I am currently in the market for my first pair of studded MTB tires. I intend to use these tires on my local xc trails which contain very few rocks. I am trying to decide between the Nokian Extremes ($150) and the Innova 268's ($75). Besides the big difference in price, the main difference in these tires as far as I can see is that the Nokian has carbide studs and the Innova has steel studs. Since I will be doing 99% of my riding on frozen dirt, snow and ice and only 1% on asphalt and rocks, can I get away with using the Innova's? Will a fresh set of Innova's work as well on frozen dirt, snow and ice as a fresh set of Nokians?
Check out the shapes of the studs. On Innova tires the stud is just one big block of steel (unless they've changed them since I bought mine), on Nokians the stud is shaped and has a sharp point. Thus, I would expect the Nokians to be the better tire. 2X better, I don't know.
How much ice is there on your trails? If it's just frozen dirt, even if it would be very wet if unfrozen, I doubt studs will be worth it, keeping in mind that studs offer no advantage in snow.
I rode on the pavement a little to get to the ice and snow the last four years. I wore out a set of steel studs in a set of IRC blizzard's in one season. This is season four for the Nokian 296's with carbide studs. Still about the same.
The IRC tires cost total about $60, gone in one year.
The Nokians were about $160 total, this is year four, $160 divided by four = $40 a year so far.