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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 11-10-07, 11:18 PM   #1
tjspiel
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Tires: Continental Top Contact-Winter ?

Anyone have any experience with these? It looks like they might be easier rolling than the studded tires you typically see. I'm just wondering if they're at all good on ice.

Thanks !
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Old 11-11-07, 02:18 AM   #2
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They are new this year, so I doubt that anyone has tried them, but I've found that studs really don't roll as bad as you'd think as you really can't go that fast on ice anyway.

FWIW, I love my studded tires and wouldn't ride anything else in winter.
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Old 11-11-07, 09:34 PM   #3
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They are new this year, so I doubt that anyone has tried them, but I've found that studs really don't roll as bad as you'd think as you really can't go that fast on ice anyway.

FWIW, I love my studded tires and wouldn't ride anything else in winter.
I've got Nashbar studded tires now, - they're 26 X 1.95. They do work well on ice, but most of the time the roads are relatively dry. Even without the studs they're not exactly a road tire and I'm looking at a longer trip into work this year a few days a week.

I'd like something that grips the road well in bad conditions but won't slow me down much while the roads are in good condition. Maybe I'll buy one throw it on the rear and see how it works.
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Old 11-12-07, 02:29 AM   #4
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I've got Nashbar studded tires now, - they're 26 X 1.95. They do work well on ice, but most of the time the roads are relatively dry. Even without the studs they're not exactly a road tire and I'm looking at a longer trip into work this year a few days a week.

I'd like something that grips the road well in bad conditions but won't slow me down much while the roads are in good condition. Maybe I'll buy one throw it on the rear and see how it works.
Please let us know how it is!
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Old 01-21-12, 04:53 PM   #5
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I bumped a similar thread on SS, but should have one in Winter as well.

Spent the Holidays rebuilding my old tourer as a 2nd Winter bike, with a pair of the Top Contact Winter IIs. These use soft rubber and lots of grooves for grip, they don't have the grit embedded in the rubber like the originals.

First impressions on clear roads, hard to tell a difference from the Marathon Supremes, smooth, grippy, nice cornering, quiet. Tried experimenting by tracking over the freeze/melt patches in the gutter lane, there is a fair bit of contamination in these, they look black, no problems, kept pushing the boundaries and eventually got the rear to kick out while mashing the pedals on an upslope, the surface was milky ice, recovery was fairly easy.

After a few weeks and about 300 km, I’m very impressed. This week we have had some horrid low temps after a few inches of snow, so the side streets have packed down and are taking a nice glaze. I've had one brief spin out, accelerating from a stop at a nasty intersection, but the tire stayed straight, and it only slipped maybe 3 inches.

These do NOT have the same grip as a full studded tire, ( Ice Spiker etc ) even Schwalbe snow studs have an edge sometimes, but sometimes the Top Contact feel more secure. They do well on those cold, greasy, city streets you sometimes get, can handle thin snow, you can track across actual ice with a fair degree of confidence if it is flat and even. Iced lumpy bits had the bike kicking around, but that’s more the fact that they don't have the lugs to deal with the ruts more than anything else.

The plan was to use these on the better days, and keep the Ice Spikers on the cargo bike. The benefits in rolling resistance and silence means I will order a pair for the Cargo bike, and put the studs on a third bike for those days when most people look out their windows in horror.
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Old 01-21-12, 05:34 PM   #6
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I have one Winter I and one Winter II and have not noticed a difference in performance between the two, although I am a bit worried a bit about the durability of the winter performance of II. Time will tell. As coldfeet, I am quite pleased with those tires. I now have three pairs of winter tires: Nokian 106, 240 and the Continentals. The Continentals have eaten into the territory of 106s, nearly pushing them out completely. In an obvious manner they are optimal if you don't know whether it will snow or freeze. However, after it does, I keep them on longer into more and more challenging winter weather, with no adverse effects. More and more, when I switch, I go right into 240s.
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Old 01-21-12, 07:08 PM   #7
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I like them.

Last edited by scotjonscot; 01-21-12 at 10:15 PM. Reason: just realized thread is ancient
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Old 01-23-12, 10:07 AM   #8
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I have one Winter I and one Winter II and have not noticed a difference in performance between the two, although I am a bit worried a bit about the durability of the winter performance of II. Time will tell. As coldfeet, I am quite pleased with those tires. I now have three pairs of winter tires: Nokian 106, 240 and the Continentals. The Continentals have eaten into the territory of 106s, nearly pushing them out completely. In an obvious manner they are optimal if you don't know whether it will snow or freeze. However, after it does, I keep them on longer into more and more challenging winter weather, with no adverse effects. More and more, when I switch, I go right into 240s.
Yes, the wear factor is one thing that bothers me as well, I'm going to be happy if I get at least 2 seasons from them, if it's only one, well, I'll still use them next year, but it will be a pain. The benefits are worth the extra expense. I do think that I'll get 3 or more though. It's just so nice to ride them compared to the additional effort and noise of the Spikers. The Winters here mean that for me, I'll still need the Spikers sometimes, but the reduced usage should mean I'll get another 3 years out of them.

2_i, how deep a snowfall have you ridden them in? What sort of behavior do they exhibit?
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Old 01-23-12, 11:02 AM   #9
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2_i, how deep a snowfall have you ridden them in? What sort of behavior do they exhibit?
I certainly have been riding them when the ground was still visible here and there. I certainly rode them when there was a thin layer of fresh snow, maybe even 1.5-2". However, if the latter stayed on, I'd switch to more serious tires. They behave OK provided I lower the pressure consistently with the conditions. Also, I have not been trying to challenge them, besides experimentation, i.e. to ride onto extended patches of ice.

For me, it is actually nominally 3rd season with TopContact Winter. However, during the first season I only had one Winter I and I managed to use it maybe for 10 days of winter weather or so - I still rode it then maybe for month+ then as an insurance against the winter weather.
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Old 02-12-12, 01:41 PM   #10
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So......still liking them, but did find the limits on Thursday morning.

Fairly long commute in, because I had some errands. Took me down a pathway i hadn't used yet this Winter. knew it wouldn't be swept, and it was covered in a good layer of freeze thaw glass, with a thin layer of snow on top. tires were doing well, but I really was dumb to just keep accelerating. Got up to 25-30 kph, when I hit a patch where the dog walkers had left some choppy little footprints under the snow.

That started the front chattering, and my reactions/skill wasn't up to that. Good news is no damage to the bike, couple of bruises, and my nice newish jacket didn't even get dirty.

I can't really fault the tires, snow studs probably wouldn't have given me much more grip, and Ice Spikers wouldn't have let me get up to that speed. Once I got upright again, not that easy when I found out exactly how slippery the surface was, I had no further issues at a more sane speed.
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