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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 10-22-08, 08:05 AM   #1
cbr2702
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Studded tires on only the front wheel?

I'm planning on riding through the winter for the first time this year. I'm seeing lots of recommendations for studded tires. If I tend to ride relatively slowly even in good conditions, should I still get some? What about getting one only for the front wheel? (I should think losing front wheel traction would be way worse than rear wheel.)
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Old 10-22-08, 08:06 AM   #2
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Without knowing your bike, location, and circumstances it's impossible to give good answer.

If you get studs, don't go cheap. Get good ones on both wheels.
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Old 10-22-08, 08:12 AM   #3
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Sorry about that. I'm in the Boston area. Biking Medford <--> Cambridge on roads that I think will generally be well cleaned. Bike is a roadster (sram T3 coaster in back) with a standard cheap roadster tire (block tread, 28x1 1/2 inch) in front and a new 700cx38mm infinity in back. If I do get a studded tire for the front it will mean a new wheel, probably 700c, as 28x1 1/2 tires are rare even when you're not looking for studs, but I'm open to that if it would be a good idea.

CastIron: you say don't go cheap, but does that mean its better not to get either than to get just a front one? From thinking about the physics I would think most of the benefit (goal: not wiping out on unexpected ice) would come from front wheel traction, but I know theory isn't everything.

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Old 10-22-08, 09:21 AM   #4
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I would get both front and back.

I just wiped out on saturday on a patch of ice/concrete and it was painfully clear to me to get some studded tires. It was the rear wheels that went both times but that might be more to do with my braking habit which is using the front brakes.
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Old 10-22-08, 10:55 AM   #5
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28x1 1/2 tyres might be a 622 rim size, which is what 700c uses. see if 622 is printed anywhere on the rim or tyres.
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Old 10-22-08, 11:27 AM   #6
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My front tire is 28x1 1/2 on a 635mm rim while the rear is 700c on a 622mm rim.
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Old 10-22-08, 11:46 AM   #7
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ah, yep, get a 700c front wheel.

what you can do to make this cheaper is to get a good quality front like a nokian or schwalbe and cheaper rear like an innova.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:13 PM   #8
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Sounds good. Finding a 622/700c westwood or westrick front wheel may be hard, but I'll start looking.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:34 PM   #9
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I commute all year--- and we have our share of ice storms. I swear it is safer biking on studs than walking. I use Nokian Extremes in a mtn bike, and could bike around a hockey rink on them. It is a bit unnerving when you start using studs, as it defies all logic.

I run studs on an entirely separate wheelset. I hate using them when I don't need them. They are slow as hell, and I don't want to grind them down unnecessarily (tires run about $200/pr.). Granted, you might have other options given your wheel size.
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Old 10-22-08, 12:42 PM   #10
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If you need one on the front you need one on the back. If you don't need one on the back, you don't need one on the front.
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Old 10-22-08, 01:06 PM   #11
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I'm gonna swim against the current of this thread. I've had some experience of using onlly one studded tire. Being a little lazy, every winter I initially put the studs on the front wheel only. This is quite helpful in terms of control, and certainly better than no studs at all.

Where I run into trouble is that I have no traction on the drive wheel. This is a big issue on that first icy night, when I'm trying to ride up even a modest hill. This annual experience--pushing my bike up a little hill--motivates me to finally put a studded tire on my rear wheel also.

But again, front wheel only is far better than no stud at all. Buy one tire, then save your pennies and buy another before the winter is over.

(To be even more contrary, I don't think you "need" studs to ride through winter in a city, as long as you have some other transportation on about 5 or 6 occasions when the streets are really bad.)
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Old 10-22-08, 01:23 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cbr2702 View Post
I'm planning on riding through the winter for the first time this year. I'm seeing lots of recommendations for studded tires. If I tend to ride relatively slowly even in good conditions, should I still get some? What about getting one only for the front wheel? (I should think losing front wheel traction would be way worse than rear wheel.)

seems reasonable, you could give it a try

But my general opinion is 'don't go cheap until you have your own experience to trust'

I'm planning on riding this winter for the first time, my coworker ( an 4 season commuter) says I don't need winter studs, but I'm going to buy them anyways. After using them this winter, I'll decide through experience whether I think they are worth it.

I hope this helps.

On a related topic, a lady at work asked me about winter tires on her car......my advice was " buy what you can afford, and try to save money somewhere else" I still think that was good advice.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:37 PM   #13
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Well, this is what Peter White says about it:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

One Tire in Front?

People often ask me if one studded tire in front is sufficient. Well, one studded tire in front will help keep you from crashing hard and breaking your collar bone or your pelvis. When the front tire slides, you go down quite fast and without warning. If the rear tire slides you can still go down, but not as fast, and the results are usually not so calamitous, since you usually have enough time to get a foot out of the pedal. But with just a front studded tire, you can still crash. You can still not be able to climb a hill with black ice. You can still not be able to get out of an icy rut. You can still spin on a downhill curve. You can still lose control in a busy intersection with lots of traffic. And you can still spin during hard braking. So, for the life of me, I can't see any reason to use a single studded tire in front, except to save a few dollars.

I do occasionally sell a single tire to someone who's been told by a friend that you only need a front studded tire. Similarly, there are many folks who think you can get away with snow tires just on the drive wheels of an automobile, which leads to cars spinning out of control because the front or rear has so much more traction than the other. Invariably I get a call a week later from the same customer ordering a second tire. He ends up with no cost savings, since he has to pay twice for shipping.

If you are buying tires for riding single track in winter, and you need to save money, there is a way to do it. Get a very aggressive tire for the front, an Extreme 294 or Ice Spiker, and then use an Extreme 120, Mount & Ground or Snow Stud in the rear. You won't get quite as good grip while climbing a steep trail as you would by having aggressive tires front and rear, but if your trails aren't too steep, you should be just fine. The more aggressive front tire will still be there to get you through icy ruts. For the commuter riding paved roads, there really is no alternative to having the W106 or A10 on both wheels. So unless you're riding to work on rail trails, I strongly recommend you use studded tires on both wheels, not just the front.
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Old 10-22-08, 02:39 PM   #14
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I guess the issue for me is, I don't know if the roads will be bad enough for me on my route to justify the expense of studs. But I don't want to find out with a front wheel skid. If the most likely effect of keeping them off the rear wheel is that, if the route does warrant studs, I'll find out by not being able to move myself up an icy hill, that doesn't sound too bad.

(The only hills on my commute are right at my house and under 5 minutes from work.)
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Old 10-22-08, 10:48 PM   #15
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I plan to ride on a lot of bare pavement this winter, but its impossible to avoid black ice from time to time. At $150 for a full set of Swalbe Marathon ice tires, I'd rather spend the money than take a fall.

I'd rather waste my money, than to take a fall, too.

My coworker doesn't beleive in them. Perhaps, I'll feel the same way in the few thousand miles it should take to wear out the carbide studs.
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Old 10-23-08, 02:28 AM   #16
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just get a pair of Nokian W106 or W106 front and A10 rear
unless you have an odd sized tyre for snow use, like 20" or 24" the nokian is cheaper, has deeper treads, which would be better in snow, and less studs for less rolling resistance on non-ice roads.


but with that said, it all comes down to what you're expecting to meet with. just get the right tyre for the application.
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Old 10-26-08, 10:02 AM   #17
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Get them on both wheels. I fell twice last year within a time span of 2 minutes. The second fall, the bike fell first, and I landed on the nose of the seat. I was on the ground and in massive pain for about 5 minutes. At that moment I would have paid any dollar amount to be rid of that pain. It was slushy conditions but i did not see the ice. Now i have ice spikers on both. I went all out...no reason to go half measures. If i end up riding mostly on dry pavement..then you just deal with the noise.
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Old 10-27-08, 12:14 PM   #18
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Get both. As Peter White mentions in the cited page above, you can still go down from a rear skid, especially in a turn. If you were riding just rail trails, I might say give it a try, but not on roads.
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Old 10-27-08, 07:35 PM   #19
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Two of PWC's Nokian A10s are in the mail now, and I'm getting a 700c front wheel (with a SA XFDD drum brake dynamo hub) wednesday.

Thanks, all, for the advice.
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