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Thread: New Boots

  1. #1
    64 49' N Ernesto Schwein's Avatar
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    New Boots

    With my newly-wed status (April) I had to expand the bike fleet X1 and what were my commuter wheels and studs went on the wife's bike. It was a perfect excuse to make up a new set of wheels for the winter. I built a pair of Velocity aeroheads (OC rear) with DA hubs laced 32X3 with sapim spokes, shod with Nokian Hak's. We finally got a little snow over the last two weeks and I'll give my impression on the new boots:

    First-of-all this is the first time I've laced an OC rim and I have to say I really like the way it goes together with a 9 speed rear hub, tension is almost even side to side and it made for a quick hassle free build. Before going to the Nokians I was riding on Nashbar branded Innova winter studs that are on their 4th season, I honestly didn't have any complaints about the Innovas, I hear a lot of people on BF trashing them but I really doubt too many people on BF get more days a year on ice and snow than I do and they were perfectly reliable tires. I'm even more impressed with the Innovas after laying out the bucks on the new Nokians, the Nokian rubber is different, its grippier and stays that way in lower temps. . .up to a point. The trade-off it seems to me is that the Nokians weigh a ton and they also seem to have substantially softer/flexier sidewalls, this gets noticeable if you inflate less than 50 psi and weigh over 165 lbs, I'm around 180 right now and at 40 psi it feels like the tire is about to roll-off the rim at any moment. I'm riding mostly on compacted snow and ice/hard surfaces most of the winter and I admit that riding offroad is an entirely different situation but in the winter I'm really just a commuter.

    I think the bottom-line is that winter tires are a low-performance compromise. For me, I'm going from a 250gm road tire that I run at 100+ psi to a set of boat-anchors that run at 50psi, I do it so I won't break a collarbone on the way to work. Studs are a great idea but I think for most users the concept of "performance" that you are getting with a set of Nokians is very narrow for the money you are paying for them.

    PS I got my Hak 106s from Ben's in Milwaukee for right around $40 each.

    Happy trails!

    Last edited by Ernesto Schwein; 10-13-07 at 03:14 PM.

  2. #2
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ernesto Schwein View Post
    The trade-off it seems to me is that the Nokians weigh a ton and they also seem to have substantially softer/flexier sidewalls, this gets noticeable if you inflate less than 50 psi and weigh over 165 lbs, I'm around 180 right now and at 40 psi it feels like the tire is about to roll-off the rim at any moment.
    Why yes, they are heavier than summer tires. There's these huge rubber blocks of tread and one-hundred six carbide and steel studs. I imagine those things contribute a gram or two. I can't say I look forward to spinning them all winter either, but on the other hand, they sure made me stronger last winter.

    Yes, the sidewalls are softer and flexier. They're gumwalls. That's the main selling point of gumwall tires--flexier sidewalls for a smoother ride. Given the aforementioned blocky tread and studs, it's probably a good thing.

    My W106s state on the sidewall: "Inflate to 4.5 bar (65 PSI)"

    So you're running them underinflated to less than two-thirds of the recommended pressure and you're complaining it feels like they're going to roll off the rim? That might be true! Try deflating your summer tires by the same percentage and report back to us how they feel.

    I do agree with you on the Aerohead and Aerohead O/C hoops. They make great wheels.

    I'm not sure they're the best choice for wide tires like the Nokians, and they may be contributing to the rolly feeling you're getting with them. Wider hoops like the Dyad or Synergy and Synergy O/C might be better choices. I'm trying to decide between those two for winter rims for my new bike.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  3. #3
    64 49' N Ernesto Schwein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Why yes, they are heavier than summer tires. There's these huge rubber blocks of tread and one-hundred six carbide and steel studs. I imagine those things contribute a gram or two. I can't say I look forward to spinning them all winter either, but on the other hand, they sure made me stronger last winter.

    Yes, the sidewalls are softer and flexier. They're gumwalls. That's the main selling point of gumwall tires--flexier sidewalls for a smoother ride. Given the aforementioned blocky tread and studs, it's probably a good thing.

    My W106s state on the sidewall: "Inflate to 4.5 bar (65 PSI)"

    So you're running them underinflated to less than two-thirds of the recommended pressure and you're complaining it feels like they're going to roll off the rim? That might be true! Try deflating your summer tires by the same percentage and report back to us how they feel.

    I do agree with you on the Aerohead and Aerohead O/C hoops. They make great wheels.

    I'm not sure they're the best choice for wide tires like the Nokians, and they may be contributing to the rolly feeling you're getting with them. Wider hoops like the Dyad or Synergy and Synergy O/C might be better choices. I'm trying to decide between those two for winter rims for my new bike.
    1. you can try riding them inflated to 65 psi, let me know how it works out the first time you try turning on some ice.

    2. If you reread the post I was comparing them to Innova winter studs. Someday I'll get out the scale and get the numbers, Nokian claims 875g a wheel.

    3. The point I was making is that Nokians are expensive tires, (hell, they are expensive as auto tires, LBSs sell them at $80 a unit) I don't see the cost/benefit ratio and I ride on snow and ice a lot.

    4. Wide rims have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING unless flotation is your goal and you think going the snowcat route is what you really desire. Cyclocross racers and CX MTB racers run rims that are essentially Roadie profile, they are way harder on gear than commuters.

  4. #4
    DougieD
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    Nice update

    Thanks for the update. Its great to see what other gear other people are using. This will be my first year for winter commuting, and I am about to order new wheels/ nokians Hak W106 and a dyno.

    Q. What are you wearing on your feet? I have been thinking about buying some Shimano SPD winter shoes , but what ever you have on looks pretty waterproof.

    -Doug
    --
    It takes a revolution to make a solution

  5. #5
    64 49' N Ernesto Schwein's Avatar
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    Those are "Gator" neoprene booties over a pair of Lake mtb shoes, this is my standard combination down to about 5 F.

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