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Regular knobbies (mud tires) for winter riding?

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Regular knobbies (mud tires) for winter riding?

Old 10-16-19, 07:41 AM
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subgrade
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Regular knobbies (mud tires) for winter riding?

Hello all,

Iím thinking of getting a new set of tires for riding in the upcoming winter months. Mostly commuting in the city with a few weekend rides inbetween. I do not intend on gettting studded tires, as I rarely encounter actual ice, so itís hard to justify the added cost, weight, noise and harsher ride of studded tires. Most of the time it will be slush, snow or wet asphalt.

I have been riding in winter on most sorts of tires, and have been able to have reasonable amount of control with most of them, including low thread commuter tire like Schwalbe Delta Cruiser. However, MTB type tires have been working better overall, so Iím contemplating getting me some knobbies. What do you think what type of thread would suit me best?
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Old 10-16-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Hello all,

Iím thinking of getting a new set of tires for riding in the upcoming winter months. Mostly commuting in the city with a few weekend rides inbetween. I do not intend on gettting studded tires, as I rarely encounter actual ice, so itís hard to justify the added cost, weight, noise and harsher ride of studded tires. Most of the time it will be slush, snow or wet asphalt.

I have been riding in winter on most sorts of tires, and have been able to have reasonable amount of control with most of them, including low thread commuter tire like Schwalbe Delta Cruiser. However, MTB type tires have been working better overall, so Iím contemplating getting me some knobbies. What do you think what type of thread would suit me best?
https://www.icebike.org/the-ultimate...studded-tires/
This article discusses winter tires studded and otherwise, the deal with knobbies are wide spaced deep lugs that eject mud and snow instead of letting it build up, rubber gets harder when it gets colder, European vehicle tires use compounds that allow them to stay supple as temps drop, same goes for winter tires. Softer sticky compounds work best, higher thread count and protection belts of kevlar or vectran help too, the other consideration is tire pressure, lower tends to be better, this is where tubeless helps versus a tube subject to pinching.
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Old 10-16-19, 11:07 AM
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Thanks, I saw that article before posting this thread

My point was that
In many instances normal mountain bike tires work fairly well for winter riding
and
On road riding, such commuting, can be done for the most part on regular tires, although some work better than others.

I was just hoping someone could give more specific advice - like some specific tire models and their experience with them in winter conditions.
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Old 10-16-19, 11:37 AM
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Yeah, curious myself. Also thinking about some knobbies for winter.
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Old 10-16-19, 02:25 PM
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what size? what bike?
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Old 10-16-19, 04:12 PM
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If they are 26" these should do.

https://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Mount...orr&th=1&psc=1
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Old 10-16-19, 04:19 PM
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What you need is an aggressive mountain bike tire with big knobs made from softer rubber. Look at brands like Schwalbe and Maxxis..The softer the rubber the better it will grip in winter but the rolling resistance will also be much higher...Keep in mind that a good quality mountain bike tire designed for specific conditions can cost as much or even more than some winter specific tires.
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Old 10-17-19, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
what size? what bike?
hybrid, 28/29 inch wheels (622x19mm rims, clearance for up to 29x2.0, although I'd prefer 38-42mm width)


Originally Posted by baldilocks View Post
I have seen cheap CST tires in my needed size (700x42) with identical thread; If nothing better comes along, might just get these. The selection for widths below 2.1" is somewhat limited but there still are some options.
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Old 10-17-19, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
hybrid, 28/29 inch wheels (622x19mm rims, clearance for up to 29x2.0, although I'd prefer 38-42mm width)
if you're willing to consider 33mm there are some beefy cyclocross tires like the

Donnelly Tires BOS Tubeless Ready Cyclocross Tire

more here

I've used wide & narrow tires thru snow, narrow is definitely better at digging down to terra ferma

looking at their "gravel" tires, this one looks beefy Continental AT Ride 700 x 42mm Gravel Tire

more here
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Old 10-21-19, 02:56 AM
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I never had any problem with regular knobbies. But there was always a fear of hitting ice or black ice. So I bought the least expensive pair of 26 inch studded tires I could find, and they kept me riding till February. At that point, there was so much snow, I had to switch to driving. Much of the side of the street had large berms of snow, and there wasn't enough real estate to share with the cars.

https://www.ebay.com/i/233168671820?chn=ps&var=532651157471&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=532651157471_233168671820&targetid=475515018701&device=c&mktype=pla&googleloc=90162 77&campaignid=6470048288&mkgroupid=79220201682&rlsatarget=aud-497631946031la-475515018701&abcId=1141186&merchantid=113498735&gclid=Cj0KCQjwrrXtBRCKARIsAMbU6bED9OWFnIfM2I5DriU8aR 09t3aswNsUWPwqsfVJRkwrtmHcOC4lyxkaAjaUEALw_wcB
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Old 10-21-19, 03:03 AM
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The winter of 2017-18 (referred to as Snowmageddon around here due to the really intense and heavy wet snow that brought down buildings and killed people left and right in those collapses) was the first time I wouldn't ride PERIOD. Knobbies are normally no real problem, especially if you keep on the fresher patches that haven't been compacted and melted/refrozen and even then didn't attempt to power through.

It was MURDER then.
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Old 10-23-19, 03:33 PM
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The Schwalbe "Classic" (HS series) line has some good tires for light snow. They have decent tread with some depth, but aren't designed specifically for winter riding. The Marathon Mondial has good tread, but I've read that it's wet grip isn't the best. I haven't personally tried that tire. The Marathon GT 265 is Schwalbe's "4-season" tire that has good wet reviews. Again, I haven't tried that model.

For Continentals, the GP 4 season seems lacking in tread for anything other than just wet. Their touring tires have good reviews as well (I've only really used the GPs on my recumbent, and really liked them for street riding, but wouldn't want them in the winter, and the wet weather performance was marginal.) I am thinking I'll probably order a Conti All Terrain for the rear of my velo when it starts getting snowy.
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Old 10-23-19, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
hybrid, 28/29 inch wheels (622x19mm rims, clearance for up to 29x2.0, although I'd prefer 38-42mm width)
Get some CX tires with aggressive tread...Schwalbe CX PRO 700x30 is a very good tire for winter riding. It's a skinny tire only 30mm wide but it has very good traction and grip in all types of conditions, including snow and slush. It also rolls very fast on pavement.
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Old 10-23-19, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Get some CX tires with aggressive tread...Schwalbe CX PRO 700x30 is a very good tire for winter riding. It's a skinny tire only 30mm wide but it has very good traction and grip in all types of conditions, including snow and slush. It also rolls very fast on pavement.
I can vouch for this tire as well, especially in the conditions the OP describes.
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Old 11-01-19, 08:52 AM
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Here in Montreal, the winter bike community mostly prefers skinnier, knobby tires over wider. The theory behind: You cut through fresh snow to the asphalt and don't swim up. This works fine for 10-20 cm of snow on the bike lanes.

Since studded tyres don't fit under my fenders (max. is officially 28mm, and 30mm 45Nrth Xerxes are too high), I use some old Vredestein Premiato 30 which do not exist anymore, but they are very similar to Schwalbe CX Pro (30mm). And that CX Pro is basically the standard, non-studded tyre here.

Over smaller patches of ice I just roll over, in medium high snow they work well. Saw wide tyres MTBs struggeling while I just zipped by one these! And the CX Pro aren't crazy expensive. Of course a slick is faster, but you don't really want a slick in snow...

I heard also good things about the Conti Top Contact Winter, which works well without spikes, but haven't tried it...
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Old 11-02-19, 11:52 AM
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One thing that hit me while shopping for tires for my car. I've heard a few different times that car tires are designed to let snow pack in the tread cuz they say "snow on snow" gives you better traction. Seems a bit counter-intuitive but it also sort of makes sense. I'm not sure how that would translate to bikes.

I plan on riding my wife's cruiser mostly this winter because I don't really have any extra money right now. And we'll see if her cruiser tires work well. I would think they'd let the snow pack in between the treads somewhat. But I could also see with bikes it might just get TOO packed in there and then you have to knock it off in order to actually ride.... I guess it depends on a few things like how wet the snow is and all that.

Her bike is the only one with fenders right now. I could put my fenders back on but my gearing is higher than I want and her bike has gears. They are both cruisers. I can also ride either of my kids bikes but neither is ideal. Their both mountain bikes but I put like street tires on my son's. There is some tread but it's very flat. My duaghters bike has good Kenda tires but they're super old and I don't think there's much stickyness left to them. My wifes bike has the newest tires and I have a feeling cruiser tires might work well.

Or maybe not. If not I'll pick up some knobbies for one of the bikes....
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Old 11-02-19, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 3S1M View Post
One thing that hit me while shopping for tires for my car. I've heard a few different times that car tires are designed to let snow pack in the tread cuz they say "snow on snow" gives you better traction. Seems a bit counter-intuitive but it also sort of makes sense. I'm not sure how that would translate to bikes.
Your theory is wrong and doesen't apply to bikes....For deeper snow and slush you need tires with aggressive tread....Even some winter specific bike tires such as Marathon Winters and Continental Winter suck in deeper snow because they lack aggressive tread.
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Old 11-04-19, 09:53 AM
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It wasn't my theory. It was what I heard a few different times while shopping for car tires from manufactures videos. Like I said, sounds counter-intuitive to me. I was kind of wondering if that works with bikes and if it doesn't, that is cool with me. Just trying to learn.

I apologize if that irritated you.
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Old 11-06-19, 07:56 AM
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I've bike commuted through the Minneapolis winters on a wide variety of tire options - 700x28 summer tires to 26x4 studded; and most everything in between.

I started on Bontrager Connection Trail 26 x 2.0; they are fine for fair road conditions. I would leave the bike at home on days with fresh snow or ice.

An improvement that isn't studded is the Continental Top Contact Winter; these are good on ice but not great in deeper snow.
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Old 11-07-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by antdd View Post
Here in Montreal, the winter bike community mostly prefers skinnier, knobby tires over wider. The theory behind: You cut through fresh snow to the asphalt and don't swim up. This works fine for 10-20 cm of snow on the bike lanes.
Cutting into snow isn't going to make the ride any easier. Snow is a lot like riding in sand. Digging down into it just means that you have shove more of it out of the way which requires a lot more power to do so. Additionally anything under the snow...like packed snow or ice or even pavement irregularities...is going to deflect the tire and make handling more difficult.


Originally Posted by antdd View Post
Over smaller patches of ice I just roll over, in medium high snow they work well. Saw wide tyres MTBs struggeling while I just zipped by one these! And the CX Pro aren't crazy expensive. Of course a slick is faster, but you don't really want a slick in snow...
Sorry, I'm not buying the "MTBs struggling" thing. I've ridden far too many winters in deep snow to believe that one.
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Old 11-07-19, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
Hello all,

Iím thinking of getting a new set of tires for riding in the upcoming winter months. Mostly commuting in the city with a few weekend rides inbetween. I do not intend on gettting studded tires, as I rarely encounter actual ice, so itís hard to justify the added cost, weight, noise and harsher ride of studded tires. Most of the time it will be slush, snow or wet asphalt.

I have been riding in winter on most sorts of tires, and have been able to have reasonable amount of control with most of them, including low thread commuter tire like Schwalbe Delta Cruiser. However, MTB type tires have been working better overall, so Iím contemplating getting me some knobbies. What do you think what type of thread would suit me best?
I've been riding knobs for 35 years. If there is snow and ice on the ground, I'm using at least 2.1" knobbed tires. I've used road tires in the very distant past but hitting the ground isn't one of my favorite things so knobs are what I use. I prefer an aggressive tread like a Panaracer Dart and Smoke or Fire Pro over something that is for harder surfaces. Larger knobs just grab the snow better and allow for more confident riding.

That's not the whole story, however. I also use suspension, especially in packed snow conditions or fresh snow over packed snow and ice. I have a hardtail with a suspension fork, a soft tail with a suspension fork and a small amount of rear travel and a full on dual suspension bike. The fork does what suspension forks are supposed to do which is to follow the terrain and allow for fork movement. An active fork will hit ruts and climb out of them where a rigid fork be deflected and throw you off line. Rather then have to make constant corrections to the direction of the bike, the suspension fork allows you to float over the ruts and soft spots.

Adding rear suspension helps the bike with traction because the suspension squats down on the tire and makes it grab better. It also lets the tire float over the rut rather than just wallow into it. Basically, every advantage that a mountain bike gets in off-road conditions applies in snow and ice.

Add studs and it gets even better. I don't use studs all the time in winter but when I need them and use them, they are amazing on icy roads. Watch out when you put your foot down, however. I've found that the bike won't slip but my shoes will slide over the same surface.
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Old 11-07-19, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Sorry, I'm not buying the "MTBs struggling" thing. I've ridden far too many winters in deep snow to believe that one.
I guess it depends on how deep the snow is. I don't doubt your experience. Here bike lanes get cleared from snow at the same time as the main roads, so you have after a snow storm max. 1-2 days snow on them. Which means sometimes 20cm, sometimes 30-40cm if it was a big one. Believe me or not, I saw the other guy sliding (like on sand, as you say) while I had no problems, and his tyres were 2-3 as wide as mine.

This worked fine for me the last 6 winters in Montreal. But of course I had a few minor falling as well each winter, but this was usually due to ice. I hate broken ice shields, corners and grates 3 cm high where you slip. The closed ice patches are not really the problem as long as you know they are there... Not sure if a wider tyre handles those better, probably only spikes do.

Last edited by antdd; 11-07-19 at 12:51 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-07-19, 11:54 AM
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One thing is for sure. You guys deserve a lot of credit for doing longer rides in the weather. I'm just doing it for fun and exercise and 2 miles so it's a lot easier.

I went last night during a snowfall and the bike handled beautifully. The only time I slipped was when I was making a tight turn in my driveway. During the ride it helped to be able to ride in car tracks. Less resistance. My typical 2 mile route did not feel much harder. There was not much wind. High winds make riding more difficult than that particular snowfall. It was not very deep though. We might have gotten 1.5" total.

I will say this too, the TYPE of snow we get varies a lot. I live a block off of lake Michigan so typically it's a heavy wet snow where I'm at. But it can vary. Sometimes it's light and fluffy. I would imagine other areas experience the differences in types of snowfall too. It's almost like you need a few different bikes set up a few different ways for what type of weather it is. LOL.

Honestly, riding in it was a lot of fun. I just like being outside and I'm thankful to be able to do it. I'm glad I'm not trying to commute like that though. I would be most afraid of drivers.


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Old 11-07-19, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Cutting into snow isn't going to make the ride any easier. Snow is a lot like riding in sand. Digging down into it just means that you have shove more of it out of the way which requires a lot more power to do so.

Based upon my own experimentation and testing many different types of tires under many different conditions, I have to disagree with you...There are situations where a skinny tire with aggressive tread will keep you moving along while a fatter tire will just slide all over the place. It takes a lot less effort to pedal a skinny tire than a fatter tire through few inches of road snow and slush...I don't wish to argue and debate you on this any further because it would be a waste of time. You not going to change how I ride and I am not going to change how you ride.
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Old 11-08-19, 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by antdd View Post
I guess it depends on how deep the snow is. I don't doubt your experience. Here bike lanes get cleared from snow at the same time as the main roads, so you have after a snow storm max. 1-2 days snow on them. Which means sometimes 20cm, sometimes 30-40cm if it was a big one. Believe me or not, I saw the other guy sliding (like on sand, as you say) while I had no problems, and his tyres were 2-3 as wide as mine.

This worked fine for me the last 6 winters in Montreal. But of course I had a few minor falling as well each winter, but this was usually due to ice. I hate broken ice shields, corners and grates 3 cm high where you slip. The closed ice patches are not really the problem as long as you know they are there... Not sure if a wider tyre handles those better, probably only spikes do.
I agree with you. In my experience, if it's fresh, light snow up to 20cm deep, then a narrower tire that cuts through it works better. If the snow is wet and heavy, fatter knobby tires would work better. If it's just a a couple cm's of snow or slush then the width doesn't matter much, as long as the thread is agrresive enough.
On ice, spikes work best, but also a low pressure, soft compound tires with a fine thread to channel the water layer can offer a reasonably good grip. They are rather common for cars, however I don't know if there are many bicycle tires like that in the market. The aforementioned Continental Top Contact Winter II Premium looks like such a tire.
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