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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 08-11-10, 12:27 PM   #1
surgtech1956
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Studded Tires - Fenders - Other Winter Riding Must-Haves

I would like to ride during the winter months as much as possible - here in Michigan. I'm going to use my mountain bike - Giant Rincon for it. Do I need studded tires or what other tires could I use? Most of the time we don't get any snow accumulation until Thanksgiving or Christmas. As far as fenders, what about the flat type aka non permanent fenders? Can't forget about cleaners and such.
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Old 08-11-10, 12:48 PM   #2
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What model/year of Rincon are you riding? The reason I ask is that, in my experience, full-coverage fenders work the best in the winter. If your bike has provisions for mounting fenders (i.e. eyelets/braze-ons) then full-coverage is the way to go. PB Cascadias give good bang for the buck: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?action=de...=30&SKU=FE7042. They are available for 26" bikes, hybrids, and road bikes. As for studs, Peter White had written one of the best tutorials on studded tire choices that I've ever read: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp. I chose the Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires, but if I had more clearance I would likely have gone with the Nokian W106s. So far - no regrets. The Schwalbes can handle 95% of what winter throws at me, and for the other 5% I take the bus or get a my wife to drop me off with the car. Of course, if I had a Surly Pugsley with Endomorph tires I would tackle the dreaded 5% as well. IMHO carbide studs are the way to go and you should shy away from cheap steel studs on tires from Innova, etc. I would think that your winters would be similar to mine since I'm only 2 hours from Detroit and we get lots of lake effect weather here. Be prepared for regular (i.e. daily, or at least weekly) cleaning of the chain and drivetrain. Wax your frame and use a light oil to coat exposed nuts, bolts, cables, etc.

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Old 08-11-10, 12:51 PM   #3
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Get as much fender as you can.
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Old 08-11-10, 04:04 PM   #4
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Fenders are a" must have item" for winter commuting. Studded tires make riding on ice much safer, but they are not 100% neccessery. If you decide to get studded tires then get some Nokians or Schwalbees, cheaper studded tires are junk, not worth the money. Winter days are shorter so good lights on the front and rear are very important, high visibility clothing is also a good idea. If you are in a good physical shape then a fixed gear or singlespeed is very good for winter riding. ( or any type of riding ). Disc brakes also work very well for winter riding, ( rim brakes wear out your rims very fast ), so discs are good to have.
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Old 08-11-10, 04:38 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info. My Rincon does have disc brakes. I was thinking about a Magicshine light. Any suggestions for a front light? I have a Cygolite Night Rover that is junk and needs replacing anyway.
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Old 08-12-10, 06:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info. My Rincon does have disc brakes. I was thinking about a Magicshine light. Any suggestions for a front light? I have a Cygolite Night Rover that is junk and needs replacing anyway.
Sorry, I'm a little confused - typo? " I was thinking about a Magicshine light." and "Any suggestions for a front light?"

I might suggest...the Magicshine 900? I like the Dinotte 400L fairly well, to. It's definitely a better made light, with about the same lumen output, and you can get a lens kit with it to change the beam to your preferences. It also costs twice as much money though.

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Old 08-12-10, 07:02 PM   #7
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When I moved back to the cities from college, I started biking during the summer with the local bike club. This was...long ago than I'd like to admit, lol. Anyways, they didn't have studded tires then. So it was fall, and I was complaining that it would soon be winter and no more biking until spring. "Nonsense!" they told me. "You can bike in the winter! Some of us do it all the time!".

Well I had listened in on a few of these discussions before, so knowing what to ask I said "Really? yada - So, have any of you ever broken anything winter riding?" Unsurprisingly - every single one of them had broken at least on major bone when they hit some ice. Surprised by ice on a parking ramp, slipped out after some railroad tracks...Arm, collarbone...etc.

Now all "serious" bikers run the risk of breaking a bone as a result of their biking. Road racers, it seems, will inevitably break at least one major bone in a crash sometime during their career. Serious mountain bikers often face more than one. Some of these guys just look at it and say "yup, it will happen eventually, I'll be in a cast and my entire biking season will be ruined".

Now if you're one of those guys, that's cool - I guess you don't "need" studded tires. But if you're like me - not willing to take the risk of braking a bone or two - studded tires aren't an option, they're the only way you'd even consider riding in the winter. If you can protect yourself against being slammed into the pavement when your front tire hits that patch of black ice you totally thought wasn't there and it's night and you can't see anything, for a cost less than a single trip to the doctor - why on earth wouldn't you?

Now don't get me wrong - I don't put the studs on until there's actually a chance of there being ice on the road. I often ride in November with no studs if there's no snow and no rain-turning-to-ice. But once there's the slightest chance of ice, I won't ride without studs until there isn't a spec of ice on any trail (naturally, depending on my route, but I've run into ice unexpectedly way into spring - usually it takes a good rain or two with above freezing temps before it dissapears, and naturally it's easier to see if you're biking during the day rather than at night).

I'm not willing to head for that "oops, guess I broke my collarbone" so I can save $100 on tires.
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Old 08-12-10, 07:11 PM   #8
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P.S. Studded tires vary greatly in their speed. The fastest studded tires I know of are the Schwalbe Marathon Winter's. They're not cheap, though. But I have them on my bike, and at full pressure I don't lose more than 1mph vs non-studded tires on the same bike. One cool thing about them is that with their stud layout, if you don't expect to see any ice you can put more pressure in them and the outer row of studs no longer comes into contact with the ground (that's the less than 1mph thing). If you need more grip, put less pressure in the tires and the studs come into contact with the ground again. I get a little wobbly on ice at high pressure but I can stay up, at lower pressure I ride over ice 80% like it's bare pavement.

If you want cheaper (but still good enough to be recommended), the Nokian w106's are $44/tire about half as much as the Schwalbe's at $74/tire. They have a reputation for also being a quality tire, not quite as fast as the schwalbes, but they're reputed to be more grippy in snow.

Nokian and Schwalbe both have a good reputation with their studded tires. Like someone else said, the really cheap ones (Innova) should be avoided in general, as the regular steel studs wear down and suddenly you don't actually have studs any more (the Nokian and Schwalbe's have a reputation for their studs lasting longer than the rubber on the tire - in other words, the tire wears out before the studs do).
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Old 08-12-10, 07:15 PM   #9
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I have full side fenders for winter riding on my winter bike. One problem is that when you ride after it snows, the snow gets kicked up in the fender and stays there. It's never cause my wheel to stop spinning or anything (once the snow gets to close the tire burns the excess snow off), but it's kinda annoying. I would think this same problem with clip-on fenders might lead to losing your fenders.

Don't know for sure though.
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Old 08-12-10, 07:35 PM   #10
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Do any of you commute where you have to store your bike outside all day? Should a potential winter commuter invest in a cover or tarp of some kind? Any good brand recommendations?
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Old 08-12-10, 08:23 PM   #11
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Do any of you commute where you have to store your bike outside all day? Should a potential winter commuter invest in a cover or tarp of some kind? Any good brand recommendations?
I parked my bike at school everyday last winter at the uncovered bike rack (often the only bike there). I never bothered covering it, but I did leave a dollar-store showercap on my saddle and left the bike in 4th gear (in case the derailleur froze in place, which happened more than once). I would think a tarp might trap moisture which could freeze solid and lead to other problems. Of course, I'm just theorizing since I don't use a tarp to cover my bike - I park it in my locked, unheated garage at home.
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Old 08-18-10, 12:47 PM   #12
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With regard to lights I can't say enough good about the Magicshine. The only trouble I've had is the connector is hard to separate when the connection is cold. I run Nokian tires and they cost 2-3mph for sure. Studs are really, really useful on ice. As long as you don't have to turn, you can roll over most ice without too much problem but for actually riding when you may encounter ice, nothing short of studs is safe. If your Winter riding involves riding on snow, then the widest mtn type tire your bike can handle. Snow requires wide knobby tires, ice requires studs.
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Old 08-18-10, 05:09 PM   #13
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Lights? hub dynamo will not slip, Schmidt is the best but German prices, Shimano Alfine will offer disc mount dynamo hub too .
batteries need recharging,
and unless you tuck the battery in your pocket under your clothes it will work less well when its cold.
but stay on whether stopped or moving.

combination of both ideal..

thorn resistant tubes are several times thicker than regular ones, and will hold air longer.

3 speed hubs are quite robust , there is one planetary gear set, it stays meshed,
the shifting is between which gear is the driver and which one is the driven.
4/3 or 3/4.

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Old 08-18-10, 11:13 PM   #14
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I like the added grip of studs on those icy days. Schwalbes on mine. As for speed, I'm slower because I reduce my tire pressure quite alot because I like a nice big contact patch with the road.

I'm with the others, full fenders if you can. I prefer to mount mine quite far above the wheels to allow sticky snow an escape route, and position the tail of the rear fender very close to the wheel... it acts as a snow scraper, again to avoid buildup.
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Old 08-18-10, 11:20 PM   #15
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Full fenders will do so much for you and your bike... your drive train will love you as the front wheel won't be throwing sand and grit into your chain all day and your headset will last forever when you save it from the water the front wheel sends up the steerer.

And you will stay cleaner and drier.

I am running some short fenders on my winter bike now as it also gets used throughout the year as a rain / trail / bar hopping ride but before winter hits it will be getting a new set of full fenders.

Running fixed eliminates any risk of my hub freezing up at -40C...
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Old 08-18-10, 11:22 PM   #16
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I have been building my own studded tyres for many years and have been very pleased with them for as far as how long they run and how well they hook up when it is icy.

Usually run a studded front on a separate rim so I can swap it in and out as our winters can be dry and very cold with very little ice but when it does get icy it is a five minute job to swap front wheels.
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Old 08-18-10, 11:33 PM   #17
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Full fenders will do so much for you and your bike... your drive train will love you as the front wheel won't be throwing sand and grit into your chain all day and your headset will last forever when you save it from the water the front wheel sends up the steerer.

And you will stay cleaner and drier.

I am running some short fenders on my winter bike now as it also gets used throughout the year as a rain / trail / bar hopping ride but before winter hits it will be getting a new set of full fenders.

Running fixed eliminates any risk of my hub freezing up at -40C...
Well my bike has about as full of fenders as they come - a Civia Highland. However, if I bike after it snows, there will be a layer of snow on top of the chainguard by the time I reach my destination. What happens is the snow builds up on the inside of the fender, then eventually builds up enough that the wheel starts rubbing against it, spraying it all over the back of the bike.

Fenders are good against rain. They're good against slush. Against snow? I'm just saying - no fenders completely eliminate what's kicked up by your wheel.
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Old 08-19-10, 01:54 AM   #18
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When I moved back to the cities from college, I started biking during the summer with the local bike club. This was...long ago than I'd like to admit, lol. Anyways, they didn't have studded tires then.
Soo... that was 45 years ago or so? Nokian launched their first studded bike tyre in 1968...

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Old 08-19-10, 05:50 AM   #19
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I'm commuting on a mountain bike and will continue to do so in the winter. Does anyone have recommendation for fenders that will work with no eyelets, front suspension and disc brakes? In a perfect world I'd like some that can be mounted with higher clearance so they wouldn't have to come off to do a trail ride, but that may not be possible with anything sturdier than flimsy clip-ons.
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Old 08-19-10, 06:37 AM   #20
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OP, where in Michigan are you?

You probably would not regret studded tires. A) They are loads of fun. I head for the icy patches on purposes. B) They do wonders for your endurance. Come spring, you'll take them off and you'll fly.

Use wet lube on your chain. Dry lubes are too susceptible to all the slush and other wetness. Last winter I ran Finish Line's wet lube that came in a green bottle.

Good luck. Have fun. Don't feel guilty about driving on the really nasty days. Keep it fun.
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Old 08-19-10, 11:38 AM   #21
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Soo... that was 45 years ago or so? Nokian launched their first studded bike tyre in 1968...

--J
Lol, it wasn't *that* long ago! :-D

I'm thinking more around this timeframe (from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp) -

Q: I've heard about Nokian tires losing up to half their studs. Is that possible?

A: Yup. Several years ago, (maybe 2001?) when Nokian first made a foldable studded tire, the Hakka 300, there was at least one flaw in the design and/or manufacturing process which caused the tread blocks to tear apart and the studs to fall out. The problem persisted for two years before finally being corrected. I don't know why it took so long to fix. They first made several changes to the tires which didn't completely fix the problem. But finally they got it right and the Hakka 300 is now a great tire which I am happy to recommend and sell.
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Old 08-19-10, 12:54 PM   #22
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Has anyone tried this DIY studded tire solution? I'm thinking of picking up a pair of < $10 wallmart tires and trying it when the snow comes. It sure would be nicer on my wallet than $65 tires.

http://bikehugger.com/2008/12/diy-st...r-icebike.html
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Old 08-19-10, 01:31 PM   #23
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Has anyone tried this DIY studded tire solution? I'm thinking of picking up a pair of < $10 wallmart tires and trying it when the snow comes. It sure would be nicer on my wallet than $65 tires.

http://bikehugger.com/2008/12/diy-st...r-icebike.html
There's a sticky thread in this forum about making your own, to -
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Studded-Tyres

According to Sixty-Fiver, the studs only contact the pavement when you're about to slip and this works well. I cannot say.

I will say that the major disadvantages of making your own are usually that -

1. Homemade studded tires where the studs contact the ground regularly, like if your route is 75% plowed pavement and 25% snow and ice, wear out much faster. Nokians and Schwalbes use not only "hardeded" steel, but carbide - a material so strong the tire casing nearly always wears out before the studs do. If they do wear, one day they'll work, then one day they just won't work any more. This has also been a problem with the cheaper studded tires from Innova that use cheaper steel in their studs.

2. Again if the studs contact the road regularly while rotating, home made studded tires are much, much slower than the commercial ones.

3. You get what you pay for, and a $10 might not be the best thing to ride, studs or no studs. Flats, early wear, etc. No puncture protection.

4. If you don't do it right, the screws can puncture the tube on the inside of the tire.

My summer tires cost at least $30/tire (cheapest decent, flat-resistant tire I know of). Peter white sells the Nokian 106's for $45/tire. If you figure screws will cost a little bit, and that the Nokians will last a lot longer than my home made tires, the Nokians are actually a better deal financially for me.


The most popular use for home made studded tires is offroad riding, where the studs don't wear much because they don't come into contact with the pavement.
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Old 08-19-10, 10:32 PM   #24
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I'm commuting on a mountain bike and will continue to do so in the winter. Does anyone have recommendation for fenders that will work with no eyelets, front suspension and disc brakes? In a perfect world I'd like some that can be mounted with higher clearance so they wouldn't have to come off to do a trail ride, but that may not be possible with anything sturdier than flimsy clip-ons.
A deflector shield that attaches to the underside of your downtube will offer some protection, as will a rat-tail or seatpost-mounted fender, but nothing beats full-coverage fenders. Here are some examples that may work with your application: http://www.rei.com/search?cat=450078...n+Bike+Fenders
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Old 08-19-10, 10:43 PM   #25
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There's a sticky thread in this forum about making your own, to -
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-Studded-Tyres

According to Sixty-Fiver, the studs only contact the pavement when you're about to slip and this works well. I cannot say.

I will say that the major disadvantages of making your own are usually that -

1. Homemade studded tires where the studs contact the ground regularly, like if your route is 75% plowed pavement and 25% snow and ice, wear out much faster. Nokians and Schwalbes use not only "hardeded" steel, but carbide - a material so strong the tire casing nearly always wears out before the studs do. If they do wear, one day they'll work, then one day they just won't work any more. This has also been a problem with the cheaper studded tires from Innova that use cheaper steel in their studs.

2. Again if the studs contact the road regularly while rotating, home made studded tires are much, much slower than the commercial ones.

3. You get what you pay for, and a $10 might not be the best thing to ride, studs or no studs. Flats, early wear, etc. No puncture protection.

4. If you don't do it right, the screws can puncture the tube on the inside of the tire.

My summer tires cost at least $30/tire (cheapest decent, flat-resistant tire I know of). Peter white sells the Nokian 106's for $45/tire. If you figure screws will cost a little bit, and that the Nokians will last a lot longer than my home made tires, the Nokians are actually a better deal financially for me.


The most popular use for home made studded tires is offroad riding, where the studs don't wear much because they don't come into contact with the pavement.
If you do it right, home made studded tyres will offer great performance and great mileage... we have seen DIY tyres run in excess of 8000 km and spend nearly as much time riding in winter conditions as we do summery ones.

There is no reason to stud the centre line of a tyre unless you are racing on ice.
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