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  1. #1
    Bluegrass Atheist silverwolf's Avatar
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    700c Tires Question?

    Posting this for a buddy of mine who lives in Colorado. He has a road bike and wants to ride in the winter and other crappy conditions. The frame/fork and wheels are all aluminum and pretty durable for a roadie, and he has installed the standard light set, rear clip-on fender etc.

    However the bike still has the road slicks (28c) it came with, and those won't work well in really snowy conditions. The bike has clearance for a 38c tire max, though clip-on fenders versus classic mounts gives some extra wiggle room with size. Anyone here know of a good 32, 35 or 38c tire for packed snow and ice? Studded would be a nice option as well.

    Thanks.
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    I can't recommend a specific tire but Nokia comes to mind. What ever you do. Absolutely go with carbide studs if you get a studded tire. Otherwise they will only last a couple of days riding and the studs wear off. I would actually recommend getting two cheap wheel sets. One with studded tires and one with some easier rolling hybrid tire. Specialized makes a couple of different hybrid tires in 700c 32mm. Make sure the 32mm tires fit his frame. Not many road frames can go larger than a 28mm unless it is a cyclocross or some other hybrid frame. 38mm tires are quite a bit heavier than 32's so it is preferable to go with 32's in my opinion. But it really depends on the specific conditions. Studded tires are not fun to ride on clear asphalt that's why I recommend the two wheel sets.


    If he is serious about winter riding he should get a 32mm non studded hybrid or winter tire and a pair of studded 38mm tires for really bad conditions.
    Last edited by Hezz; 10-19-10 at 09:47 PM.

  3. #3
    AEO
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    there are only two choices for studded.
    nokian W106 hakkapellita (sp?) 700x35
    schwalabe marathon winter 700x35

    they're both more of a tire designed for on road than off. nokian has better grip in snow, but schwalabe has lower rolling resistance on the road. They both do pretty well on hard pack, but once you hit powder snow or other softer spots, these tires will really suck.

    If there was no ice, you could get away with some aggressive CX mud tires.
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  4. #4
    tsl
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    ^^^^^ This!

    It should be noted that while the Nokian is 35mm wide, it has the diameter (height) of a 38. That's why the sidewall gives two sizes, 700x35 and 622-38. I've confirmed this with my cyclometer where setting it for 38mm yields the correct distances, but when set for 35mm it comes up short.

    Anyway, I have four winters on the Nokians with no complaints. The weight and rolling resistance are tiresome, but every spring when they come off, I'm much faster than I was the autumn before.
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  5. #5
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by silverwolf View Post
    Posting this for a buddy of mine who lives in Colorado. He has a road bike and wants to ride in the winter and other crappy conditions. The frame/fork and wheels are all aluminum and pretty durable for a roadie, and he has installed the standard light set, rear clip-on fender etc.

    However the bike still has the road slicks (28c) it came with, and those won't work well in really snowy conditions. The bike has clearance for a 38c tire max, though clip-on fenders versus classic mounts gives some extra wiggle room with size. Anyone here know of a good 32, 35 or 38c tire for packed snow and ice? Studded would be a nice option as well.

    Thanks.
    First to the Easterners posting above, Colorado ain't like New England! You guys have to suffer through snow that falls in October and forms nasty black piles that stick around until March. I know, I've been there. Poor bastards.

    Colorado snow...especially on the Front Range...is very polite. It snows one day and it's gone the next...almost literally. We do have spells (The Great Chanukah Blizzard of 2006 comes to mind) of persistent snow and ice but that, thankfully, is rare. Quite frankly, studded tires are unnecessary in Colorado on bikes and cars. If anything studded tires make life more difficult here because you have to either change them before each storm or you have to slide all over the place trying to brake on slippery little pieces of metal. A knobby tire and a bit of caution are all that really needed to ride through a Colorado winter. Most days you could even ride the road tires because the roads are going to be clear and dry. I've ridden in 30+ winters here and have never used studs...even during the Great Chanukah Blizzard of 2006.

    Silverwolf: if your friends bike will take a 35mm knobby cross tire, that (and a good modicum of caution) will probably get him through all but the worst storm. If the bike won't take a 35mm cross knob, tell him to get a mountain bike...he lives in Colorado! I think it's part of our state constitution that everyone has to have at least one
    Stuart Black
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    Cyccommute, has pretty well summed up what the weather is like in bench cities of the Rockies. Generally there is only a couple of days were studs might be useful unless it is one of those 20 year cold winters where the snow packs to ice and stays frozen on the ground and road for long periods. However, combine the fact that most of the Rocky mountain cities have good snow plows and the sun shines 4-5 days during the week in winter and you get fast snow melt off the roads. At high elevation towns like ski resort towns the snow is more likely to be soft stuff on the road. Big knobby tires work the best in this stuff. I actually use a small knobby easy rolling wide tire as it works pretty well in all conditions. Something like a Hutchinson Python. But these are 26 inch tires. As long as you are on a road or paved bike path and the snow is not more then a couple of inches deep cyclocross knobbies should also work well for 700c applications.
    Last edited by Hezz; 10-21-10 at 06:02 PM.

  7. #7
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    My experience with studded tires is that they handle just fine on clear or ice-covered pavement. Intuitively one might be tempted to think that on dry surfaces studded tires would be like riding on steel instead of rubber, but if that were truly the case I'd have wiped out on every turn I attempted on ice-free pavement. The fact is that these carbide-tipped steel studs are mounted in rubber and therefore sink back into the tire when encountering a harder surface. It's the physical principal of following the path of least resistance. When encountering ice, or more correctly the contact patch between the tire and the ice where there is constant transitioning of liquid to solid and vice versa, the studs again follow the path of least resistance and sink into the ice thereby providing grip.

    I use Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires, size 700x35. I put them on at the first sign of frost and leave them on until I'm sure spring has finally settled in for good. They do indeed provide more rolling resistance than my fair-weather tires, but IMHO it's a small price to pay for the trade-off in safety. The first time I put them on I found their chatter a little unnerving and I was tentative taking my first corner, but I soon came to trust that I was getting all the grip that I needed, wet or dry. Plus, like tsl said, once I take them off in the spring I feel like I'm flying. Think of it as winter training for the other 3 seasons.

    BTW I considered the Nokian W106, W240 and the A10, but settled on the Schwalbes due to their high stud count, relatively low rolling resistance, Kevlar belt, and reflective strip. They're a great compromise of grip vs. resistance for 95% of my winter commute. For the other 5% I recommend a MTB with a more aggressive studded tire, or finding alternative means of transportation.
    Last edited by irclean; 10-23-10 at 10:39 AM.
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  8. #8
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    I have an 700 X 40 Innova studded tire for the front of my hybrid I use for riding to work on a sometimes-icy dirt road. It has plain steel studs which I am sure willnot last as long as the Nokkians I have for my MTB, but they have been ok so far - admittedly only a couple hundred kms the year before last, and almost no riding at all last winter.

    But the innovas are dirt cheap - I think I paid $30 (CAD) for it. I will only have it mounted when there actually is ice on my commute, though. It was quite a tight fit inside the aluminum hybrid fork, and I am hoping I can fit a fender with that tire and the new steel fork I installed.

  9. #9
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Studded tire guru Peter White says:

    Anyone claiming that studded tires have less traction on either wet or dry pavement only proves that he's never ridden a bike with studded tires, nor driven a car with them. They are perfectly safe on roads without ice. Were that not the case, tire manufacturers would have been hauled into court decades ago and studded tires would have been banned. While in the cycling world there is some confusion about the subject, in the automobile world studded tires are well known as the life saving devices they are. Since every driver knows that in a typical winter, you spend perhaps 2% of your time driving on ice, and the rest of the time on clear pavement, were there any truth to the notion of these tires being a danger, they wouldn't be available for sale, certainly not in our litigious society. There is nothing to be concerned about.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Studded tire guru Peter White says:

    Anyone claiming that studded tires have less traction on either wet or dry pavement only proves that he's never ridden a bike with studded tires, nor driven a car with them. They are perfectly safe on roads without ice. Were that not the case, tire manufacturers would have been hauled into court decades ago and studded tires would have been banned. While in the cycling world there is some confusion about the subject, in the automobile world studded tires are well known as the life saving devices they are. Since every driver knows that in a typical winter, you spend perhaps 2% of your time driving on ice, and the rest of the time on clear pavement, were there any truth to the notion of these tires being a danger, they wouldn't be available for sale, certainly not in our litigious society. There is nothing to be concerned about.
    While the jury may be out on bicycles, the same can't be said for cars. From the Washington State DOT

    Ultimately, WSDOT would like to see the use of tire studs phased out to improve safety and reduce pavement maintenance and preservation costs. Research on studded tires consistently shows that vehicles equipped with studded tires require a longer stopping distance on wet or dry pavement than do vehicles equipped with standard tires.
    Whether to use studded tires or not depends on your location. In areas where snow fall will result in lingering ice and packed snow, they are useful. In areas...like the Front Range of Colorado and Virginia...you are less likely to run across those kinds of conditions. Snow doesn't linger here nor, granted from my limited experience, in the DC area, there for months on end. Our snow tends to be of the variety that falls and melts within a few days. A knobbed unstudded tire is all I've ever needed to deal with a Colorado winter. Even when dealing with this




    and the lingering glaciers that followed it for 6 weeks.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    DC is notoroius for poor street plowing. Even major roads sometimes don't get fully cleared for days. Schools close and the government shuts down based on weather forecasts alone, whether or not the snow or ice ever materializes. MUPs and trails are never cleared, and ice lingers for weeks during cold periods. Refreezing runoff/black ice is commonplace. Studs are great for this area, but certainly not a necessity.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    While the jury may be out on bicycles, the same can't be said for cars. From the Washington State DOT



    Whether to use studded tires or not depends on your location. In areas where snow fall will result in lingering ice and packed snow, they are useful. In areas...like the Front Range of Colorado and Virginia...you are less likely to run across those kinds of conditions. Snow doesn't linger here nor, granted from my limited experience, in the DC area, there for months on end. Our snow tends to be of the variety that falls and melts within a few days. A knobbed unstudded tire is all I've ever needed to deal with a Colorado winter. Even when dealing with this




    and the lingering glaciers that followed it for 6 weeks.
    Interesting link. Thanks.

    Regarding losing traction on pavement, though, is less of an issue for bikes. There is a threshold for traction on a bike, below which you will crash, and studded tires are usually above that threshold on both ice and pavement. This is not so with cars - if you drive slowly you can drive across the slickest ice imaginable. Also, with studded tires on a bicycle your speed is reduced, so the chance of 'needing' full traction on pavement is also less. I am not saying that studded tires are or aren't necessary in any particular situation, just that they increase safety with very little trade-off.

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    DC is notoroius for poor street plowing. Even major roads sometimes don't get fully cleared for days. Schools close and the government shuts down based on weather forecasts alone, whether or not the snow or ice ever materializes. MUPs and trails are never cleared, and ice lingers for weeks during cold periods. Refreezing runoff/black ice is commonplace. Studs are great for this area, but certainly not a necessity.
    Ummm...that picture was taken after the blizzard had mostly stopped. A small city jeep with a plow attached did come down my street just after I snapped that picture but it's the only plow I seen on my street in the 18 years we've lived in that house. No other plows ever came by again even when we got hit by 6 more major storms in the 3 weeks after that one. That road...as well as every other street in my area...became one giant ice sheet and stayed that way until early March so I know a little about poor road plowing. I still didn't need, or use, studs. I managed to ride to work 31 times over that 6 week period even while dealing with the mess.

    However, an event like the 2006 blizzard is rare here. DC blizzards are as rare if not more so...not counting the last few years. I was in DC for your snow storm in March of 2008. The snow lasted about as long as a Denver storm does...just a couple of days. Not really worth changing tires...just like Denver.
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    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Here's my $0.02, take it how you want.

    For a car, studded tires are not a good idea, unless you frequently get weather that makes you look out the window and think "How much food do we have in the house?" Most Winter driving is best done in a car with good Winter tires, that is, special sipeing on the treads, sticky rubber, no studs. Most car studded tires I've seen, are actually cheap rubber, hard, heavy, don't grip very well unless the conditions are right for the studs to bite. Bikes studded tires on the other hand, I've ridden across a surface that I couldn't walk across! I've also fallen over on smooth tarmac with them, because it was smooth tarmac, I was going almost dead stop, and there was enough of a freezing fog to just put a thin gloss of ice on the tarmac. Studs pushed into rubber, rubber not gripping because of thin ice at interface, "Why is the back tire moving sideways?" Thump! The perverse thing is if I had been more confident and just blasted through the icy puddle I was worried about, No problem!

    My point is, with or without studs at that point made no difference to the fall, except that if I had just rolled ahead, the momentum would have probably carried me over the iffy bit, and the studs would have taken care of the icy puddle. On the other hand, without the studs, I couldn't have crossed the puddle safely. (probably)

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
    There is a threshold for traction on a bike, below which you will crash, .
    IME, the bike geometry and riding style has a lot of influence on whether you will crash or not. Winters here are rarely snowy, I have black ice (the slipperiest kind) in the morning and wet roads in the evening. The length of my commute and rarity of prolonged ice conditions mean I don't use studded tyres. I've ridden many miles through winters. Nearly every time I've crashed it's been because I wasn't paying attention. The days with the very worst conditions, I don't crash - because the conditions make me pay attention to what I'm doing.

    That said, I wouldn't ride my dawes hybrid in these conditions, simply be cause the handling is awful. My rough-touring mercian or road training bike run like they are on rails and are fine. Stable, dependable steering are very important.

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    Cyccommute

    I am on the other side of those mountain, here in Salt Lake we often get inversions the drop the temps down to the 20's for weeks. This is my first winter commuting and really don't want to break an arm on an ice sheet. I have never watched the streets or the weather so closely as I have this year so I do not know what the future here really will be like. So I have some questions if you don't mind just to sort of find out if we are actually doing the same thing here.

    Can you give me more info on your commute..
    Items such as how fast, far do you travel, how early, how late, what type of roads do you commute on, what size tires you use, what brand, what pressure, what weight are you, when do you go from one bike or tire to another, have you slipped, have you fallen, if so how often, what was the results and conditions of that slip or fall, do you consider yourself safety oriented or more joy oriented, when riding on the road were exactly do you spend most of your time, do you deal with lots of traffic, slow traffic, fast traffic and just about anything else you can offer?

    For example I travel mostly under 20 but above 15 I bike in real early 5:30-6am I ride on main roads that run anywhere from 35-to 45mph speed limits. with just a few 25mph subdivisions. I ride on 700x28 conti gators and am considering Marathon Winters 700x35 due to the reflective sidewall and better rolling resistance compared to others. I really prefer a 700 wheel over a 26 but I am at a cross roads that if I get studded tires what I will mount it too, I have both option. I keep my tire pressure maintenance low so I am anywhere from 110 to 90ish psi pumping them up every other week. I have only ridden one day when there was ice out and I did not slip nor fall but rode like grandma drives. I feel I am much more safety oriented. I generally travel within one foot on either side of the white line, I do not usually take the lane with heavy traffic but certainly do when I am avoiding the snow or it is dangerous not too. Minimal traffic in the morning.

    Recent challenges, cold fingers, cold toes around 10 deg F and what to do about tires and ice.

    Any input by you or others would be appreciated.

  17. #17
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    I'll PM you.
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    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldone View Post
    I really prefer a 700 wheel over a 26 but I am at a cross roads that if I get studded tires what I will mount it too, I have both option. I keep my tire pressure maintenance low so I am anywhere from 110 to 90ish psi pumping them up every other week. I have only ridden one day when there was ice out and I did not slip nor fall but rode like grandma drives.
    If you have the option to go with 700c or 26", go with the 26". They are wider tires and your center of gravity is a little lower. Also, there is more room to allow for ice/snow buildup between the wheel and bike.

    I'm riding mainly on MUPs, so I don't have the added danger of vehicle traffic. My winter tires (Marathon Winters) are mainly there for ice, as I drive to work if there is substantial snowfall given that the MUPs are not cleared. My usual riding distance is 30 miles RT with an overall average speed of 16-17 mph and cruising speed on the flats of 18-19 mph with the studded tires. I slow down a little on ice if there are ruts.

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    I'd have a tough time convincing myself of the wider tires for 26 inch. Although it sounds like the Marathon Winters (MW) are a great option to go with.

    MW come in the following sizes.
    26 X 1.75 Which is the equal to a 44mm tire.
    the 700 comes in a 700 x 35
    and a 700 x 40
    The 40mm comes real close to the 44mm tire and if you were to contact anyone about contact patches size on the 29er forum they'd all tell you about the large contact patch of the larger wheels to the smaller. So I am not sold that 26 if effectively wider. But you do have me on the lower center of gravity. I guess one could also argue bigger wheels have a bigger gyroscopic effect (IE Balance) With the thought that there is more room for ice and snow build up would largely depend on the frame but it is more like to have more room on a 26er.

    Its an old discussion. All I can say is my favorite bikes to ride all have 700 wheels on them.

    It may all come down to if I want to ride during really bad days or just in freezing weather... I'm thinking of going soon with the 700x35

    Never the less thanks for your input Alan, it does sound like we are ridding different commutes.

    Haven't heard from Cycocommute, I hope he hasn't taken a fall!

    Just kidding buddy! I'm sure your a busy man.. As am I, I need to get these bought and on there way..

  20. #20
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baldone View Post
    I'd have a tough time convincing myself of the wider tires for 26 inch. Although it sounds like the Marathon Winters (MW) are a great option to go with.

    MW come in the following sizes.
    26 X 1.75 Which is the equal to a 44mm tire.
    the 700 comes in a 700 x 35
    and a 700 x 40
    The 40mm comes real close to the 44mm tire and if you were to contact anyone about contact patches size on the 29er forum they'd all tell you about the large contact patch of the larger wheels to the smaller. So I am not sold that 26 if effectively wider. But you do have me on the lower center of gravity. I guess one could also argue bigger wheels have a bigger gyroscopic effect (IE Balance) With the thought that there is more room for ice and snow build up would largely depend on the frame but it is more like to have more room on a 26er.

    Its an old discussion. All I can say is my favorite bikes to ride all have 700 wheels on them.

    It may all come down to if I want to ride during really bad days or just in freezing weather... I'm thinking of going soon with the 700x35

    Never the less thanks for your input Alan, it does sound like we are ridding different commutes.

    Haven't heard from Cycocommute, I hope he hasn't taken a fall!

    Just kidding buddy! I'm sure your a busy man.. As am I, I need to get these bought and on there way..
    I would say it depends on how tall you are.
    If you're taller, then there should be no problem riding a 700x40 29'er that has an approximate 710mm wheel diameter.

    If you're shorter, then there will be frame geometry problems if the rider stuck to 29'er, so it would make sense to have a bike with smaller wheels. 549x50mm is approximately 650mm in diameter, which is just slightly smaller than 700x23.

    That and smaller riders are more likely to be lighter as well, meaning they can do away with less air pressure in the tires which will increase the contact patch.
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    Still haven't got a PM from Cycco? Why a PM, lets talk stats so all can figure out the best way to handle winter weather? I saw a post from him from just a few days ago.. Maybe he is ashamed because he only bikes around the circle in front of the house until mom calls for dinner, or until it is his turn on the internet.

    But serioiusly Cycco might have a point, I am still on 28mm gator skins, I missed riding most of last week but this week has been okay. I don't know his personality but I hope he can take my ribbing as just that. Well and a need for info... He's punishing me with his non-responses.

    AEO I'm 6'5". I really liked that link you posted to that girls site/blog that had those winter cycling tips. (it was on another thread).

  22. #22
    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Maybe still compiling all the data for the PM. You did have a lot of questions.

  23. #23
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    I was wondering if anyone had any recomendations or experience with any specific cyclocross tires for the snow. Last winter i had a pair of kross supremes, and while I didn't fall, they got packed up with snow a lot. The only times i fell where when I had some slick 23c's on and i tried to stop on some hard pack.(hint: do not do this). I was looking at some michelin mud2's. anything else i should look at? i am not well funded so mud2's are sort of the limit of what I could consider paying

    thanks

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