45NRTH Polara- First Impression

QBP santa showed up today with goodies in tow. The box practically filled my office cube when it was dropped off. I opened up the box and took a look at our new 45NRTH Polara tires.

45NRTH
Tires rarely look pretty straight out of the box. This set was pretty dirty looking, but that’s just cosmetic.

The first thing I noticed was the tread. 45NRTH boasts that the tread creates lower rolling resistance while also shedding snow/ice. We shall see how accurate those claims are! The tires have 110studs which seemed like a good middle of the road number without going overboard. There were some options that had up to 240 and some as low as 74. The bike path gets cleaned fairly regularly so I didn’t want to ride on something so extreme.

If we were country/small town folks with back roads to travel, the 240 would have been a good option, but we’re spoiled here in Madison. The bike paths are usually cleared before the roads are!

tread

The next item I looked at was the listed size (I couldn’t seem to remember if they were 35 or 38c) they are 700×35 as you see here:tiresizeI don’t have a digital caliper on hand to measure that, but they look around that size. Actual contact on the ground varies by rim width/depth anyway.

I also checked the pressure recommendation. The 60-65psi range tends to be favored in our camp, but again it will depend on how the tire seats and rides. tirepsiThe one thing that kind of shocked me, but probably shouldn’t have, was I found the Innova logo on the side of the tire. I had assumed 45NRTH had actually designed a specific tire of their own, but it turns out the Polara is basically Innova’s Tundra Wolf tire. Slightly disappointing, but it’s not much different than Planet Bike sourcing LED lights and slapping their logo on them, even if they had little or no actual product development. That’s not to say they don’t develop ANY products, but there are some standard designs that pretty much anyone can put a logo on and call it their own. innova

It’s a pretty common practice in the cycling industry, so no hard feelings 45NRTH. If I had seen that in store rather than online I probably would have opted to try something else that seemed more of THEIR design, but maybe Innova manufactures all of their tires? If anyone has any insight on that it would be appreciated.

Not working in a shop every day means little exposure to some of these newer products/companies. Note to us: go visit a crap load of new shops in 2013!

Overall I still think the tires are nice. Studded tires don’t come cheap, even when you get the opportunity to purchase through distribution and we highly believe in, you get what you pay for. It’ll be fun testing them out the next few weeks. We’ll report back and let you all know how they work out!