Commuting - Nokian Studded Tires
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12-09-07, 02:25 PM
I'm looking at studded tires
I want to put studded tires on my MTB for both commuting and having the ability to hit some trails when ice and cold would otherwise prevent it. I have a 29er mountain bike (Fisher Cobia). I will be using them on plowed roads, unplowed roads, dry pavement with patches of ice, and hopefully some trails in my free time when icy weather won't allow using normal knobby MTB tires
Peter White has the Hakkapeliitta W240 for $78 each. It is only a 40mm wide tire, and I'm not sure how this relatively narrow tire will handle off-road conditions if I use it for recreation on trails.
If anyone can speak to the durability of this tire in these conditions (both on and off road) I would love to hear about it.
Any alternative tire recommendations are welcome.
The description of the W240 at Peter White's web site (http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp)follows:
OK. So you've got a bike that takes 700c tires. Maybe they're called 700c, 622, 28, or maybe they're referred to with the moronic term "29er". It doesn't matter, they're the same size. And let's say you want to ride on nasty icy trails with deep icy ruts. Well, the W106 tires won't work very well, since they've only got studs in the center section. They're designed for riding on plowed roads, which don't get icy ruts (because they get plowed); just regular old ice, black ice and snow. So what are you gonna do?
And if you have a 26" mountain bike, and ride aggressively on the roads, and the roads aren't plowed well, so you end up with lots of icy ruts, and you want the lowest possible rolling resistance on pavement, this is my best tire.
Have no fear, the W240 is here!
These are for aggressive on or off road cycling. There are studs in the center as well as towards the sides of the tire, to help you get out of icy ruts. There's not much point in using these for commuting on well plowed roads that don't develop icy ruts, since you're paying for studs that will never touch pavement, or ice, and that's sorta the whole point. Weight; 910 grams. Non-foldable. 240 carbide studs.
For what we get out here in Kansas, those will be just fine. In fact, I got along fine without studs at all last winter, and that included plenty of black ice. With this ice storm moving through KC I've been thinking of making a pair of studded tires, but I think I'll just ride it out on knobbies again this season and see how that goes.
40mm is about 1.6" or so I think. It should be fine for snow, and the studs will grab the ice under that. They'll be absolute hell on dry pavement, though... and there is going to be a LOT of that in Kansas, which is why I don't bother with studs. The need for them is so sparse. I guess if you have multiple wheelsets, you can swap them out. Those W240s will last many, many seasons in KS if you only use them on ice.
I don't see why they wouldn't be fine for singletrack stuff as well. In the winter, wider doesn't always mean more traction. It can mean more "float" on top of snow, which won't help a whole lot when you're dealing with snow that never really gets deeper than 6 inches. You want something that will bite through it and grab the surface. I'd bet these will be just fine.
12-09-07, 02:56 PM
Well, it's a winter wonderland outside right now, mostly ice with just a dusting of snow. Normally I'd ride downtown, but the ice is making me sit at home and shop for studded tires. I just don't have the courage to venture out on it (it rained/sleeted/snowed last night and it hasn't been over 30 all day). I've never ridden studded tires before. The Peter White site claims that the studs basically recess into the tire and you still bite on rubber on dry pavement, you just have to not pound on the cranks because the studs may tear out of the tire with agresive riding on dry pavement. I can't speak to this but it makes sense. I just wantfeedback from someone who has used them and isn't trying to sell them to me.
Having an extra wheelset won't be an issue. I'll put these on the MTB, and leave normal tires on my Cross Check commuter. On weekends if I want to put regular tires on the MTB I won't be in a hurry to get to work so a tire swap is a non issue.
Good point on the shallow snow issue.
thanks for the reply
The rubber flexes and does touch the pavement, but the studs still hit the pavement too. They're noisy, cause excessive wear on the studs and the roadway, and add a lot of weight to your rolling stock, and yes, will tear out if you ride aggressively.
You should go try riding on ice if you think you can handle a fall or two without getting hurt. You might be surprised by how capable regular mtb tires are. You just have to watch yourself when cornering, and if it gets dicey, do the old motocross trick of putting a foot out.
I'm 28 with a pretty high body fat ratio and while I'll ride in any temperature I hate to be cold, so I'm layered up pretty well. In other words, I have plenty of padding when I fall, and I'm not afraid of falling or breaking something if I do. I didn't fall on ice at all last year, though. YMMV.
I hear you, though. We've been getting most of the same stuff in KC that's come through further south. It was above freezing for 3 hours on Friday, and ever since, it's just been freezing rain. With temperatures in the teens currently and highs for tomorrow in the low 20s, I can see why some would be thinking about going to studs. Fortunately, it's just a little over 2 miles to the bus tomorrow morning, so I'll be okay even if I have to hoof it.
I strictly am a commuter, so I cannot comment on trails.
For the road, I run Nokkian Mount and Ground studded tires. They work very well. My system is to ride my Bianchi San Jose when conditions allow and I swap to my 26" hybrid when I need the studs. This means I'm only running studs on dry pavement when the weatherman blows it on the afternoon forecast.
To me the studs are far worth it in winter, and regularly knobbies do not cut the mustard. My route is pretty much all on side residential streets that get plowed last and salted never. Cars pack every snowfall down to ice which can last for weeks. Even when the roads are clear of snow, I often get melt from snowbanks that refreezes nightly in low spots waiting to send me sideways.
Basically, my studs allow me to ride 30 or so days each winter that would otherwise become car days.
I hate car days.
The Nokian studs wear at the same rate as the rubber. My tires (mounted yesterday) are beginning their fourth season and are still going strong. I do about 800 miles per season.
12-09-07, 08:06 PM
I have run one day on Nokian studs, and I love them!
They are noisy on dry pavement. They do add resistance. I have heard from 6 people that they do not wear out quickly. As with any wide tire, they are not perfect in deeper snow, but they are alot better than the regular mtn tires I had on!
I plan on keeping them on all winter unless we get a heat wave that clears all of the roads.
And that is my feeling after just one day. Tomorrow I will probably love them more since all the side roads have the "driven on ice" on them now. (was just snow pack for the most part on Thursday)
Good luck on your decision!
12-09-07, 09:17 PM
I cross posted this to the MTB forum (http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=369199). There are lots of reviews there too, just in case anyone comes across the archive and wants to read further.
I'm going to buy some Nokians in early January. I checked my finances and can't drop nearly $200 on tires right now and still buy all of the holiday gifts I planned. I started goofing around with some old cyclocross tires I had, to make homemades, and I don't think they are going to be usable on both pavement and ice like the Nokians. I'm just going to wait, ride carefully, let some air out of my tires, and try my commute on ice in the morning with my mountain bike on regular knobbies. I've always driven on icy days, but I took a short ride tonight and I think it will be doable if I take it easy.
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