I currently have a 29er with a 29x2.1" tire. It’s fine most days, but can be a real challenge on days with more than a couple of inches of fresh snow and sometimes a day or two after. The roads end up with hard packed snow covered in “salt slush”, that loose gross powdery snow that’s dry but slops around like slushy snow. I end up having to slow down and expend a ton of energy just to stay on top of the wheel because it sinks and squidges left and right. Sometimes it’s bad enough that it would be faster to get off and walk.
I’ve ridden a 36er; it was fast, and such a smooth ride! But that was summer. And it’s still a 2.25" wide tire, so I assume it rides similarly in the snow. Some of my co-workers rock the 4" - 5" fat bikes in the winter, so I’ve also considered getting one of those… or a hatchet with a 26x4.8" tire.
Who rides in the winter? Does a 36er stay on top of the snow any better that smaller diameter wheels? Is a 26x4.8" Hatchet good for winter commuting, or is it too slow & heavy for all but the worst days and playing on snowy trails?