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  1. #1
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    Tires for compacted snow

    I'm running my winter/gravel road bike with 700-37 Conti winter tires. I mostly ride when the roads are clear, though I do go through patches of snow, slush and even bits of ice. There are many times when hours, or a day after a snowfall the roads have snow on them, and it's been compressed from the cars. I'm wondering what sort of tire works well on such a road. I'm assuming studded tires are more for ice (which I usually stay clear of), but are they good for this type of snow (versus my current tires)? I can go bigger in volume, which I think might help (probably up to 40-42mm). However, there are not "that" many days when the snow is like this to maybe warrant a purchase...and swap tires, etc. But I ask to be informed as it might influence things...

  2. #2
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    I also found Conti Winter very universal, using them even for quite dip snow. When riding on the road and being afraid of an inadvertent slip, even on a compacted snow, I turn to Nokian W240, but pump to them to some pressure to reduce losses.

  3. #3
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    Studs help quite a bit on packed snow, in my experience.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tekhna View Post
    Studs help quite a bit on packed snow, in my experience.
    Marathon Winters are my choice, for the icy and hardpacked, or loose / slushy plowed roads, or up about to 3-4 inches of newly fallen snow I encounter on my urban commute.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 02-09-15 at 10:02 AM.

  5. #5
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    If you have zero concern about ice, then I would use a moderately aggressive cyclocross tire (or these might be narrow MTB tires/gravel tires) in as large of width as you can reasonably run on your bike. In packed snow, you can't cut down to the pavement with a narrow tire. So, you want to float on top, and the aggressive tread will give you traction to move forward and hopefully not wander around so much (side-to-side). Personally, I run a fairly aggressive 40mm studded tire (Nokian Hakkipulita W240) for this reason; it performs better in snow. That said, I am unwilling to give up my studs, as days with yesterday's warmth and overnight cold can make corners rather treacherous.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Finns Know Snow and Ice .. Suomi Tyres ... Nokian 106

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    Marathon Winters are my choice, for the icy and hardpacked, or loose / slushy plowed roads, or up about to 3-4 inches of newly fallen snow I encounter on my urban commute.
    x2 for this advice -- those are great tires and roll really well, even on bare pavement

    If you want even less rolling resistance, a favourite combination of mine is a studded Winter Marathon up front and a studless Conti Winter in the rear. Best of both worlds.

  8. #8
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    any suggestions for non studded tires for road bike?

    road conditions vary quite a bit between wet->slushy->packed snow. road are well salted so ice isn't an issue

    last winter i ran normal road tires and it wasn't too but i'm thinking investing in better tires won't hurt.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    cyclocross knobbies , One Cannot Race on studded tires , and races do continue in spite of snow.

    But they wont be 25mm or less.. more 32 .. need CX type clearance on the frame.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-11-15 at 01:05 PM.

  10. #10
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    Continental TopContact Winter studless tires are fabulous. Not as much traction as a studded tire, obviously, but they are soft rubber with lots of siping that grip well, even on icy roads, but have very low rolling resistance. On my cx bike, I pretty much always run one on the rear wheel (but I often use a studded tire up front for cornering, and use another Conti Winter in the front for the "shoulder seasons").

  11. #11
    Senior Member CharlieFree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dh024 View Post
    Continental TopContact Winter studless tires are fabulous. Not as much traction as a studded tire, obviously, but they are soft rubber with lots of siping that grip well, even on icy roads, but have very low rolling resistance. On my cx bike, I pretty much always run one on the rear wheel (but I often use a studded tire up front for cornering, and use another Conti Winter in the front for the "shoulder seasons").
    I like the Marathon Winters as well. What width do you use on the cyclocross?

  12. #12
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    I've observed that front tire size has limited effect on winter rolling resistance while contributing greatly to bike stability. I first noticed this while running a fat bike fork and 4.8" tire on the front of my touring bike with 700x35 in the rear. I expected to be very slow but could fly along surprisingly fast. So this winter I replaced the Nokian W240 on the front of my mountain bike with an aggressive 26 x 2.35 Ice Spiker Pro, which was a huge improvement.

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