I was looking for a larger front tire to mount in my most recent Deadeye conversion and did an ebay search for “folding bead fat bike tire“. I bid on a H-Billie 4.25 using auction stealer ( a last second sniping service ) and managed to get the tire for a mere $51 shipped. Although I have been disappointed with every Vee-rubber tire I have ever ridden on, I was not disappointed with the H-Billie.
The tire is about as wide as a Surly Nate 3.8 and has slightly less tread depth. I run the tire on a ghetto tubeless setup as a front tire in a Deadeye BBS02 conversion on a 50mm rim. Although the tire is overstated and sold as a 4.25 it should fit on any bike that can mount a Surly Nate on it (the tire is 102mm wide at the casing on a 80mm rim). The treads are not as wide as a Nate it seems that this tire is designed more for an 80mm rim than for a 100mm rim. The max psi is listed as 36psi which is very high for a fat bike tire.
After a lot of riding on different tires I’m finding the wire-bead low thread count tires less and less desirable. I’m also disheartened by the extreme cost of many fat bike tires and have decided that they are only charging $130 a tire because they can, not because these tires cost anywhere near that much to produce.
Rating system is 5 (best) to 1 (worst)
Powder – 4 : Work better than most 4″ tires. The tread bites well and there is good lateral traction. A decent choice for a front or rear tire on a snow bike.
Mud – 4 : This tire is extremely good in the mud and only slips sideways in the most extreme muddy conditions.
Ice – 4 : Great tread pattern that holds well on rough ice, slips out on glare ice as any tire without studs does.
Singletrack – 4.5 : Incredibly nimble with a tubeless setup, it seems like the tire always ends up where I want it to and is very predictable.
Road – 3 : Low road noise and decent traction. Not what this tire is designed for though.
Rolling Resistance – 3 : About the same as a Nate, much less than a Bud or Lou.
Weight – 4 : Fantastic for a tire with lugs this size. ~1344g
For $51 new and shipped this tire was a quite a bargain, although the retail is much higher at $120. Most of the other Vee-Rubber tires I have are quickly ending up in the spare tire pile and not getting ridden at all. The H-Billie stands above all the others I’ve bought both in price, performance, weight and traction. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?