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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-08-09, 07:55 PM   #1
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Lowering Tire Pressure on non-studded tires?


I have 700x28 Schwalbe Marathon (NOT STUDDED) tires on my bike. They have some good tread to them, but are not knobby. Suppose I will be commuting this winter on them. The roads I will be on are well cleared and salted. There is a chance of ice however as temperatures are freezing.

I have these tires at 100psi currently. Will lowering the pressure be beneficial when riding in these conditions? I'm most concerned about ice.

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Old 01-08-09, 09:56 PM   #2
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There is no question that lowering pressure will help, but the problem that you face with thin tires is that you may start hitting the rim before you gain enough extra traction. Otherwise, in general, a lower pressure helps on ice, reduces slipping somewhat, but does not eliminate it. On the other hand, just a front studded tire, with a bit of caution, may suppress the slipping problem to the extent that you don't need to think about it constantly, although there is ice.
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Old 01-09-09, 09:17 AM   #3
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lowering the pressure will not help ice whatsoever. although your initial rate of
fall will be slower, and you -might- have a chance to correct before falling over...

it will help snow but not ice.

in fact sometimes the slip becomes vague at lower pressures and you have no chance
to correct it.

just ask me, my worse falls on ice are with my huge low pressure tires. I don't fall a lot, but
am lulled into false security with them and bam !...on high pressure I just don't get into
those situations to begin with


anyhow the cool thing with falling on ice is, if there is a huge patch of it, you bounce and slide more
lessening the pain. if I have to take a digger I'd rather it be on ice than anything else

EDIT: 2manybikes is correct. yes it helps a tiny amount. no much though. no enough to make ice -safe- like studs do

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Old 01-09-09, 09:28 AM   #4
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Yes it helps a very small amount. No, it won't keep you from falling on some kinds of ice. Some ice you can ride over, it varies a lot. Very hard cold ice is too slippery in most cases.
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Old 01-09-09, 10:37 AM   #5
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As mentioned, it'll help a bit because lowering pressure increases tire surface area making contact with road surface, be it asphalt, snow or ice.

I ride regular 28's at 80psi but unlike you, I'm not courageous enough to commute in them for the very reason you state:Ice.
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Old 01-09-09, 11:13 AM   #6
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28mm tyres at 100psi is too much even for dry days in summer, unless you weigh 200lbs+.
Tire Width=28: Pressure(psi) = (0.33 * Rider Weight in lbs) + 33.33
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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