45NRTH Introduces Vanhelga Tubeless Tires- by Guitar Ted
Fat bikes have a lot of “potential” and I don’t mean for leveling terrain unsuited for standard off road bikes. No, the potential I speak of, (and we’ll read about what c_g thinks on this subject soon), is the performance of the fat bike wheels that could be unleashed if only the tires and rims were tubeless compatible. I have done a tubeless set up in the “garage style” using a non-tubeless rim and Vee Rubber “sealant compatible” tire, and I can attest to the vast difference in performance gained by ditching the tubes. It is something one has to experience to really understand, but just know that since the fat bike tubes are so much bigger and heavier, getting rid of them makes more of a difference than it does with any other wheel/tire format.
That is why having a true tubeless system is vital for the advancement of fat bikes, if they truly are going to become the “fatter tired mountain bikes” that companies keep telling us that they are. 45NRTH has now collaborated with its sister company within the QBP brands, Whiskey Parts, and have developed what may be the first commercially available tubeless ready rims and tires for fat bikes. The “Vanhelga” is the tire. (The tire’s name comes from a Black Metal band hailing from Sweden, and in Swedish means “desecrate“. ) It is a specially designed tire for tubeless applications, (but yes- it can be used with tubes if you must!), and has a specially shaped, wider, smooth, squared off bead talon which fits perfectly with the matching Whiskey No. 9 rims.
Tubeless ready fat bike tires may be enough, but what about the tread pattern and width? The Vanhelga features “triple siped” 6.5mm tall tread blocks designed to grab loose snow, slop, and propel a fat bike through difficult terrain. While some may bemoan the Vanhelga’s 4 inch footprint as being too skinny, (!!!), the reality is that this width will fit more fat bikes and allow for more options in drive train choice, so therefore it should have a wider audience than if they went straight to a 4.8″ monster. (Note: 45NRTH does have a Dillinger 5 model coming as well for those into the bigger meats.)
Vanhelga will be available in 120TPI and 60TPI variants with retail prices set at $155.00 and $125.00 respectively. Look for 45NRTH dealers to have these by September sometime.
While the advent of tubeless technology in the fat biking realm is a good thing to see, one has to wonder where the cross compatibility between components will go. Hopefully we don’t see multiple competing standards made available with the resulting confusion and problems which were witnessed with mountain bike tubeless history. We shall see, but for now, this is a very positive step in the right direction.