I just joined the bike forums, for the specific purpose of getting help on winter biking. I've put in quite a few miles already this winter, but now the snow is falling in Madison WI, and conditions are changing.
I have two bikes that I'm using. The one I ride the most is an old Raleigh Gran Prix that I got off of the local Freecycle list. For regular commuting, I put some skinny 27" tires on it, and it's just a truck of a bike. I have heavy steel baskets on a heavy steel rack, and I can still pass a lot of other bike commuters. A month or so ago, I bought a hybrid 700C wheel to put on the front. Why? Because I got a deal on a used set of Hakkepelitta studded tires, and I can run a 700C on the front of my Raleigh, no problem.
The other bike is my old Trek 950. When the snow really came down last week, I put a set of Innova studded tires on the Trek. It worked fine for riding down to the bagel shop in a snowstorm, but I tried riding it to work on Friday, and it was SLOW.
My commute is 8.5 miles each way, almost entirely on bike paths. They plow the paths here, but that still leaves quite a bit of packed snow and ice. Plus, I coach track, and Friday I had to bicycle around after our runners for 5 miles or so, and I knew I'd hit a lot of ice and snow.
The ride takes me 45 minutes on my Raleigh, even with the studded tire on the front. The Hakkepelitta 700C doesn't seem to be significantly slower than the road tire I was using. I think this is because I have it on an aluminum rim, rather than the old steel rim. Rotating mass is much more of a hindrance.
On the Trek, with the Innovas, the ride took me an hour on the way to school (I teach HS physics) and 65 minutes home. The studded tires just roar on the pavement, and I can feel them dragging me down. They're a bit faster if I ride on the snowy patches, but I'm still much slower.
Do I have to wait until they're "broken in", when the studs wear down a bit? Or am I just experiencing the typical difference between big mountain bike tires, and smaller road tires?
Help will be appreciated, thanks!