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Thread: Studded tires

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    Studded tires

    MY goal the last two years has been to ride as much of the winter as I can, I live in MI. (I ride daily not racing, on pavement,gravel and trails. (hoping for 3,600 this year) I have tried and whimped out. I have tweeked my clothing each year and this year I think I have the clothing correct. My bike, I have got my spare trek ready I hope. Rack and panniers and hopefully best of all Studded Tires. I rode the 30 miles the directions said to set the studs.
    Anyone used studded tires? Results good or bad? Tips?
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    you might consider asking this in the winter cycling forum.
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    I commute all winter long. Some of those days I would never choose to ride --but I gotta work. I'm skeptical of studded bike tires but am curious of your experiences with them. I am careful on ice (have to stay directly over the bike on all turns). It's heavy, rutted, and unplowed snow that will stop you. It's like riding in heavy sand --can't do it.
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    I haven't missed a day commuting to work since July 2006. In part, it's due to studs. They take all the worry out of icy surfaces. (Note that in the photo above, studs, or even snow tires, weren't necessary that day since the snow was so gushy it just squoze out from under the tires.)

    No matter how many tons of salt the DPW throws down, there's always a few strategically placed patches of ice that get missed. And side streets are never salted here, so in the course of a Great Lakes winter, hardpack turns to ice, a warm day melts it a bit, then a cold night re-freezes it to icy ruts. Studs can get me through.

    Two things to keep in mind: First, studs help only on ice. They don't do a thing for you in snow or hardpack. Helpfully, studs come attached to winter tires that do help in those cases. But if your cycling is only occasional, and only in snow without any ice, you can get by without them.

    Second, the purpose of studs on a two-wheeled vehicle is different than on a four-wheeled one. They're not there to help you get going--although they help with that. They're there to keep the wheels from sliding out sideways from beneath you.

    As for their efficacy on ice, I've ridden on surfaces that I can't stand on--let alone walk--and where cars just slide sideways. I have plenty of stories about riding around cars, trucks, even buses that just spin, spin, spin, and riding past pedestrians walking like penguins.

    Now, if your cycling is off-road, and you're not riding across ponds, they may not be necessary at all. Off-road isn't my thing in any weather, so I can't say.
    Last edited by tsl; 10-14-12 at 03:16 PM. Reason: weather not whether Sheesh.
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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    I cycle year round here in southern Ontario where the climate is very similar to what you have in Michigan. I equip one of my bikes with studded tires for rides where there is a risk of encountering ice. The tires I've been using are Schwalbe Marathon Winter, great for ice, not so great for snow.
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    TSL's photo says it all. I ride year round and use studded tires as well. They don't make much difference in deep snow, but on packed snow and ice, they make a positive difference. This is the kind of stuff on which I ride with them.
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    WOW thanks all for the tips and your encouraging winter rides. I {{fell**** last Halloween on frost, on the railroad bridge. Not bad, I bounced but it kept me from riding winter weather. This year a new approach and attitude and am ready to readjust my riding which is the biggest thing I know I have to do.
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    get studs cuz you never know when you'll come across a slick surface like frosty wood or black ice
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    I live in Kalamazoo and my son and I have been using these Nokian A10 around town during the winter. I plan to use a more aggressive W106 on my 29er so I can have some winter fun on the trails as well.

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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    I cycle year round here in southern Ontario where the climate is very similar to what you have in Michigan. I equip one of my bikes with studded tires for rides where there is a risk of encountering ice. The tires I've been using are Schwalbe Marathon Winter, great for ice, not so great for snow.
    +1

    During the winter, I keep one bike with studded tires and another bike with knobby touring tires. The bike with studded tires is used when some firm ice is expected but deep snow is not going to be encountered. I use the bike with the knobby tires on days when just a few short sections of snow or ice might be found along with very long sections of dry pavement. I stay off the bike when most of the road is covered with ice or snow.

    Studded ties are not needed on most days in Chicago. If you use common sense, knobby tires are good enough on well plowed and salted city streets.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-19-12 at 08:01 AM.
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    Bill (aka qcpmsame),

    You, and every one of your Florida friends are BARRED from posting on this thread!
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    Snow comes most years and that is time to get the MTB out and get on the hills. Problem is the route to the hills involves a couple of miles of road.Most of the roads are salted so no problem with sheet ice- just the occasional bit that you take with care but on a couple of sections of Asphalt- it is sheet ice. It could be time to walk there but too slippery -even for MTB aggressive soles on the shoes.

    But as soon as it is snow on soil- no problem till the snow gets too deep to cycle through.
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    I've never used studded tires and don't want to, at least so far. I do fall once or twice a winter, usually under difficult conditions at a slow speed. It happens when there is ice that can't be seen because it is under snow.

    I have my route or my time arranged so that the fall does not happen in traffic. I used to do some very early shifts and would start the commute at 4:30 am.

    When I do see the ice I have become very comfortable riding on it, even if is glare and slick from a warm day. That took awhile and won't happen for everyone.

    So far no damage at all from the thumps. I think they might even help keep a person flexible.

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    Thanks again all, perhaps I was putting to much hope and faith into the tires. I "plan" on adjusting my riding, that has been one of my biggest problems and why I quit each winter.
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    In my experience, studded tyres do make all the difference on ice and hard packed snow, as stated already. I have Nokian W106s myself and they seem to do the job for me.

    Winter cycling is different in many aspects and will probably require adjustments in your riding anyway. For me, spinning seems even more important than in summer conditions. If you have found the joys of layered clothing, you are all set in that department. Personally, I don't like clipless pedals in winter, I prefer proper winter boots and platform pedals. But that depends on your riding temps and is also a matter of taste. Keep lower pressure in your studded tyres than you would otherwise. It will add to rolling resistance, but it'll help with grip and dealing with icy ruts.

    Depending on your route and climate, have a plan B ready for your transportation. Even the simplest mechanical problems (replacing a flat tube for example, ask me how I know) can be really difficult to fix if it's cold, dark and snowing. At the very least carry extra clothes so you can walk a bit if needed. That's another reason why I prefer shoes without cleats in winter.

    You need good lights in the dark. Modern LEDs are very good, but batteries are nuisance in cold temps. Again, personal preference, but I "upgraded" to a dynohub based front LED a couple of winters ago, and haven't really looked back.

    But these are really MY solutions. You cannot know what suits YOU before you try out yourself. Happy winter riding!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    Bill (aka qcpmsame),

    You, and every one of your Florida friends are BARRED from posting on this thread!
    ... That would be just way too mean...
    "K, I'll stay out, hope the OP finds some tyres that fit the bill for the winter weather.!!

    Bill
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    If you can only afford one studded tire, put it on the front...really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    "K, I'll stay out, hope the OP finds some tyres that fit the bill for the winter weather.!!

    Bill
    Well, OK, maybe you can do just a little, tiny snicker at us crazy, stupid northerners too stupid to come in out of the snow and ice ...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyril View Post
    If you can only afford one studded tire, put it on the front...really.
    Yeah, I've heard that. I guess it's the front tire that's more likely to get out from under you during a turn on ice?

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    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    I have studded tires (Kenda Klondike) that I use on an old mountain bike that I just use in winter. I sometimes wonder how necessary they are. In Minnesota, we don't have too much ice, just snow (it's commonly too cold for the thaw and freeze cycle). I'm thinking of running knobby tires this winter instead. The studs - particularly carbide studs on a fat tire - make for a heavy tire with lots of rolling resistance. Holding 14 MPH on the winterbike takes about the same effort as 20 MPH on a road bike (both on a dry road).

    Carbide studs last longer than steel studs. The studs on my Klondikes have been through a full season and still more or less look new - I'd guess they'll last 4-5 seasons at least.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    Well, OK, maybe you can do just a little, tiny snicker at us dedicated, stubborn northerners too determined to come in out of the snow and ice ...
    Fixed it for you
    Last edited by NOS88; 10-19-12 at 10:30 AM.
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    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    I'm thinking of running knobby tires this winter instead. The studs - particularly carbide studs on a fat tire - make for a heavy tire with lots of rolling resistance. Holding 14 MPH on the winterbike takes about the same effort as 20 MPH on a road bike (both on a dry road).
    I also tend to limit my use of studded tires to those days when icy patches are frequent and unavoidable. When the pavement is 95% dry and the few icy patches are easy to avoid, there are tires without studs that work well.

    I've used the Schwalbe Marathon Cross as a winter tire with very good results. The tire is fast on dry pavement and is stable on flat ice and hardpack snow while centered over the bike. Yes, a fall is a risk, but the rider would need to brake or turn abruptly at a faster pace to invite disaster. The Schwalbe Marathon Cross is no longer sold, but the Schwalbe Marathon Dureme should work equally well on mostly dry winter streets.

    Continental has a stud-less winter tire, the Top Contact Winter, that is engineered for winter and provides traction without studs: http://www.conti-online.com/generato...remium_en.html

    The Top Contact Winter tire may not offer the high levels of grip on ice and hardpack snow that a studded tire offers, but is much faster on dry pavement.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-19-12 at 02:59 PM.
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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    You all raise a good point about icy days versus other days. For this reason, I keep my studded tires mounted on their own set of wheels. This way when we've got decent weather, I just swap out the wheels. I've only been caught once in a commuting situation with the wrong wheels. When I went to work the weather was great. During the day we got hit was an unexpected snow shower. That ride home was a bit more skittish, but made it safely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
    I guess it's the front tire that's more likely to get out from under you during a turn on ice?
    You can think of it that way. It's nice shorthand.

    What happens is that, because we use the front for balance, when it goes out, you go down fast and hard--almost no time for recovery. When the rear slides out, you can sometimes ride it out. If not, you can almost always get a foot down in time.
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    I've always used Nokian Hakkipillta W-106. I put them on in December and take them off in March. They are well suited to the icy freeze and thaw conditions we have here. Simce my normal tires are Schwalbe Marathon Plus semi-slicks, the W-106 are also an improvement in snow.

    Last year, I tried Schwalbe Marathon WInters. They have less rolling resistance than the Nokians. I bought them because the commute to my new office involves a MUP which evil joggers chew up into an icy moonscape. I figured that the higher stud count and presence of edge studs would be better for riding in and out of all the craters. The jury is still out, because last year had very little snow. However, when the season ended, I was amazed by how many studs had fallen out. My impression is that they outperform the Nokians, but have a quality problem.

    Last winter wasn't entirely a bust. Our one snowstorm was very intense and brough a lot of ice with it. Traffic came to a sandstill and many people who tried to drive home along my route got stucks and spent the night in their cars. In contrast, it took me only a few minutes longer than usual to get home. It just takes one evening like that to make them worthwhile.

    Some studded tires do not have carbide studs. These will wear out almost immediately and are trash. Nokians typically last at least 4-5 seasons.

    Paul

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