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  1. #1
    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Max width tire sizes

    I have an '07 Trek 1500 road bike, and wanting to know the max width. Wondering about studded tires specifically for commuting on icy road days. The widest tire I've used have been 700 25. I'm thinking I can go wider than that. Anyone know?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    I have an '07 Trek 1500 road bike, and wanting to know the max width. Wondering about studded tires specifically for commuting on icy road days. The widest tire I've used have been 700 25. I'm thinking I can go wider than that. Anyone know?
    Measure the width inside the chainstays, the clearance between the top of your 25 mm tire to the brake bridge and the same for the fork.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
    Measure the width inside the chainstays, the clearance between the top of your 25 mm tire to the brake bridge and the same for the fork.

    Brad
    +1 Measure the clearances all around and see how much room you have. I'd be very surprised if you can even go to 700x28 considering you have a sports road bike and they aren't usually designed for big tires. If you plan to commute year round, a casual (not serious racing) cyclocross frame would be much more versatile as they will usually take wide tires and even wide tires with fenders.

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    +1 pull out the tape measure/ruler.

    +1 This bike will almost certainly not take wide tires, and definitely won't fit wide tires + fenders. My guess, 700x28 at the absolute max with no fenders. It is unfortunate IMO but that's the way they're made. Agreed that a cross bike would be a good choice with room for tires, fenders, and canti/V-brakes.
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    When you do measure, be sure to measure to the lowest clearance. For example at the top of the fork the tightest clearance usually isn't the bottom of the crown, but under the front arm of the front brake. Likewise it might look like you have room in the chainstays, but be limited by the brake bridge, or in some cases by the seat tube.

    Also if estimating empirically how much wider you can go, be sure to allow for the height of the studs. Be aware also that there's often a big difference between the nominal size and actual size of bike tires.

    Lastly, a warning about commuting on icy roads. I've ridden quite a bit on ice, like on frozen lakes, and snow covered roads, but don't commute when I expect icing conditions on the road. Control on ice depends on being ready for it and adjusting your riding style. When commuting however, you're likely to hit ice when you don't expect it and even with studs may be down before you can react.

    Black ice, especially when the temps are just shy of 32F (0C) is incredibly hard to spot and manage, and your wheels can fly off sideways before your reflexes kick in. Having dealt with both over the years, I still don't know which is a faster introduction to the ground, black ice or wet steel deck bridges.

    Also consider that unlike when riding lakes or trails, a commuter is most likely to hit ice near the edge of the road, an area you're most likely to move to when a car is approaching behind, and the moment when you least want to go down.

    So my advice is that even if you can fit the tires, you think long and hard before taking to icy roads.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    When you do measure, be sure to measure to the lowest clearance. For example at the top of the fork the tightest clearance usually isn't the bottom of the crown, but under the front arm of the front brake. Likewise it might look like you have room in the chainstays, but be limited by the brake bridge, or in some cases by the seat tube.

    Also if estimating empirically how much wider you can go, be sure to allow for the height of the studs. Be aware also that there's often a big difference between the nominal size and actual size of bike tires.

    Lastly, a warning about commuting on icy roads. I've ridden quite a bit on ice, like on frozen lakes, and snow covered roads, but don't commute when I expect icing conditions on the road. Control on ice depends on being ready for it and adjusting your riding style. When commuting however, you're likely to hit ice when you don't expect it and even with studs may be down before you can react.

    Black ice, especially when the temps are just shy of 32F (0C) is incredibly hard to spot and manage, and your wheels can fly off sideways before your reflexes kick in. Having dealt with both over the years, I still don't know which is a faster introduction to the ground, black ice or wet steel deck bridges.

    Also consider that unlike when riding lakes or trails, a commuter is most likely to hit ice near the edge of the road, an area you're most likely to move to when a car is approaching behind, and the moment when you least want to go down.

    So my advice is that even if you can fit the tires, you think long and hard before taking to icy roads.
    I was kinda thinking that already. Ice sucks. Definitely better to be at work uninjured than to arrive with a bloodied body & clothes.

  7. #7
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Lastly, a warning about commuting on icy roads. I've ridden quite a bit on ice, like on frozen lakes, and snow covered roads, but don't commute when I expect icing conditions on the road. Control on ice depends on being ready for it and adjusting your riding style.
    I think riding on ice just requires being ready to crash. It's not if you go down, it's when. Despite that, I ride every day of the year. If you don't have far to commute and traffic isn't an issue crashing on ice has never been a big deal for me. Some days I've fallen down 2 or 3 times in one trip. Just take it slow and be careful. I think the worst thing is picking up too much speed going down a hill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    I think riding on ice just requires being ready to crash. It's not if you go down, it's when. Despite that, I ride every day of the year. If you don't have far to commute and traffic isn't an issue crashing on ice has never been a big deal for me. Some days I've fallen down 2 or 3 times in one trip. Just take it slow and be careful. I think the worst thing is picking up too much speed going down a hill.
    Yes, I too have been introduced to the earth many times ("earth meet rider, rider meet earth") and agree that if I crash, ice is the nicest way to do it. You're well padded all the way around, and there's little or no road rash because you're sliding on a lubricated surface. My issue isn't the pavement, it's traffic.

    It's rare that pavement alone will severely injure you in a solo crash, especially in the winter, but the mix of ice and traffic is unacceptably risky. Consider that whatever car is behind you will also be limited in control by the same ice sheet that brought you down.

    I've ridden in extreme heat, extreme cold, high winds, on and off roads, snow, ice, rain, floods (3'+ water depth) and just about anything you could imagine, but I draw the line at commuting on potentially icy roads. This is when I decide that discretion is the better part of valor.
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  9. #9
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Yes, I too have been introduced to the earth many times ("earth meet rider, rider meet earth") and agree that if I crash, ice is the nicest way to do it. You're well padded all the way around, and there's little or no road rash because you're sliding on a lubricated surface. My issue isn't the pavement, it's traffic.

    It's rare that pavement alone will severely injure you in a solo crash, especially in the winter, but the mix of ice and traffic is unacceptably risky. Consider that whatever car is behind you will also be limited in control by the same ice sheet that brought you down.

    I've ridden in extreme heat, extreme cold, high winds, on and off roads, snow, ice, rain, floods (3'+ water depth) and just about anything you could imagine, but I draw the line at commuting on potentially icy roads. This is when I decide that discretion is the better part of valor.
    Agree completely. Studded tires are available for some motorcycles but you won't see any of those anywhere except off-road in winter. Ice and four wheeled traffic is just a poor mix for anything with two wheels - bicycle or motorcycle.

  10. #10
    tcarl
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    I have a friend with studded mountain bike tires. She says they're great (great traction) on snow, but absolutely no grip or traction on ice.

  11. #11
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
    I have a friend with studded mountain bike tires. She says they're great (great traction) on snow, but absolutely no grip or traction on ice.
    'No grip or traction' would be an exaggeration. I run Nokian 240's and they definately have good traction on snow and bare ice. Far superior to non-studded tires. But also less than a regular tire on bare pavement during summer months. When there's ice on the ground I stick to bicycle paths away from four-wheeled traffic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcarl View Post
    I have a friend with studded mountain bike tires. She says they're great (great traction) on snow, but absolutely no grip or traction on ice.
    Are her tires really "studded" (i.e. fitted with steel or carbide studs) or just knobbies? Knobby tires are indeed good in deep snow but useless on ice. True studded tires have fair traction on plain ice. I wonder if her discription is a misnomer.

    +1 on the real hazard of snow/ice winter riding being other traffic.

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