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  1. #1
    ******** modmon's Avatar
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    wide road tires or stick with 23's in snow

    am i better off sticking with my 700x23 armadillos year round? im getting ready for the winter again and i want to make sure im prepared. ive heard a lot that the narrower the tire, the better the traction. but riding in the snow on those 23's just felt really wrong. i have an old mtb fork that i can swap with my road fork to allow for larger tires... mtb tires and studded tires... i have them all.
    whats my best bet?

  2. #2
    ******** modmon's Avatar
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    btw, this is for my commuting/city fixie.

  3. #3
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    You won't see me doing it. Some claim it works fine, though.
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    Why am I in your signature.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    That narrow tire traction bit may just be t rue on dry, smooth roads. On the ice and rutted snow in Denver I found narrow tires to be scarey unstable. I went to the widest tires I could 32s at the time. I even made studded wheels which let me carve smooth banked turns on black ice but blew the tubes in a few miles. I got by for years with the 700x32s by avoiding turns on icy patches. Going across slope on a really slick patch was a sure way to crash hard.
    This space open

  5. #5
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    There is something to the 'narrow tire story' when the snow is not too deep, wet, and melting at pavement level. The narrow tires sink in and find traction on the pavement, and you have to plow less snow out of the way with the front tire to move.

    The theory starts to break down when the snow is drier and/or deeper, the ground is icy underneath, and/or vehicles have already compacted the snow on the road.

    It's gonna depend on the conditions you expect in your town.

    Myself, I go with big studded nokian WXCs, but I do a fair bit of the commute on unmaintained paths and closed-off roads that stay iced-over for weeks or months.

  6. #6
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    It depends upon your conditions. Depending on temperature, packing, history, and moisture content, the properties of snow can vary a lot. Up north, snow slowly compacts, and you can roll over it with wide tires. Further south, it tends to be wet, and narrow tires bite right through to the pavement.

    In many areas, like Washington, DC, there is almost always an ice layer beneath any snow. This calls for studs. I use a fairly narrrow, 622-35 tire, with knobby tread and a low stud content (Nokian W-106).

    There are too many variables for me to guess what would work best for you. Your location would help -- someone who rides there could comment.

    Paul

  7. #7
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    I want a Pugsley.

  8. #8
    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    very wide, very profiled and very studded is best
    only the dead have seen the end of mass motorized stupidity

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  9. #9
    Junior Member aeonwheels's Avatar
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    Hey, what would be best for Montréal?

    This will be my first fall/winter commute here. I've got Continentals 700x28c

    Thnx / merci

  10. #10
    ******** modmon's Avatar
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    im riding in baltimore... youre right, the roads get icey undertheneath. just wanted to get some opinions because im thinking about swapping to a smaller frame so that i can ride bigger, wider tires. if the narrow tire theory was true, i was going to stick with what i have.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by modmon
    im riding in baltimore... youre right, the roads get icey undertheneath. just wanted to get some opinions because im thinking about swapping to a smaller frame so that i can ride bigger, wider tires. if the narrow tire theory was true, i was going to stick with what i have.
    Baltimore! OK, I can answer that. you need a set of Nokian Hakkapilita W-106, size 35 X 622. Peter White, among others, has them. ANy bike that fits these tires will be a decent winter bike.

    Paul

  12. #12
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    Good luck with that. My road bike hangs in the garage in the winter. Give me all the tire you can for snow and unstable conditions. I ride my mountain bikes exclusively in those conditions, and run 2" tires.

  13. #13
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I ride my 700x23c slick tires on my fixed gear bike in Toronto until I get a few close calls after the snow starts. Since I live and commute downtown the roads are usually well cleared and salted. Once the snow starts to dominate the landscape and you end up with icy filthy frozen piles of slush and snow on the side of the road and you're bouncing in and out of ruts, I switch to 700x32c continental city ride tires. They have a smooth centre and inverted tread outer. I find this is enough for the winter. Could I benefit from more? Sure, but most of the time in Toronto a slick tire will do. YMMV.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portis
    Good luck with that. My road bike hangs in the garage in the winter. Give me all the tire you can for snow and unstable conditions. I ride my mountain bikes exclusively in those conditions, and run 2" tires.

    Now I am the opposite on tyres. MTB again but I go to a 1.8 at higher pressure, I even used to use 1.5's but I cannot get them in an aggressive tread any longer. My theory is that a narrow tyre will bite through the soft stuff onto the hard surface below, and you get grip on the hard surface. A wider tyre like a 2.1 will skate across the top and not get grip. Doesn't matter in any case because if Ice is underneath the snow- you will be finding out how good your helmet is.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    Dog is my copilot. GGDub's Avatar
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    It comes down with what you're comfortable with. I've found a 700 x 30c knobby is all I need here, but my wife needs at least one studded tire. Couriers here run narrow slicks all winter because they're mainly on well cleared streets, but I couldn't run that set up because I'd never get enough traction to ride up my steep hill home. However, from my experience, in general winter riding is more about balance than tires.
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