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Studtastic Commute!

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Studtastic Commute!

Old 11-30-15, 09:24 PM
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BobbyG
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Studtastic Commute!

Today was my first snow and ice commute ever. I haven't commuted in the snow in almost 10 years since I ditched my Nobbies in favor of street tires. Now that I have multiple bikes I bought studded snow tires. I know I posted over the weekend about my first snow and ice rides on the studded snow tires, but today was the first official snow and ice commute, including riding home after dark, with lights and reflective gear etc. I was able to ride up steep icy streets with some cars failing to gain traction around me. My average speed was almost half my normal pace. It wasn't any more difficult it just took almost twice as long. There were only a couple of times in each direction where the back wheel began to slide to the side, but three of those times it caught and hooked up and only once did I have to put a foot down to avoid wiping out at least in my estimation. Also this weekend and today I road in 15f degree weather. I actually rode down to 12 last winter after 10 years with 23f as my low temperature threshold. So unless something extraordinary happens, I won't bother you all with any more on this...I've just been so excited.
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Old 12-01-15, 10:57 AM
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Squeeze
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Cool! I'm on the fence about spending $130-ish for some Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires.

Question for you, or anyone who cares to reply. This could go in any of the winter tire threads, I suppose, but I chose this one.

Recently while riding into a parking lot at what I'd call "medium speed", on street tires on a rigid 26" vintage mountain bike, I was leaned over and pedaling though a corner that I regularly ride. It was dark, and though I was running two very bright headlights, I didn't see the sheet of ice on the north side of the building, which blocks the low sun this time of year, until it was too late.

While leaned over, the bike just came out from under me and down I went. The sheet of ice was actually a blessing, since while I hit hard and it hurt, I slid along the ice, which didn't tear my clothes or give me any road rash.

So, finally, here's my question: do studded tires help when banking over into a corner, or do you need to make sure you ride perpendicular to the pavement, as we do when going in a straight line, to keep the maximum amount of tread and studs on the pavement?
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Old 12-01-15, 11:49 AM
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Great job @BobbyG!

Originally Posted by Squeeze View Post
Recently while riding into a parking lot at what I'd call "medium speed", on street tires on a rigid 26" vintage mountain bike, I was leaned over and pedaling though a corner that I regularly ride. It was dark, and though I was running two very bright headlights, I didn't see the sheet of ice on the north side of the building, which blocks the low sun this time of year, until it was too late.

While leaned over, the bike just came out from under me and down I went. The sheet of ice was actually a blessing, since while I hit hard and it hurt, I slid along the ice, which didn't tear my clothes or give me any road rash.
I did this exact same thing last early spring on a day when I rode my hybrid bike which doesn't have studded tires. I went down hard and fast, but slid smoothly to a stop with no injuries other than some bruises. I was especially grateful that I didn't scuff up my brand new jacket I was wearing.

Originally Posted by Squeeze View Post
So, finally, here's my question: do studded tires help when banking over into a corner, or do you need to make sure you ride perpendicular to the pavement, as we do when going in a straight line, to keep the maximum amount of tread and studs on the pavement?
My studs help when banking into a corner. They don't give exactly the same grip as regular tires on dry pavement, but are a vast improvement over non-studded tires on ice. I ride on ice using about the same aggressiveness that I would when riding on gravel. That is, I don't have to be extremely careful, but at the same time I don't try to set peloton-esque speed records around corners.
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Old 12-01-15, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeeze View Post
So, finally, here's my question: do studded tires help when banking over into a corner, or do you need to make sure you ride perpendicular to the pavement, as we do when going in a straight line, to keep the maximum amount of tread and studs on the pavement?
Yes and no. The studs help to provide some traction, but shouldn't be trusted to let you bike like it's dry and warm weather. When I take a corner on ice I try to slow down A LOT, just to be sure. Reducing tire pressure should help as well (gives more surface area).

I used to have those Marathon tires. They worked great. I just handed them down to a neighbor kid and bought some new 45nrth Gravdals.
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Old 12-01-15, 02:01 PM
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Thanks, gents. @BobbyG, hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread for selfish reasons. I'll slink back into my dark corner now.
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Old 12-01-15, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeeze View Post
Thanks, gents. @BobbyG, hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread for selfish reasons. I'll slink back into my dark corner now.
We're cool. Eight or so years ago when I last had knobbies I was haulin' through a park on my way to work and hit glare ice in a parking lot by a boat ramp. The bike slid out to my right, but I managed to get my left leg out and I slid like a dirt racer for about 25 yards. I hit the dry pavement, my wheels hooked up and I found myself back upright and rolling straight. So I've had only a handful of snow and ice rides on my new studded tires, Three quarters of a mile to the hardware store (and back) half my 9 mile commute and back, and then yesterday was my 9 mile commute to and from work. I didn't try to lean or do anything sudden, but I did notice as I did on my dry run last month, dry pavement performance is not as "sticky" as my road tires.
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