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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 10-17-12, 09:48 AM   #1
Slaninar
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Studded tyre just up front?

Considering getting a Schwalbe Marathon Winter studed tyre for my commuter. It will be used on 100% flat ground. Is it OK to just get one studded tyre - for the front wheel. Snow seldom stays long round where I live, so I'd hate to change tyres often, or buy extra set of wheels. My idea is riding studded tyre just up front and inflating it to high pressure when snow melts for those 2 winter months. Or getting just one extra wheel - front one.

Is it smart/safe? Has anyone experimented? I run Schwalbe Marathon 37x700c tyres now.
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Old 10-17-12, 12:35 PM   #2
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I have a friend who only runs studs in the front. His reasoning is that makes it hard to get going fast enough to hurt yourself. Sort of like the 4WD vehicles one sees in the ditch all the time. Better to emphasize stopping power.
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Old 10-17-12, 01:42 PM   #3
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Does not make sense, is the front tire only going on ice? Bad idea. YRMV. Dedicated winter commuter, better idea.
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Old 10-17-12, 02:05 PM   #4
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IF (that's a big if) you only run one studded tyre, it should go in front. Front wipeouts are more difficult to recover than rear. It's far from ideal though. But you could always give it a shot and see if it works for you. If you later decide to buy another, the one you have will still be in good shape. Whatever you buy, make sure it has carbide studs. They'll last for years. I know Nokians have proper studs (I run a pair of W106s myself), and I believe Schwalbes are good too.
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Old 10-17-12, 07:50 PM   #5
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Peter White addresses this very question on his website. Here's what he has to say
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Originally Posted by peterwhitecycles
One Tire Only in Front?
People often ask me if one studded tire in front is sufficient. Well, one studded tire in front will help keep you from crashing hard and breaking your collar bone or your pelvis. When the front tire slides, you go down quite fast and without warning. If the rear tire slides you can still go down, but not as fast, and the results are usually not so calamitous, since you usually have enough time to get a foot out of the pedal. But with just a front studded tire, you can still crash. You can still not be able to climb a hill with black ice. You can still not be able to get out of an icy rut. You can still spin on a downhill curve. You can still lose control in a busy intersection with lots of traffic. And you can still spin during hard braking. So, for the life of me, I can't see any reason to use a single studded tire in front, except to save a few dollars.

I do occasionally sell a single tire to someone who's been told by a friend that you only need a front studded tire. Similarly, there are many folks who think you can get away with snow tires just on the drive wheels of an automobile, which leads to cars spinning out of control because the front or rear has so much more traction than the other. Invariably I get a call a week later from the same customer ordering a second tire. He ends up with no cost savings, since he has to pay twice for shipping.
If you are buying tires for riding single track in winter, and you need to save money, there is a way to do it. Get a very aggressive tire for the front, an Extreme 294 or Ice Spiker, and then use an Extreme 120, Mount & Ground or Snow Stud in the rear. You won't get quite as good grip while climbing a steep trail as you would by having aggressive tires front and rear, but if your trails aren't too steep, you should be just fine. The more aggressive front tire will still be there to get you through icy ruts. For the commuter riding paved roads, there really is no alternative to having the W106 or A10 on both wheels. So unless you're riding to work on rail trails, I strongly recommend you use studded tires on both wheels, not just the front.

So, my thinking is either downgrade that front-only Marathon Winter to a Snow stud, in order to get a second Snow stud for the rear wheel; still more expensive than a single MW, but superior all around for a commuter, I think. Better yet, keep that front Marathon Winter (the studs mounted further out to the sides do come in very handy for getting out of those damned icy ruts) and pony up the dough for a Snow Stud (or W106 or Ice Speed) out back.

In any case, whatever you do, don't over-inflate your studded tyres. Having lost my manometer at one point I just resorted to haphazardly judging tyre pressure when inflating my Marathon Winters and when in doubt habitually pumping in [a little] extra, and I'm pretty sure that is what led to the premature wear of the tyre casing where the studs would press inward when they met the road but had insufficient tyre drop to safely nestle in the thickness of the rubber tread.

If you take care of those studded tyres they'll most likely be taking care of you for four or five seasons -- not an unreasonable investment, splurging on a second one for your rear wheel.
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Old 10-17-12, 10:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Plimogz View Post

If you take care of those studded tyres they'll most likely be taking care of you for four or five seasons -- not an unreasonable investment, splurging on a second one for your rear wheel.

Thank you all for advice.

Money is not that much of an issue. Bike commuting saves me around 40 euros per month.

My doubts are about practicallity. Here: it snows, stays for one day, then melts. So putting on and off winter tyres would be a hassle.

In between minds: getting just one winter tyre, hassling with both, or getting a cheap mountain bike for winter commute.
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Old 10-18-12, 12:37 PM   #7
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Good quality studs (carbide) don't mind the occasional bare pavement. You might mind though, it's quite a bit more effort, especially if you keep a bit lower pressure as suggested (quite right too, in my experience).
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Old 10-18-12, 04:10 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Thank you all for advice.

Money is not that much of an issue. Bike commuting saves me around 40 euros per month.

My doubts are about practicallity. Here: it snows, stays for one day, then melts. So putting on and off winter tyres would be a hassle.

In between minds: getting just one winter tyre, hassling with both, or getting a cheap mountain bike for winter commute.
I live in similar conditions... -15 one day, +15 the next. I have the Schwalbe Snow Studs, and on dry roads, the studs don't make contact. They're still knobbier than the slicks they replace, but they're fine to run all winter. I bought these because they were the cheapest, but I've found the side-only studs to be a good thing... keep you from going down and dig in when you need to, but stay out of the way when you don't want them.
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Old 10-18-12, 05:07 PM   #9
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given a potential wheel slip on ice, IMO, a rear is better , you could put a foot down,
so if there is only 1 , front gets my vote.

have 20 year old Nokian tires, so confirm, tungsten steel studs are long wearing on dry streets..
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Old 10-19-12, 09:39 AM   #10
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My experience with studded tires (Nokian and Nashbar (can't remember who actually made it) is that they work well on ice and snow, but aren't as sticky in the wet. Also, they're hard to mount, so if money isn't an issue I recommend buying a separate set of wheels and just keep them mounted - swap wheels based on weather - that's worked well for me.
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Old 10-21-12, 10:39 PM   #11
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I got a MTB bike for free.
So I'll put two winter tyres on it and use it when it snows, leaving hybrid with standard rain/sun tyres.

Thanks for the advice. Two winter tyres it will be then.


Now, a new dillema: Nokian 106, Schwalbe Winters, or some other?

Streets are plowed, most of them, where I ride. Salted as well so not much ice, but if I go for winter tyres, I'll put some with studs, just to be on the safe side.

Last edited by Slaninar; 10-21-12 at 10:57 PM.
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