Compared to a “normal” mountain bike tire, fat bike tires are FAT. But even among fat bike tires, there are degrees of fattness, with the widest tires typically topping out at 4.8 inches wide. However, Vee Tire Co. recently decided to push the envelope by creating the world’s widest fat bike tire, the Snow Shoe 2XL, which is a whopping 5.05 inches wide.
When I first read about this tire, I had all kinds of questions so I reached out to the folks at Vee Tire Co. to see what I could learn about this monster.
Which fat bikes does this tire fit?
While I was unable to get a full list of compatible frames, I did learn there is at least one bike that was actually designed to run the Snow Shoe 2XL tires: the FatLab Hoggar. The Hoggar is a titanium bike designed around a 197mm rear hub, and despite being able to clear 5.05-inch wide tires, it offers a 200mm Q-factor, slightly less than the 210mm Q-factor seen on other 5-inch fat bike builds.
Will the Snow Shoe 2XL tires fit other fat bikes? Probably, though we haven’t been able to confirm which ones. If you’ve fit these tires on your fat bike, let us know about it in the comments!
Was there really a need for 5+ inch fat bike tires?
As my 7-year-old daughter likes to say, you don’t NEED a mountain bike to live, you just want one. I suppose that can be debated, but the impetus behind this particular tire was to offer an even wider contact patch and more floatation than existing fat bike tires on the market offer. Check this out: Vee Tire Co. claims this 5.05-inch tire holds nearly 50% more air volume than a similar 4.8-inch fat bike tire! That’s a lot of extra flotation, and it also opens up the possibility for running even lower tire pressures.
One of the folks I heard from at FatLab said the contact patch on the 5.05-inch Snow Shoe 2XL is 132mm wide, which is about 12% wider than the 118mm contact patch they found was produced by a 4.8-inch tire. Twelve percent might not seem like a lot, but it’s actually a big gain considering a 5.05-inch tire is only 5% wider than a 4.8-inch tire.
A representative from Vee Tire Co. says, “For the last 1-2 [years] I believed 5.05 is the perfect size and they will become the new standard for fat [bikes].” I asked if the company is considering going even wider and was told they have no current plans to do so.
At 1930g, the Snow Shoe 2XL tires aren’t lightweight by any means; however, they aren’t quite the heaviest we’ve seen either. These tires are currently listed at $170 which is on the expensive end, especially for a non-studded fat bike tire. As a point of comparison, the Snow Shoe XL tires (4.8-inches) start at $115. However, this price disparity could have to do with the niche nature of these tires, making it important to recoup the cost involved in building the molds.