I’ve been experimenting with tires lately as I’ve grown tired of paying $130 each for folding bead 120tpi Surly tires. A little voice in the back of my head keeps telling me that I shouldn’t be paying more for these a 2.5 lb fatbike tires than I do for the 11 ply E-Load-rated tires for my Sprinter camper conversion that weigh on the order of 50 lbs each and support 3086 lbs of weight. Shopping on ebay I found these Panaracer Fat B Nimble 4.0 120tpi folding bead tires from The Bikesmiths for $55 shipped so I bought 2. I was not disappointed. I’ve been migrating to 120tpi folding bead tires as they seem to feel a lot better for low-pressure trailriding.
Mounted on a 50mm rim the tires are closer to 3.5 inches than 4. It was the biggest tire I could possibly hope to mount in the rear of my current favorite single-track weapon, a Deadeye conversion called Duh Banana Bike. The Deadeye Monster will allow you to mount much larger 4.8 inch tires like the Surly Lou but the Deadeye has much less space between the chain-stays in the rear.
Rating system is 5 (best) to 1 (worst)
Powder – 4 : This tire does surprisingly well for the price. There is nothing else I’ve found in the $55 range that even comes close. Good lateral traction as a front tire, good rear traction that gives you plenty of power.
Ice – 4 : Does well on textured ice and slips out predictably on glare ice. I recommend something with studs for the front, but this tire does well in the rear.
Singletrack – 4.5 : Hard to imagine a tire that does better for the weight. It can slip out on very wet logs when hit sideways but always grips the trail better than you think it would.
Road – 4 : Does well on gravel, not too much road noise at high speeds. More of a singletrack tire but does fine on the road.
Rolling Resistance – 4 : Surprisingly low for the depth of tread and pressure
Weight – 4 : Surprisingly good at around 1250g
The sweet spot on this tire is around 8 psi running on ghetto tubeless. There was not a lot of counter-steer at that pressure and the tire generally goes where I want it too without much effort.
I’ve been running Panaracer Fire XC tires on my Full Suspension 26er for at least 6 years that I bought for $19 each with zero issues. I expect the Fat B Nimble to be a good quality tire with a lot of life in it based on my experience with the Fire XC’s. The weight and feel of the Nimble on the trail is … well incredibly nimble. In the winter you might want a tire with a little more width and tread in the snow, for Spring-Summer-Fall riding the Fat B Nimble 4.0 120tpi is likely to be the best value you will find in a folding bead tire.