The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Surly Bud and Lou Tire Install!

Meet Bud.
As we get closer and closer to the first real snowfall of the winter, fat bikes are starting to roll into the shop for tune-ups and upgrades.  One of the BIG new items for this year is from our friends at Surly -- the Bud and Lou tires. To picture the tires just imagine the float of a Big Fat Larry (4.7") with the grip of a Nate and there you have the Bud and Lou.

On Wednesday we had our first opportunity to mount these up and take them for a test ride and here is what we found;

Mounting and install;
  • When you unbox the Bud and Lou the first thing you are going to notice is how REALLY REALLY Big these things are.  It looks like you are mounting up a dirt bike tire.
  • Not only are these tires front and rear specific (Bud for the front Lou for the rear) but they are also directional for your grippy or speedy preference (see picture below).
  • If you don't have a Surly Moonlander running Clown Shoe Rims - forget about it - you aren't going to be able to cram these into a Mukluk. 
  • Even with the Moonlander it is going to take a little bit of work to get them installed into the frame.  For the rear your best bet is to either wait to fill the tire with air or take the disc brake off.  Otherwise it is tough to squeeze a fully inflated tire past the disc brake and into the frame. 
  • When you are inflating jack the pressure up to about 20 psi to make sure that the bead is set, then play around to find your desired pressure (all the way down to 5 psi). 
    Stay upright or go fast - your choice.

Clearance issues;

The biggest issue that we found was getting the rear wheel to sit appropriately in the frame with no rub.  Here are some pics of the wheel mounted with no adjustments;
"That's tight brah." - Nick "Beans" Moeller.
Luckily the Moonlander comes with horizontal dropouts and sliding disc brake tabs which allows us to move the wheel and brake caliper backwards for a little bit more clearance.  After our initial tests with more clearance we found that the wheel could still slide around a little bit in the dropouts causing the tire to rub on both the frame and the front derailleur.  The solution?  Monkey Nuts!
Keeps your wheel where you put it.

Volia!  A stable wheel that doesn't require you to readjust your brake every time you reinstall your wheel.

Aahh, room to breathe.
 The ride.

After getting them mounted we had a chance to take them out on a quick test ride both on and off the road.  Riding to the off-road location it sounds like a dump truck going down the road, you do notice the extra rubber, but surprisingly it doesn't feel any heavier (weighing the wheels confirms only about a 2 ounce difference in weight from the stock Big Fat Larry).  With our wheels set to propulsion you can certainly feel the extra dig of the tire when you are out of the saddle.

What remains to be seen is how these will perform in mud and snow, are they going to pack-up and negate the purpose of the knobs?  We will let you know......

Bottom Line: 

About the Bud and Lou Surly says;

"They are meant to be the wildest, gnarliest, oh my god my face is bleeding tires available."

Yep, that about sums it up.