral traction.

Road – 3 : Lots of road noise, not really what it is designed for at all.

Rolling Resistance – 3 : Lots of it, when your batteries die expect to burn some serious calories to get home.

Weight – 2 : About what you would expect for a wire bead tire 1730g. Go for the folding bead if you’re a weight weenie.

Although I have yet to ride this tire on the snow, on dirt single-track the Nate has good lateral traction and feels very similar to the Lou or Bud. The braking traction is good, but not as good as a 4.8 tire with decent tread. Overall I would say the Nate is a decent choice for frames that can’t fit a 4.8 tire. It was tested in the rear of my Boris X9 and the front of my Deadeye Monster which don’t have clearances to support a much larger tire.

Ride On.





8 thoughts on “Surly Nate 3.8 – Hey It Rhymes…

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    • I ride 10psi in the rear in the summer and 8 in the front if tubeless. In the winter you can go down to about 6.5 in the rear and 5 in the front if tubeless. If I run tubes I keep it around 12psi. No lower.


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