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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 04-20-16, 04:11 AM   #1
gkastraveckas
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Dedicated winter bike or change tires?

Just wondering what's more common, do you guys have a dedicated winter bike to grab and go when you need it or just change to studs for the season? Or have studs on a separate wheelset and change as needed?
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Old 04-20-16, 10:20 AM   #2
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Why the double post ? Wait till winter for answers Here ..
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Old 04-20-16, 10:26 AM   #3
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Just wondering what's more common, do you guys have a dedicated winter bike to grab and go when you need it or just change to studs for the season? Or have studs on a separate wheelset and change as needed?
That one summer, when I had three bikes and said "I don't need to remove the studded tires, I won't need to use that bike until fall" ...That was the summer I had mechanical issues with both summer bikes and ended up needing to quickly grab studded winter bike for a commute in July.

Now I have 5 bikes and I don't commute, but I get my winter bikes converted for summer. I want all my bikes in 'ready-to-ride' condition.
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Old 04-25-16, 08:26 AM   #4
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Just wondering what's more common, do you guys have a dedicated winter bike to grab and go when you need it or just change to studs for the season? Or have studs on a separate wheelset and change as needed?
Dedicated mt bike based snow bike.

Also ride year round bike in the winter when I'm confident the roads are clear

Also summer only ss/fixed bike
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Old 04-25-16, 10:53 AM   #5
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Unless you plan to ride for miles across glare ice, you only really need ONE studded tyre for your front wheel. This prevents it from slipping on small ice patches when you're turning. Keep a standard Big Chunky MTB Tyre(TM) on your back wheel the rest of the time and you probably won't be left wanting much else.

I keep the studded tyre in the closet and switch it in when things get icy.

Having done a number of winters now, there's kind of two ways to do it:
-Get a beater which is nearing the end of its life and wear it out. Repeat next year. Personally, I'd recommend a MTB. Did a road bike with 27' road tyres one winter and it DID work. It was just INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. While it is true that you can slice through snow with thin high-pressure tyres and feel like a humongous bad-ass when you do, I prefer to SMASH through with wider tyres. The trade-off is that you expend a lot more calories and generally fall off the bike much less often. Then you can impress your friends during the summer by sprinting up hills.

-The other option is to get a good '90s steel MTB frame and build it into an unstoppable beast using quality heavy-duty parts. I kitted a Trek 820 out with a sealed bottom bracket, a 5-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, and quality V-brakes. After a whole winter of proper care and regular riding, (125 km a week) it only needed a front hub overhaul.
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Old 05-01-16, 03:40 PM   #6
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Unless you plan to ride for miles across glare ice, you only really need ONE studded tyre for your front wheel. This prevents it from slipping on small ice patches when you're turning. Keep a standard Big Chunky MTB Tyre(TM) on your back wheel the rest of the time and you probably won't be left wanting much else.

I keep the studded tyre in the closet and switch it in when things get icy.
That's a highly debated topic, and you didn't mention where you live.

A number of bikeforum members here in Minnesota tried that, and came back and said they had issues with falls or going up hills and went back to having 2 studded tires - your rear tire has no grip on ice. (To be fair others have sometimes said they go without studded tires at all, I would never do that, but opinions are all over the place).

Also for me, my winter riding is on plowed trails. I'm faster and more efficient with a slimmer studded tire (Schwalbe Marathon Winter) than a fat tire with tread, so I'd be going backwards to use a fat tire with tread on the back.

Like I said it depends on where you live. If I live somewhere where ice was infrequent but happened, I could see myself using just a front studded tire and swapping back and forth. But I don't :-) so I use a separate winter bike with studded tires front and back.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 05-01-16 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-02-16, 06:24 AM   #7
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I've got a bike that I call The Mutt because it's a little bit of everything. The winter tires and full fenders come off in early April in favor of touring tires and trail fenders. The winter gear goes back on when the hard freezes start in late fall.
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Old 05-07-16, 08:16 PM   #8
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I use two studded tires. I put them on in early November and take them off in March. I use the same bike year round.
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Old 05-09-16, 12:33 PM   #9
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That's a highly debated topic, and you didn't mention where you live.
That's fair criticism. I'm in south-central Wisconsin; I think that's still visible under my forum image... thing. Hopefully. My commute is mostly relegated to regularly-to-intermittently-plowed trails. Maybe it was dumb luck that everything went so well through most of winter- it was only near the end that some new ice hidden beneath a dusting of snow took me down because you guessed it: turning without studs.


Guess the take-home lesson is: "do what is within your means and makes you feel most safe."
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Old 05-09-16, 03:04 PM   #10
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That's fair criticism. I'm in south-central Wisconsin; I think that's still visible under my forum image... thing. Hopefully. My commute is mostly relegated to regularly-to-intermittently-plowed trails. Maybe it was dumb luck that everything went so well through most of winter- it was only near the end that some new ice hidden beneath a dusting of snow took me down because you guessed it: turning without studs.

Guess the take-home lesson is: "do what is within your means and makes you feel most safe."
Ah, sorry that I missed your location.

Thanks for writing back. :-)
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Old 05-09-16, 03:12 PM   #11
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It depends on where you live. If you are in a place where the roads are generally clear, but a wet road might be prone to icing up, then your everyday bike with a studded front tire will probably be enough. If you live in a place that gets (*ahem*) real winter, where the municipality must put salt and/or sand down to make roads passable, then get a beater bike to use over the winter... salt will quickly turn your good bike into a crap bike.
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Old 05-10-16, 11:26 AM   #12
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Ah, sorry that I missed your location.

Thanks for writing back. :-)
Man, I miss crap like that all the time. Thing is, I started to doubt whether or not that detail was visible to everyone. The forum does weird stuff from time to time.

Another thing I forgot to mention about the studs-up-front issue is that in addition to not being required to tear up and down a lot of steep hills, my rear wheel's internally geared; which means it's kind of irritating to change tyres because I get to look forward to a day or so of repeatedly stopping to fine-tune the shifting. Related to that, here's a question for those of you with more experience: How much danger is there in wearing down the carbide tips by riding on mostly-clean surfaces? Is it crazy to go through the trouble of switching back to conventional tyres for the less-icy parts of the winter?
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Old 05-10-16, 11:49 AM   #13
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I have a dedicated winter bike but not because I need studded tires (knobby tires are generally all I need). I have a dedicated winter bike that is more of a beater because I don't want to get winter road crap on my good bikes.
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Old 05-10-16, 12:51 PM   #14
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Man, I miss crap like that all the time. Thing is, I started to doubt whether or not that detail was visible to everyone. The forum does weird stuff from time to time.

Another thing I forgot to mention about the studs-up-front issue is that in addition to not being required to tear up and down a lot of steep hills, my rear wheel's internally geared; which means it's kind of irritating to change tyres because I get to look forward to a day or so of repeatedly stopping to fine-tune the shifting. Related to that, here's a question for those of you with more experience: How much danger is there in wearing down the carbide tips by riding on mostly-clean surfaces? Is it crazy to go through the trouble of switching back to conventional tyres for the less-icy parts of the winter?
I have an Afline IGH. While I don't need to readjust for shifting (if I remember right there's a orange line you line up then it's set right), it's definitely a huge pain to change tires with it. Part of it is that I don't do it hardly ever, but it's a pain nonetheless.

In somewhere like Madison? Yes, I definitely think it's crazy to go through the trouble of switching back to conventional tires for the less icey parts of winter, for the rear tire. Carbide studs have a reputation for outlasting the tire itself.

If you're looking for a "faster" rolling tire, both the Schwalbe Marathon Winter and the 45nrth Gravdal are designed to keep different amounts of studs on the ground depending on how much air pressure they have in them. With high pressure they roll faster and have fewer studs contacting the ground when going straight (just the middle row of studs). At low pressure they roll slower but all the rows of studs come into contact with the ground. So...if you're concerned, you could ride at high pressure most of the time and low pressure only when road conditions get bad. The Schwalbe Marathon Winter is the faster tire, the 45nrth Gravdal is a little slower but a little better grip on snow and ice. (They also sell a Xerces which is thinner with fewer studs but a few posters thought they were absolute crap for effectiveness so I hesitate to recommend them, whereas I personally use the Schwalbe Marathon Winters and they are great tires).

tldr: Carbide studs should hold up fine even when ridden mostly on bare pavement, but you can make double sure if you want by running high pressure most of the time and low pressure when there's a lot of ice, which would mean the outside row of studs only contact the ground when there's a lot of ice. Honestly I kinda went on familiar spiel with the pressure thing, the studs themselves should be fine even if ridden nearly exclusively on dry pavement - as long as they are carbide, not the cheaper crappy steel studs.
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