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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 12-01-10, 08:07 PM   #1
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Not that anyone should care . . .

But I put my first ever pair of studded tires on this morning before going to school. It was slightly above freezing, snowing slightly, and I didn't really need them, but I figured it was a good time to go ahead and put them on.
And I'm shocked at how sluggish they make the bike. Like adding a trailer with two kids and forty pounds of groceries. And packing the wheel bearings with sand.
Still, I'm almost hoping for some icy patches.
And my fixie has smooth tires still, so I'll ride that when everything's clear (and I don't have a whole lot of stuff, and I won't need lights).
And really, I don't see why anyone should care. (This isn't not facebook, after all.)
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Old 12-01-10, 08:12 PM   #2
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Just call it a practice ride.
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Old 12-01-10, 08:35 PM   #3
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But I put my first ever pair of studded tires on this morning before going to school. It was slightly above freezing, snowing slightly, and I didn't really need them, but I figured it was a good time to go ahead and put them on.
And I'm shocked at how sluggish they make the bike. Like adding a trailer with two kids and forty pounds of groceries. And packing the wheel bearings with sand.
Still, I'm almost hoping for some icy patches.
And my fixie has smooth tires still, so I'll ride that when everything's clear (and I don't have a whole lot of stuff, and I won't need lights).
And really, I don't see why anyone should care. (This isn't not facebook, after all.)
This is the reason many of us seek to avoid studded tires at all costs. They work best on icy packed snow or pure ice. On the pavement they are terrible. IF you can find a used bike for almost nothing and have the room it is worth it to have a bike set up with with low gearing dedicated for the studded tires. Or put them on your fixie with a larger rear sprocket.
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Old 12-01-10, 08:48 PM   #4
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I only like to use them when there's actual snow or ice on the ground that doesn't melt away by noon.
they're only fantastic after a snow storm or after a really wet day followed by a really cold night.
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Old 12-01-10, 08:50 PM   #5
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Just imagine how fast you'll feel when you take them off in the spring!
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Old 12-01-10, 09:51 PM   #6
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And I'm shocked at how sluggish they make the bike. Like adding a trailer with two kids and forty pounds of groceries. And packing the wheel bearings with sand.
Still, I'm almost hoping for some icy patches.
And my fixie has smooth tires still, so I'll ride that when everything's clear (and I don't have a whole lot of stuff, and I won't need lights).
And really, I don't see why anyone should care. (This isn't not facebook, after all.)
Hahaha. I'm in the same boat. This is my first year with studded tires (and my fixie still has smooth tires). Whenever I'm riding on the studded tires I'm much happier when there's ice or snow around, until I see someone pass me on skinny slick tires, then I get bad thoughts...

Edit: It's ridiculous there's a small 10% climb on my way back home and I took it on my fixie with a 70 inch gear and I'm taking it on my winter bike in a 30 inch gear and it feels almost as tough.
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Old 12-02-10, 03:52 AM   #7
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But I put my first ever pair of studded tires on this morning before going to school. It was slightly above freezing, snowing slightly, and I didn't really need them, but I figured it was a good time to go ahead and put them on.
And I'm shocked at how sluggish they make the bike. Like adding a trailer with two kids and forty pounds of groceries. And packing the wheel bearings with sand.
Still, I'm almost hoping for some icy patches.
And my fixie has smooth tires still, so I'll ride that when everything's clear (and I don't have a whole lot of stuff, and I won't need lights).
And really, I don't see why anyone should care. (This isn't not facebook, after all.)
What pressure are you running at?

I have 35mm Marathon Winters and run them at 80psi when the roads are clear, they are only about 5% slower than my normal tyres. Note that studded tyres are very noisy and sluggish for the first hundred miles for so until the studs bed in.
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Old 12-02-10, 04:59 AM   #8
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But I put my first ever pair of studded tires on this morning before going to school. It was slightly above freezing, snowing slightly, and I didn't really need them, but I figured it was a good time to go ahead and put them on.
And I'm shocked at how sluggish they make the bike. Like adding a trailer with two kids and forty pounds of groceries. And packing the wheel bearings with sand...

And really, I don't see why anyone should care. (This isn't not facebook, after all.)
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What pressure are you running at?

I have 35mm Marathon Winters and run them at 80psi when the roads are clear, they are only about 5% slower than my normal tyres. Note that studded tyres are very noisy and sluggish for the first hundred miles for so until the studs bed in.
Perhaps the OP could reveal his make of studded tires?

I agree that studs on the Marathon Winters are hardly noticeable, and some riders consider their “electronic Rice Krispy” noise reassuring. It seems to be the common experience that the Winters are easy rolling with a secure grip on ice and hardpack, but they have less traction in deeper snow compared to other brands. Before I got mine, those arguments about rolling resistance did dissuade me, but now I use the Winters on my beater bike at all times for my 14 mile commute, from December to April. A posting by tsl, that even well-tended roads (for cars) could harbor icy patches and put me out of commission convinced me to buy the Winters.

Certainly BF is not Facebook, to which I don’t subscribe, but I presume is more regarded as a source of information on this special interest of cycling. I wouldn’t want to limit the information available to readers for only one point of view on studded tires.

PS: See this recently resurrected zombie Winter Cycling thread: “Schwalbe Marathon Winter 240 vs. Nokian Hakkapellitta W240”

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...apellitta-W240

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 12-02-10 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 12-02-10, 07:11 AM   #9
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I'm entering my fifth winter on a pair of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106s.

I mounted them for the first time yesterday morning and was all prepared for the usual, and they didn't feel that heavy. I was shocked.

My first winter I could barely spin the damned things. It was like dragging an anvil uphill. My second winter I switched tires back and forth with the conditions. My third winter I had a second wheelset to make switching easier.

My fourth winter I'd gotten a dynamo hub and couldn't afford a second matching wheelset, so I just rode the Nokians all winter, with occasional rides on my three-season bike. But boy, was I faster in the spring! Stronger too. I even bought a bike with a standard double. (None of that wimpy compact crap!) Up until then, all I'd ridden were triples.

So why this year do they not feel so bad? Sure there's a difference from my three-season tires--625 grams worth, nearly a pound-and-a-half. Each.

Right now, I'm leaning towards the excitement of the first snow, which wasn't the wimpy dustings we usually get for our first snow, but a couple of inches of wet, heavy lake-effect stuff. Slush from the skies.

Yet, despite my advancing years, there's still a cocky part left that thinks it was because last winter I decided to just suck it up and ride. Then with my new found strength and speed, I rode hard all through the three-seasons--seeking out hills, even on days with full panniers--and have arrived at the threshold of this winter stronger than others.

I fear that that part is just self-delusional crap.

We'll see today. I slept like crap last night, and feel more tired than when I went to bed. Today is a three-legged commute day that, between my two jobs, includes some steep rollers into the prevailing winds. And it's a full pannier day too. So we'll see if I'm still feeling so cocky about strength when I get home tonight.

Oh, and the part that Jim alluded to, is that despite the efforts of our well-trained and practiced DPW, provided it's below freezing, there is ALWAYS some patch of ice that miraculously didn't get salted away. I can't afford the time off from work for broken bones to heal (and I don't want the time off the bike either), so I ride the Nokians whenever it's below freezing, no matter what it looks like out my window in the morning.

But I've got a three-seasons bike standing by for those days when it warms up.

Last edited by tsl; 12-02-10 at 07:18 AM.
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Old 12-02-10, 08:03 AM   #10
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I'm entering my fifth winter on a pair of Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106s.
Just got the same tires a couple of weeks ago as my first studded tires.

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My fourth winter I'd gotten a dynamo hub and couldn't afford a second matching wheelset, so I just rode the Nokians all winter, with occasional rides on my three-season bike. But boy, was I faster in the spring! Stronger too. I even bought a bike with a standard double. (None of that wimpy compact crap!) Up until then, all I'd ridden were triples.
I also have a dynamo hub so I will be riding them the entire winter.

I definitely agree with your sucking it up and HTFU attitude. I find the best training on the bike to be riding against a headwind. I mean hills are as good but there aren't any "mountains" around here. But I can ride straight into a strong headwind for 2 hours and it's like climbing a vertical mile.

In the end I think it doesn't matter how fast you go, just how hard you push the pedals. I guess that's really obvious but it just seems particularly obvious to me now that people train with power meters to increase their output.
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Old 12-02-10, 12:42 PM   #11
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I find they provide an excellent excuse to take it easy. Which fits well with icy roads, cold, and the off season.
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Old 12-03-10, 02:24 AM   #12
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There is also the gratification one feels when the roads have gone to hell and you are out-accelerating cars from stop lights and blowing past those folks who thought they could manage without studded tyres... I don;t like commercial tyres as they run their studs down the centre and if you are upright and riding straight, you don't need studs there.

I'd take my DIY tyres over any commercial tyre... the new tyres I made up for my extra-bike cost me $20.00 for the set.

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Old 12-03-10, 07:37 AM   #13
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I have Nokian 106s too. The Schwalbe tires, if I remember, where about twice the price, and out of my budget.
I do have two front wheels (one slightly damaged but still usable). The rims are pretty different widths, though, so I have to adjust the brakes every time I switch.
It's not a huge deal. After all, most days I only ride three miles each way.
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Old 12-03-10, 04:45 PM   #14
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There is also the gratification one feels when the roads have gone to hell and you are out-accelerating cars from stop lights and blowing past those folks who thought they could manage without studded tyres...
I eagerly look forward to that fun

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I don;t like commercial tyres as they run their studs down the centre and if you are upright and riding straight, you don't need studs there.
I wonder if this is also a function of tire width. I have always ran narrower tires (because that's what I can use on my bike) and I find that I'm fine as long as I'm upright and straight but I can't really pedal or brake on ice without starting to skid. I don't have that problem with the studded tires and the studs are almost dead center in the middle as you said, but they're still relatively narrow tires 700x35c.

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I'd take my DIY tyres over any commercial tyre... the new tyres I made up for my extra-bike cost me $20.00 for the set.
DIY studded tires are currently way too DIY for me. I'm at the point where I have to fight with myself to put air in my tires I probably don't know enough about it, but just thinking of screwing things into my tires makes me terrified of getting all sorts of flats where I won't be able to blame anyone but myself.
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Old 12-03-10, 06:15 PM   #15
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I definitely agree with your sucking it up and HTFU attitude.
Thanks for the tip of the hat, but in may ways, it's the easy way out. It's easier to just ride the darned bike than to fuss with tires every other day.
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Old 12-04-10, 11:48 PM   #16
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Had my first ride today on the mountain bike with some Conti Winter Claw studded tires. Felt great to be out on the road again but being a roadie normally the MB will feel slow regardless of what tires are on it.
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Old 12-05-10, 12:03 AM   #17
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Just got home after another 8km winter commute and my ride time was not much more than it is in the summer as my route was pretty clear... when I hit my residential neighbourhood I am always really happy to have the studded tyres as the roads are polished to a shine.

As far as flats and diy tyres go... I have had one winter flat in the last 5 years of winter cycling and usually ride 5000 - 6000 km every winter.
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Old 12-05-10, 11:53 AM   #18
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I also would like to know what tires the OP is running at what pressure, also what tire/pressure he was running before.

"Slush from the skies"

What an excellent description tsl!
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Old 12-06-10, 03:13 PM   #19
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Thanks for the tip of the hat, but in may ways, it's the easy way out. It's easier to just ride the darned bike than to fuss with tires every other day.
I could not agree more. The other thing is that the weather here can change so dramatically. I can leave in the morning with clear sunny weather and might have 6+ inches of snow on the way home, or 1/4 of solid ice on the road... you just can't tell exactly where and when the precipitation will come. Just last week we got nothing more than a dusting of snow. 4 miles south of here they got 32" That is some seriously locallized snow fall. If the wind had shifted just the tiniest bit we would have gotten all that snow and they might have had nothing more than a dusting. For that reason I make sure I am prepared for all weather events.

Last year I did accept an offer to get picked up by my wife because we had over a foot of snow fall during the day... That would have made for a dangerous ride home. I would have had to ride in the middle of traffic and I would have had to make sure I'd stay out of the way of all the snow plows out trying to clear up the roads.

Happy riding,
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Old 12-06-10, 07:41 PM   #20
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I could not agree more. The other thing is that the weather here can change so dramatically. I can leave in the morning with clear sunny weather and might have 6+ inches of snow on the way home, or 1/4 of solid ice on the road... you just can't tell exactly where and when the precipitation will come. Just last week we got nothing more than a dusting of snow. 4 miles south of here they got 32" That is some seriously locallized snow fall. If the wind had shifted just the tiniest bit we would have gotten all that snow and they might have had nothing more than a dusting. For that reason I make sure I am prepared for all weather events.

Last year I did accept an offer to get picked up by my wife because we had over a foot of snow fall during the day... That would have made for a dangerous ride home. I would have had to ride in the middle of traffic and I would have had to make sure I'd stay out of the way of all the snow plows out trying to clear up the roads.

Happy riding,
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Huh, I'd thought that Calgary was the only place you got such unpredictable changes. Should have known better, having been 20 miles North of you one Christmas, and looked at the TV news where it showed 4 foot of snow, while we had 6 inches.
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Old 12-08-10, 03:22 PM   #21
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This hasn't been my experience at all. Studded tires, at the very most, require me to make 20% more effort on bare roads. It's probably less than that.
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Old 12-08-10, 07:00 PM   #22
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Huh, I'd thought that Calgary was the only place you got such unpredictable changes. Should have known better, having been 20 miles North of you one Christmas, and looked at the TV news where it showed 4 foot of snow, while we had 6 inches.
Oh yeah. If you want "changable", visit the downwind side of any Great Lake in winter. Going to work this week, twice, in three miles I've gone from snowing with only a quarter-mile visibility, to sunshine and blue skies, then back again.

André gets his lake-effect from Lake Erie. Here in R-Town, we get the tail end of that, plus whatever's blowing off Lake Ontario.
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Old 12-08-10, 10:32 PM   #23
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I have Hakka W240s on my winter bike. My 35 minute commute is now 45 minutes and my legs ache.

I've been riding basically bare pavement with these lately. The main reason is that my winter bike has much better lights and I seem to spend a lot of the commute in the dark.

I guess I'll appreciate these big Nokian 40mm tires when we get snow, but right now it seems like riding tank to work.
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