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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 11-06-09, 06:06 PM   #1
RLSchell
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First experience with studs - not quite what I expected

After dropping out of commuting for a few months last year due to icy conditions, this year I'm prepared with a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires. It's probably a bit early for studs here, but the temps are getting to freezing and I had some free time to change the tires this week. Today was my first commute with the Marathon Winters on. Wow, these things have way more rolling resistance than I imagined they would. I lost about 2 MPH on my typical speed. Am I doing something wrong or is this just the way it is? I was under the impression the Marathon Winter had about the lowest rolling resistance among the studded tires, so I can't imagine what the big knobby Nokians must be like!

The tires I've been running for the past year are Continental Travel Contact (26x1.75) which I keep between 50 and 60 psi (Conti recommends 50psi).

The Marathon Winters (also 26x1.75) are rated for 30 to 80 psi and I put 60 psi in them to start out. Should I be running them at much higher pressure?
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Old 11-06-09, 07:01 PM   #2
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I have yet to use studded tires but from everything I have read the rolling resistance is significantly higher than regular tires. This is why it is best to have two winter beater bikes. One with studs and one without for days with better conditions.
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Old 11-06-09, 07:09 PM   #3
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I found the Marathon Winters have the least rolling resistance at max pressure. The only time I run them below max pressure is in deep snow (and 4" is deep for these tires).
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Old 11-06-09, 09:37 PM   #4
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For what its worth, you are correct in that the Marathon Winters are the lowest rolling resistance studded tires you can buy.

Regarding "two winter beater bikes", last year I decided to pick up an extra set of wheels so that I could switch between winter/non-winter tires a bit faster. With the way last winter went around here, I barely took advantage of that. Usually once we get a big snowfall, snow/ice is still a problem out past the "curb lane". And then when it starts melting, ice is a constant concern.
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Old 11-06-09, 10:47 PM   #5
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Look at it this way: The carbide studs won't wear out if you ride on "nice days", you only need one bike (or set of wheels), and when the spring comes you will absolutely fly on your slicks!
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Old 11-06-09, 11:13 PM   #6
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Is it just me....????? You are riding in snow and ice and worried about rolling resistance????
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Old 11-07-09, 07:36 AM   #7
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...and when the spring comes you will absolutely fly on your slicks!
Word! Think of the studded tires as great training to keep you in top shape.
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Old 11-07-09, 07:38 AM   #8
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Word! Think of the studded tires as great training to keep you in top shape.
That's for certain.

Consider the extra weight of studded tires too. It's probably just my imagination but they feel like they weigh a ton when climbing.

I have a good weather and a bad weather commuter. I only take the studded bike when necessary.
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Old 11-07-09, 08:32 AM   #9
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Is it just me....????? You are riding in snow and ice and worried about rolling resistance????
Oh, I agree, if there was ice and snow on the road I would WANT to go slower.

My reason for switching to studs is to be prepared for those marginal days of black ice, frozen puddles, sleet, freezing rain, etc. We don't get much real snow in this part of NJ, but we do get a lot of "wintery mix." The tires will be on clear pavement probably >80% of the time and I just want to minimize my resistance. I'll try higher pressure and see if that feels better. Otherwise, like you all said, it's just better training for when the slicks go back on!
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Old 11-08-09, 12:40 AM   #10
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It only makes sense to ride for the worst conditions you are going to possibly encounter. Anything less is dangerous. My Nokian 294's are on dry pavement most of the time but they pass over plenty of sheets of ice to make them necessary. When you know things have dried out a bit pump up your tires. When conditions are crap and it's just snowed or you have a lot of ice, drop your pressure. That's about all there is to that.
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Old 11-13-09, 02:09 PM   #11
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Is it just me....????? You are riding in snow and ice and worried about rolling resistance????
Next thing you know, you'll be asking why anyone on a bike cares about how fast they're going - if they wanted to get there faster, they'd just take the car, right? :-P

If you're using your bike for transportation, speed always matters. It's just that you don't care about extra seconds, like racers do, instead you care about minutes. I would definitley buy newer, more expensive tires if it meant that I got to work 5 minutes faster!
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Old 11-13-09, 02:30 PM   #12
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I've used the Schwalbe Marathon Winters and found them to be < 1mph of added resistance.

BUT I was using the 700c, 35c version...
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