This will be my fist year fat biking. When purchasing my first fat bike, I was given the advice that the most important thing is the wheels and tires-and that regardless of the frame I select, a good set of studded tires are a must. Ergo, when I purchased my bike, I began the quest for a set of studded tires.

The options for fat bike studded tires are few and far between. They are also expensive, even used. Of course I wanted something good but I did not want to drop ton of money into an activity I might not even enjoy. Enter the Arisun Sharktooth Studded Fatbike Tires for $75 each, conveniently located at the Alaska Bicycle Center in Wasilla, Alaska. There is not much information available about these tires. Online reviews are currently sparse. Even my best networked, in the know, biker friends were unfamiliar with the product. I found a few forums where people were asking about the tire-with little helpful information of course.

So, I went for it, hoping that the tires were not going to be so bad that it would put a damper on my riding stoke. I ordered a set; they were on my doorstep in only two days! That same day, I threw them on my bike and took off on my first winter ride almost immediately. Ok, I still prefer downhill skiing, but fat biking has been pretty fantastic. My stoke level for fat biking has only increased in the months that I have been running these tires.

Unfortunately, as this is my first year on a fat bike, my knowledge and ability to compare these to other products is limited. The extent of this review will be it either works well or does not work well for a given condition. As the winter goes on and I encounter more conditions, I will be updating this review. My riding will consist of trail riding, commuting in town, and bike packing. I anticipate encountering a huge range of conditions throughout the year. 

Specs

 Packaging

Packaging

Size: 4.0" x 26"
Actual Weight: 1523 g / 3 lb 6 oz each
TPI: 60 (a 120 TPI version is available as well)
Max PSI: 20
Purchase Price: $75 / each
Measured Width: 3.8 Inches

Tubeless ready version is available

Link to manufacture's page

 

 

First Impressions

 The tread and stud pattern

The tread and stud pattern

These tires replaced Kendra Juggernaut Pros, one of the lightest fat tires available today. The first thing I noticed was the Sharktooths are heavier than the Juggernauts. This was to be expected though as the Juggernauts are one of the lightest tires available on the market. The Sharktooths are a few hundred grams heavier than weight of the 45NRTH Dillinger 4 tires, the current industry standard (They are slightely ligher than the Dillinger 5s). I noticed the weight difference both picking up the bike and in the effort required to push the pedals over. The Sharktooths weight almost twice as much as the Juggernauts. Keep in mind, the Juggernauts are arguably the lightest tire on the market today. If switching from a more burly tire, the weight difference will be less noticeable. 

The lugs appear to be fairly substantial, a little under 1/4" protruding from the face of the tire. They are arranged in a "V" shape. There are pin style studs around the outside of the treads. The sidewalls appear to be thick and durable. 

 

Summary of Riding Conditions

For those of you who don't want to read a paragraph about my noob ass riding on snow or ice, here it is a summary of what these tires are and are not good at. I highly encourage you to on; there are photos and detailed descriptions of these conditions!

Smooth As Glass Ice-Good
Uneven Ice-Not So Good
Choppy Ice-Good
Snow Over Ice-TBD
More Coming Soon!

Hard Pack Snow Over Dirt-Good
Shallow Loose Snow-Good
Sugar Snow/Hoarfrost-Good
Wet Choppy Chunky Snow-OK
Hard Choppy Chunky Snow-OK

 

Hard Pack Snow Over Dirt-Good

The bike performed well on hard pack snow

The Sharktooths lived up to their name on hardpack snow trails. Despite watching my dogs slide around on the packed snow, I was confident in the tire's grip. While it was my first time out on these tires, I was confident in my grip on the trail on downhills and turns. The tires rolled effortlessly over the terrain.

Aside from the eyecandy of beautiful snow blanketing the trail, I was able to attack the trail the same way I would have with knobby mountain bike tires in the summer.

 

Shallow Loose Snow-Good

IMG_2102[1].JPG

When I found myself on a less traveled trail, I immediately noticed more rolling resistance. However, the grip was still fantastic in about 3 inches of fresh snow over hard pack dirt trail. 

Again, I rode my bike like I stole it, attacking the trail with confidence. The tires bit into the loose slick snow with ease.

 

 

Sugar Snow/Hoarfrost-Good

I was pleased to discover that I had excellent traction even in cold loose "sugar snow". I got out for a ride on the local lighted ski trails before grooming for the season started... in around 5 degrees F. While the hoarfrost provided a stunning sight, I didn't even think about the conditions on the wide clear trail-until I started powering up a long and arduous hill. Despite minor slipping and traction issues, I surprised myself by successfully ascending the hill. I am not great at hills to begin with. I mean I try hard but that doesn't mean I don't spend almost as much time pushing my bike up the hill as I do pedaling. Regardless, the Sharktooths bit in and provided me the traction I needed to make it to the top. The lugs bit into the solid snow below and kept my slippage to a minimum. 

 Hoarfrost is beautiful! Though maybe not so good for rolling traction. REgardless, the Sharktooths ate it up and kept me rolling!

Hoarfrost is beautiful! Though maybe not so good for rolling traction. REgardless, the Sharktooths ate it up and kept me rolling!

 a light layer of loose hoarfrost/ "sugar snow" for the night's ride.

a light layer of loose hoarfrost/ "sugar snow" for the night's ride.

 

Loose Snow Over Ice-TBD

One of my reasons in purchasing a fat bike was to ride up frozen rivers to ice climbing ahead. Once the climbs are in and the rivers frozen, I will update this section.

Wet Choppy Chunky Snow-OK

Riding on wet choppy snow was difficult, though it was more because the bike was bouncing around all over than because of the tires. Traction wise, I had enough bite to make it through the chop even powering uphill. Deep chop over 10 inches or so did stop me in my tracks and cause my tires to slip to the point that dismounting my two wheeled steed was required.

Probably, in the future I will just avoid these conditions. I was so excited to finally have my studded tires installed I decided to try to ride my bike down the road to get a cheeseburger hours after our first real snowfall for the season had concluded. The sidewalks were torn up from other walkers and from people plowing their driveways (hence the 10 inch deep loose chunky snow piles). No, I did not make it to my cheeseburger. I eventually turned the bike around, went home, and drove. 

Hard Choppy Chunky Snow-OK

You know when they plow the bike paths before they plow the roads and what was a nice clear bike path ends up with a foot of nasty chunky crap that has refrozen and thawed a few times on it? Then you come along on your bike a few days later when it has hardened to cement? Yeah, it just sucks. However, my noob self was able to power over/through it. It was extremely unpleasant and I will be doing my best to avoid these conditions. I don't think that sentiment is any fault of the tires though. 

Smooth as Glass Ice-Good

I got to one section of the bike path that was such smooth ice; I contemplated the merits of bringing ice skates. I finally concluded that would be cumbersome on the bike. Fortunately, the studs gripped securely-until I accidentally locked up my brakes trying to stop to take this picture for the website. So long as you slowly bring yourself to a halt gently and approach turning with caution, these tires will inspire confidence on even the smoothest ice. Even on the uphills, I had fantastic traction. I approached downhills with both brakes partially engaged to control speed and maintain control. I found myself speeding along, listening to the secure chatter of the studs gripping the ice without a worry other than "don't lock the brakes". 

 Smooth as glass.. no problem as long as those tires are rolling!

Smooth as glass.. no problem as long as those tires are rolling!

 Well, the studs bit into the ice on my way down. Noted: gentle on the brakes next time!

Well, the studs bit into the ice on my way down. Noted: gentle on the brakes next time!

Uneven Ice-Not so Good

While riding around town, I encountered some uneven slick ice conditions. As to be expected, the grip was not so good. On flat icy sections, the bike seemed stable. As soon as the ice seemed to rut or become transversely uneven, I had problems with the bike sliding out. While skill needs to be developed for riding on ice, skills I certainly do not have yet, in some conditions it is just difficult to approach obstacles correctly. Despite the studs, I found myself bailing off my bike as it went down onto the ice. Noted: I will approach transversely contoured, uneven ice with caution in the future.

Choppy Ice-Good

 Not sure what to call this but riding was just fine!

Not sure what to call this but riding was just fine!

Ok, not really sure what you call this condition other than "beat up frozen bike path". Overall, the studs have proven to grip well on ice-the choppy ice I encountered was no different. Though the ride was bumpy and pedaling was adversely affected by the unevenness of the path and I really wished I had some sort of padding on my saddle, but my bike felt securely upright. Handling and stopping was executed without a second thought to my grip on the ground. 

 

 

Additional Conditions

As I ride throughout the winter, I will be adding performance for conditions as I encounter them.

Durability

After the season is over, I will update this section. 

Overall Impression

Thus far, these tires seem to give a lot of bang for the buck-if you can find them. They are new to American markets and next to impossible to find in shops. The shop I found them at said it was their first shipment of this tire. As of 1-2-18, both the 60 and 120 TPI versions of this tire are now available on Amazon (see buttons below). 

These tires have a semi aggressive tread, studs, seem durable, and grip well in a variety of conditions. While being a little heavier than the more popular 45NRTH Dillinger 4 studded tires they are less than half the price and seem to be an excellent budget option for a new fat bike rider.