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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 10-16-09, 10:32 AM   #1
DVC45
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Is there an alternative to studded tires?

..Or is it as good as it gets?
I'd rather avoid the extra expense by using wide tires (cruiser type?) on my hybrid for the upcoming Chicago winter, but I'm not sure if this would be good enough. Are studded (Nokian) tires an absolute must?
Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-16-09, 10:42 AM   #2
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Are studded (Nokian) tires an absolute must?
Of course not.

I ride with them most of the winter, but I've ridden quite a bit in past winters without them. I just rode slower if I thought it was slippery.
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Old 10-16-09, 10:47 AM   #3
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I got by just fine using some cross tires last winter.
If it seemed like a really icy day I would just catch a ride in or drive.
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Old 10-16-09, 11:23 AM   #4
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You can always make your own studded tires if you want to save some money, there is a sticky of how to do it.
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Old 10-16-09, 11:46 AM   #5
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Are studded (Nokian) tires an absolute must?
They are for me although I'm on Kenda Klondike 2.1's.

I live at the top of a hill and on a street that's also one of the last to get plowed. I hit 30 mph without pedaling when I'm on the roadie bike. The thought of trying to check my speed without studs is as scary as descending without brakes. I'm pretty sure I'd end up spinning out trying to climb it on my way home too.
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Old 10-16-09, 12:07 PM   #6
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Can you get buy without them... sure, but what is your medical deducatable? I bough cheap Innova tires my 1st winter. I learned the hard way that is may not be worth it. The Innovas cost me $70 for a set vs. $100 for the carbite sudded Nokias. After less than 2 months of use the Innova studs were ground smooth and caused me to go down hard on some icy conditions. I nearly did some major damage to my elbo and shoulder. I got lucky and after a few days I could move my arm again and after two weeks I could ride again. Now I have nearly two hole winters on my Nokia studs and they look pretty as good as the day I bought them. Driving for two weeks I spent about $50 on fuel vs. cycling... so much for cheap tires being a good solution. They plow very well around here, but the winters are still long and cold. There are lots of icy patches around. I personally would not ride without studs. I don't enjoy the extra rolling resistance. But the security is worth every penny. I figure I'll get at least an other 2 years out of the tires. $25 per year is a great investment.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 10-16-09, 12:17 PM   #7
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My experiences are almost identical to andrelam's.
I've been running Nokian Extreme 294s. Decided they'd pay for themselves fairly quickly by enabling me to ride every day through the winter.

For what it's worth, I'm just starting the 5th winter with the same tires. They have just over 6800km on them & still work great. The studs that run down the middle are a bit worn but still effective.
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Old 10-16-09, 12:22 PM   #8
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I've ridden over twenty urban Canadian winters by using normal knobbies. Never owned studded tires. Now ice racin'....
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Old 10-16-09, 04:29 PM   #9
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..Or is it as good as it gets?
I'd rather avoid the extra expense by using wide tires (cruiser type?) on my hybrid for the upcoming Chicago winter, but I'm not sure if this would be good enough. Are studded (Nokian) tires an absolute must?
Thanks in advance!
If you are riding a mountain bike then you can get the widest knobbies that will fit on your bike and run them at around 20-25 psi. Try to get at least a 2.5 inch wide or wider tire. Big knobbies are better for deep snow, small ones roll better on pavement and asphalt and ice.
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Old 10-16-09, 07:58 PM   #10
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You can "get by" without them, I have for years, but once you've commuted an icy winter on them, there's no going back to ridin' without them.

Yesterday, I was rippin' down a glare ice, 4 lane road, keeping up with traffic at 25 mph confident in my traction and I that wasn't going to go down on the ice. I don't like going down on ice, but I especially don't like going down on ice in front of cars. I would never ride on a road like that with the CX knobby tires I use to commute on.

The $150 invesment in studded tires is worth every penny if it means that I can be around to watch my kids grow up.
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Old 10-16-09, 09:55 PM   #11
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Okay, I'm convince now. I gotta have 'em studded tires.

Thanks for pointing out the DIY sticky. Making it myself would really save me some $$, as I already have knobby tires I can practice on.
Off to Hardware store I go!

Oh, before I go, in the sticky section, there's one that has chained tires, which one is more effective, chain or studs?

BTW, the bike that will sport this tires is my 1984 Ross Mt. Whitney. Crossing fingers I do it right the first time.

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Old 10-16-09, 10:07 PM   #12
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I don't like going down on ice, but I especially don't like going down on ice in front of cars.
Early one morning on the way to work, while I (and the bike) were sliding on our sides across the oncoming lane in front of an oncoming pickup truck, I found myself thinking:
"A pair of studded tires seems like a *really* good idea about now."
It was really nice of the truck to stop.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:10 AM   #13
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My alternatives to studded tires were either creeping along at walking speed or
tearing up my kneeguards and hips by fishtailing and wiping out every couple of
minutes.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:11 AM   #14
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I would not waste time making studded tires. I could see if you had a very specific application--- like racing on a frozen lake--- but for commuting?

I use Nokian Extremes--- love them. I will add that studs don't do much in snow--- regular mtn bike knobbies are generally adequate-- except that usually where there is snow, there is ice.

Imagine the rolling resistance of chains?! Studs alone will slow you down.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:13 AM   #15
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Winnipeg cleared the roads fairly well and so I was able to ride with knobbies ... with less air in them, of course. I commuted year round as well as riding on weekends for 6 years with no problems.

Alberta, or at least central Alberta, seems unaware of how to clear roads. I would have ridden more if I had purchased studded tires.

So it does depend on your area.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:34 AM   #16
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My DIY studded tyres have served me very well and seen 1000's and 1000's of km of winter riding... over the past 4 years I have gone down once and that was with studded tyres.

I was climbing out of a dry rut onto some packed snow and ice at a speed I should not have been going and the studded tyres slowed me enough that I didn't hit the ground at full speed and had enough ice chips to make margaritas afterwards.

I also ride without studded tyres in the winter...but not when the streets turn into skating rinks as they did last week.

My little sister needs to build herself some new studded tyres as hers have finally worn out... after 9 years of winter commuting.
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Old 10-17-09, 12:41 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tequila Joe View Post
You can "get by" without them, I have for years, but once you've commuted an icy winter on them, there's no going back to ridin' without them.

Yesterday, I was rippin' down a glare ice, 4 lane road, keeping up with traffic at 25 mph confident in my traction and I that wasn't going to go down on the ice.
I remember a few winters back when traffic was creeping down Southeast Blvd. at 5mph (there's a stop sign at the bottom), juuuuuust on the edge of losing it. I was all "LOL, cya" as I blasted by in the bikes-only lane at >20mph. Traction on ice is addictive. You'll like tearing away from stoplights while the cars spin, too.

Do it. $86 shipped for a set of Mount & Grounds at aebike.com, last I checked. Divide that by four years and tell me how that's not a good value
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Old 10-17-09, 02:03 PM   #18
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I would not waste time making studded tires. I could see if you had a very specific application--- like racing on a frozen lake--- but for commuting?


Imagine the rolling resistance of chains?! Studs alone will slow you down.
It's totally not a waste of time, if you have a drill press and a hand drill you can rip
one out in about an hour and a half, and they don't have to have 300-400 studs per tire.
Studs can add rolling resistance on dry pavement but can increase your top
speed on a slippery surface a lot, so it balances out. Yes I use mine for commuting.
When the roads are finally fully clear I swap in a different set of wheels with unstudded tires.
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Old 10-17-09, 02:31 PM   #19
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To each their own. I prefer Nokian Extremes. I run two wheelsets in the winter--- studded and regular myself-- and commute daily through winter. I find a substantial difference in rolling resistance running studs, so I try to avoid using them as much as possible (and also to reduce wear on the studs). Just saying---- it isn't like there are any alternatives when the roads are icy. To me, my bike is my car--- so I don't really care about the extra expense involved with buying equipment (like an extra wheel set, discs, cog, skewers, and of course studded tires and tubes). When the weather is really bad, i can still ride to work faster than driving (roads are like a parking lot around here). But of course I appreciate the DIY sentiment. Around here, all the bikes shops carry a variety of studded tires, so they are cheap and easy to find.

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It's totally not a waste of time, if you have a drill press and a hand drill you can rip
one out in about an hour and a half, and they don't have to have 300-400 studs per tire.
Studs can add rolling resistance on dry pavement but can increase your top
speed on a slippery surface a lot, so it balances out. Yes I use mine for commuting.
When the roads are finally fully clear I swap in a different set of wheels with unstudded tires.
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Old 10-17-09, 04:45 PM   #20
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Making your own set of studded tires for street use just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. How would you get the studs to sit just a hair above the tread-line, like Nokian does? Seems like you'd end up with screws protruding much more than a designed-in stud, and that would lead to much greater pedaling effort.
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Old 10-17-09, 05:01 PM   #21
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Making your own set of studded tires for street use just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. How would you get the studs to sit just a hair above the tread-line, like Nokian does? Seems like you'd end up with screws protruding much more than a designed-in stud, and that would lead to much greater pedaling effort.
I guess it just takes practice in studding your own tyres...



Running at 60 psi these studs make the barest of contact with the road when the bike is running in a straight line and only engage when the bike is off camber.

Since these tyres can be run as low as 35 psi you can get the studs to engage more while riding in a straight line should the roads be really icy.

This makes for some pretty fast rolling winter tyres that are also very capable when it gets icy or when a patch of ice catches you by surprise.
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Old 10-17-09, 05:09 PM   #22
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Making your own set of studded tires for street use just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. How would you get the studs to sit just a hair above the tread-line, like Nokian does? Seems like you'd end up with screws protruding much more than a designed-in stud, and that would lead to much greater pedaling effort.
I fine-tune stud(screw) height with a pair of cable cutters designed for cutting
hardened steel cable.
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Old 10-22-09, 05:06 PM   #23
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I think studded tires are indeed a necessity. I'm rather tired of making the same argument, so I won't go on, it just doesn't make any sense to me. For a pair of studded tires that lasts 3-4 years, it costs $100. I can't even understand how this is to much money for something that keeps you from falling over on your bike. I have a low tolerance for broken bones, there's all kinds of places to try to save money - doing it on studded tires seems like the absolute last one. And one broken bone in your entire lifetime will cost you more than studded tires for your entire lifetime.

I just don't get how it could possibly make sense to anyone, at all. But anyways.

I've heard that do-it-yourself tires are great for offroad but not good for regular road riding because:
1. The rolling resistance is immense
2. The regular steel in a screw wears down much, much quicker than carbide studs

I'm surprised to hear Sixty Fiver say his homemade studded tires have lasted thousands of miles. You have to ask yourself "Am I riding in the same conditions he is?". His location is listed as "Western Canuckistan". He may ride almost entirely on snow covered surfaces, or if I remember what he wrote right, not ride his studs when the roads are clear(er), which would dramatically increase the life of his studded tires over regular cleared road use, like in Chicago.

Also, I'd ask myself how much I'm saving. I know you said you already have a pair of knobbies - were you going to throw them out anyways? I figure if the knobbies cost $20 a tire, and screws cost $5 a tire, and they last even half as long, you've broken even at best (not including time you've spend on all this stuff).
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Old 10-22-09, 05:15 PM   #24
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65'r, are your studs only on the sides?
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Old 10-23-09, 11:01 PM   #25
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65'r, are your studs only on the sides?
Yep.



Built and road tested this one yesterday and the studs just graze the pavement with the tire running at 50 psi and won't do that after I grind down the points.

This is why I can get such good life out of a self studded urban tyre... I only need them to engage when I am turning (off camber) and by reducing the tyre pressure I can get the studs to engage when the wheel is straight.

P.S. - The NOS tyre was free, the studs cost $4.50, and it took 45 minutes to build it up.

Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 10-23-09 at 11:32 PM.
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