Studs are probably not a good idea in the Seatlle or Portland areas (or most small to medium sized towns for that matter), for the same reasons as they are not so popular with road departments but tolerated in many places-they can tear up roads in clear conditions while waiting for another storm. I feel that the aggressive mud/mountain bike type treads I'm using will provide somewhat adequite traction this winter and that even studs are no match for slippery conditions on a two-wheeled vehicle so a slower, steady pace and quick wits will be required in all situations, even with traction devices.
Take note that I've been riding in winter conditions for several years with hardly more than the regular tires I ride all year with and this is the first time I've hadd anythjing more aggressive. I also give the drivers a day or so to accomodate themselves before I really go out on a bike. Drivers don't immediately acclimate to winter road conditions and you can see this on the news for some time after the first snowfall occurs.
I'm not sure the guy is "nuts" per se, but Schwalbe studded tires might be the best test for this theory, as they're the ones with the worst reputation for losing studs.[/QUOTE]
I have a set of Schwalbe Ice Spiker pro tires and I've used them for two years and not lost a stud. I rode them on asphalt for 50km the first day I got them.
While not an expert on the issue, it appears there is a measurement for tire rubber hardness. A device called a durometer is inserted into the rubber and the hardness is measured. A lower reading means it punctures more easily. Here is an article on this if you want to read more.
Nokian Extremes and similar advertise a "Special snow rubber tread (durometer 58A)" That would be a high durometer meaning the rubber would be harder than likely what is normal.
I again am no expert on this, but it appears Nokian has it covered and I would be certain if the tires needed to be "aged" they would say so.