It’s the middle of prime fat-biking season here in Minnesota, and that means a lot of fat bike parts reviews. Sure, the big-tired monsters might be getting trendy, but anything that allows us to ride year-round in the snowy climes is surely allowed a pass. 45NRTH introduced the Dillinger 5 earlier this year as a wider version of the popular Dillinger model (now Dillinger 4). 45NRTH may have been the first company to produce a performance-oriented fat bike tire when they debuted the Husker Du in 2011, and since then, all of their models have brought some of the modern tech of MTB tires over to the fat bike world.

The Dillinger tire came about with the idea of a high-performance tire, but with a little more aggressive knobs, and stud pockets to allow for custom studding (or you can buy it complete with studs preinstalled). The Dillinger 5 carries all of those traits through to a wider profile to fit the modern crop of fat bikes with 190/197mm rear spacing that can accept the really big tires.

Take a look inside to see how the Dillinger 5 can help you make out like a bandit on your next ride…


45NRTH only sells the Dillinger 5s in a 120tpi folding casing, and you have the option of having them fully studded with 258 carbide-tipped trail biters, or without any studs, so that you can add them yourself later. I chose the stud-less variety, mostly because I like to custom-stud my tires with a stagger pattern that does not use all the holes, as in my experience on Dillinger 4s, that many studs is just insane unless you are riding on skating rinks. Like the namesake bank robber, the Dillinger can take $160 out of your wallet for each standard tire, and a whopping $250 for the studded version.


The Dillinger 5s measured in at 110.5mm wide on a Surly Clownshoe rim, or about 4.35″. While called the “5”, 45NRTH does not claim them to be 5″ wide, but rather 4.8″ (and the Dillinger 4 is claimed at 3.8″). However, not even claiming to be the full 5″, they still fell way short of the 4.8″ specification. Although this will send a few people looking elsewhere, it may also open the door to a few folks who have 170/177mm spaced frames, as this width may fit into many of those bikes.


The Dillinger 5s came in at 1,490 grams, without studs. These are not lightweight tires, but they are fully featured, and the weight comes with a benefit. Yes, you can feel the weight when riding, especially since right before these, I had the Schwalbe Jumbo Jims on the Ice Cream Truck, so these hefty meats added almost 2lbs to the bike.


The 45Nrth Dillinger 5 came in almost exactly the same width as the Schwalbe Jumbo Jim, when both were mounted to a Surly Clownshoe 100mm wide rim. Looking at them side by side, you can see why the Dillinger 5 is so much heavier, from a non-scientific visual measurement, it appears to have almost double the amount of knobs. Plus, they are studdable, earning some big bonus points. And while that weight could be felt, the Dillinger outperforms the Jumbo Jim, because it grabs the ground and holds on tight.


So how did they ride? Pretty good, especially considering hauling around the extra weight. The available traction of the tire was never lacking, and they roll fast. Local conditions on the fat bike trails could be described as “hero snow”, where maximum float is not needed, and the pack is so good it’s possible to ride the trails as fast as in the summer. There has been a bit of ice, so I added about 100 studs to each of the tires, staggering the rear, and studding the outside knobs of the front. By adding a few studs, there is some security to always stay upright if a slick spot shows up, and a bit of a traction aid to climb up some pretty steep switchbacks. Fat biking has become so popular here, that trails are well ridden in now, and we ride all of the exact same trails we do in the summer. The only downside is sometimes the trails might be a bit too steep to ride with a fat bike, making it harder to keep traction on the snow that is quite a bit looser than dirt. With the 45NRTH Dillinger 5s, I did not have this problem, and as long as I kept my weight distributed on the bike right, I could climb anything I would normally climb in the summer.



  1. $160!
    Sorry, but that is just ridiculous. And don’t even tell me about economies of scale. Motorcycle tires are expensive because of this (and frankly around the same price). Motorcycle tires “enjoy” the same issues of scale as bike tires, but they literally have hundreds of times more/better rubber, more R&D, heavier carcasses, etc.

    But hey, I guess the price is what fools will allow right. In fact all fat bike tires are ludicrously expensive compared to their nominally skinnier regular mtb counterparts.

  2. OK, I had my coffee. I can’t call anyone a fool who buys these. Worth is subjective, I have and will buy things others think foolish. I just find the comparative pricing kinda crazy for the product at hand.

  3. It is about twice as much tire as a high-end standard tire. But yea, over 300 bucks is a lot for a set of MTB tires. They should last a few years…

  4. Can’t keep the studded ones in stock, the only tire that does well in our neck of the woods where warm west winds roll in and melt the snow enough to make it icy when the next cold snap sets in. It is only money. and as for car tires and motor cycle tires somehow I think it is easy to slap a bunch of rubber super thick on a nice rigid casing…. try making a nice even light coat on a light weight casing, that flops around.

  5. Ripnshread – I agree, but I think that material costs are probably one of the lower costs for tires as a whole (case in point – road bike tires are not less expensive than much larger mtb tires, which both undergo extensive R&D with regards to rubber and tread design).
    I don’t see the justification in material costs. Mold costs are slightly higher (larger mold). R&D is essentially the same.
    Price is what the market will bear though. And in a limited supply market like this, prices can go pretty high. I do hope they are durable for the buyers sake, but I don’t see how they would be much more durable than a standard MTB tire, sans lower wear on any tire when run on snow

  6. Yup, they’re crazy expensive but having ridden Nates, Lou’s, Buds and some of the earlier treads I gotta say the Dillinger 5’s are worth the dough in my opinion. I ride all singletrack in VT and with the lean winters of late and often icy conditions I consider the D5’s insurance. You can take some hard hits on ice or even just the frozen ground and the D5’s never let me down.

    I find they roll FAR better thank Buds and Lou’s and only give up a modest amount of traction. In return you get a much lighter tire and a huge decrease in rolling resistance. Sometimes on the Lou’s my bike would come to a stop rolling downhill!!!

    Admittedly the price is insane but here’s some warped justification. I had Gripstuds on my last set of tires which ran a dollar a stud. There are more than 250 studs in a D5 so if those were Gripstuds you would be looking at the same money and you haven’t even bought the tire.

    For my purposes it’s the best tire out there factoring in traction, footprint, weight, and capability on ice. It does everything well, no complaints except the cost however I’ve found that my fat tires last a lot longer than my regular mountain bike tires so I’m ok with it.

  7. Bart – high end motorcycle tires are not very rigid. Same for car tires. Nobody is just slapping a bunch of rubber on these. My motorcycle tire has 2 rubber compounds and needs to survive sustained speeds up to 168 mph. I can put it on by hand same as much bike tire (just a bigger tire lever). It channels water wonderfully.
    Rubber depth and thickness is very well controlled (most high end motorcycle tires require little balance) They are vastly more complex than any bicycle tire and have to deal with much much higher loads and variation in load. A 180 section rear tire costs $180.

    But you proved the point – there is no reason to price these lower when they are a quality niche product that works, and with little competition apparently.

  8. If possible please post pics of your studding pattern (front/rear). I have the 3.8(4) and bought some of the concave 45nrth studs but haven’t put them in yet.

    I love the Dillingers despite the $’s.


  9. @ Gerg , 45nrth does the Nicotine 29rx 2.35 tire about as close as I have seen.

    @Jbikes High end anything is going to set you back, and smaller production runs with molds that they probably just paid for and zero competition lets you name your price… you are totally right. We just had to up our retail pricing because we had to pull the last of the tires from the states to keep our shelves stocked. And they are still walking out the door left right and center. We are going to have to start studding the stud less ones soon cause none of the distributors have any of the studded ones left.

  10. I mounted the Dillinger 5’s up to HED carbon rims and measured out to be 5″ at the widest cross section. It is the same thing with the Specialized Ground Controls, says 4.8″, measured 5″ on their Fatboy rims at the widest cross section.
    Just a FYI as I was surprised to see yours measured 4.35″ on the Clown Shoe.

  11. @ bart, Sure, I’ve run studs on 29ers, they work ok but I want the float of my 3″ tires, plus I want lots of studs.

    The nicotine is just not that wide, as I need 3.3″, not 2.3″, wide. But eventually someone will do it. I hope.

  12. Running studded Dillingers tubeless. Best snow tire yet!

    Note – I believe the namesake is the 90’s era Minneapolis band Dillinger Four.

  13. I could care less about fat bikes, but these tires get a huge +1 for being named after an amazingly good Minneapolis punk band, Dillinger Four.

  14. Anyone who has ever crashed on the trail due to an icy spot and hurt their knee that took almost 6 months to heal back up would have gladly paid $300 for a pair of these tires to avoid that. I’ve done that, as have a lot of you I’m sure.

    Problem is these dang near require and extra set of wheels to utilize. Oh sure you can mount them on what you have, but tubeless fat bike tire swaps are something I try to avoid unless I just have to do it. So that’s where the real cost will come into play here. Complete second set of wheels right down to the $300 cassette and rotors, etc….Yikes that adds up.

  15. Fat tire molds cost about 50% more than regular tire molds. Even with rising popularity, sales are not huge, and the cost of molds needs to be amortized over a lower number of sales. In addition, build time and mold cycle time are much longer. Fat tires are still pretty new to most tire makers, so it’s not a very efficient process. I expect that as fat (and Plus) tires get more popular and sales grow, costs and prices will come down.

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