I spent Friday morning on the Soma with Nokian studs. Last year these tires inspired confidence in their width and grip on ice and snow – especially in mixed conditions. Friday morning was rough. Terrain I would have cruised over on the Pugs slowed me down, had me second guessing my lines, and the (relative) high pressure (25?) and narrow width (2.1!) had me chattering on frozen ground and over frozen post holed trail. It was unnerving and exhausting.
I rode some of the same terrain Saturday morning on the Pugs, and covered all and more Sunday morning again on the Pugs. I’m much more confident on the Pugs – the float of the tires over chop and through mixed conditions is drastic, not to mention the places I could ride with the additional snow that arrived over the last two nights. I didn’t have the bite of the studded Nokians – and I payed for it a few times when the base was frozen and the snow atop simply slid out of my way as I washed out my front wheel several times – but overall it was great to be back on the fatbike. The Soma will get slightly higher gearing and I’ll keep it for fixed winter road duty. With the Pugs in the stable there is little reason to take out ‘skinny’ tires in mixed conditions.