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  1. #1
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    Winter Riding Without Studded Tires.

    Do any of you think it is a good idea not to have studded tires while riding in the winter? They can be very expensive, and worrisome. What else could I use instead of studded tires to make it through the winter, without killing myself first. Any advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Having a studded tire on just the front works well in most conditions. You should be able to find a worthy tire for under $50US.

    If you would prefer to not use a studded tire, try lowering the air pressure in your tires. That will give you more traction.

  3. #3
    A Heart Needs a Home Rich Clark's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Peaches
    Do any of you think it is a good idea not to have studded tires while riding in the winter? They can be very expensive, and worrisome. What else could I use instead of studded tires to make it through the winter, without killing myself first. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Sorta depends on where you live. Studs are mostly beneficial on snow and slush, less so on ice. There are conditions that would be nearly unrideable without studs, and you have to try to anticipate how many days a year those conditions exist, and whether not being able to ride that number of days would be a problem for you.

    Last year in Philadelphia I think there was a grand total of one day that I lost to snow. Studded tires would be wasted here. I used them every winter growing up in Chicago (home-made ones, using roofing tacks and an old inner tube).

    I can also imagine situations where having a dedicated snow bike -- or at least a set of studded tires already mounted on spare wheels -- could save a lot of hassle.

    RichC

  4. #4
    Career Cyclist threadend's Avatar
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    I have done it both ways and found WTB Velociraptors to be an excellent non-studded winter tire. However, after riding Nokian Hakkepeleiata 106 studded tires all last winter and so far this winter I'm hooked. Definitely worth the money IMHO.
    2003 Iceman Challenge - 2:34:55 - 897 / 2,000*
    2002 Iceman Challenge - 2:39:23 - 1093 / 2,186
    2000 Iceman Challenge - 2:49:18 - 1516 / 2,153
    *estimated

  5. #5
    Junior Member MHub's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Peaches
    Do any of you think it is a good idea not to have studded tires while riding in the winter? They can be very expensive, and worrisome. What else could I use instead of studded tires to make it through the winter, without killing myself first. Any advice would be appreciated.
    If you do ride with-out studded tires, don't even dream about clip less pedals! (Patches of ice are H*ll!)

  6. #6
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by MHub


    If you do ride with-out studded tires, don't even dream about clip less pedals! (Patches of ice are H*ll!)
    Words to live buy no clipless pedals very very bad In ice or snow!!!
    Sick BubbleGum

  7. #7
    aka Sir MaddyX MadCat's Avatar
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    It's supposed to be a mild winter this year and I still haven't parked the clipless pedals and put on the studded tire on the front. My disc brakes have been a godsend in the cold though. The extra control available there makes up for everything else.

  8. #8
    Burn-em Upus Icephaltus Gojohnnygo.'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by MadCat
    It's supposed to be a mild winter this year and I still haven't parked the clipless pedals and put on the studded tire on the front. My disc brakes have been a godsend in the cold though. The extra control available there makes up for everything else.
    Yes the disc brakes on my trek 4900 winter bike do a very good job and I hope it's a mild winter to. Madcat you got more guts then me.
    Sick BubbleGum

  9. #9
    Senior Member tchazzard's Avatar
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    The roads are typically clear here on the coast of Maine. But there are patches of black ice where you least expect them. My first winter of commuting I tried going without studs and had several wipe-outs. No serious damage, but did wreck some nice jackets which tore.

    I ran studs on front and back last winter, which I think was overkill. This winter I am only running a studded tire (Nokia M&G) on the front. I have yet to fall this year despite an 1/8 mile driveway covered with ice.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    I have been winter commuting for many years and never had the luxury of studded tires.

    If I had studded tires, I would use them. Everybody I know who has them loves them. Of all the junk I waste money on, I am to stingy to buy studded tires.

    Anyway, I can tell you that a mountain bike with good, wide, aggressive treaded tires do the trick pretty well even without studs. Sometimes I feel the earth move under my wheels, but for the most part, it is stable enough.

    Bear in mind that in icy conditions, my speed rarely exceeds 12 mph.
    Mike

  11. #11
    Senior Member Cipher's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mike
    I have been winter commuting for many years and never had the luxury of studded tires.

    If I had studded tires, I would use them. Everybody I know who has them loves them. Of all the junk I waste money on, I am to stingy to buy studded tires.

    Anyway, I can tell you that a mountain bike with good, wide, aggressive treaded tires do the trick pretty well even without studs. Sometimes I feel the earth move under my wheels, but for the most part, it is stable enough.

    Bear in mind that in icy conditions, my speed rarely exceeds 12 mph.

    So what really happens when you hit a patch of ice?
    Speed Kills...It kills those that don't have it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    You can make your own studed tires.
    1) Find a cheap pair of tires with big knobs.
    2) With a electric drill, drill a small hole in each of the knobs. Don't forget the knobs on the sides!
    3) Drive a pan head machine screw into each hole, from the inside out. You must use pan head screws so the heads won't poke holes in the tubes.
    4) Install a tire liner over the screw heads, glued in with Goop.

    There not hard to make, takes about an hour or so for each tire. Putting in all the screws can really be hard on your hands. But the real fun is mounting them. The screws are very sharp, so watch out. They won't last long if you ride on pavement or rocks. They do work great on ice and packed snow.

    We take the off road tandem out when it snows, before they plow the roads. I don't use studs on the tandem. We just ride around enjoying the peace and quiet.
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  13. #13
    Year-round cyclist
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    Originally posted by Cipher
    So what really happens when you hit a patch of ice?

    I stay up. One trick I learned of car driving is that one must be real easy on both pedals and steering wheel.

    The same principle apply to riding on ice:

    1. Spin regularly. Pulling the road train up an incline is a great lesson in spinning!

    2. Don't ever lean in turns... Which means turns have to be taken real slowly. The same applies to changes of direction.

    3. Braking in Winter actually means slowing down. A good practice bike was my old bike with Weinman centrepull brakes. After 1-2 hours in the snow and slush, the brakes hardly slowed me down anyway.


    This year, I now have an extra front wheel with a studded tire. I don't like the vibrations I get and I have used that wheel two days so far, during the first snow, when the ground wasn't frozen yet and the conditions were slippery. The only real advantage I see for on-road commuting is if I had to ride on uneven ice ruts. While that would often happen in La Tuque or Edmonton, it's rarely the case in Montréal.

    P.S. If I exclude "falls" that happen when I can't start the bike quickly enough in too thick snow, I haven't fallen or lost my balance yet.

    Regards,
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  14. #14
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cipher
    So what really happens when you hit a patch of ice?
    well, it depends on a lot of things - mainly: did you see the ice? were you expecting it?

    if you are prepared, then the bike will slide around and you have to shift your weight to stay up, maybe put your feet down to keep from falling over.

    the worst is if you don't see the ice -- "black ice" that looks like wet pavement and occurs after a section that was NOT icy is the worst, especially at night. when then happens, you're riding along and the next thing you remember you contact the ground. i've had this happen a few times - last November i was riding home at night and we had had snow and car tires had melted it and then it had re-frozen by the time i rode home at 7pm after dark. i did not see it coming and fell hard, spraining my left wrist which was injured for about 5 months (i used an inline skate pad as a brace so i kept riding)

    IF you are cautious and expecting it, turning and braking on ice can be challenging but usually not so dangerous. it's when you expect the bike to stay upright like it does on ashphalt or dirt when you have sudden surprises and hard falls. when the front tire slides out on ice there is no time to react - you fall hard and usually get hurt.

    i bought studded tires the day after my crash b/c they do help even on black ice. on normal snow you can almost ride as if it were dirt as long as it's not too deep.

    if you're going to ride a fair amount in snow and ice i'd really recommend the $50 or so for a front studded tire - they last at least 2 years and don't cost that much more than regular tires... although, that said, i rode a bunch of winters w/o studs (but had quite a few crashes).
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    My winter bike has studded tires (cheap steel studded Anova's $40 CDN each) and on ice and snow the bike rides like a dream. Cheap security against a broken neck imo.

  16. #16
    www.mtbkanata.com mtbkanata's Avatar
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    Just make your own Tires... I have a few photos of the last tire making session.. (More of a drinking with power-tools session)

    How to make Spiked Tires... sorta

    Here are the tires on my bike:

    My tire mount...

    Here is what I have from my experience:

    Commercial studded tires are garbage on the trails.
    Spikes are no good in snow, just ride a set of Panaracer FireXC Pro, or something with nice large knobs
    Ice requires spikes!

    Photos coming soon from our Kanata Beaver Pond 500 race!

    Joe
    Mountain Bike Videos/Photos Uploads: Click Here to Visit

  17. #17
    Señor Member Tom_The_Bikeman's Avatar
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    Hey...w/o spiked tires fall down go boom.

    Or, you could have waited for about 2 hours to take your car (if you didn't crash on the way...)

    If you had one set of Nokian tires, you could pass lotsa cars on the way to work.

    Gotta love it. I'll admit that the Nokian tires (106's) probably wouldn't be good for the trail...

    cheers,
    tt

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