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Nokian W106 vs W160

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Old 11-20-18, 12:10 PM
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clengman
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Nokian W106 vs W160

I've decided to get some studded tires this year for my winter beater bike. At its shortest, my commute is just 5 miles round trip. I use the light rail system to get most of the way to and from work and use my bike for the "last mile". It's a mix of some roads that are usually well-plowed, some on-road bike lanes, and MUPs that probably won't get much attention.

When the weather isn't terrible I skip the ride on the T and have an ~20 mile roundtrip that includes one considerable climb and one steep and windy descent in each direction. I also have to ride the shoulder on a couple busy roads.

So on a typical winter commute (the short version) I'm looking at 20% mostly clear pavement with possible patchy ice, 30% riding on the edge of the road in slush and ice, and 50% on MUPs that are likely to be a solid sheet of rutted ice.

The long version will be more like 10% pavement, 20% MUP, and 70% edge of the road.

I read through the info on Peter White's site and initially chose the Nokian W160s, thinking that the heavy tread blocks and studs closer to the outside would be better for the uneven ice on MUPs and possible icy slush near the side of the road, but I'm second guessing myself and wondering if the W106s would be good enough for my road conditions and give me a little more pleasant and faster ride (They're a little less money, too.). Does anyone have opinions one way or the other?

I know the marathon winters are a popular choice, but I'm thinking I want something with more tread on the edges to help lift out of the icy ruts that I think I'll be running into a lot.
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Old 11-20-18, 01:36 PM
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I have only used the W106s and they have worked extremely well for me on glare ice, soft snow (up to 3 inches), Icy ruts and dry pavement. The key is to vary inflation. (max, 65psi) for dry pavement. It rounds the tire and allows more rubber on the road. 25-25 for ice, which puts the studs in more direct contact with the icy road, and 15-25 for loose snow, which increases the overall footprints

The W160s look to have a chinkier tread pattern which may make dry pavement riding really tough.

I don't have many icy ruts out here, but I have had a few commutes where the ruts were unavoidable and they would "kick" my front wheel about and slide the back wheel off to the side. But I never felt as if the W106s lost grip, and I never felt as if the bike were slipping.
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Old 11-20-18, 04:34 PM
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dabac
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I liked the W106 for less taxing riding. Rolling resistance wasnít too bad, and they have enough studs to prevent the wheels from simply slipping out from under you.
They donít do that well in soft snow, the tread packs full easily.
What made me swap them out was the performance on rutted ice. After the rear wheel failing to climb out once too many I went looking for better.
I never found a good commuter use for the W160.
They roll heavier, do better in soft snow, but arenít that much better on ice.
And since I commute in traffic, course stability is a high priority.
Now Iím kinda trading between SMW and the W240s.
Theyíre both good on ice and rutted ice. SMWs roll better, but do poorer in soft snow. W240s are the dozers of tires. Going is kinda heavy, but theyíll trundle across both soft snow and rutted ice with a minimum of drama.

My first set of SMWs ended up replaced on warranty, after the studs had gone through the carcass and begun rubbing holes in the tube at a ridiculously low mileage.
I thought of keeping the W160 for the MTB. The pattern is coarse enough for them to do OK on (semi) soft snow, and thereís a sprinkling of studs to help with hardpack, wet roots and icy patches.
But I got a set of 288s and 294s for that...
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Old 11-20-18, 04:46 PM
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My Suomi Nokians have 2 rows of studs, none down the center,
which works for a mix of black Ice and bare pavement,
& frozen water from springs and ground water that flow across the road..

Mount and Ground W.. 26 x 1.9 160 stud..



...

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Old 11-20-18, 04:48 PM
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Tread pattern on the W106's look agressive but the ride quality really isn't too bad compared to the Schwalbes. I have a set in 45 mm width and they do a great job of going over ruts and uneven road. 35 mm version might not be as good. Can't speak for W106's.
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Old 11-20-18, 09:42 PM
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Thanks for all the input. I should have mentioned that my winter bike is an old hybrid/city bike with 26" wheels. I'm looking at the 26 x 1.9" w160s or w106s. I thought about the extreme 294s briefly but it's just more than i want to spend.

My old Schwinn touring bike with 27 x 1 1/4 is in the garage for the winter unless the forecast is especially nice.
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Old 11-20-18, 09:53 PM
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The 45NRTH Gravdals are worth a look.
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Old 11-21-18, 08:02 AM
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I have the 160, 240, and 295.

I have found that I only use them under specific conditions, and would rather ride a traditional tire if I can.

Personally, all of them are too narrow to work if its rutted – something like a 4” tire at 7psi is needed if the path has been walked on or driven on much. Althought they are listed as different sizes (1.9” on up for 26” wheel), they all have a pretty narrow carcass of about 42mm. So, I can’t go super low on pressure. The “wider” sizes do have huge lugs that require more clearance, but the carcass is still pretty small.

I think the 160 works fine for commuting (if its not too rutted). I can slide on them, but they are super easy to catch and control in a slide. It cuts through deep snow, and the tread pattern works great in snow, while the studs keep it safe. Higher pressure allows me to ride mostly on rubber only, while lower pressure allows me to keep the studs on the pavement.

I’m thinking the 106 would be good if you didn’t really need studs, but just wanted a margin of safety for occasional glare ice.



I don’t like the 295s, unless I’m in a blizzard (where they can be lots of fun). They have huge amounts of traction on ice. I enjoy riding them on frozen lakes, where under high torque, my bike will pull a wheelie rather than spin. The are a blast on a lake. But commuting, not so much. Very heavy and slow and cumbersome.

The 240 – this tire isn’t good at anything, but has the negatives of the 295 and the 160. I guess if you are really paranoid about any slippage they are good as they don’t slide like the 160.

Here is an idea -put more studs on the front tire than the rear. I do sometimes ride the 240 up front and the 160 in the rear. This gives me solid steering and turning, but less rolling resistance. Remember the rear tire takes twice as much load, all of the torque, and presumably twice the rolling resistance. You could try the 160 front and 106 rear if you wanted a faster cheaper combo.
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Old 11-21-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
The 45NRTH Gravdals are worth a look.
They do look good. Thanks!
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Old 11-21-18, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
I have the 160, 240, and 295.

I have found that I only use them under specific conditions, and would rather ride a traditional tire if I can.

Personally, all of them are too narrow to work if its rutted Ė something like a 4Ē tire at 7psi is needed if the path has been walked on or driven on much. Althought they are listed as different sizes (1.9Ē on up for 26Ē wheel), they all have a pretty narrow carcass of about 42mm. So, I canít go super low on pressure. The ďwiderĒ sizes do have huge lugs that require more clearance, but the carcass is still pretty small.

I think the 160 works fine for commuting (if its not too rutted). I can slide on them, but they are super easy to catch and control in a slide. It cuts through deep snow, and the tread pattern works great in snow, while the studs keep it safe. Higher pressure allows me to ride mostly on rubber only, while lower pressure allows me to keep the studs on the pavement.

Iím thinking the 106 would be good if you didnít really need studs, but just wanted a margin of safety for occasional glare ice.



I donít like the 295s, unless Iím in a blizzard (where they can be lots of fun). They have huge amounts of traction on ice. I enjoy riding them on frozen lakes, where under high torque, my bike will pull a wheelie rather than spin. The are a blast on a lake. But commuting, not so much. Very heavy and slow and cumbersome.

The 240 Ė this tire isnít good at anything, but has the negatives of the 295 and the 160. I guess if you are really paranoid about any slippage they are good as they donít slide like the 160.

Here is an idea -put more studs on the front tire than the rear. I do sometimes ride the 240 up front and the 160 in the rear. This gives me solid steering and turning, but less rolling resistance. Remember the rear tire takes twice as much load, all of the torque, and presumably twice the rolling resistance. You could try the 160 front and 106 rear if you wanted a faster cheaper combo.
Thanks! Great information!
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Old 12-04-18, 09:22 AM
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My 26" Gravdals are on their way from Universal Cycles. Can't wait to try them out! We just got a new bike ramp in da 'Burgh connecting two nice sections of MUP along my morning commute. I've had to skip it a few times in favor of the old on-road route because of some early snow and ice here. Won't have to skip it anymore!
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Old 12-04-18, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by clengman View Post
My 26" Gravdals are on their way from Universal Cycles. Can't wait to try them out! We just got a new bike ramp in da 'Burgh connecting two nice sections of MUP along my morning commute. I've had to skip it a few times in favor of the old on-road route because of some early snow and ice here. Won't have to skip it anymore!
The 26 version? Do be sure to post back about how they work out. Let me know if they measure out to 2.0" as advertised. I probably won't get a set this winter, but I do have a 26er bike and have thought often about trying the 26er Gravdals on it.
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Old 12-04-18, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
The 26 version? Do be sure to post back about how they work out. Let me know if they measure out to 2.0" as advertised. I probably won't get a set this winter, but I do have a 26er bike and have thought often about trying the 26er Gravdals on it.
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Old 12-26-18, 09:28 AM
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Santa came so I was finally able to try out my new studded tires. No snow or ice currently in Pittsburgh so I can't comment on poor weather traction yet.

The rim width on this bike is ~1". This is a little narrow for these tires, but it's what I've got. The tires measure 2.1 inches pretty much on the dot on these rims.

I don't know if this is a common problem, but I did have trouble mounting one of the two tires. They are easy to get on and off the rims, I didn't need to use levers, but when I filled the rear tire, it blew off the rim. I let the air out, remounted it, tried again and again it blew off the rim. The third time, I filled it partially (maybe 10 lbs?) and did some pinching and twisting all the way around the tire to see if there was any particular spot where the bead wasn't seating properly. I didn't really see any obvious problems so filled it up to 50 lbs and it stayed seated this time. Hope it doesn't surprise me some day.

Ride quality and rolling on dry pavement is a little worse than on my previous tires. Before this I was using Bontrager 26x1.95 "Comfort/Hybrid" tires. They are slick in the center and have some small tread blocks on the edges. I always found them to be heavy and slow to start rolling from a stop, but they roll smoothly once I get going and they're pretty comfy when filled to 45-50 lbs. I only have one short ride on the Gravdals so far. They feel a little heavier (but not much heavier) than my Bontrager tires. They're a little noisy and there's a little vibration, but I'd say the increase in effort to maintain my 15 mph commute cruising speed is minimal.

The only other thing I've noticed is that they handle much differently in turns than my previous tires. With my old tires I found that straight line handling a was a little... loose? but when leaning deeply into a turn, they would tend to push me back upright a little bit. The Gravdals have more of a crown in the center. Riding in a straight line, they seem to hold the line tighter (must be something to do with the pattern of tread blocks in the center). When I lean into a turn, at a certain point they almost seem to pitch me further into the turn. Probably a transition as I lean from rolling mostly on the oval tread block pattern in the center to the slightly sloped portion of the tread just to either side of the center. I don't think it's a bad thing, just something to get used to.

They seem good so far. I'll report back when I've had a chance to try them for what they're meant to do. Hoping for some winter weather soon!

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Old 12-28-18, 07:56 AM
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My neighbor got a set for Christmas, and I had a chance to go up and down the block on them. I didn't notice any issues around steering or being pitched into a turn. However, I wasn't heeled over too far either. We had some slick patches of slush still on the street, and I didn't stray far from the vertical. Nice tires, and too bad there's not a 650b x 47 version of them.
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