I’ve seen some pretty silly exaggerations on tire sizes, but none are quite as outrageous as the Vee Rubber Snow Shoe 4.5. I can say with some certainty that there is currently no rim manufactured in existence that are going to make these tires 4.5 inches wide no matter how much Viagra you feed it.
There are a lot of different versions of the Vee Rubber Snow Shoe kicking around and it can get pretty confusing
- The Snow Shoe 4.5 is the older version that has the original tread pattern.
- The new Snow Shoe 4.7 is a little wider, a little newer but still has a similar tread pattern to the 4.5.
- The Snow Shoe XL is wider still and has a really nice tread pattern that looks like the bastard love child with treads like a Surly Lou and the textured surface of the Bulldozer.
- There is a studded version of the Snow Shoe XL for quite a bit more dough.
- The Snow Shoe 2XL is a total monster with a claimed 5.05 inch width that is much closer to 5.3 inches on a 100mm rim. It has a very similar tread to the XL but it is insanely wide and will not fit most fat bikes currently on the market with the exception of the Lurch, FB 5 2.0 and the Blackborow. Even in these frames there is some rubbing no matter what you do.
The tire I got ahold of were the 72tpi version of the Snow Shoe 4.5 which came installed on my FB 5 2.0 that I bought for the my upcoming Snow Shoe 2XL monster snow fat bike build : The Phat Phuk.
The 72tpi Snoe Shoe tipped my scales at around 1225g and the folding bead seemed tight. I set it up tubeless on my Dark Matter BBS02 Bluto build which lately has been my favorite e-bike to ride. I ran it at 10 psi on fall singletrack with lots of wet leaves and roots.
The tire sealed and centered itself well. It got some strange white powder on the rubber when I left the bike in the sun but it wiped right off, I’ve never seen that happen with a fat bike tire before. Snort it!
Rating system is 5 (best) to 1 (worst)
Powder – 4.5 : As a rear tire this works actually pretty well in the snow. It has decent traction and predictable loss of traction. Not an appropriate choice for a front tire (the 5 year old Surly Bud is still the gold standard) but a reasonable choice as a rear tire.
Mud – 4 : Pretty big lugs seem to do well in the mud and they don’t clog up.
Ice – 4 : Not as good as studs and inappropriate for a front tire choice on ice, works OK as a rear tire on ice with generally predictable slideouts and loss of traction. Recommend riding something with studs on the front tire.
Singletrack – 4 : This tire on dirt and dried leaves was surprisingly predictable at 8psi. It skidded out when I thought it would skid out and stuck when I thought it would stick. It had very good traction when I pegged the throttle and reminded me a great deal of the Surly Nate or the Panaracer Fat B Nimble. I wanted to hate this tire because of the overstated size and lack of deep tread, but I really didn’t.
Road – 3 : Not really a road tire. Very little road noise.
Rolling Resistance – 3.5 : Less than I expected. The shallow knobs are spaced pretty far apart.
Weight – 3.5 : About what you’d expect at 1225 grams. The 120tpi version will be a bit lighter (probably 50-70g) and feel a little better on the trails as well.
Would I go out and buy this tire or the Snow Shoe 4.7? Probably not. I think there are much better tires out there for the money, like the 120tpi version of the Panaracer Fat B Nimble. That being said I’m pretty excited about the Snow Show 2XL which I will be reviewing in a week or so. Stay tuned for more madness and mayhem.
I found that the Snow Shoe 4.5 fits well in the rear of the Boris X9 (The Reaper) and the Bullseye framed builds I’ve done. Although these frames say they only support a 4.0 tire the Snow Shoe 4.5 is really only equal to about a 4.0 tire, Vee Rubber is lying to you about the size of their rubber.
Don’t believe the hype.