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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 12-30-07, 04:45 AM   #1
MurphDog2006
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One Stud or Two?

I've been getting around quite nicely this winter without studded tires, in fact, I've never tried studded tires. However, a few years back when I was commuting often (as I am getting back into once again), I hit a patch of ice and was on the ground before I knew what was happening. In that instance, it was the front wheel that lost traction during a turn so my question is ...

Anyone ride with just the front tire studded? It seems to me that it is a loss of traction on the front--not the back-- that will get you into trouble. True? Or should I just spend the money and get both tires studded.

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Old 12-30-07, 05:50 AM   #2
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Front is good. Front and Rear is better.
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Old 12-30-07, 05:05 PM   #3
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Just do both. Buying purpose-built winter biking gear is a luxury as it is. No point in going halfway.
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Old 12-31-07, 10:46 AM   #4
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Last time I went out in the snow I had to make my own "studded" tires...they where more like spikes sticking out of my tires but...lol..Hey it worked..I used the smallest shortest sheet metal screws I could buy and I drilled Small pilot holes in every other tread lug and screwed them in and them covered them with one of those tube protectors and some duct tape to keep it from slipping I got some funky looks as I was flying down the snowy road passing up cars that was stuck in the 3Ft snow. oh and it might help to run slightly less air presser in the tires
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Old 12-31-07, 03:48 PM   #5
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I think the first answer sums it up nicely. One is good(front is what I do), both is better(what
I will be doing next year).
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Old 01-01-08, 01:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurphDog2006 View Post
I've been getting around quite nicely this winter without studded tires, in fact, I've never tried studded tires. However, a few years back when I was commuting often (as I am getting back into once again), I hit a patch of ice and was on the ground before I knew what was happening. In that instance, it was the front wheel that lost traction during a turn so my question is ...

Anyone ride with just the front tire studded? It seems to me that it is a loss of traction on the front--not the back-- that will get you into trouble. True? Or should I just spend the money and get both tires studded.
My empircal experience seems to suggest it's the rear that slides out on ice much more often rather than the front. Although, not sure if that is universal or just my particular riding style or charactistics of the particular bike genres (road, cruiser-intentionally, recumbent on ice by surprise, I've yet to ride a mountain bike on ice). As such, there could be an argument for the rear on a single studded tire bike. Also, braking on ice, I'd prefer not having the rear swing around. On the other hand, even though the rear loses traction much more often, it often is easy to get a leg out and make yourself a tripod when the rear slides. When I was growing up and into my high school years, my mom and most persons used studded rear tires in the winter, although a lot of that was drive train based so as to avoid getting stuck.
Studded car tires were banned by the time I reached college age, so my driving experience on car studded tires was limitted.

At the moment I have a mountain bike with a rear only studded, but that decision was dictated by a rear tire sidewall failing anyway, so no sense mounting a new nonstudded tire in December to demount in favor of a studded tire in January, particularly since we had a snow & sleet forecast for that night (that never materialized).

Two should be better than one, but if only using one, PROBABLY rear is better.

I have purchases some tire-chainsets, so on a sever snow/sleet/icing, I'll have a chance to transition to a more aggressive approach.
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Old 01-01-08, 01:40 AM   #7
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I run a diy studded tire up front and an unstudded tire in the rear...

Front wheel skids tend to be nearly unrecoverable so having the studded tire really helps although won't save you for everything while rear wheel skids tend to be far easier to recover from.

My rear tire gives me excellent traction while the front offers increased control and were I to be riding more on ice than slush, hardpack, and pavement I might opt to stud the rear tire as well.

I ride several bikes in the winter and a few of them do not run studded tires at all.
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Old 01-20-08, 05:49 AM   #8
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Thanks for the comments!

So far the winter has been so mild though, that except for in town travel, even knobbys haven't been necessary. I think that I will get some studs anyway, since they'll only be most expensive next year, right?

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Old 01-20-08, 06:07 AM   #9
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I have a studded tire on the rear. My experience matches Meb's: all my tumbles were due to the back wheel going sideways when I tried to get some traction on slippery surfaces, and the rear stud seems to have fixed that. I may get a front stud, though, just because the rear one was such an improvement for me.
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Old 01-20-08, 07:57 AM   #10
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If I were going to use only one studded tire, it would be the front. Injuries from the front going out are potentially going to be much more severe then from a rear slide out. Just eliminate the problem by using both F+R.
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Old 01-20-08, 02:55 PM   #11
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My officemate rides with a studded tire on the front only. His theory is that a rear skid is much easier to recover from than a front skid, plus he doesn't want to bother changing the rear tire (He just keeps a second front wheel set up with studs, and swaps it in).

I've never used studs, and I wiped out twice this winter.
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Old 01-20-08, 03:56 PM   #12
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I've got to state that personally I find the front tire much more paramount to your safety. People are concerned when the rear tire begins to move about on you, but its typically a simple matter of course correction, body english or putting a foot out that'll put you back on track - whereas having your front wheel move sideways on you all of a sudden often means a near instantaneous whipping motion straight towards the ground. Front is important!

I rode home last night carrying 55lbs in groceries on my Xtracycle, front tire was a Schwalbe Ice Spiker, rear tire a semi-slick kenda. Over the last 2 days here in Calgary, the weather has gone to hell and road crews are no where to be seen. Snow on every street I saw, mostly the slippery rutted stuff left behind after cars go through, and in my experience utterly the *worst* stuff to ride through. Traffic was moving at an average of about 30kph that night, was having a hard time nearly all the way home fighting with the rear tire even with the extra weight loading down the rear tire, but it was manageable. The same result wouldn't have come out if i'd left the front unstudded, guaraunteed.

Still, it was a sucky ride home, and climbing up hills was an adventure in rear wheel traction loss with all that weight on the bike. Should've thrown on the rear ice spiker too, but laziness told me the snow "wouldn't be all that bad". Which it wasn't, until cars and pedestrians had trampled it into that nasty rutted junk.

In the start of winter I packed both tires onto the bike anticipating some nasty stuff, which turned out to be wrong, because for most of the winter here it was nearly completely devoid of snow and ice, just the occasional patch, so I plucked off the rear tire. But its situations like the forementioned one where you *really* will miss not having the rear tire as well, because even if you're not getting your head thrown onto the concrete, its still not a fun ride at all.

So, short version: the front alone is adequate for preventing those neigh-unrecoverable front wheel slips. You will still face traction problems with *one* alone, and in unfavourable conditions you will likely miss having that rear tire as well. If you must pick one, I implore you to pick the front and save your skull, but two is vastly superior when it gets nasty out there.
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Old 01-20-08, 04:45 PM   #13
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The only reason i EVER run just one on the front is when there is just isolated ice around and mainly dry. I just run it for insurance. But the rest of the time on ice, there is no good reason to just run one on the front.
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Old 01-20-08, 04:55 PM   #14
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I've been running studless for the past few weeks as there hasn't really been much ice to worry about.

I took out my Kuwie 3 speed yesterday (it runs a front stud) and was as always, pretty happy with how the bike handles the winter riding conditions.
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