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  1. #1
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    When to put studded tires on?

    When you do all put studded tires on? I am still figuring out the winter pattern here (only been here a year and no real snow or ice last year) so I am not sure if I should just put them on and and use them all winter long or not.

    Budget does not allow for two more rims I can just switch out so changing will take me some time.

    What do you all do?
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    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I do it around mid-December unless we get a genuine temp drop early.

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    I'm lucky enough to have 3 bikes with the same wheel size so last saturday I took the wheels on my wife's bike and put my studded tires on them so I'll just have to swap wheel according to the day's weather. She won't use the bike until next june anyway so I didn't told her yet.
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    Senior Member iforgotmename's Avatar
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    Once the temps get near freezing in the evenings as I ride often after dark. I have two bikes and will typically leave the studs off of one until the snow flies.

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    One Man Fast Brick hubcap's Avatar
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    I guess I'm lazy, but I usually wait until I actually need them. I might struggle through the first event of frozen precipitation with my regular tires and then realize it is probably a good time to take care of it. I don't look forward to that initial shock of significant added rolling resistance, but it only takes me a day or two before it feels normal.

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    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    I have two bikes which I use all year round. Each of those bikes has two wheelsets, one wheelset has studded tires and the other wheelset has regular tires on it.

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    When to use studded tires? When there's ice or snow pack. If changing tires takes you so much time you actively avoid it and look for excuses, then you need more experience changing tires. It's not that difficult and it shouldn't take that much time.

  8. #8
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I keep one bike that is dedicated to winter riding and it keeps it's studded tyres on year round and have several spare front rims with studded tyres that I can swap into other bikes... the front tyre is most crucial for control and the conditions do not always warrant running a studded tyre front and back.

    Rode for years with a single studded front and over tens of thousands of km had one crash that put me down and went to dual studs after I fragged my back as I cannot recover quitre as quickly and crashing could also mess up my back even worse than it is.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    I keep one bike that is dedicated to winter riding and it keeps it's studded tyres on year round and have several spare front rims with studded tyres that I can swap into other bikes... the front tyre is most crucial for control and the conditions do not always warrant running a studded tyre front and back.

    Rode for years with a single studded front and over tens of thousands of km had one crash that put me down and went to dual studs after I fragged my back as I cannot recover quitre as quickly and crashing could also mess up my back even worse than it is.
    I just got an old MTB that will become a dedicated winter ride. How deep threaded tyre does one need on roads that are plowed, on flat ground? Can Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres be enough, or would something more extreme like Nokian W240 be necessery?

    What is your experience: will 47 wide tyres be significantly more rideable in 5 cm deep snow than 35 mm wide ones?



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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadCityCyclist View Post
    When to use studded tires? When there's ice or snow pack. If changing tires takes you so much time you actively avoid it and look for excuses, then you need more experience changing tires. It's not that difficult and it shouldn't take that much time.
    Changing of the tires are easy... realigning my BB5's take the longest.
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    If changing tires takes you so much time you actively avoid it and look for excuses, then you need more experience changing tires. It's not that difficult and it shouldn't take that much time.
    How much experience changing tires? I never considered myself intimidated by the task. But the thought of getting up in the morning and looking out the window to gauge road conditions then changing tires accordingly seems like something I'd avoid. Especially since in my area I could be changing tires every morning.

    My commute is only 3.2 miles (5 km) so it would seem like the disadvantage of studs on clear pavement wouldn't warrant the inconvenience of swapping tires for the day. Perhaps if I had a 10 mile commute I'd think differently. We'll see just how bad my Nokian Hkpt 240's are.

  12. #12
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
    I just got an old MTB that will become a dedicated winter ride. How deep threaded tyre does one need on roads that are plowed, on flat ground? Can Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres be enough, or would something more extreme like Nokian W240 be necessery?

    What is your experience: will 47 wide tyres be significantly more rideable in 5 cm deep snow than 35 mm wide ones?
    The 240 and Marathon W will both be very adequate tyres for cleared roads... I prefer the 26 for it's higher volume and better ride quality on what tends to be much rougher road surfaces in the winter.

    There is not a lot of difference between a 37 and 45... narrower tyres have a better ability to dig down and bite through snow while wider tyres offer more float and in the spring when we have a lot of slush and softer snow find that riding on narrower cross tyres really helps with this.

  13. #13
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    My first winter I got a pair of used rims on ebay for $50. Mounted a pair of Nokian 296's to those. It takes me less than 10 mins to switch rims. Since, I've bought a pair of rims (Rhyno Lites) to match the ones I have my road tires on. I got those on sale at the LBS. Machine laced, but they're still good rims. I don't like to ride the studs on dry roads too often if I can help it.
    If you do decide to go that route, of buying a spare set. Just make sure the width is close to the width of the ones you already have. Less hassle with the brakes. Clinchers that is.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Changing of the tires are easy... realigning my BB5's take the longest.
    Do you swap wheels or have a SS/Fixed gear? You should not have to re-align your brakes whenever you take out the wheel unless you have horizontal drops or different wheels.

    If you have different wheels that do not match up just right you can actually get some shims designed for spacing a brake rotor from the hub to make them fall in the same place so you do not have to adjust your brakes with each wheel swap.

    To the OP, I usually ride through the first snow with my regular tires on and if it looks like it will keep snowing then I will give in and mount the studs. Around here the snow/ice does not seem to last long other than on the mountain bike trails though.

  15. #15
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    I now have the luxury of two wheel sets for my winter bike, one with an aggressive tread and the other with studs. That makes swapping them quick.

    Before I got the second set of wheels it was a different matter. I would change tires if I had to put the studs on in the morning before leaving for work. Otherwise, if I had the studs one I'd usually just wait until the weekend to see Sunday night what the weather looked like. During the week, unless it looked pretty certain that the temperature was going to be high enough I wouldn't need them, in that case I'd change them at night when I had more time.

    I'd rather ride with studs when it wasn't necessary than wish I had them on when it was. Remember it can be hard to see ice in the darkness or if it's waiting for you around a corner. It only takes a fairly small patch of ice in the wrong place to cause you problems if you don't have the studs on.
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    Depends on where you live, I generally switch them in end of November and take them off middle of March.

    Every year is different, but a good estimate is to check a frost chart for your location and to decide what level of frost is going to be hazardous for your type of riding:


    I tend to cheat the 90th percentile 28 degrees F dates by a week or two, but again, it varies each year, depending on what's happening locally with the weather.

    In my opinion, when to take them off is a much more difficult decision than when to put them on, because the warming days of spring are much more hazardous due to daytime thawing with melt waters flowing and then freezing back onto the hard surfaces just as the sun drops off = higher risk of ice for evening commuters + at the same time, you're just sick of riding on the darned things by then and can't wait to get them off. If you persist with winter riding, you'll likely wind up with a second set of wheels to take advantage of periods of warmer weather.
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    For the folks who have second set of wheels, do you swap out cassettes or do you have a second set of that too?
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  18. #18
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    I commute fixed gear. So same wheels, different tires. Take rear wheel off, put other rear wheel on. Same process for front.
    Last edited by scroca; 10-28-12 at 07:00 PM. Reason: fixed the typo
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    I just put my studs on yesterday. But they're brand new and the instructions say to ride 20 miles on clear roads to break 'em in. That will take a few days. Then I'll either switch to using my road bike until the snow comes or change the tires back on my hybrid.

  20. #20
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Studded tires are already on another set of rims, complete with casette, but no point putting them on as long as temperatures outside remain above freezing. When night-time temperatures dro and morning frost is more than an odd occurrence - I'll make the swap.

    Cassette and chains are matched do I'll swap out the chain at the same time.
    Last edited by Burton; 10-29-12 at 10:21 AM.

  21. #21
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Got our first decent snow this weekend which has turned our streets into a skating rink... a bike becomes the superior vehicle under these circumstances as with studs you will be passing cars that are spinning out and it is really fun to pass them on hills.


  22. #22
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Jaque View Post
    I just put my studs on yesterday. But they're brand new and the instructions say to ride 20 miles on clear roads to break 'em in. That will take a few days. Then I'll either switch to using my road bike until the snow comes or change the tires back on my hybrid.
    20 miles isn't that far...

    Studded tires are a real drag to ride, but I figure it's good to spend some getting used to them on clear roads, as it gets even worse when you're riding through snow.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  23. #23
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    For the folks who have second set of wheels, do you swap out cassettes or do you have a second set of that too?
    If you've got a second set of rims. More than likely they'll have a cassette also, at least they should. You don't want to have to switch cassettes also. That would be a hassle and a dirty job everytime.

  24. #24
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Got our first decent snow this weekend which has turned our streets into a skating rink... a bike becomes the superior vehicle under these circumstances as with studs you will be passing cars that are spinning out and it is really fun to pass them on hills.

    haha, SixtyFiver nails it again.
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  25. #25
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I usually have a winter bike ready-to-go about this time of year. Typical scenario is the morning commute. I check the roads to see if there's any black ice and make a decision on that basis. A few times, I've made the wrong decision of course but mostly I'm taking my bike choice on a day-to-day basis.

    Nothing worse than being in heavy traffic with the road a sheet of ice. A studded tire bike is really great in those situations.

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