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Schwalbe Tires - studded and general

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Schwalbe Tires - studded and general

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Old 01-12-19, 09:07 PM
  #76  
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We finally got some measurable snow today, about 3” of it. I used a household need for an excuse to run to the convenience store a couple blocks away and after I got back rode around the neighborhood a bunch. The MWPs did pretty well. Through fresh snow they did great up to about 2” but over 3” they got a little squirrely. I never fell but had to put my foot down once taking a sharp corner. I tried riding through some of the plowed stuff on the side of the road, about 6” deep over wet grass and I had to stop. It was a little dicier navigating tire tracks from cars especially over the already rough pavement in our neighborhood, the tire tracks aren’t straight so you’re always going over them and back and forth across them and despite never falling it FELT like I was going to fall so I have little confidence in riding roads in that sort of condition. I doubt anything but a fat bike would feel solid going over and through that stuff. The tires never gave but I did end up airing them down to 40psi which did seem to offer some improvement on the hardpack. It’s cool to know that these tires CAN handle unplowed roads, but if I were to spend any more time on unplowed surfaces I’d want a fatter tire. I think 3” of snow is about the limit for these but man they sure do well. I actually tried the streets with a pair of knobby 32s before I put the studs back on. They did passably well getting moving and going straight but cornering and braking, forget about it.
I didn’t set out to make this a review but as it’s my first winter commuting I wanted to make some notes.
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Old 01-12-19, 09:35 PM
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I agree. 1" - 3" is the sweet spot. & ruts stink, for sure. I'll take the right tire track of plowed smooth paved road over that for sure.
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Old 01-15-19, 09:39 AM
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Brown sugar - that nasty mix of snow/salt/sand - no bueno. I doubt there's a bike tire out there that would excel in that stuff. The MWPs put forth a valiant effort and indeed I still haven't fallen, but that brown sugar stuff is nasty. I'd recommend avoiding whenever possible.
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Old 01-15-19, 10:01 AM
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Adding the puncture protection reduced the tread wear-;life because it displaced the outer layer thickness..
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Old 01-15-19, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Adding the puncture protection reduced the tread wear-;life because it displaced the outer layer thickness..
I guess we shall see. I only have about 200 miles on them so far. I suppose at the price point I could feasibly replace them every few years.
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Old 01-16-19, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I agree. 1" - 3" is the sweet spot. & ruts stink, for sure. I'll take the right tire track of plowed smooth paved road over that for sure.
Just going to throw this out there again, but why aren't people trying super skinny tires in the snow? Yes, I can understand the need for studs on ice, but for regular snow the conventional wisdom is as skinny as possible.

I recently put some 23mm tires I had lying around on my foul weather bike, and when it snowed last month some guy (with an accent) said, "I see you have your snow tires on." I wasn't in the mood to chat, so I only nodded, but I was thinking, 'Ok, this dude has a clue...' They worked very well given the conditions.
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Old 01-16-19, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Just going to throw this out there again, but why aren't people trying super skinny tires in the snow? Yes, I can understand the need for studs on ice, but for regular snow the conventional wisdom is as skinny as possible.

I recently put some 23mm tires I had lying around on my foul weather bike, and when it snowed last month some guy (with an accent) said, "I see you have your snow tires on." I wasn't in the mood to chat, so I only nodded, but I was thinking, 'Ok, this dude has a clue...' They worked very well given the conditions.
I agree. my 1st studded commuting tires were 32mm. I think that's as narrow as they come. they were more than adequate. reminds me also of Wifey's '84? Toyota Tercel which had "pencil thin" tires. she lived on a hill when we met & I distinctly remember having to move her car for alternate side of the street parking & it never got stuck w/ those regular 13" highway tires
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Old 01-16-19, 04:07 PM
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So, what's the verdict a month or so into the Marathon Winter Plus?
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Old 01-16-19, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Just going to throw this out there again, but why aren't people trying super skinny tires in the snow? Yes, I can understand the need for studs on ice, but for regular snow the conventional wisdom is as skinny as possible.

I recently put some 23mm tires I had lying around on my foul weather bike, and when it snowed last month some guy (with an accent) said, "I see you have your snow tires on." I wasn't in the mood to chat, so I only nodded, but I was thinking, 'Ok, this dude has a clue...' They worked very well given the conditions.
I for one find it pretty hard to believe you’ve asked the question here before and never been given an answer.
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Old 01-16-19, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
So, what's the verdict a month or so into the Marathon Winter Plus?
I like em. They don’t defy the laws of physics, but I didn’t expect them to.
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Old 01-16-19, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
I for one find it pretty hard to believe you’ve asked the question here before and never been given an answer.
Believe my friend, believe it. There was little to no discussion last time, with the whole fat bike thing leading some to believe that bigger is somehow better...
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Old 01-16-19, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Believe my friend, believe it. There was little to no discussion last time, with the whole fat bike thing leading some to believe that bigger is somehow better...
Better start your own thread about it then. I’m not about to try it. It makes zero sense for me.
1) at combined weight of 230lbs (me, bike, luggage) I’d have to run them at some absurd pressure like 140psi. I’m not riding anything at 140psi over rough pavement for an hour twice daily
2) 25mm tires don’t hold up to the rough pavement, potholes and gravel on my commute, and perform poorly in loose sand which I encounter occasionally - more
often in the winter. I can’t imagine a 23mm would offer any improvement.
3) I already have studded tires for ice and hardpack - why would I take them off for snow? It doesn’t take an hour for any snow on the road to become hardpack due to motor vehicle traffic. After hardpack comes “brown sugar” over the hardpack. My studded tires barely handle the brown sugar stuff.

I won‘t use 23mm tires for anything, much less my commute. It would be borderline stupidity for me personally to install them to ride in snow. The only type of snow they’ll work marginally well on is fresh powder on top of a dry road. That barely ever happens here, I don’t know about elsewhere. I guess I’m wondering - try using 23mm tires as opposed to what? And to what end?
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Old 01-16-19, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Just going to throw this out there again, but why aren't people trying super skinny tires in the snow? Yes, I can understand the need for studs on ice, but for regular snow the conventional wisdom is as skinny as possible.

I recently put some 23mm tires I had lying around on my foul weather bike, and when it snowed last month some guy (with an accent) said, "I see you have your snow tires on." I wasn't in the mood to chat, so I only nodded, but I was thinking, 'Ok, this dude has a clue...' They worked very well given the conditions.
Because running 23mm slicks during winter would be stupidity, there are way too many road hazards, including huge cracks and potholes in the pavement.... The smallest tires I use is around 30-32mm touring tires or cx tires with aggressive tread or a 38mm tire with studs when the conditions are very bad....Speed isn't a priority during winter...the priority is safety.
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Old 01-17-19, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Because running 23mm slicks during winter would be stupidity, there are way too many road hazards, including huge cracks and potholes in the pavement.... The smallest tires I use is around 30-32mm touring tires or cx tires with aggressive tread or a 38mm tire with studs when the conditions are very bad....Speed isn't a priority during winter...the priority is safety.
I run 23-622s year 'round and thankfully there's no snow/ice in southern England. But I purposefully ran 50-559s in Germany on my MTB that I ran in the snow. As you state, it just makes a lot of sense due to getting sucked into urban hazards. Tram/streetcar tracks, gaps between sheet metal / cracks, etc... running 23s on anything but smooth tarmac is a recipe for disaster.

Usually I agree with with @robertorolfo states, but this is slightly weird and (s)he is an urban area (metro NYC), which makes the comment even more strange.

Perhaps it's too early in the morning.
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Old 01-18-19, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
2) 25mm tires don’t hold up to the rough pavement, potholes and gravel on my commute, and perform poorly in loose sand which I encounter occasionally - more
often in the winter. I can’t imagine a 23mm would offer any improvement.
3) I already have studded tires for ice and hardpack - why would I take them off for snow? It doesn’t take an hour for any snow on the road to become hardpack due to motor vehicle traffic. After hardpack comes “brown sugar” over the hardpack. My studded tires barely handle the brown sugar stuff.

I won‘t use 23mm tires for anything, much less my commute. It would be borderline stupidity for me personally to install them to ride in snow. The only type of snow they’ll work marginally well on is fresh powder on top of a dry road.
What do you mean your 25mm tires don't hold up? Are they blowing out often? Are your rims getting damaged often? I have a set of 25mm Vittoria Rubino Pro Controls that have been pretty darn tough so far (knock on wood).

And my initial comment was in response to a couple of suggestions that riding in snow more than 3" or so deep was a limit. My comment revolved around the idea that you would want something to cut through fresh snow, and thinner tires are good for that. Yes, it assumed you be riding on pavement underneath that snow, as I figured most of our commutes were on pavement.

I also don't understand all the comments showing concern about 23mm tires in general. There is the implication that they are super sensitive to the slightest road imperfections, but I'm not sure if this is the case. Also, I don't know about you guys, but I generally become familiar with the road surface characteristics of the routes I regularly travel (such as a commute). When my commute used to involve tram tracks and slick cobblestones, I always made sure to plan in advance for my approach and preferred path.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:23 PM
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@robertorolfo , try a Citi Bike in snow. You'll see how wide tires are better. I'll even loan you my key if you want. That way, we would get to meet.
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Old 01-18-19, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post

I also don't understand all the comments showing concern about 23mm tires in general.
23mm slicks are not designed for serious winter riding....A much better alternative would be a 32-35mm cx tire with aggressive tread...If there is ice, then studded tires are the only way to go...Personally I wouldn't use 23's even in summer time, I prefer a minimum of 28mm.
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Old 01-18-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
What do you mean your 25mm tires don't hold up? Are they blowing out often? Are your rims getting damaged often? I have a set of 25mm Vittoria Rubino Pro Controls that have been pretty darn tough so far (knock on wood).

And my initial comment was in response to a couple of suggestions that riding in snow more than 3" or so deep was a limit. My comment revolved around the idea that you would want something to cut through fresh snow, and thinner tires are good for that. Yes, it assumed you be riding on pavement underneath that snow, as I figured most of our commutes were on pavement.

I also don't understand all the comments showing concern about 23mm tires in general. There is the implication that they are super sensitive to the slightest road imperfections, but I'm not sure if this is the case. Also, I don't know about you guys, but I generally become familiar with the road surface characteristics of the routes I regularly travel (such as a commute). When my commute used to involve tram tracks and slick cobblestones, I always made sure to plan in advance for my approach and preferred path.
I got a lot of snake bites using 25s, even being kept at 120 psi max. Because they handled poorly on gravel and over loose sand, I didn’t see the logic in exploring different options of 25mm tires, I just moved to wider tires and the snake bites stopped.

Fresh snow over dry, clean, smooth pavement is quite different than snow that’s been partially plowed and packed by traffic over rough pavement with patchy ice underneath the snow. The conditions you indicate are fleeting and transitory at best. Around here, that pretty much represents the very first snowfall and nothing else. The presence of even 1” of untouched snow hinders the ability to observe and interpret road conditions. There are some extremely rough patches of my commute including a rail crossing where I can (and must) plan ahead and pick my line but my commute is 12 miles each way. I will never have every pothole memorized. There is a lot of housing development that happens along my route with a lot of heavy construction traffic that goes with it, and there is new debris sort of constantly being tracked onto the road as a result. Large chunks of mud, gravel, big rocks, and trash. Horse drawn carriage traffic. The horses go when they need to and it ends up in the middle of the lane. When it freezes, it becomes hard as rock. Covered in snow, it’s invisible and impossible to avoid. Potholes become filled with packed snow and debris and a blanket of fresh snow conceals them. The rougher the surface and the heavier the vehicle, the wider the tire needs to be. Even if my route were short, smooth, and clean, why would I choose a 23mm tire over a studded winter tire when there’s snow on the road? What is to be gained? If there’s 3” of unplowed snow on the roads, I’m not commuting in it. If it’s too slippery for motor vehicles to safely operate, it’s too slippery for me to be on the road with them, whether I have good traction or not. There are zero miles of bike lane or MUP on my commute, the entirety is on the road in the lane excepting a one mile stretch of a 50mph limit 4 lane divided arterial that interchanges with the interstate bypass that has a full 8-10’ wide shoulder that I use. If there’s 3” of snow, it’s hard work plowing through it, it would turn my one hour commute into a 90 minute or longer workout session surrounded by vehicles sliding around. No thanks. I don’t think that the length of my commute is typical, but the surface conditions I encounter are common enough.
I wouldn’t recommend a 23mm tire to anybody for commuting use in general, let alone for a snow covered one. The presence of snow doesn’t remove or change what’s underneath it. It just makes it invisible.
As I stated earlier, it’s probably best to start your own thread about it. This particular thread I started to discuss the characteristics of Schwalbe tires and provide some feedback on real world application of the studded ones that I purchased and have been using. I’m satisfied enough that despite your glowing recommendation of 23mm tires in deep snow, I plan to keep using the ones that I have, and staying off the road when snow is deep. I can wait until the roads have been plowed. It’s usually less than 24 hours after the snowfall ends.

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Old 01-18-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
23mm slicks are not designed for serious winter riding....A much better alternative would be a 32-35mm cx tire with aggressive tread...If there is ice, then studded tires are the only way to go...Personally I wouldn't use 23's even in summer time, I prefer a minimum of 28mm.
Agreed. Here is what I’ve been using this winter when roads haven’t been icy. Despite being sort of a cheap tire, they have excellent traction wet, dry, clean, and dirty. I haven’t had any punctures yet, but I expect a nail or something will find its way through soon enough. They do really well through mud and sand.

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Old 01-18-19, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@robertorolfo , try a Citi Bike in snow. You'll see how wide tires are better. I'll even loan you my key if you want. That way, we would get to meet.
Yeah, we gotta meet up at some point. Any events or notable excuses coming up?
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Old 01-20-19, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by robertorolfo View Post
Yeah, we gotta meet up at some point. Any events or notable excuses coming up?
I'll email you.
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Old 03-05-19, 09:42 AM
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Thought I'd check in with a pseudo-update.

The MWP are still great tires for winter conditions. We're (hopefully) nearing the end of the season and every time I've needed to have them on the bike I've not been disappointed. However, that's only probably been a dozen commuting days, or maybe a couple hundred miles tops. The remainder of the time I've ridden the knobby kendas (pictured a couple posts above). They've also done very well, very good grip in all other non-slick winter road conditions.

I rode my old beater Raleigh to work last Thursday or Friday (can't remember which) with some lighter 27" x 1 1/4 slicks and the difference in weight and rolling resistance (and fatigue at the end of afternoon commute) was very noticeable. I'll be purchasing my spring/summer tires for my main commuter bike soon, and I doubt I'll be looking for heavy/armored tires. I like that I don't have to worry about flats with the Schwalbes (and evidently also the Kendas - I haven't had a flat all winter!), but I carry a pump and spare tube on every commute and my work schedule is flexible enough I don't have to worry about being late because I had to change a tube - all that is to say that I'm pretty sure I'll be headed in a light/supple direction.

This has been my first full winter commuting by bike. I did't ride when temps were below 10 or when the roads were too slick for cars, which means December thru end of February I only rode 900 miles total, but every mile was on tires that weighed between 800g/pc (Kendas) and 1000g/pc (Schwalbes). I think the Schwalbes actually feel a little more lively than the Kendas but that quality is sort of lost with the application of studs. For me, that's a lot of miles on heavy, dead tires. I'll take something in the neighborhood of 400g or less, I think for warm weather riding. I've still never tried Paselas, and I think the skinwalls would look cool on my bike.
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Old 03-06-19, 12:28 PM
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@Phamilton, I think Paselas are a great value. We can recommend some even better tires if you're willing to spend more.

No matter what tires you have, you still have to carry stuff for fixing a flat. I carry a tube, pump, and patch kit. I haven't had two flats in a day, so I haven't needed my patch kit on the road, but I'm ready.
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