Surly Bud and Surly Lou Tire: Rider Review

Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for. 

For those that are fans of fat biking, Surly makes some excellent tire options. If you ask our customer Michelle, the Surly Bud and Lou tires are some of the best on the market. Check out the review to learn more about them!

Surly Bud and Lou Tire Review
Background

I always wanted to try fat biking and finally decided to give it a try last winter. I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it so I started with an inexpensive entry-level bike. I would encourage anyone who wants to try fat biking but doesn’t want to break the bank to take a look at this model (Framed Wolftrax 1.0.) The specs are decent for the price and the short standover height is very forgiving in 3-4” of snow. It’s a 1x drivetrain and can fit up to a 4.8 tire. Since these were my main requirements it checked those boxes. Plus it’s under $1000 so that just made the deal even better.

First Impressions

The Surly Bud and Lou are MONSTERS! They look like they could give the Lunar Rovers of Apollo a run for the money. At a 26 x 4.8 footprint, there is nothing that is going to stop these beasts as I would soon find out. The tread on the Bud has the tallest center knobs I’ve ever seen. Surly claims they are 7mm and they really are! The Lou’s tread pattern also has tall knobs but arranged for acceleration/braking vs. steering/braking. The set reminds me of the DHF/DHRII combination. Pair together and you have the best performance possible.

Installation

These tires installed very easily on to my 80mm wide rims. In fact, they may have been better on a 100mm rim. They seemed almost too big like the wheel was lost inside before I added air. I read that Surly recommends these be run on 100mm rims but they will fit down to a 65mm so I thought I’d give them a chance. Once the tubes had air in them they set up fine. Surly does make a Bud and Lou now that are tubeless-ready.

Surly Bud and Lou tire review

Performance

Since my first ride in the snow, I was hooked-literally! These things grip like crazy. Even on an entry-level bike, I felt like I was handling everything the snow-covered trails threw at me. Sketchy areas were no match for these tires. A steep uphill climb near the edge of a drop off to a creek and there was absolutely no slipping or sliding. The grip and steering were very confidence-inspiring. And speaking of climbing, WOW! I cleared sections in 3” of snow that I haven’t been able to on my trail bike in dry conditions. Maybe I should switch to a hardtail-ha!

Shop Surly Lou tire

Comparison

I purchased the Bud and Lou after I realized how much I enjoyed fat biking because I knew I would upgrade to a nicer bike and could transfer them. So I compared the tires that came with the bike and also a pair of 45nrth Studded Wrathchilds a friend let me borrow. The Framed brand tires are 26 x 4 72tpi. They actually performed better than I thought but wanted to slip in anything over two inches. Their tread pattern is decent but I wanted to try wider tires with bigger knobs and siping. The Bud and Lou are a 4.8 but definitely have taller knobs with a better tread pattern for optimum grip, steering, braking, cornering, and acceleration altogether. On to the Wrathchilds. These are a 4.6 width with studs and very widely-spaced knobs to shed the snow. They definitely crush everything in their path. Of course with the studs, they perform the best in any depth of snow and ice. The Bud and Lou are perfect for anything but ice. From left to right is Framed, Wrathchild, Lou.

Final Thoughts

I feel like the Surly Bud and Lou are great tires for everything but ice. Even when used in dry conditions they perform well. If they had studs they would be unstoppable. As money goes I don’t think I would’ve paid full price. I requested a price match on these and had a gift card too. They are very expensive otherwise. However, I would recommend these based on their performance if you’re willing to shell out the dough.

Shop Surly Bud tire


December 14, 2019

Rider Review › Surley › Tires ›

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