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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 12-03-07, 05:39 PM   #1
tjspiel
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Studded Tires for ice and hard pack; what for loose snow?

Reality is that on my commute for a few days after a fresh snow I'm likely to run into ice, loose snow, hard packed snow, loose snow on hard packed snow, loose snow on ice, slush, water and dry pavement.

Having different wheels or different tires doesn't help unless I want to get off my bike and change them every few feet.

Currently I'm using some inexpensive (cheap) Nashbar 1.95" tires that I believe are made by Kenda. The work fine for dry pavement (although heavy), ice and hard pack, suck for anything involving loose snow. My bike gets really squirrely. in even less than inch of loose snow.

Is there anything better for working in a wide variety of conditions? Would changing tire pressure help?

Thanks !
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Old 12-03-07, 06:18 PM   #2
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In snow of any depth, lower your pressure. You'll get a larger contact patch. I run my studded knobbies for this and the knobs are for snow, the studs are for what may be lurking underneath or elsewhere. I do not change the tires out for conditions, rather, seasons. My Nokians see more dry pavement than anything else to little detriment but my overland speed.
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Old 12-03-07, 06:25 PM   #3
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In snow of any depth, lower your pressure. You'll get a larger contact patch. I run my studded knobbies for this and the knobs are for snow, the studs are for what may be lurking underneath or elsewhere. I do not change the tires out for conditions, rather, seasons. My Nokians see more dry pavement than anything else to little detriment but my overland speed.
Thanks for the reply. I'm in nearby Minneapolis. So for conditions like we saw today and over the weekend, what pressure would you recommend? My sidewall says from 55 to 65 psi.

Thanks !
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Old 12-03-07, 06:39 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. I'm in nearby Minneapolis. So for conditions like we saw today and over the weekend, what pressure would you recommend? My sidewall says from 55 to 65 psi.

Thanks !
As low as possible without getting a pinch flat. You may need to try it to find out what works for you.
Try about 25psi-35psi. I use 22 front and 25 rear with slightly bigger tires and heavy loaded panniers on a 30 lb bike. The iditabike snow racers use about 5 psi and double wide rims.

A heavy bike actually helps a little in loose snow.


The knobbier and wider the tires the better. There are lots of studded knobbies around. Bikes are squirelly in loose snow, practice more. Learn to control the bike in a slide. Practice counter steering in a rear tire slide and keeping the bike exactly straight up at the same time. While pedaling softly.

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Old 12-03-07, 06:47 PM   #5
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Yep flatish tires for snow ... or sand. When I visited Fraser Island off the coast of Australia, an island entirely made of sand, I was interested to see that the tour busses let the air out of their tires once they disembarked from the ferry so that they could drive around the island easier. And we do the same thing when we ride in snow.

I take my mtn bike tires from their usual 50 psi down to about 30 psi.
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Old 12-03-07, 07:09 PM   #6
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Panaracer Fire XC Pros 2.1 works well in the snow. That's what I have been running for many years and use it year round. I weigh 190 and for snow riding I run them at 30psi in the rear and 25psi in the front.
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Old 12-03-07, 07:35 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply. I'm in nearby Minneapolis. So for conditions like we saw today and over the weekend, what pressure would you recommend? My sidewall says from 55 to 65 psi.

Thanks !
Since I route on Snow Emergency routes, they are mostly plowed except for the short bursts through piles at intersections. For that and general conditions, I run 65 PSI (the max). I'll lower it for un-plowed/un-treated roads where the majority of the time is spent pushing snow. Even then it's got to be several inches worth.
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Old 12-04-07, 01:31 PM   #8
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Since I route on Snow Emergency routes, they are mostly plowed except for the short bursts through piles at intersections. For that and general conditions, I run 65 PSI (the max). I'll lower it for un-plowed/un-treated roads where the majority of the time is spent pushing snow. Even then it's got to be several inches worth.
+1 - with nokian W106 35mm
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Old 12-04-07, 01:50 PM   #9
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Really, when it comes to ice, ONLY studded tires will do. You can drop the pressure of a regular tire as much as you like, but when you hit that patch of black ice, it really won't matter. Don't ask me how I know.

I know some will say .... it's not icy all the time. Yes, but as you already stated, you can't change your tires every bike length. Therefore, I run a studded FRONT tire just about all winter. When I know it will be REALLY icy, I'll also snap on the rear. I have a seperate wheelset for my studs, so it makes the swap pretty easy.

... Brad
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