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  1. #1
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    6 Inches of Snow - Nokian 294's vs Schwalbe Marathon Winters

    I normally run with Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires (35c) on my winter bike. Last spring I decided I wanted to be able to take my mountain bike out in the winter, and be able to bike around when it snowed, so I picked up a pair of Nokian's wide mountain bike studded tires, the Nokian 294's.

    The Schwalbe Marathon is a 35c tire with a reputation for being fast (for a studded tire) and good in snow. The 294 is clearly a mountain bike tire 2.1", 26", a big knobby thing.

    Living in Minnesota, it snowed about 6 inches tonight. I had missed getting out this weekend, and really wanted to get out and get some exercise. So I put the Nokian 294's on my mountain bike and headed out.

    Imagine my surprise when I found out that...well, that they *also* totally sucked in snow. Was planning on biking on the sidewalk for a while - yeah, lol, that wasn't going to happen. The tires couldn't get any grip. I'd barely be able to keep the bike going half a block, and at a pace around "jogging" at that, and finally I'd be unable to keep enough momentum to keep the bike going. Biking on the street where cars had packed down snow was easier, but it was still dicey - the tires slid all over the place. I'd be going straight, then suddenly the bike would dart to the left or right. I eventually went back and got my regular winter bike and rode it around (with the Schwalbe's), and here's what I thought -

    Recently Plowed Road in front of my place - there was maybe a couple inches of snow.

    8/10 Nokians - they were fine.

    10/10 Schwalbe's - they felt like they had more grip and they were definitely faster.

    Unplowed Road (like most roads around me) that had had some car traffic which flattened a lot of the snow -

    4/10 Nokians - I was surprised to find that they slid around *way* to much. I mean, there was no one else on the road, so it was ok. But they were far to squirmy and unpredictable for feeling safe while riding alongside any sort of regular traffic. It's hard to describe - it's like you'd be biking straight one second, then the next second the back of the bike would suddenly swing out behind you, or the front of the bike would dive one way or the other.

    3/10 Schwalbes - These weren't nearly as different from the Nokians as I had expected. They also squirmed around, but it was a different feel - they felt like in some ways they had more grip on the snow, like with the Nokians there was a lot of sliding but with the Schwalbes there was actually something to grip onto. And believe me - there wasn't really anything to grip. I watched, and the tire was not making contact with the pavement, the snow was just to thick. Unfortunately for them, this increased feeling of grip was entirely offset by the fact that the tire also had a feeling like it was obviously skinnier and less wide and had less traction. It's kinda hard to describe...in the end, both the Nokians and the Schwalbes were pretty terrible.

    6/10 Nokians w/rear suspension - At some point, I realized that I had locked out the rear suspension on my full suspension mountain bike. I thought "Hey, might as well try turning it on". I flipped between having it on and having it off at least 4 times - each time I found (somewhat to my surprise) that my ride became slightly slower, but easier and more predictable. It was just a...more steady and pleasant ride than with the rear suspension off. After all the talk about how rear suspension isn't needed, I was really rather shocked that it actually helped. However...while it made the bike's handling a little more comfortable and predictable, it *almost* steady enough to ride alongside traffic with - though...not quite. Better - but not quite better enough.

    Downhill on previously partially plowed sidewalk - the sidewalk had been sorta plowed at some point, but probably not plowed to the actual concrete so there was probably old snow left over on the bottom, then 6 inches of new snow on top.

    Nokians - 2/10. Fairly impossible. I'd get 20 feet and be unable to bike any farther - I'd have to get off the bike and walk. It just wasn't physically possible to bike through it.

    Schwalbe - 1/10. Same thing only slightly moreso - just couldn't make it further than 10 or 20 feet without walking.

    Nokians + Rear Suspension - 2/10. Just as impossible.

    I took a picture of the snow with my cell phone - it doesn't look like much, but it was enough to force me to walk the bike with either tire -
    2010-12-20 22.03.46.jpg

    Uphill on previously partially plowed sidewalk

    Same thing for all tires, only worse. Couldn't even get 20 feet.

    Uphill on sidewalk that was probably totally plowed off (by the person who lived in the house by it) before the storm

    Nokians - 4/10. Was able to power through it for the most part. Not sure it was really any faster than walking though.

    Schwalbe - 4/10. I was actually pretty shocked when I plowed into this mess - and I found that the Schwalbe's were barely able to plow through it - just like the Nokians.

    Nokians + Rear Suspension - 5/10. It was still tough, but seemed every so slightly easier with rear suspension. A little slower probably, but also a little easier and more predictable. Still sucked...just a little less, lol.

    Over snow on a path people had kinda trampled down

    4/10 Nokians
    4/10 Schwalbes
    5/10 Nokians + Rear Suspension

    Again, basically the Nokians and the Schwalbe's had a similarly difficult time getting over it, though they both did it in the end. Nokians + Rear Suspension were a little easier, though no cakewalk either.

    Flat sidewalk by my place

    5/10 Nokians
    5/10 Schwalbes
    6/10 Nokians + Rear Suspension

    For some reason on this snow I was able to plow through it somewhat more predictably, again I was pretty surprised that the Nokians didn't do better, the Schwalbes didn't do worse, and that the rear suspension, while it made things a bit slower, also helped made the ride steadier and more even. I was able to plow through this stuff for a while without the bike suddenly weaving way to one side or the other.



    So I guess my point is -

    1. The Schwalbe Marathon Winters have a reputation for not being able to deal well with more than a few inches of snow. But the much larger Nokian 294's - they didn't actually do a much better job either. I don't know that I would tell someone to buy them instead - for real snow there wasn't that much of a difference, for light snow the Schwalbe's were noticeably faster.

    Frankly, I was kind of shocked that this was the result. I had expected that the 294's would be much better than the Schwalbe's for handling snow.

    I've been told by someone on the forum who lives here in Minnesota that the Nokian 240's were actually the best in his opinion...wonder if they might work better than either of the ones I tried. It might make sense - not big enough to be floaty like the 294's, but big enough to have more grip than the Schwalbe's. It's...just so weird...

    2. Rear suspension did make a small but consistent and noticeably improvement in handling and bike predictability when trying to ride through snow. It was a little slower to...though you know, I haven't added air to the rear shock in months (since it's winter)...hmm, maybe I should do that before saying it's definitely slower...

    3. The whole ride I kept thinking "maybe if I had a Pugsley this would be a piece of cake". But - here's another post from a Pugsley rider in Minnesota who tried to ride out the same storm I did -
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post11961488

    The Pugsley is not invincible...I was able to ride some sections, but it was just a giant battle for traction, so I ended up walking a lot today.

    I'd love to hear from other people who have had similar, or different experiences...or suggestions for any way that I could bike after it's snowed more successfully...

  2. #2
    AEO
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    how low did you go in tire pressure?

    riding on car tire packed snow requires some skill, confidence and quick reflexes.
    riding in 6 inches of snow is basically impossible with tires. break out the skies or snow shoes.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Thanks, that's an interesting review. I used to run nokian extremes and they were excellent on all types of ice, but my experience of riding with them in deep snow is very similar to yours.. it's hard. This winter I have two different set ups. One is a bike with 700x38 schwalbe snow studs and my other bike also has schwalbe snow studs but in a 26x1.9 size, so far I like those tires because they roll very fast, I am waiting for a big dump of snow so I can test them in deep snow.

  4. #4
    AEO
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Thanks, that's an interesting review. I used to run nokian extremes and they were excellent on all types of ice, but my experience of riding with them in deep snow is very similar to yours.. it's hard. This winter I have two different set ups. One is a bike with 700x38 schwalbe snow studs and my other bike also has schwalbe snow studs but in a 26x1.9 size, so far I like those tires because they roll very fast, I am waiting for a big dump of snow so I can test them in deep snow.
    you're in mississauga. just hit the lakeshore trail, it's mostly unploughed.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  5. #5
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    Yeah, the Nokians are ice tires, not snow tires. The only thing that helps in snow is float, so the 294s are no more snow tires than any other 2.1" MTB tire. Really, the only tires on the market that could conceivably be considered a snow tires are Surly's Endomorph and Larry tires, super wide and capable of being run at low (5 psi) pressure. And, as your fellow Minnesotan observed, even they have their limits.

    FWIW, I run Nokian 294s and love 'em. They suck on dry pavement, but I rarely encounter dry pavement anytime between mid-November and early April. I do see a lot of rutted ice, bumpy ice, and glassy smooth ice. For the first two, the Nokians make the ride as comfortable as any high stud count tire can; and for the last, the 294s make it downright fun, allowing me to pour on the speed and ride like I'm running slicks on pavement (until I have to turn, that is).

    Tips for riding in the snow? I no expert (don't ride the Iditasport or anything like that), I'm just a bike commuter and this is probably more opinion than fact, but here you go:

    1. Know your limits, and your tolerances. I'll ride at 4 miles an hour, for short distances that I'd probably be walking anyway, with the hope of catching an intermittent tire track or two and knowing that I'll be going nowhere fast. But I won't ride in +4" of dense snow, or +8" of light snow, because I know that I'll be moving at a walking pace or less, and at twice the work. I've got both a 4WD truck and a bus pass, plus an intolerance for committing more that an hour each way for commuting, which means that sometimes the bike stays home.

    2. Know where the plows are. Probably your city has a plowing plan, and if you're lucky it's on the city's website. Know where the plows hit first, which roads are given priority, where the sidewalks are going to be cleared and where they will be plowed under. If this info isn't available online, then just pay attention and remember. Watch for cleared roads and sidewalks even if you drive or ride the bus.

    3. Keep a weather eye open. Sure it's only 2" of fluffy powder now, but is the forecast for increasing temps and further accumulation? Will it be rideable in 8 hours when it's time to head home? Is the overnight for 10F and accumulation of up to 8"? Get up early and ride to work. Is it for 31F and accumulation of up to 4"? Sleep in and drive. Density can make a world of difference. As can wind. Even 10F snow can pile into horribly dense and unrideable wind drifts.

    4. Give yourself plenty of time, and learn alternate routes. Extra time will pay off when you need to backtrack to a different route. Always carry a book, for when your time cushion lands you at work 20 minutes early.

    5. Drop your tire pressure as low as it will go, to get as much float and traction as you can. Unless you think that your tires will be able cut through the snow down to the ice or pavement beneath, in which case, pump 'em up.

    6. Know the underlying surface. 6" of fluff on top of glare ice? Be careful when there's just enough snow to pull your studs off the ice, but it's still slick enough to send you sprawling. 3" of dense on hardpack? HTFU and ride, you'll be happier for it, and proud of yourself to boot. 3" of dense on 3" of plow chunder? Hey, scraping car windows ain't so bad, plus you get to enjoy a heated ride for once.

    7. Packed snow can be worse than unpacked snow. If you're having a hard time following a foot or tire track, try the untouched snow on the side. Plow chunder is pretty much a walk.

    8. Be prepared to walk. Wear warm boots and wool socks, and carry extra warm gloves/mittens and a heavy coat in a pannier or backpack. Sometimes it's only for a brief while, like maybe just this block. Sometimes it's halfway to work, but if you follow the preceding rules, this should be rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    how low did you go in tire pressure?

    riding on car tire packed snow requires some skill, confidence and quick reflexes.
    riding in 6 inches of snow is basically impossible with tires. break out the skies or snow shoes.
    I rode in 6" on and off for about 8 miles tonight. It fell this morning and afternoon at 15F to 10F, and was almost as light as air. Except for about 50 feet of plowed over sidewalk on an uphill that I had to walk, just before home. It's amazing how plows can transform 6" of 'no worries' into 3" of 'don't bother'.

    Oh yeah, OP, riding in soft snow is an acquired skill. If you're washing out, gear down and keep your weight in the saddle. If the front tire is wrenching side to side, relax and slightly loosen your grip, while trying to keep it pointed forward. And don't put a foot down until you are really, really falling over. The more slides that you ride out of, the better a rider you become. Good luck!
    Last edited by GriddleCakes; 12-21-10 at 06:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Temperature makes a big difference too. I find deep snow much easier to negotiate at lower temps than if it's hanging around freezing.
    I run Marathon Winters on my winter bike, and I find them to be pretty much useless in snow. Great for unexpected encounters with ice patches though.
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    Wow, this may be the most informative post I've ever seen on snow/stud riding. Thanks guys.

    I went out for the first time (in snow) tonight with nokian w106's and I don't think I really want to ride in snow again. I think i'll be ok with patches of ice the day or two after a storm, but I never felt certain that I was going to end up where I was pointing my bike. Does everyone feel that way the first couple of rides and then you realize that the studs/knobbies are digging in better than you think? This was just 3-4 inches of fluffy.

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    As the troubled Pugsley rider, I gotta say that I'm thrilled to know I'm not the only one that had problems with the snow that this latest storm dumped on us. But as a fellow winter cyclist, I feel your pain. Your tire review is great and should help a lot of people. I'm new to this winter stuff. I just moved here from Phoenix in October. I tried Nokian M&G studded tires first on my xtracycle. I quickly learned that a bike that handles poorly on a good day is a disaster on snow. Tracttion wasn't a problem though. So I caved (jumped) on the chance to get a Pugsley, thinking it was the magic, go anywhere, unstoppable beast.

    I keep hearing all these different terms for snow, like cake batter and chunder, and I have no idea what they mean. I know powder, and I know that's one type the pugsley excels in. In the week (and 35 miles) I've had the Pugs, yesterdays snow was the only time I've had trouble. Last wednesday's snow ride was quite simply one of the most fun rides of my life. So the type of snow makes a huge difference...hopefully I'll learn their names and rideable qualities...because walking sucks.

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    I didn't have sliding problems w/ my studded tires. I did have to play w/ the tire pressure to get it just right depending on prevailing daily conditions. the MTB was always hard work but with soft tires went over anything. riding on the road was always better than the unplowed sidewalk.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAG410 View Post
    I keep hearing all these different terms for snow, like cake batter and chunder, and I have no idea what they mean. I know powder, and I know that's one type the pugsley excels in. In the week (and 35 miles) I've had the Pugs, yesterdays snow was the only time I've had trouble. Last wednesday's snow ride was quite simply one of the most fun rides of my life. So the type of snow makes a huge difference...hopefully I'll learn their names and rideable qualities...because walking sucks.
    Spend enough time in the snow, and you'll learn 'em. That is, you'll learn snow, in its various flavors and forms. I'm sorry that someone told you that Pugs were unstoppable. Around here, where there is a growing fatbike crowd, the winter trail riders will go out and pack down singletrack with snowshoes, so that they can ride their fatbikes on them. But fatbikes are better in deep snow than any other bike. Just be careful on the ice, ride cautiously, and if you go down, keep you hands on the bars, your elbows tucked in, and pull your head away from the direction of your fall. Hips bruise, but wrists and collarbones break; don't try and catch yourself.

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    Senior Member JAG410's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GriddleCakes View Post
    I'm sorry that someone told you that Pugs were unstoppable.
    I knew they weren't unstoppable, yesterdays mistake was me thinking "snow is snow" and the same glorious riding conditions I loved so much last week were not what I encountered yesterday. Thanks for the tips on ice falls! I'll do my best to avoid needing to employ them

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    how low did you go in tire pressure?

    riding on car tire packed snow requires some skill, confidence and quick reflexes.
    riding in 6 inches of snow is basically impossible with tires. break out the skies or snow shoes.
    Hey, yeah, lol glad I'm not the only one...

    I started with both tires at 35psi. After riding a bit I deflated both tires enough that I could push the tire halfway down with my finger. For the Nokians this might have helped, I'm not sure. For the Schwalbe's I think it actually made things worse, I felt like I might have been getting a little better traction at 35psi than I was at a lower psi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Thanks, that's an interesting review. I used to run nokian extremes and they were excellent on all types of ice, but my experience of riding with them in deep snow is very similar to yours.. it's hard. This winter I have two different set ups. One is a bike with 700x38 schwalbe snow studs and my other bike also has schwalbe snow studs but in a 26x1.9 size, so far I like those tires because they roll very fast, I am waiting for a big dump of snow so I can test them in deep snow.
    I kinda wonder if maybe it's related not just to tire size, but to tire shape. The Schwalbes are very rounded like a normal tire. The Nokian 294's have knobs that are longer on the outside, almost like they're going out of their way to create a flat surface like a car tire...I wonder if the more rounded shape helps the tire bit into the snow more? Hmm...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GriddleCakes View Post
    Yeah, the Nokians are ice tires, not snow tires. The only thing that helps in snow is float, so the 294s are no more snow tires than any other 2.1" MTB tire. Really, the only tires on the market that could conceivably be considered a snow tires are Surly's Endomorph and Larry tires, super wide and capable of being run at low (5 psi) pressure. And, as your fellow Minnesotan observed, even they have their limits.

    FWIW, I run Nokian 294s and love 'em. They suck on dry pavement...
    Hey, thanks for your advice. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Temperature makes a big difference too. I find deep snow much easier to negotiate at lower temps than if it's hanging around freezing.
    I run Marathon Winters on my winter bike, and I find them to be pretty much useless in snow. Great for unexpected encounters with ice patches though.
    Here's what ya really need.
    Well, like I said, I found the Marathon Winters usable in snow "as long as there's no other traffic on the road"...LOL. But the implication in what you're saying is that there are better tires for snow, and I didn't find the 294 impressive - pretty much also "usable in snow as long as there's no other traffic on the road"...

    I think I gotta get one of those bikes in your picture for some serious snow riding, hehe. :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by vantassell View Post
    Wow, this may be the most informative post I've ever seen on snow/stud riding. Thanks guys.

    I went out for the first time (in snow) tonight with nokian w106's and I don't think I really want to ride in snow again. I think i'll be ok with patches of ice the day or two after a storm, but I never felt certain that I was going to end up where I was pointing my bike. Does everyone feel that way the first couple of rides and then you realize that the studs/knobbies are digging in better than you think? This was just 3-4 inches of fluffy.
    Only 1 way to find out! LOL

    No, but when there was 3 inches of snow on my marathon winters a few weeks ago (light fluffy stuff over totally bare streets and paths) my tires were ok, it was just a matter of getting used to the bikes handling. The tire would cut through the snow to the pavement. 6 inches of snow, though, and that's what this post is more about - very difficult and maybe impossible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    I didn't have sliding problems w/ my studded tires. I did have to play w/ the tire pressure to get it just right depending on prevailing daily conditions. the MTB was always hard work but with soft tires went over anything. riding on the road was always better than the unplowed sidewalk.
    How much snow did you have and what tires were you using?

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    I tend to dis the Marathon Winter's ability in snow a lot and my preferred tire for winter commuting in bad winter conditions is the Nokian W240. Having said that my limit is pretty much 4" of unplowed snow on the streets. Fresh snow is often easier but that's not what I encounter on my commutes.

    I've never tried the 294s.

    Even though I use the W240s, they are a compromise and I don't consider them ideal. It was a pretty monumental effort to slog through the unplowed streets this morning and I don't think it would have mattered which tires I had on my bike. It was greasy stuff and packed enough that I couldn't dig down to pavement.

    My preference for the Nokians over the Marathons has to do with riding on streets that had been "sorta" plowed covered by a couple of inches of newish snow that they have no intention of plowing. This was very common last year.

    Last week was a good example of why I like the Nokians better. By about Tuesday evening a section of the MUP along the river near the Guthrie Theatre had been plowed but not real cleanly. There was maybe an inch of somewhat compacted snow left. Climbing the hill with the Marathon Winter on the rear was really difficult. I kept fishtailing all over. The 240's don't have as much trouble with that stuff and even the 106s are much better.

    I also like the W240 width of 40 mm. Not much wider than the 35mm Schwalbe or Nokian 106 but enough to make the bicycle tire ruts on the MUPs a bit easier to deal with.

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Just a side note for the local folks: At last Sunday morning's weekly Freewheel Waffle ride, almost everyone was riding on Marathon Winters. At the time I still had my "light winter duty" setup of a Marathon Winter on the back and a W106 on the front. There was one guy riding a Pugsley and he was surprisingly fast on it. I was the first one in line to get a waffle at the end of the ride largely because I refused to get beat by a guy with 4" tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I tend to dis the Marathon Winter's ability in snow a lot and my preferred tire for winter commuting in bad winter conditions is the Nokian W240. Having said that my limit is pretty much 4" of unplowed snow on the streets. Fresh snow is often easier but that's not what I encounter on my commutes.

    I've never tried the 294s.
    Huh...I know you had tried a couple of different studded tires, I actually thought you had tried the 294's...

    I'm curious to try to 240 when there's some snow on the ground. My theory is that maybe they'll be better than the 294's because they won't float over the snow (more rounded shape, and narrower) and they'll dig into it like my marathons, but still have some benefits from being a more aggressively treaded and a little wider.

    You don't need a pair of 294's in 26" do you? lol

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Even though I use the W240s, they are a compromise and I don't consider them ideal. It was a pretty monumental effort to slog through the unplowed streets this morning and I don't think it would have mattered which tires I had on my bike. It was greasy stuff and packed enough that I couldn't dig down to pavement.

    My preference for the Nokians over the Marathons has to do with riding on streets that had been "sorta" plowed covered by a couple of inches of newish snow that they have no intention of plowing. This was very common last year.
    Yeah, it was really terrible last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Last week was a good example of why I like the Nokians better. By about Tuesday evening a section of the MUP along the river near the Guthrie Theatre had been plowed but not real cleanly. There was maybe an inch of somewhat compacted snow left. Climbing the hill with the Marathon Winter on the rear was really difficult. I kept fishtailing all over. The 240's don't have as much trouble with that stuff and even the 106s are much better.

    I also like the W240 width of 40 mm. Not much wider than the 35mm Schwalbe or Nokian 106 but enough to make the bicycle tire ruts on the MUPs a bit easier to deal with.
    I see they make a w240 in 26" now (I don't think they did a couple of years ago).

    I haven't ridden the 106's or 240's myself (at least I didn't last night). And my ride was just one ride out under certain conditions - things could change with different temps, different snow consistency, etc. You certainly ride out in the snow more than I do.

    I dunno, my one experience last night made me think this talk about the w106 being better in snow seems a little overblown. But I respect your opinion, and maybe it's just different in different snow conditions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Just a side note for the local folks: At last Sunday morning's weekly Freewheel Waffle ride, almost everyone was riding on Marathon Winters. At the time I still had my "light winter duty" setup of a Marathon Winter on the back and a W106 on the front. There was one guy riding a Pugsley and he was surprisingly fast on it. I was the first one in line to get a waffle at the end of the ride largely because I refused to get beat by a guy with 4" tires.
    Yeah, I was going to try and make it, but I got really sick on Saturday evening and didn't want to push it Sunday morning. (Plus it started at 9am...).

    "largely because I refused to get beat by a guy with 4" tires."
    LOL

  22. #22
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    Deep snow over 3" is tough, you need the fattest deepest lug tire you can get. Studs wont help for deep snow. You also need to run them at very low PSI.

    I ride for fun in deep snow and use a 29 x 2.4 mountain king at 18/19 psi. I studded them myself because I do ride on frozen lakes and no body makes a big fat studded tire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    how low did you go in tire pressure?

    riding on car tire packed snow requires some skill, confidence and quick reflexes.
    riding in 6 inches of snow is basically impossible with tires. break out the skies or snow shoes.
    Depends on the snow.

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    I've heard good things about Pugsley's. Supposedly they're not totally useless on ice either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    I tend to dis the Marathon Winter's ability in snow a lot and my preferred tire for winter commuting in bad winter conditions is the Nokian W240. Having said that my limit is pretty much 4" of unplowed snow on the streets. Fresh snow is often easier but that's not what I encounter on my commutes.

    I've never tried the 294s.

    Even though I use the W240s, they are a compromise and I don't consider them ideal. It was a pretty monumental effort to slog through the unplowed streets this morning and I don't think it would have mattered which tires I had on my bike. It was greasy stuff and packed enough that I couldn't dig down to pavement.

    My preference for the Nokians over the Marathons has to do with riding on streets that had been "sorta" plowed covered by a couple of inches of newish snow that they have no intention of plowing. This was very common last year.

    Last week was a good example of why I like the Nokians better. By about Tuesday evening a section of the MUP along the river near the Guthrie Theatre had been plowed but not real cleanly. There was maybe an inch of somewhat compacted snow left. Climbing the hill with the Marathon Winter on the rear was really difficult. I kept fishtailing all over. The 240's don't have as much trouble with that stuff and even the 106s are much better.

    I also like the W240 width of 40 mm. Not much wider than the 35mm Schwalbe or Nokian 106 but enough to make the bicycle tire ruts on the MUPs a bit easier to deal with.
    I think those 106's have a fantastic set of rubber for driven snow. I ran the knock off version the last two years and they were manageable in snow. It's still hell! It's gonna be hell on any tire. Just watch how much cars spin their tires around trying to find a spot to get traction. That's easy for them, very very hard for you.

    There wasn't a lot last year that would stop me on the bike that didn't get cars stuck. I feel good about walking if it's by a car that's stuck.

    Sidewalk cycling in the winter is a lost cause. The businesses don't even shovel.

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