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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 01-16-07, 09:50 AM   #1
jcwitte
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Time for studded tires?

This winter has been pretty mild so far here (Chicago). Last night though, the temp dropped and today we are expecting a high in the mid 20s. It also snowed a little bit - a good dusting is all - but I would think that that could lead to ice in the roads and on the lakefront path.

Do you use studded tires for just a drop in temperature with the possibility that you might hit an icy patch or two, or do you wait until a few inches of snow or what? I'm guessing the roads in Chicago are kept pretty clear and salted regularly, but this will be my first winter here so I don't really know what to expect.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:04 AM   #2
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Dpends on how good your health insurance is. In Vermont we have no competition, so have ridiculous rates, and many of us can't afford it. I put on studs as soon as it's below freezing.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:05 AM   #3
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Unless the majority of your ride is on ice and snow, stay off the studded.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:32 AM   #4
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I figured I'd get conflicting ideas. It would be interesting to know when everybody who rides everyday, or almost everyday, decides to put on the studded tires for the first time, and where they actually ride - roads, paths, or a combination of the two.

I think the reason I'm in between is because my two bike choices are the opposite extremes. I have an old mountain bike with studded tires mounted and then my other bike is a Schwinn Le Tour fixie conversion with slicks. Maybe if I put a treaded tire on the le tour I wouldn't be so tempted to use the studded tires just yet. Although I read somewhere that slicks are good for possible icy conditions because they have more actual contact with the surface than if you were riding on a treaded tire.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:43 AM   #5
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I've ridden through many many winters and have never ever needed a studded tyre. As long as there is a road under my ice and snow, knobbies do just fine. If you're out on pathways, studs might be for you. If it's salted city roads, studded will actually be more dangerous than anything.
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Old 01-16-07, 12:04 PM   #6
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I'm 1/2 road, 1/2 MUP and on days when they need to salt heavily, I have an alternate route that takes out the MUP and replaces it with anouther road. I did get knobbier tires for the winter, but not by much, I still have a continuous band around the tire, and def. not studs.
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Old 01-16-07, 12:14 PM   #7
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I ride nearly everyday and my rationale is:

Better to be safe than sorry. If there is any chance for considerable ice on my ride for that day, i will be sporting at LEAST the front studded tire. If there are definite icey conditions around than i will have both studded tires on. There is really no reason not to have the carbide tipped Nokians on, even if much of the ride is dry. The only downside is it slows you down a little, but not nearly as much as a broken pelvis or hip will.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:05 PM   #8
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Haha. Always the conflicting POVs here. I can see TJ's point, on bare pavement, studs have some odd properties, and they will let go if you push too hard into corners, particularly on smooth concrete. And I cant see them agreeing with streetcars tracks very well either.

That said, I use studs whenever there there is substantial risk of snowfall... full studs too, Nokian WXC300s. These last few days with snow here I've been hauling around quite a bit faster than I would dare to go on rubber tires.

But my commute takes me way out in the burbs, with neither the bare pavement nor the quick turns in confined manuvering room, as the guys downtown.


Edit: and truth be told when there ARE bare roads, I tend to get bored and look for something icy to ride on... and I used to do this BEFORE I had studs too. I guess I have a real short attention span.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:23 PM   #9
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I was on side streets last night looking for snow to surf on... It's all about the fun, the slush was too easy to ride in, like a big slurpie.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TRaffic Jammer
I've ridden through many many winters and have never ever needed a studded tyre. As long as there is a road under my ice and snow, knobbies do just fine. If you're out on pathways, studs might be for you. If it's salted city roads, studded will actually be more dangerous than anything.
I disagree about studded tires being more dangerous on salted roads. I have found studded tires to have at least as good of traction on wet pavement as slicks and much better traction on any surface that is covered with snow or ice. This is with a low stud count 700C tire vs similar width semi-slick like a Tserv. Studded tires are worth the extra safety for most conditions that involve falling snow. I'm not sure how well Chicago cleans the bike paths an if they use salt on it, but I would expect to use studs on the bike path in the conditions you describe. You can of course ride slicks in the snow but it requires much more skill and is more likely to result in a fall. If you are capable and/or unconcerned about falls then stay with the slicks unless conditions require something better.
I should note that last winter this is how I usually ran studs which required me to change the wheel set on my bike. I did get caught a couple times in snow on my commute home but I usually used the studs when snow was predicted. This year I have decided to use a different bike for commuting in the snow. It is not studded but does have very large low pressure knobbie tires which provides as much or more traction in most winter conditions.
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Old 01-16-07, 02:35 PM   #11
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^^^word, that would be the pug, right?

I would think the nature of the road surface, specifically it's roughness, would determine how well metal studs work on it. If there are lots of little holes and divits for the studs to settle down into, then the tire might FEEL weird, but it will hold. On smooth concrete, I'm quite sure studs WILL slide easier than rubber.

I lost the front end on the Hakkas coming into the parking garage of my old apartment last winter (on smooth dry concrete) in a corner that I know rubber tires could have held. The wipe was clearly own damn fault, but the point remains.
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Old 01-16-07, 03:54 PM   #12
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Even Seattlities cound find use for studs this winter! yet another snow event in seattle last night, pretty significant snow in portland too.

I rode up to Capitol Hill from downtown Seattle this morning and the roads were sheets of wet, greasy ice. Very, very slick- wet ice-, used the outrigger foot technique to keep 'er upright heading down some of the steeper hills.

this afternoon, the warming trend has brought some bare pavement on the main arterials, but it is going to freeze solid again tonight.

(I've been running unstudded 700x37 conti travel contacts)
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Old 01-16-07, 04:00 PM   #13
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wooohooo sNOW studs or no...enjoy it!!!
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