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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 09-26-07, 06:30 PM   #1
bradberry00
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non-studded tires?

ok I know there are many questions on here about tires, and everyone says nokian studded tires are the tire to go for....but I dont want studded tires because I have a fairly long commute and would like to go as fast as possible.

so...what would be a good choice in a studless tire, that is fairly fast? I live in minneapolis so roads are salted like crazy, so, though there is ice, it is usually melted for the most part.
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Old 09-26-07, 07:48 PM   #2
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Any set of slicks will be the fastest tire available.
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Old 09-26-07, 07:55 PM   #3
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true, but i should probably have some tread....i was looking at cyclocross tires...good choice?
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Old 09-26-07, 10:05 PM   #4
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cyclocross tires would be ideal if you have your heart set on having tread. If there isn't any real ice to be concerned with then studs are not necessary, so you are right to be thinking the way you are.
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Old 09-26-07, 11:26 PM   #5
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im sure there will be ice....it is minnesota

how many people ride slicks in the winter? seems scary for some reason.
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Old 09-27-07, 12:03 AM   #6
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Safety > Speed
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Old 09-27-07, 12:22 AM   #7
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Studded tires aren't that much slower than slicks on icy roads. Any way you look at it a studded tire will be quicker than a hospital stay.

If for some bizarre reason you have your heart set on a non-studded tire get one with inverted tread, like the Conti Town and Country.

EDIT: Conti has also just come out with a new non-studded winter tire. http://biketiresdirect.com/productdetail.asp?p=COTCW

Last edited by Ziemas; 09-27-07 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 09-27-07, 06:19 AM   #8
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I think that it is the tread on my Nokians that make them slower than my summer tires. I doubt that the studs themselves add much rolling resistance. Therefore, my reasoning is that, if I have to have tread for winter riding, that tread might as well have studs.

Paul
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Old 09-27-07, 03:11 PM   #9
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I also live in MN, suburb of mpls. I use Michelin Cyclocross Muds on my bike. It is a cyclocross bike of course.
I have another front wheel with a Nokian studded tire that I put on for the bad days or days where there is
a lot of refreeze. My commute is fairly long too, so I like having the studded tire on only when needed. It also seems that with the drive wheel having all the weight(rear), it is nice not having the drag of the heavier studded tire, but you get the benefit of the studded tire on the front, still fairly fast.
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Old 09-27-07, 04:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bradberry00 View Post
im sure there will be ice....it is minnesota

how many people ride slicks in the winter? seems scary for some reason.
ALL non studded tires are slicks on ice. Hence my suggestion.
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Old 09-27-07, 05:00 PM   #11
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I used to ride my mtn bike in winter. I had the type of tires that were sort of "slicks" in the middle, but knobby on the sides, and they seemed to work all right. Their recommended tire pressure was about 50-60 psi, and I just flattened them to about 30 psi.
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Old 09-27-07, 06:23 PM   #12
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ok I know there are many questions on here about tires, and everyone says nokian studded tires are the tire to go for....but I dont want studded tires because I have a fairly long commute and would like to go as fast as possible.

so...what would be a good choice in a studless tire, that is fairly fast? I live in minneapolis so roads are salted like crazy, so, though there is ice, it is usually melted for the most part.
I just purchased some Specialized tires to go on the single speed winter bike that I am building up on an old 27 inch road frame. THey are called the Infinity I think. They look fast rolling but have good tread and are available in several sizes for both 26 inch and 700c. I have some 700c x 38mm ones and I am looking forward to trying them out. The thing I like about them is the shape of the tire is rounded like a good road tire so it can corner well. Yet it has some good tread if you hit some snow. For ice nothing works but studs but around my place the snow usually melts off the roads for 5 out of 7 days a week. Black ice is the big concern and studs can help but careful watching works better.

Last edited by Hezz; 09-27-07 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 09-27-07, 11:45 PM   #13
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There's a 700x23c bicycle tire made with rice bran in the layup to add grip in slick conditions, similar to some unstudded auto snow tires.

I believe they are IRC Redstorms.

for semislick 700c tires, I like the Continental Travel Contacts. slick center, aggressive side knobs for grip in mud, snow, crud, etc.

Last edited by Bekologist; 09-28-07 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 09-28-07, 08:50 AM   #14
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Safety > Speed
Safety = Speed.

Sort of... when I have the wrong tires on for conditions, I slow way, way down.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:46 AM   #15
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When comparing like road and other conditions, studded tires generally slow me down by about 1 mph. (at most) If your commute is 20 miles and you average 14 mph without studs than it will take you one hour and 25 minutes. If you put on the studded tires over the same distance it will take you 1 hr and 32 minutes. That is 7 minutes longer on a very long commute. Hardly worth risking broken limbs for.
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Old 09-28-07, 11:51 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by bradberry00 View Post
but I dont want studded tires because I have a fairly long commute and would like to go as fast as possible.
Get the studs. My first year riding in the winter I didn't have studs, and I found the pavement to be WAY too hard. Ever since then, I've used Nokian studded tires. I've been in the saddle ever since.

You really need only run the FRONT tire most of the time. I only run both when it's really icy.

... Brad
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Old 09-28-07, 07:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bradberry00 View Post
ok I know there are many questions on here about tires, and everyone says nokian studded tires are the tire to go for....but I dont want studded tires because I have a fairly long commute and would like to go as fast as possible.

so...what would be a good choice in a studless tire, that is fairly fast? I live in minneapolis so roads are salted like crazy, so, though there is ice, it is usually melted for the most part.
I have to agree that for fast winter riding studs are a better and safer option. Unless you will only be riding when on bare pavement and blackice is not a problem.

Here is another studless option called the Contenental top contact winter. It is made especially for winter and has some kind of grit embedded in the tire rubber. Nice tread pattern for fast and smooth riding! But not available in narrow widths. 700c x 37mm or 26 x 1.9 you need cyclocross, mountain bike, or older wide clearance frame for these tires.

This is my suggestion. Find two old 27 inch ten speeds and change out the wheels with lighter 700c alloy wheels. THe newer 700c wheels are about a half an inch shorter so you are picking up wheel clearance for bigger tires. Plus these older frames usually had more clearance to begin with. Make both single speed bikes if you want them to be lighter and more reliable in winter. THe old center pull brakes work with tires up to about 40mm wide when used with 700c wheels. And a lot of them can reach down to the smaller wheel size. Have one bike set up with something like the studless 37mm wide winter tires and a higher gearing of something like 52/15 for days when the roads are clear with little ice. This gearing assumes no significant hills. If hilly adjust for the best compromise gearing. And then set the other bike up with studded tires and lower gearing, like 42 / 16, for days when there is snow and ice on the road. The bikes can usually be found at garage sales or on Craig's list for under 30 bucks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg contenental top contact winter.jpg (14.7 KB, 30 views)

Last edited by Hezz; 09-29-07 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 09-29-07, 01:07 AM   #18
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Buzz I've heard are that Continental winter contacts will not be distributed in the USA for the 2008 winter season- the importer isn't bringing them in for this winter.

Last edited by Bekologist; 09-29-07 at 01:14 AM.
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Old 09-29-07, 01:37 AM   #19
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Buzz I've heard are that Continental winter contacts will not be distributed in the USA for the 2008 winter season- the importer isn't bringing them in for this winter.
I posted a link where to buy them in the States in post #7.
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Old 09-29-07, 02:36 AM   #20
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ok I know there are many questions on here about tires, and everyone says nokian studded tires are the tire to go for....but I dont want studded tires because I have a fairly long commute and would like to go as fast as possible.

so...what would be a good choice in a studless tire, that is fairly fast? I live in minneapolis so roads are salted like crazy, so, though there is ice, it is usually melted for the most part.
I would have thought the Nokian high stud count tires were the way to go for Minneapolis, but if you have only occaisional ice patches, a tire with just over 100 stud count might be in line. It's more in line the metro DC area where I live. The tires usually are stud free near the center line and have studs off center. If you inflate the tire high, the studs are not in contact as you go down the road. If you slip, the lean gets the studs dug in. If you have more ice, let some air out and the studs contact even when you are not leaning.

You could also custom stud your own tires if the market tires are not right- studs and stud installing kits exist.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:21 AM   #21
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I posted a link where to buy them in the States in post #7.

INTERESTING! Thanks, Ziemas. That's not what our rep said at the shop, I'll give her a whassup?? when she gets back from Interbike.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:39 AM   #22
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INTERESTING! Thanks, Ziemas. That's not what our rep said at the shop, I'll give her a whassup?? when she gets back from Interbike.
Maybe they are being brought in gray market.
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Old 09-30-07, 09:36 AM   #23
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I didn't use studs last winter and I was fine most of the time. It was only difficult riding when we'd get a big dumping of snow and the city would put a silica mixture on the streets. It was great for the motorists but I found it a little more annoying than riding in sand.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:19 PM   #24
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Safety > Speed
That's a good mantra right there. You can get away with tires besides studs, but the faster you go with any tire the greater the risk of a spill. Take your time, and you'll have a more harmonious outcome.
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Old 10-02-07, 12:09 PM   #25
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For what it is worth, I have just ordered a pair of Conti Winter Contacts from Bike Tires Direct. I look forward to trying them this winter on Vancouver's winter roads. Vancouver doesn't get a lot of snow, but the black ice can be treacherous in the mornings - particularly on hills that face North, and don't get sun until later in the day.

I've biked on ice with regular 700c road tires to be relatively good, even on black ice and white (flood) ice. I used to live across the street from a running track that under certain melt-thaw-melt conditions would become a 440-yard ice oval, and I'd ride my MTB on the ice just to get a feel for the limits of balance and traction under very slippery conditions. I was impressed by the amount of traction that I could get on bare ice, which I attributed to low gearing, and bike tires' smaller contact patches providing greater normal force to compensate for reduced friction. I was also amazed at the better-than-I-would-have-thought ability of the bike to stay upright, even in turns, which I attributed to bike wheels' tendancy to gyroscopic stability - which increases as wheels turn faster.

One more thing: living in the frigid East, I learned 'the hard way' about the effect of accumulated salty slush on alloy spoke nipples. I was studying metallurgy at the time, and the repeated failure of my spoke nipples (10 nipples within 2 weeks) became a term paper on the effects of stress corrosion cracking!

Be sure to hose your bike off regularly if you ride in areas where the use of salt is prevalent to de-ice the roads.
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