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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 12-09-07, 10:11 AM   #1
Portis
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Studded Tires: They don't make you bulletproof.

I just got back from one of the more interesting winter rides i have had in my 5 winters of riding. We have been having a light mist/drizzle for the past 36 hours and the temps have been in the low 20's to mid teens. The temp during todays ride was about 15 F.

Regardless, EVERYTHING is coated with a nice layer of ice. It isn't a thick crunchy layer of ice, but rather a thin, hard as diamonds type of ice. My Nokian Mount and Grounds showed that while they are decent for providing traction, they by know means make you immune to crashing.

My route today consisted of about 6 miles of gravel roads with a few hills in the mix. I could tell immediately upon entering the gravel roads from the paved roads, that things were going to be a bit dicey on the gravel roads. I kept feeling the front and the rear, give out from time to time.

On one of the steeper hills finally both tires broke loose when i was climbing and i laid the bike on it's side. It was a very unremarkable wreck, but it proved to me for the first time that studded tires don't mean you are immune.

I know these were probably the worst conditions i've ever ridden in, but part of me wonders if one of the more aggressive Nokians would have faired any better? I used to have a pair of Nashbar studded tires that i swear were better than these, but again maybe it's just my imagination because these were crazy conditions today....probably the worst i've ever ridden on.

Anyway, the tires were fine on pavement and of course on the treated roads. But they were pretty lousy climbing these glassy hill sides. Certainly changed my perspective of studded tires and ice. They don't make you bullet or in this case, crash proof.
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Old 12-09-07, 11:33 AM   #2
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...
Regardless, EVERYTHING is coated with a nice layer of ice. It isn't a thick crunchy layer of ice, but rather a thin, hard as diamonds type of ice. My Nokian Mount and Grounds showed that while they are decent for providing traction, they by know means make you immune to crashing.
...
Certainly changed my perspective of studded tires and ice. They don't make you bullet or in this case, crash proof.
For off road riding I use Schwalbe Ice Spikers, and have no problems biking on sheets of ice, rough/coarse ice, lakes, etc. But I wouldn't use them for commuting.

The Nokian Mount & Ground are more of a commuter's tire, and the icy conditions you experienced were pushing their limits.
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Old 12-09-07, 02:14 PM   #3
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The ice was solid in this pic from last Feb. The 294's were like a cat on the curtains on this long steep climb up to where I took the pic. I was pretty impressed.
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Old 12-09-07, 02:39 PM   #4
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The ice was solid in this pic from last Feb. The 294's were like a cat on the curtains on this long steep climb up to where I took the pic. I was pretty impressed.
Yeah but that ice is horizontal. Trouble i was having was with hills. The ice was like that but on an incline the tires kept breaking loose. I'm sure the Extremes are better than what i am using for climbing such a hill but I wonder whether it would be worth the expense and whether it would creative more negatives in conditions that are more typcial for around here and where i ride.
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Old 12-09-07, 03:11 PM   #5
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Studded Tires: They don't make you bulletproof.

You got that right!
This is what happened to me on New Years Day, of '06.

I thought I was soooo cool on my new Kenda Klondikes, so I decided to ride along an icy rutted footpath thru the woods...

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Old 12-09-07, 03:14 PM   #6
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Only tequila makes you bulletproof.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:22 PM   #7
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Yeah but that ice is horizontal. Trouble i was having was with hills. The ice was like that but on an incline the tires kept breaking loose.
Off-road studded tires (~300 carbide studs) will handle steep icy hills . . .
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Old 12-09-07, 04:27 PM   #8
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I suppose they might but I also know I have ridden these same hills many times when they were icy, with no problems. I guess all ice isn't created equal.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:42 PM   #9
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Indeed. Depending on what might be mixed in with the ice, current temperature, how the ice was formed and so on, ice can be quite varying in its ability to help you off your bike.

I've not had a problem with any ice using the Schwalbe Ice Spikers yet. Somewhere out there though, is an icy patch that has what it takes. Maybe. Probably.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:44 PM   #10
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Trouble i was having was with hills. The ice was like that but on an incline the tires kept breaking loose.
Are you sure it's a tire problem and not a technique issue? Climbing icy pavement requires a sit-n-spin approach.

If you get out of the saddle, the rear end breaks loose because of weight shift. If you mash, the rear wheel breaks loose due to repeated sudden changes in torque.

The solution is low gears and high cadence with a smooth spin. It keeps you in the saddle so your weight stays on the rear, and keeps steady torque on the wheel.
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Old 12-09-07, 04:53 PM   #11
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Are you sure it's a tire problem and not a technique issue? Climbing icy pavement requires a sit-n-spin approach.

If you get out of the saddle, the rear end breaks loose because of weight shift. If you mash, the rear wheel breaks loose due to repeated sudden changes in torque.

The solution is low gears and high cadence with a smooth spin. It keeps you in the saddle so your weight stays on the rear, and keeps steady torque on the wheel.
Good thought, and in fact there was a bit of this involved. Last April I got my first cadence sensor on a bike and it caused me to mash a lot more than before. Turns out my normal cadence was way too fast. So comparing this winter to others, i do "mash" more than i ever have and had to correct myself today on the bike.

Being a daily rider, even after 6 months, my newfound pedaling cadence caused slight issue on the ice today. But I did begin smoothly spinning and it helped the rear a wee bit but I still would reach a point where even spinning didn't help. Because even the front wheel was breaking loose.
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Old 12-09-07, 06:07 PM   #12
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Yeah but that ice is horizontal. Trouble i was having was with hills. The ice was like that but on an incline the tires kept breaking loose. I'm sure the Extremes are better than what i am using for climbing such a hill but I wonder whether it would be worth the expense and whether it would creative more negatives in conditions that are more typcial for around here and where i ride.

The steep hill I was climbing is in front of the bike. I had turned around before the pic.
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