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Old 09-14-13, 08:45 AM   #1
PennyTheDog
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Studded tire recommendations?

Last winter was my first time ever bike commuting through the Minnesota winter. Early on in the winter I was about to quit because of the poor traction, and then I discovered the magic of studded tires! For my second winter I'd like some advice on what studded tire attributes you think are especially helpful. My two bikes have 700c wheels and can take tires up to at least 42mm. What do you recommend?
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Old 09-14-13, 09:07 AM   #2
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Schwalbe and Nokians make the best studded tires. They are expensive but they will last you for many years, so it's worth buying them.. Stay away from other cheap brands.
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Old 09-14-13, 09:42 AM   #3
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Schwalbe and Nokians make the best studded tires. They are expensive but they will last you for many years, so it's worth buying them.. Stay away from other cheap brands.
+1. Really liking the Nokians.
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Old 09-14-13, 10:12 AM   #4
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Schwalbe and Nokians make the best studded tires. They are expensive but they will last you for many years, so it's worth buying them.. Stay away from other cheap brands.
The reason being that Nokian and Schwalbe have always used carbide studs on all models. Plain steel studs used on cheap tires may be okay for off-road, but they wear out quickly--in weeks--on pavement.

Other brands are coming around. I understand Continental has switched to carbide, and some models of Kenda. 45Nrth are also supposed to be carbide.

Avoid like the plague: Innova. There's a reason why they sell re-studding tools and replacement studs.

Meanwhile, this will be my eighth season on a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 in 700x35mm. There is no appreciable wear on the studs, and you can barely detect some wear on the rubber. They were $65 each when I bought them, which means they've cost me $8.13 per season so far, and they get cheaper every season. I've seen them for less lately. Somewhere in the 40s.

Think about the actual conditions you'll be riding in when choosing between the Nokian and the Schwalbe. Summarizing reports over the years from here and the Winter Cycling forum:

Both are okay on black ice. I can ride across ice I can't walk on. The Schwalbes are better on re-freeze--ice that has melted and refrozen into ruts. The Nokians are better in deep, loose snow and slush, and in "brown sugar" and "mashed potato" snow. The Schwalbes are better on the pavement. On hardpack, they're about the same until the hardpack begins to break up, then what you need is width, like an MTB tire. And of course, off-road, get an MTB.
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Old 09-14-13, 10:25 AM   #5
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I use Nokian A10 on one bike and W106 on the other I ride in winter. I am happy with both tires. Like the others have said, they are high priced but, being used only 3 months a year, I expect them to last a long long time.

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Old 09-14-13, 10:27 AM   #6
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Nokian, either W106 or W240. I started with W106s and they were great, the only downside is that if you got in a rut they didn't have a row of wide-spaced studs to help you climb out. This may not be a problem for you. I'm now running W240s.

I tried Marathon Winters and they were OK but the tread block on them goes only from side to side, so when I'm riding on highly crowned or banked roads (I ride some gravel roads which are steeply crowned) and over a couple of inches of unplowed wet snow, everh time I put power to the pedals the rear tire would slip sideways a foot and I'd have to put a foot down and stop. I sold them after one season.

The Nokians are a bit expensive, but the grip that they give is priceless. Twice now I have started in to work in my car but it was too icy, so I went back and rode instead. Once there were a bunch of cars and none of them could make it up one hill, they were all just sitting there I guess waiting for the sun to melt the ice. I rode on by.
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Old 09-14-13, 11:14 AM   #7
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Other brands are coming around. I understand Continental has switched to carbide, and some models of Kenda. 45Nrth are also supposed to be carbide.

Avoid like the plague: Innova. There's a reason why they sell re-studding tools and replacement studs.
Continental tires use "hardened steel studs", I don't think it's the same as tungsten carbide on Nokians or Schwalbes..Innovas and Kendas are garbage and they wouldn't last very long with my riding style.
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Old 09-14-13, 11:57 AM   #8
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I used Nokian Suomi Hakkapeliitta A10 studded tires last winter, and I am happy with them:

http://www.suomityres.fi/hkplstud.html

I will be using them again this winter (and hopefully many more to come).

Mine are 32mm wide, which is about as narrow as you will find studded tires. They have somewhat less studs and less aggressive tread design than many other models, but they are tough, dependable, effective tires. I ride mostly plowed roads, so my biggest worries were glare ice, runoff re-freeze, rutted/pitted ice near where cars park and intersections, and about a half mile of bike trail I ride that was never shoveled or plowed. The tires worked fine for all of that, I never went down.

Rolling resistance is a lot higher than my summer tires, but I think you'll get that with any good studded tire, it kinda goes with the formula. They are heavier, tougher tires with grippier rubber and more of it.

The carbide studs on my A10's still look like new, even after a few hundred miles. No lost studs, either.

Last edited by Bluish Green; 09-14-13 at 12:03 PM. Reason: clarified pitted ice situation
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Old 09-14-13, 12:21 PM   #9
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Yes, don't get anything that doesn't have carbide studs. Steel studs will wear right down, carbide will last longer than the rubber will.
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Old 09-14-13, 12:37 PM   #10
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Continental tires use "hardened steel studs", I don't think it's the same as tungsten carbide on Nokians or Schwalbes..Innovas and Kendas are garbage and they wouldn't last very long with my riding style.
My mistake. Continental's older model, the Spike Claw was carbide. The newer one, the Nordic Spike, does not. Thanks for the catch.

However, all of Kenda's new models are carbide. Still, caution is advised since they've kept the same name as the older models with plain steel studs. There's a possibility of old stock still around.

As for your "Kendas are garbage" statement, were you referring only to the studs or to something else?
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Old 09-14-13, 01:24 PM   #11
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I used Kenda Klondike Wide 26"x2.1" tires during the 2011-2012 winter. They have carbide studs, and I wouldn't call them "garbage". That said, they were heavy with thick, stiff sidewalls, so I felt like I was going to have a heart attack the first time I rode them. The 26"x1.9" Nokian W160s I know use are nicer to ride for several reasons. I think we can all agree to avoid Innova tires.
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Old 09-14-13, 01:34 PM   #12
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As for your "Kendas are garbage" statement, were you referring only to the studs or to something else?
What I meant was that Kendas are not really high-end tires and are not in the same category as Schwalbes, Nokians , Vittorias or Contis. I never enjoyed riding on any of the Kendas that I used before.
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Old 09-14-13, 03:50 PM   #13
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I have Schwalbe Marathon Supremes,Vittoria Randonneurs,and Kenda Kwests in my fleet. Yes,the Kendas aren't as nice,but they are certainly not garbage. I'd say Kwests set the standard for economy tires. BTW,both DC and NYC's bike share fleets use Kwests.

I used a set of Nashbar(re-badged Kendas) for 3 winters. Finally swapped them for some Nokians only because the tread knobs were too close together and they could pack up in deep snow. But they got me through Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon ok. I only run them when the roads are icy;once things start to clear I swap on a set of Crossroads.
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Old 09-14-13, 06:08 PM   #14
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In my experience, flat protection in a studded snow tire isn't necessary.

I have seven winters on a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 tires, with never a flat. And they don't have flat protection.

The reason is that the tread is so deep that the usual stuff commuters run into isn't big enough to get through the depth of the tread. Whether it hits a tread block or the void between them, it's still a very long way to the casing, let alone the tube.

By comparison, in the three-seasons I go eight to ten weeks between flats on average, with puncture-resistant tires.
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Old 09-14-13, 07:27 PM   #15
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Can anyone comment on flat protection from either nokians or schwalbe studded tires?

Prefferably on nokian w240s.
I did get one flat on my Nokian Extremes 294's. It was from a long sharp screw. I don't think any tire would of survived that, no matter how much flat protection you have... Most winter tires have thick tread and thick casing so they are fairly resistent to flats, unless it's something very sharp.
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Old 09-14-13, 07:44 PM   #16
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The reason being that Nokian and Schwalbe have always used carbide studs on all models. Plain steel studs used on cheap tires may be okay for off-road, but they wear out quickly--in weeks--on pavement.

Other brands are coming around. I understand Continental has switched to carbide, and some models of Kenda. 45Nrth are also supposed to be carbide.

Avoid like the plague: Innova. There's a reason why they sell re-studding tools and replacement studs.

Meanwhile, this will be my eighth season on a set of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 in 700x35mm. There is no appreciable wear on the studs, and you can barely detect some wear on the rubber. They were $65 each when I bought them, which means they've cost me $8.13 per season so far, and they get cheaper every season. I've seen them for less lately. Somewhere in the 40s.

Think about the actual conditions you'll be riding in when choosing between the Nokian and the Schwalbe. Summarizing reports over the years from here and the Winter Cycling forum:

Both are okay on black ice. I can ride across ice I can't walk on. The Schwalbes are better on re-freeze--ice that has melted and refrozen into ruts. The Nokians are better in deep, loose snow and slush, and in "brown sugar" and "mashed potato" snow. The Schwalbes are better on the pavement. On hardpack, they're about the same until the hardpack begins to break up, then what you need is width, like an MTB tire. And of course, off-road, get an MTB.
Considering you paid that eight years ago, this seems pretty reasonable ..

http://www.amazon.com/Nokian-Hakkape...06+in+700x35mm
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Old 09-14-13, 08:09 PM   #17
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Twice now I have started in to work in my car but it was too icy, so I went back and rode instead. Once there were a bunch of cars and none of them could make it up one hill, they were all just sitting there I guess waiting for the sun to melt the ice. I rode on by.
I'd pay cash to see that video.
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Old 09-14-13, 08:31 PM   #18
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In my experience the conditions, for which A10 or W106 are suitable, are better served by non-studded Continental TopContact Winter. The latter yield less rolling resistance and can be used without a problem in fair weather. All 3 need to be replaced by more aggressive tires once conditions get tougher.
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Old 09-14-13, 08:34 PM   #19
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Hmmm, who has 29" snow tires?
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Old 09-14-13, 09:01 PM   #20
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Hmmm, who has 29" snow tires?
I've got Nokkian W240 in 40-622. Worked fine last winter ( first winter on them). they're heavy, and slow. but they worked much better than the marathon winters I'd used before. And they don't shed studs, like the marathons did.
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Old 09-14-13, 10:50 PM   #21
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Nokian, either W106 or W240. I started with W106s and they were great, the only downside is that if you got in a rut they didn't have a row of wide-spaced studs to help you climb out. This may not be a problem for you. I'm now running W240s.

I tried Marathon Winters and they were OK but the tread block on them goes only from side to side, so when I'm riding on highly crowned or banked roads (I ride some gravel roads which are steeply crowned) and over a couple of inches of unplowed wet snow, everh time I put power to the pedals the rear tire would slip sideways a foot and I'd have to put a foot down and stop. I sold them after one season.

The Nokians are a bit expensive, but the grip that they give is priceless. Twice now I have started in to work in my car but it was too icy, so I went back and rode instead. Once there were a bunch of cars and none of them could make it up one hill, they were all just sitting there I guess waiting for the sun to melt the ice. I rode on by.


Those are great stories! I picked up a pair of Hakkapeliitta's from a Craigslist seller last year about this time, unfortunately we never got any suitable weather to use them here last year! I'm really hoping for a few days of snow or ice to give them a try. I'll have to check and see whether they are W106's or 240's, y'all reminded me someone asked me which model I had and I haven't gotten back to them about it...

Last edited by Medic Zero; 09-14-13 at 10:53 PM. Reason: proper spelling for Hakkapeliitta!
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Old 09-16-13, 09:11 AM   #22
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I wish Nokian made a wide 29er snow tire. I would love a studded 2.5" tire that would provide both float for deep snow and traction on ice.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:17 AM   #23
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Check out http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp. I ended up buying the w106's based on his explanation of the differences between models
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Old 09-16-13, 09:23 AM   #24
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still have the W106 tires at the ready on a bike. I bought them direct from Finland, in 90.

they are not fast rolling but secure on black ice and OK on bare pavement.
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Old 09-16-13, 12:12 PM   #25
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Nokian W106's on my Cross check - this will be year 7 and still in very very good shape.- Highly recommended. As others have said they don't have a lot of studds on the very edge of the tire tread, so they aren't as good in really deep rutted ice as some other wider more aggressive tires might be. It's an ok trade off for me as that is not the usual conditions I encounter.
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