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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 11-13-13, 10:10 AM   #1
storckm
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Do studded tires make a difference on wet metal?

Yesterday, we had our first snow in Columbus, OH, and a bit of ice on the roads. Of course, I put my snow tires on before taking my daughter to kindergarten. Later in the day, I found myself riding over some (dry) steel plates in the road, and fell to wondering whether the carbide studs would bite into the steel and give on traction on notoriously slippery wet steel. Does anyone have experience with this?
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Old 11-13-13, 10:12 AM   #2
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I don't think they would help. I would think they make traction worse. On a wet, slick surface, I think you'd want the most surface area possible.
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Old 11-13-13, 10:47 AM   #3
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I wouldn't count on it. I'd treat it like ice with no studs, keep it straight, no leaning, no sudden moves.
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Old 11-13-13, 11:02 AM   #4
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Lots of variables. I run a set of Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro 26 X 2.35. This tire has 361 studs in 5 rows. When I run the tire at 35 to 40 PSI the grip on bridge decks is far better than with a smooth tire on a wet deck. I checked and under those conditions, 3 rows of studs are in contact with the deck when cornering. Tungsten carbide does bite into mild steel deck plates.
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Old 11-13-13, 12:30 PM   #5
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I don't think they would help. I would think they make traction worse. On a wet, slick surface, I think you'd want the most surface area possible.
Does it make a difference? Yes!

Does it make it better? No. As Tom says, you want surface area and the studs are getting in the way of that.
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Old 11-21-13, 09:16 AM   #6
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studs are for something to dig into
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Old 11-21-13, 11:16 AM   #7
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Right. Can't dig into water or steel. When they're "mixed," you still don't have an advantage.
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Old 11-26-13, 03:28 AM   #8
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Tungsten carbide does bite into mild steel deck plates.
+1
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Old 11-30-13, 09:32 AM   #9
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I went down while turning left while crossing a big manhole cover with studs last yeas...slippery.
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Old 12-01-13, 07:58 AM   #10
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+1
If you have a few thousand pounds to push it into the steel,it might. With a couple of hundred pounds? Nope. The studs are going to skate right over the surface and water is going to act like oil.
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Old 12-02-13, 10:30 AM   #11
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I don't think studs help you much on steel plates. I try to avoid them when possible. I'm plus one on the lower tire pressure for more footprint. Around here the city will dig a hole this time of year for a repair and fix the road , maybe, by spring next year.
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Old 12-08-13, 03:10 PM   #12
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If you have a few thousand pounds to push it into the steel,it might. With a couple of hundred pounds? Nope. The studs are going to skate right over the surface and water is going to act like oil.
+1
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Old 12-08-13, 03:19 PM   #13
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...give on traction on notoriously slippery wet steel.
As said, the difference will be for the worse, if any. Depends on your tyre pressure, among other things. Wet cobblestone is another surface where studs don't automatically help.

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Old 12-15-13, 11:04 PM   #14
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If you have a few thousand pounds to push it into the steel,it might. With a couple of hundred pounds? Nope. The studs are going to skate right over the surface and water is going to act like oil.
The Chicago Department of Mysterious Holes in Streets is very fond of using 3/4" thick steel plates to cover Mysterious Holes in Streets, so I get to ride over them more often than i'd care too. They're slippery as snot when wet, and studs don't help. They don't really hurt, either, though, assuming you've got normal tires that are mostly rubber. If they're covered in ice, studs work great...
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Old 12-16-13, 09:45 AM   #15
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Studs will make it worse, same with motorcycle tires too.
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Old 12-22-13, 03:21 PM   #16
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I've scratched the living daylights out of some mild steel angle stock I have in my shop for the big door slide wheels to roll on with studded bike tires and they do seem to grab on that.

On the other hand they do not grab on rail tracks and make it worse not better then just plain rubber tires and the same is true sometimes on concrete that has been polished really flat and really hard (one roundabout in my area with patches like that which is hell with studded tires on if there isn't snow pack or ice on top).

Long story short if its soft enough they will grab a little, but if its hard enough and smooth enough it makes it worse. Just like a cat sliding down a tin roof, either the cats claws grab and give it some traction and scratch the daylights out of the roof or they don't grab and the cat slides down the roof even faster. I've actually seen that difference when I re-roofed a shed on my place from really old galvanized metal roofing that the few stray mouse eating cats around my place climbed up and down no problem to the new metal roofing which was too hard of metal and their claws wouldn't grab and they just slid off really fast (they didn't seem to like it when I re-roofed that shed since they couldn't get up into the main shop going up that roof anymore).

Soft enough metal you can get some grab - BUT DON'T COUNT ON IT !!! That's the exception not the norm.
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Old 12-28-13, 04:28 PM   #17
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If the studded tires also have a stickier cold-weather rubber compound, they could still have a bit more traction than a normal tire.
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Old 12-28-13, 10:55 PM   #18
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If the studded tires also have a stickier cold-weather rubber compound, they could still have a bit more traction than a normal tire.
Provided that you aren't just "riding on the studs" and the rubber of the tire is gripping as well and its grip isn't substantially reduced by the studs taking most of the contact weight ~ could be. Or in other words, might have to reduce your tire pressure if your running high pressure tires to get the rubber to get a good grip too.
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