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Thin(ish) cross tires in snow?

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Thin(ish) cross tires in snow?

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Old 01-15-18, 07:35 AM
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12strings
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Thin(ish) cross tires in snow?

Thinking about today's weather in The Midwest (Indiana)...If the roads have snow, much of it packed, but no ice...how are 30-33mm cyclocross tires going to fair?

Doable, sketchy, or "don't try it!"?
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Old 01-15-18, 07:46 AM
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dabac
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If the snow is too hard for the treads to leave an imprint, then studded are the way to go.
If the tires do leave an imprint, but doesn’t bog down, then they’re good to go.
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Old 01-15-18, 08:16 AM
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try them & see! wutz the worst that can happen?
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Old 01-15-18, 08:26 AM
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There are so many variables that I think it's best to try for yourself and see how things play out in your local conditions. It's not just about studs. Having a winter rubber compound and a winter tread pattern also matter.

I like what dabac says about tread leaving an imprint.
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Old 01-15-18, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
try them & see! wutz the worst that can happen?
Lose traction, slide sideways into a fast moving car, get injured but not killed, then slowly freeze to death...?
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Old 01-15-18, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 12strings View Post
Lose traction, slide sideways into a fast moving car, get injured but not killed, then slowly freeze to death...?
can you bring your bike somewhere w less traffic?
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Old 01-15-18, 02:05 PM
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well i only know if the race course is snowy cyclo cross racing authorities wont allow studded tires ..

but they are not dealing with any traffic but each other..
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Old 01-15-18, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
well i only know if the race course is snowy cyclo cross racing authorities wont allow studded tires ..

but they are not dealing with any traffic but each other..
Do they have ice on those courses? Or is it mainly snow on top of dirt?

Just am curious.
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Old 01-15-18, 02:41 PM
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I used to commute in snow and ice with 30mm cyclocross tires. I thought they had better traction in most circumstances than wider MTB knobby tires because the narrow width allowed the tires to cut into the snow. Snow tires on cars are generally narrow for the same reason.

Obviously a road tire would cut into the snow even better, but would have no forward traction.
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Old 01-17-18, 10:11 AM
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My commuter is a 26" fully rigid mtb, and I've tried various types of tyres for winter commuting. I used 26x2.3 Conti Baron enduro tyre in the front + 26x2.10 Maxxis Ignitor in the back, which were good for the days when there were blizzards and uncleaned paths with deep snow, frozen ruts and footprints. Then I could lower the pressure and have extra grip.
But then I got my current commuter MTB with some old 26x1.95 tyres that used to come with all 90s era bikes as stock tyres (still do with cheap bikes, they look like Kenda K831) and I was surprised that for my conditions (similar to yours) they fared very, very well. I could confidently ride on hard-packed snow. They even cut through snowbanks and rather deep snow and shed water and slush effectively thanks to the aggressive tread pattern and wide spacing between the knobs.
If you generally ride on hard-packed snow, do not have to tackle deep snow on paths that are shared with pedestrians (footprints in the snow are a nightmare to ride through) and the worst case scenario for you is slush and occasional frozen puddles, I would say that the best tyre size is 26x1.75 up to 26x2.00 with an aggressive tread pattern. I think that aggressive CX tyres, such as Schwalbe CX Pro (I want to try these out for a winter commuter), Michelin Cyclocross Mud and other similar ones should do fine.
The width of the tyre comes into play when you have to tackle frozen ruts, footprints in deep snow, etc. In that case, the wider the tyre is, the better. In my opinion, in your riding conditions, aggressive tread pattern with small, high and quite spaced out knobs is more important.
And don't forget about puncture protection. I've never used CX tyres and I do not know a lot about them, but it seems like they lack decent protection and their sidewalls are very thin. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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Old 01-17-18, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Do they have ice on those courses? Or is it mainly snow on top of dirt?

Just am curious.

I have an old UCI cyclocross world championship video [ Commercial VHS ] showing snow on the course.. 1996.. it was not covering the whole course..

I was not there, but looked like there were some off camber corners, in the shade, that stayed frozen , so as to cause a lot of crashes.





remember unlike NASCAR , Europeans race motor cars in the rain, too



...

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Old 01-17-18, 10:58 AM
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My winter/touring bike has 32mm Schwalbe Marathon Supremes on it.
I never intended to deliberately ride in snow, but one evening when I was 15 miles from home it began snowing like hell.
To my pleasant surprise, they stick to the snow remarkably well, (and it was 2" deep by the time I got home).
It seems as if that rubber has an affinity for snow.
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Old 01-19-18, 02:29 PM
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I survived my first winter in western Wisconsin on 700x30 cross tires, used for (short) daily commutes and a bit of recreational riding.

IME, they did well in warmer sludge/slush and light snow, okay on flat snowpack, and poorly on rutted ice. Over the course of about four months of snow and ice, I went down twice. I wouldn't do another winter up here without studded tires, but in warmer regions, the cross tires would be decent.
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Old 01-19-18, 02:45 PM
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I rode 5 winters in Boston and Ann Arbor years ago on cyclocross sewups. No idea what the widths were as that nomenclature didn't exist yet. (Probably did, but was never to be seen on any tire or packaging.) I used the tires with the low profile diamond point tread as they offered the best all around pattern. (More aggressive tread on sheet ice was really bad! I dind't own a car. That mattered.)

I did well on those tires, most of the time. Snow was occasionally unridable esp deep heavy and deeply rutted New england snow before the first plow. Likewise sometimes ice. But I always got there.

In fresh snow, those tires were really good. They cut to the pavement nicely. One of my all-time favorite rides was in a fresh 6" in the very early morning. 12 miles. Silent. No cars. Started work at 7; one of the very few in almost on time. (Going home was a different story.)

The drawback to narrow clinchers (of whatever type) is that you cannot drop the tire pressure as much as is good in those conditions because you will pinch flat. Those cross sewups didn't. My rims would be square by March, but I usually had no flats over the winter.

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Old 01-19-18, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
Do they have ice on those courses? Or is it mainly snow on top of dirt?

Just am curious.
It's cyclocross. Weather happens. Races are not called because of it. The season runs from September to February. Northern Europe is where it has thrived. There is probably no winter condition cross races haven't been run in. Courses usually include some pavement, some mud or sand (if available) and trails; either made for other purposes or created by bikes over fields, through woods and over hills. Perhaps some bridges.

So "do they have ice on those courses?" You have to show up and see. Part of the game is that the course may change a lot over the course of the race if the weather is either warming or cooling plus what the bikes are doing to it.

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Old 01-21-18, 02:16 PM
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I did plenty of distance in snow on a single speed with 700x30 shwalbe cx pro tires last winter. I found them much better in relatively fresh snow than my studded 35s.
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Old 01-22-18, 08:15 AM
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It depends so much more on the surface than the tires, with the surface existing in any state between slush and solid ice. You want to either cut through to the road consistently, or ride on the snow surface without digging in consistently. The problem and loss of control is when you ride on top but break in occasionally. Until you are in fat bike territory (never breaking through) it is a wash. The same set of tires will work perfectly one day and lousy the next.
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Old 01-22-18, 09:24 AM
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breaking thru is no fun. took a pic so I would remember the hazard. last winter, rear wheel broke thru 2" of ice into a void underneath, got me wobbling so much I had to dump the bike, but I stayed on my feet

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Old 01-29-18, 09:23 AM
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btw had decent luck w the Riddlers last year in granular snow (late winter, early spring)





but not this year on shear ice. bike slipped out from under me twice





had to retire it for the studded bike
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Old 01-29-18, 09:39 AM
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rumrunn6 those are amazing photos, and I'd give my eye teeth for a nice long stretch of sheer ice like you have in that one photo. We had a little bit of those conditions on Saturday, and I found some ice like that in a few parking lots. But a long road of it, that'd be amazingly fun. Studs for sure. I tested some winter-specific tires that are studless, and they are no match for glare ice.
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Old 01-29-18, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
nice long stretch of sheer ice like you have in that one photo
there was a better stretch that was flat. it was under a cpl inches of water but it was flat as a mirror & so fast & fun. see the 2 tire tracks, here

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Old 01-29-18, 03:33 PM
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Snow without ice? Only for the first day. Studs for me in MA. Cheaping out seems good until your first pavement slam. YRMV.
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Old 01-31-18, 07:07 PM
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My winter commuter is running 700c, 35mm Schwalbe Rapid Rob, non studded. In 2 years I've hit the ground once due to sloppy rear braking at slow speeds. For the most part I deal with packed snow, but there are certainly icy sections. Studs are the way to go if grip is the primary concern, but they don't ride as nice as bare pavement. Considering I am in MN and you are in IN I think you'd be OK with 30-32s. Mind the pressure.
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