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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 12-21-08, 03:53 PM   #1
freediver
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Which one should I use

I was looking at getting some studded tires for one of my bikes, to ride around Wisconsin this winter, and am having a hard time trying to decide which one to choose.

I have a cyclocross bike that seems like it would be the perfect choice, but I also have an Xtracycle that I've read really good things about- longer wheel base= more traction in winter.

Any help out there for someone who only wants to do this once?

Jon
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Old 12-21-08, 04:52 PM   #2
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You guys already got a pretty good load of snow already, no?

Here in Lincoln Nebraska, we've only got about 3 inches and some ice, but I've decided that with careful riding, studded tires are not really necessary. Once the roads are plowed, the snowy surface isn't really hard enough for the studs to work, and its not *terribly* slick. I didn't get a chance to get studded tires before the winter hit, but now after having a few hours in the muck, I don't see them as a necessity.

That said, I'd choose the bike that has the most comfortable handling. Be prepared to put a foot down on no notice and not rack yourself! A smaller stand-over height can be a good thing on slick roads! And, knobbie tires are great, if you have some to use. IMO, bike handling skills are *far* more important than anything else, though.

I'd say give it a shot with what you got, and be careful
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Old 12-21-08, 05:49 PM   #3
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I ride skinny slicks in the winter. I have a set of Innova studded tires on my 'snow' bike, but they suck. Only good for times when there might be ice under hardpack or powder snow. Just awful in anything soft or loose, the slicks are way better. Some people swear by knobbie tires, but I prefer slicks. For days when the slop on the edge of the road is still icy or might be I use the snow bike, as I find the studs are a help. Having never used a good set of studded tires I have no comparison to the Innovas.
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Old 12-21-08, 10:00 PM   #4
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depends on what you expect to encounter.

A long wheel base with 26" wheels will bottom out when going over snow banks.
I smacked my long cage derailleur a few times with my CX bike over some small snow banks.

if you're just riding on pavement and want your tyres to sink into the snow and touch the pavement, then adding extra weight to narrow tyres does a lot. With an extracycle I'm sure you can load up the rear for extra traction.

if you're going off road and want to float on the snow, then having fat tyres with a normal wheelbase helps.
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Old 12-22-08, 06:17 AM   #5
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Last year I rode my Xtracycle around in Madison for winter. I put a studded tire on the front and it wasn't bad. Make sure you have some kind of weight in the back, otherwise I found out it handles like a pick up with an empty bed in winter! I am riding my Cross Check with 2 studded tires this winter and no issues at all.
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Old 12-22-08, 06:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freediver View Post
I was looking at getting some studded tires for one of my bikes, to ride around Wisconsin this winter, and am having a hard time trying to decide which one to choose.

I have a cyclocross bike that seems like it would be the perfect choice, but I also have an Xtracycle that I've read really good things about- longer wheel base= more traction in winter.

Any help out there for someone who only wants to do this once?

Jon
From a fellow Wisconsinite facing another record snowfall, I would use the bike that you want to replace first...winter is hard on them
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Old 12-22-08, 07:04 AM   #7
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I have Serfas Drifters on my Big Dummy, which are fine for plowed roads or a light dusting of snow, but when it's really snowy and icy, I use the snow bike with studded 700x35s, shorter wheel base and higher BB.
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Old 12-22-08, 08:17 AM   #8
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Thanks for the replies.

Looks like it's going to be the cyclocross bike. I practically live on the xtracycle in the summer- especially when gas is $4 a gallon! So I don't want to trash it too bad over the winter.

Jon
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