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26x3.8 good enough on snow?

Old 08-12-21, 09:27 AM
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26x3.8 good enough on snow?

Just bought a Surly Wednesday to ride during winter. Most of the riding will be on either fresh powder or plowed roads. Hardly ever any trails due to my location. Maybe through some farm fields, but will the Surly Nate 3.8 tires be fine for this type of riding? Thanks.
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Old 08-12-21, 10:19 PM
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Keep the pressure low enough and it should work. When you say powder, are you talking a few inches or a couple feet?. No tire will work in deep powder. As far as trails go, I look for non-trails, meaning an opening in the woods? In I go.
I have a saying:
MTBs are good for single track, fat bikes are good for no track
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Old 08-13-21, 05:36 AM
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A couple of inches of powder on the roads before the plow trucks make it out my way. I’m in flat central Indiana out in the country, so mainly rural roads and maybe a field or two to bust through.
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Old 08-15-21, 12:12 AM
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Congrats on the Surly! Yeah, you should be fine riding on some light powder roads as well as many snow-covered roads that have already been plowed. You might have some trouble getting through anything much heavier in the fields, though. You'll really have to ride it often enough in a variety of conditions to get a feel for what it can do. If you happen to have any groomed singletrack trails in your area, those tires should ride pretty well on those trails as well. As Marcus stated above, having the proper tire pressure for the conditions is key! Studded tires will greatly improve your ride on ice, too, and icy conditions are bound to happen from time to time. Have fun!
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Old 08-15-21, 09:56 AM
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I ran the stock 3.8 Nates on my Wednesday for one winter.

Nates will be fine on plowed roads.

Of course bigger is better when the snow is not packed and is deep. But regularly pushing through unpacked snow gets exhausting on any sized tire. The Nates do have a very aggressive tread which helps. I rode a lot of minimally packed trails, and often times breaking trail through a few inches of new stuff. They worked fine. If even one person broke trail before me I was pretty much always OK, and I had the advantage of fitting in the tracks of the 5" tires that came before me.

I'd give them a try and see what you think. The only reason I replaced my Nates were that they were so heavy and slow. I replaced them with 4.0 Vangelgas which are the exact same size, are also aggressively treaded, and about the same in muck and snow. However, they weigh a lot less and roll much faster. The issue with the stock Nates is that they are a very low end version of the tire but this will not hurt you in the snow.
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Old 08-15-21, 12:09 PM
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Thanks for the encouraging replies.
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Old 08-18-21, 05:32 AM
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This is about four or five inches of snow last winter. We took the Pugsley and hardtails out for a bit of snowy MUP riding and the Nates do fine on this stuff. We also went off the MUP on to some single track and, again, the Nates did fine. They're definitely a lot more stable than the bikes with the narrower tires (2.1").

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Old 08-22-21, 06:34 AM
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When it comes to winter riding you have to accept the fact that once in a while you will go down hard. That can be greatly reduced with low tire pressures and studded tires but not entirely eliminated. If taking a digger once in a while is okay, then go for it. Your tolerance for falling determines what tires you will tolerate. Falls on snow and ice happen with lightening speed. The deductibles are way more than high quality studded tires.
I needed to learn the hard way with a slick frozen puddle under fresh fluffy snow. I have full 4.8" studded tires but wet heavy slushy snow is still asking for a fall so I avoid that condition.
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Old 09-01-21, 07:57 PM
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I have a Wednesday with the 3.8 nates and I am a heavy rider, 240 lbs. I've had no trouble except where the snow is deep or very wet. I also have a Moonlander with 4.8 tires and I don't see much of a difference. Play around with the pressure until you get it right. I'm ready for some new tires and I had thought about the Ednas but I'm happy with the nates. I ride more in the sand than snow though. On a groomed trail I don't really notice a difference. In dry washes, my favorite place to ride, the nates do just fine with even 10 lbs. of pressure. I've ridden lots in Great Sand Dunes National Park, on the Medano Creek Rd. and that sand is deep and soft and I have little problem. Hope this helps.

I have ridden down the frozen Rio Grande River with 6 inches of powder with no trouble. I went back a couple of weeks later when it had been warmer and it was hopeless. Snow was very wet and couldn't get down to the crusty ice.

Last edited by Dustytires; 09-01-21 at 08:01 PM.
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