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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 10-10-09, 05:16 PM   #1
nwmtnbkr
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Anyone use studded tire on front wheel only?

Having gotten our first blast of winter early--snow and artic cold with sub-zero wind chills, I've got to get the last few things I need to complete winterizing my bike. (I did get out for a brief ride today after completing some chores around the house. Boy was it cold with the wind, even bundled up and my head covered.) I'm about to order the Continental Spike Claw 296. I'm planning on only ordering one for the front wheel. I electrified my mountain bike this summer and hate the idea of taking the rear wheel with non-hub motor off to put a studded tire on. I currently have very knobby tires since in good weather I ride unimproved, gravel forest roads. (I'm fortunate to live in the middle of a 2.2 million acre national forest.) This winter, I will change my riding pattern since I don't care to have any issues in isolated areas. I'll ride into town more often as well as possibly go to groomed snow mobile trails (if I don't get chased away). Does anyone else ride with a studded tire on the front wheel only? Is it a huge mistake not to have one on the back wheel as well?
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Old 10-10-09, 07:19 PM   #2
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Have you ever lost traction on a bicycle? For me, the rear tire fish tails and the bike is on the ground. I don't know if the weight of the motor would help... but I would feel better knowing I had good traction on the rear wheel.
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Old 10-10-09, 08:14 PM   #3
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gerv,

Thanks for the reply. It's been ages since I've lost traction--as I've gotten older, I ride more conservatively. This will be my first winter riding the bike some. I'm really enjoying riding daily and hate to store the bike over the entire winter. We've had 3 progressively worse winters with lots of snow. Although I'm hoping this year is a little better, I'm not willing to bet on it. The rear wheel is rather heavy since the motor isn't a hub motor. I was hoping that the added weight, coupled with having very knobby tires would help. I want to place the order this weekend, so I need to think about it this evening. (I also need to order SKS fenders and some pogies for the handlebars, which will help keep my hands warm as well as provide a little extra water proofing for the thumb throttle.)
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Old 10-10-09, 10:01 PM   #4
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The last time my bike fell on ice, it was the rear wheel that initiated the slide-out and took me down. In front of a Chevy Suburban, I might add. That was with studs. What's a broken elbow cost...? All rightie then, sign me up for *two* studded tires
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Old 10-10-09, 10:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
I electrified my mountain bike this summer and hate the idea of taking the rear wheel with non-hub motor off to put a studded tire on.
You may want to think about the difficulty of taking the sling off so you can put a shirt on--every day for six weeks…
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Old 10-11-09, 12:42 PM   #6
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The last time my bike fell on ice, it was the rear wheel that initiated the slide-out and took me down. In front of a Chevy Suburban, I might add. That was with studs. What's a broken elbow cost...? All rightie then, sign me up for *two* studded tires
mechBgon,

Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope the elbow healed well. If you don't mind my asking, which studded tires were you using? I've read good reviews of the Continental Spike Claw 296; they seem to be fairly close to the Nokian Extreme 294 in performance.
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Old 10-11-09, 05:06 PM   #7
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I use Nokian Mount & Ground on both the front and rear. Like you, I recently electrified my bike, figuring the motor will both help push the bike through snow and press down the rear wheel for better traction. However, rubber never sticks to ice, so if you hit a patch the rear wheel will spin freely out form under you. I'd be afraid the electric motor on the rear would aggravate this, where as you begin to loose control, the motor will continue to accelerate the rear wheel making things worse (I know at least with the BionX system there's a lag between when I stop pedalling and when the motor stops pushing). A good set of carbide studded tires will last you around 5 years, which isl onger than any road tire has lasted me. So for safety's sake, splurge a little and get some high quality studded tires for any winter riding.
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Old 10-12-09, 08:50 AM   #8
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In many places you can get away without studs in the winter if they salt the roads well or if you're mainly riding on snow rather than ice, but if there's any ice, you really need them. Here's what Peter White from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/ has to say:

"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 10-12-09, 02:20 PM   #9
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mechBgon,

Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope the elbow healed well. If you don't mind my asking, which studded tires were you using? I've read good reviews of the Continental Spike Claw 296; they seem to be fairly close to the Nokian Extreme 294 in performance.
I didn't break my elbow. I'm just using that possibility to put the cost of studded tires into perspective. At the time, I had Panaracer Blizzards with 112 studs. They worked nearly as well as my Nokian Extremes, actually, but there's a limit to what studs can do. On ice, it's like having a little gravel everywhere... if you don't ride carefully, you can still go down. In snow, expect performance on par with a non-studded tire.

In the past, Conti has been known to use non-carbide-tipped studs. I've seen Contis that do have carbide tips, too. The safe money's on Nokian in regard to the stud material. You definitely want carbide.

From our own inventory, two otherwise-identical Continental studded tires:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HSS_v_carbide.JPG (98.8 KB, 35 views)

Last edited by mechBgon; 10-12-09 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 10-13-09, 08:17 AM   #10
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I've done 4 winters with a studded tire on the front and knobby on the rear. No accidents yet, knock on wood.
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Old 10-22-09, 04:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nwmtnbkr View Post
mechBgon,

Sorry to hear about your accident. I hope the elbow healed well. If you don't mind my asking, which studded tires were you using? I've read good reviews of the Continental Spike Claw 296; they seem to be fairly close to the Nokian Extreme 294 in performance.
I can't seem to find the 296's, but on the two pages I've found for the Continental Spike Claw:
http://www.conti-online.com/generato...keclaw_en.html
http://freewheelbike.com/product/con...ed-40593-1.htm

It says "studs of hardened steel" and "hardened-steel studs".

Hardened steel is not carbide.
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Old 10-24-09, 04:43 PM   #12
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As long as we are discussing studded tires, how long will a studded tire last being use on dry pavement?

That is the primary reason I am considering a studded tire for the front only. I happen to have an old front wheel in the garage that will receive a studded tire this winter, but since I live in Iowa it is only going to be brought out for a couple hundred miles.

I am reluctant to buy a second rear wheel and cassette that I am only going to use for a couple weeks a year.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:17 PM   #13
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Well, it sounds like many of those with home-made studded tires get a lot of wear out of them. I'm going the home-made route rather than buying studded tires after reading the sticky here and on ice bike. I found cheap knobby tires with a design that shouldn't cause too much compacted snow to stick in the threads to use for the project. I've got my sheet metal screws. I just need to drill and install them in the tires. I only have one spare wheel right now so I'm going to only mount 1 tire and have it ready to put on the front wheel. I will do a cautious test run in my drive way after our first big snowfall and if I feel uncomfortable enough, I'll get the rear, motorized wheel off and install the second studded tire on the rear wheel. There are a lot of varying opinions on whether you can ride safely with just one studded wheel. It might be best to have a second tire ready and do a cautious test run when you get your first significant snow fall to see if you feel the need for a second tire.
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Old 10-24-09, 09:18 PM   #14
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After my first test ride with a DIY rear studded tire, I did some screw trimming
and then immediately started work on a second tire for the front.
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Old 10-25-09, 02:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by alpacalypse View Post
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.
+1

I don't think I can add one thing to the above. Alpacalypse pretty much nails it, imho.
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Old 10-25-09, 03:19 PM   #16
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As long as we are discussing studded tires, how long will a studded tire last being use on dry pavement?

That is the primary reason I am considering a studded tire for the front only. I happen to have an old front wheel in the garage that will receive a studded tire this winter, but since I live in Iowa it is only going to be brought out for a couple hundred miles.

I am reluctant to buy a second rear wheel and cassette that I am only going to use for a couple weeks a year.
It depends on if you get a tire with carbide studs or not. For someone who bikes commutes back and forth to work the entire winter long, steel studs have a reputation for lasting less than a year. For the same person, a tire with carbide studs has a reputation for lasting for 2-3 years, and the tire typically wears out before the studs do. Keep in mind that this is someone riding it constantly all winter long, sometimes with snow on the ground, though more than 50% of the time without, and pretty much always on streets.

I am not sure, as people do not post about it as often and it is not as interesting a topic, but I believe that these same people go through regular tires at about the same rate - one every 2-3 years.

Last edited by PaulRivers; 10-25-09 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 10-25-09, 04:01 PM   #17
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The only times that I have fallen winter riding it was when my rear tire slipped out when I started pedalling. Buy both. If you want to go cheap, maybe buy cheaper for the rear, but don't go without.
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Old 11-22-09, 02:18 PM   #18
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I opted for front & rear carbide studded Nokian Mount and Ground tires. I am not sure how the hub motor will work in snow & ice. Should be boatloads of fun.
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Old 11-25-09, 07:12 PM   #19
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I've run with a studded tire only in front for three winters without incident. Then again, the roads I ride are plowed and salted.
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Old 11-26-09, 12:27 PM   #20
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I run front studs only fairly often.

Since I had an extra 26 " rear wheel lying around, I set it up with a regular XC mountain bike tire, in addition to the 700C dry weather semi-slicks and the 26" full-studded knobbies.

Reason: it rolls quite a bit faster than the heavily-studded rear 26" wheel.

I guess if I had enough time and budget I could build a complete 3rd wheelset, with less studs for in-between conditions.

But the amount of wheels I have in the basement (3 bikes each with 2.5 sets) is already calling my judgment into question.
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Old 11-29-09, 05:53 PM   #21
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If you can only have one it goes on the front, no question. Loss of steering traction is much more likely to send you to the ground than losing rear wheel traction, and steering takes place with the front wheel. Unless you only ride in a straight line uphill, the single studded tire should go on the front.

The sane basic traction/handling principles apply on ice as well as off.
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Old 11-29-09, 10:20 PM   #22
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I run front studs only fairly often.

Since I had an extra 26 " rear wheel lying around, I set it up with a regular XC mountain bike tire, in addition to the 700C dry weather semi-slicks and the 26" full-studded knobbies.

Reason: it rolls quite a bit faster than the heavily-studded rear 26" wheel.

I guess if I had enough time and budget I could build a complete 3rd wheelset, with less studs for in-between conditions.

But the amount of wheels I have in the basement (3 bikes each with 2.5 sets) is already calling my judgment into question.
Seems like a better solution would be to run a faster rolling, less agressive studded tire in the back all the time, and switch out the front tire based on conditions?
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Old 11-29-09, 10:57 PM   #23
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Seems like a better solution would be to run a faster rolling, less agressive studded tire in the back all the time, and switch out the front tire based on conditions?
+1 on that thought!
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Old 11-30-09, 08:32 AM   #24
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Seems like a better solution would be to run a faster rolling, less agressive studded tire in the back all the time, and switch out the front tire based on conditions?
I did that for a few years, with a Schwable snow stud rear, and a icespiker/knobby switchout in the front, but I got caught in nasty conditions a few times with nowhere near enough bite in the back tire to get home comfortably.
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Old 11-30-09, 11:09 AM   #25
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I did that for a few years, with a Schwable snow stud rear, and a icespiker/knobby switchout in the front, but I got caught in nasty conditions a few times with nowhere near enough bite in the back tire to get home comfortably.
Sounds like you're switching wheelsets for bad conditions, right? Between no studded back tire and a heavy, aggressive back tire? (Plus a heavier, more aggressive front tire).

For good conditions, do you feel the non-studded knobby in the back gives you more traction than a less knobby but studded tire in the back? It wouldn't be my choice, but I am genuinely rather curious...seems like getting caught in bad conditions with a non-studded rear tire would be bad, to, but I think maybe I'm a little confused about what you're saying.

P.S. I haven't heard much good about the Scwalbe Snow Studs. The Schwalbe Marathon winters sound like a far better, but still relatively fast rolling tire...
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