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Nolian Extreme 294s - Overkill?

Old 12-10-09, 12:55 PM
  #1  
Bam42685
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Nolian Extreme 294s - Overkill?

Hi,

This is my first year cycling through winter and I'm in the process of picking out studded tires. I'll mostly be on a college campus that's fairly maintained. I'll probably be mostly on packed snow and glazed over pavement. From what I've read it sounds like I could do a wheelie from goal to goal at an ice arena with Nokian Extreme 294s. I like the sounds of that as falling isn't all that appealing to me, but is that the best choice or are those more for sport riding than commuting? The mount and grounds seem like they'd be ok with the studs on the sides to help with steering, but their reviews are much more mixed. While the lower price looks good, I'd rather go with what works and be done with it than do half the job.

Opinions?
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Old 12-10-09, 03:29 PM
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tjspiel
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It depends where you want make your trade offs. The Extremes aren't intended for commuting from what I can tell and they aren't going to roll as easy. On the other hand they'll work better in really bad conditions.

You could split the difference and put a Mount and Ground on the rear and an Extreme on the front. A front wheel slipping is what's going to send you to the pavement. Rear wheel skids are easier to recover from.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:29 PM
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It's funny, but I was just thinking about this last night when I was out on my ride in a variety of conditions, including eight inches of powder, hard-packed snow, plowed roads and black ice. Tires are the most important component of a winter bike and I am in love with my Nokian Extremes. I test them in every way imaginable -- it's become sport for me -- and all they do is inspire more confidence. These tires perform on everything. I can easily climb hills with them that cars can't get up.

I remember when I bought the tires that I was considering the Mount and Grounds based on the lower rolling resistance and some of the things I had read. Truth be told, I don't notice much rolling difference between my Extremes and normal tires (granted there is some, but it's not that big of a deal). It's the snow and road conditions that are going to have the greatest influence on rolling resistance and I'd prefer to have tires that can handle anything when the conditions are extreme. It makes winter riding all the more fun -- and safe.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:40 PM
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I'll trade a little rolling resistance for security when it gets rough. Consider your needs.
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Old 12-10-09, 03:44 PM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm not racing so the rolling resistance is manageable. The idea of having to challenge tires rather than worry about them is much more attractive to me.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:29 PM
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You could always split the difference and go with the Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240s. They are not as "extreme" as the 294s but are more aggressive than the Mount & Grounds. Plus, their 1.9" width vs. the 294's 2.1" might mean they are an easier fit under fenders, that is if you're running fenders.
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Old 12-10-09, 05:47 PM
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I have the M&G's and while they are OK, when they wear out I'm going with the Extremes. The M&G's get me around but they have slipped out from under me more than once.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:37 PM
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I use a similar tire to the extreme. It is a Schwalbe Ice Spiker. I used the Nokian 106 two years ago and so far I like the more aggressive tire. The 106's were ok but in heavy rutted ice they were not as good as the ice spikers. In snow the more aggressive tread seems better as well. On clear pavement they may be slower with more rolling resistance but I will take that trade off to stay upright when the weather turns.

Last edited by Rollz59; 12-10-09 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 12-10-09, 08:32 PM
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Try an extreme on the front and a less extreme on the back but, honestly the extremes are WAY too much for asphalt and occasional ice.. i mean way waaay too much. Unless you're riding frozen rutted trails you can probably manage with something like a schwalbe winter marathon.. or a wider tire with less studs like the nokian 106.
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Old 12-11-09, 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
You could always split the difference and go with the Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240s. They are not as "extreme" as the 294s but are more aggressive than the Mount & Grounds. Plus, their 1.9" width vs. the 294's 2.1" might mean they are an easier fit under fenders, that is if you're running fenders.
I went with the Hakka W240 last year. Definitely leg builders,,,

If I were only riding when there was lighter ice... never in anything heavily rutted, I would stick with like the Hakka W106. However, as the OP lives in Michigan... the W240s would sound about right.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:16 AM
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I just put my set of Extremes on my winter commuter yesterday but haven't had a chance to test them out yet as I"m off to FL for a week to visit family. These tires are really beefy and I'm running a SS setup w/ 22t up front and a 16t cog in the back just so I can get home on them (really big hills around here). While I only ride on pavement, that pavement is covered with snow and ice from Dec until mid March. We always have ice under the snow and while our rides get plowed everynow and then, they're not really ever bare. I picked up these tires up used for $40 a few weeks ago at my LBS, I was considering the Mount and Grounds but for the price, figured I'd give these a try.
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Old 12-11-09, 09:50 AM
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I've been riding the Nokian Mount & Grounds for two winters. The first had regular snow to bike through up to 6" deep, and the second winter the sidewalk were coated in rough ice for 3 months straight. The only times I've had the Nokians slip on me is when climbing steep ice covered in slush (around 10% grade), then the rear wheel starts spinning and unless you pedal hard you'll loose forward momentum and come to a stop. Otherwise, I've had no problem and the rolling resistance is negligiable (I go 20MPH on slicks, 19MPH on Mount & Ground). If you have a commute where ice and shallow snow are your primary concerns, the Mount & Grounds will be fine, however if you're going to encounter snow deeper than 6" on a regular basis, I'd recommend getting something more aggressive.
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Old 12-11-09, 11:57 AM
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+1 for the Extremes. When the snow is on the ground 6 months like it is here, there's no sense in taking half measures.
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Old 12-11-09, 02:53 PM
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I have Nokian Extreme 294's and recently got a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winters (700c) for my commuter

The Extremes 294's are way overkill if you ride on roads / paths that are generally cleared of snow with only the occasional icy patches. Thier abilities on ice is superb but the rolling resistance of these tires are exhausting especially over my 19 mile each way commute. I now ride these tires only when off road on icy mountain bike trials or when the snow on the roads are deep. The Schwalbe Marathon Winters have about as much glare ice cornering grip and can ride out of icy ruts. They have much less rolling resistance and I can almost match the speeds of my slick summer tires. However, the Schwalbe's are not great in snow over 2" deep where the 294's are fine in snow as deep as 4".


Last edited by Tequila Joe; 12-11-09 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 12-11-09, 04:43 PM
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My first set of tires were the Schwalbe Marathon Winters. I didn't like them. They didn't grip the ice and were lousy in anything over 2". I bought a M&G 160 for the front and that worked out good. The following winter I bought the 294's. What a difference they made. I felt totally confident in anything that I rode in. Any Snowstud you get is going to have more rolling resistance. That's the price you pay for riding on them. But it's minimal and certainly worth the peace of mind.
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Old 12-11-09, 06:43 PM
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What I'm wondering is whether width can be a disadvantage. Right now I'm running 26x2.1 ice spiker in the front, 26x1.9 in the back, so maybe it's more of a smaller wheel problem, but I find in conditions where you have packed new snow on the road, the wide tires can float, or rebound off of inconsistencies in the snow.. I'm wondering if narrow ones can sink to the ice below and track more cleanly.
What I'm most sketched about is packed snow on crowned (slanted) roads.
Maybe it's that snow gets packed in tread of the wide tires, and turns into a big balloon tire with studs... find for ice, but not great for packed snow. I'm wondering if narrow tires will be better.
Although maybe the 29er will track better. Also, the width is probably necessary to soak up all the bumps.



I have 2 project bikes going, kind of a hobby to find the perfect winter bike.
One is a Surly Karate Monkey, fixed gear, front disc brake, big fenders, mustache bars, Nokian 294's.
The other is a Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno, fixed gear, dual v-brakes, fender, 700x38 snow studs

I've yet to ride them in snow, I'm still using an old 80's frame that's heavily modified for the winter. I'm wondering what you guys think about wide vs. narrow studded tires for very mixed conditions, lots of packed snow, ice, crud etc.

Last edited by stomppow; 12-11-09 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 12-11-09, 07:08 PM
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As a Ferris alum, I think I can relate to what you're dealing with. I just put a pair of Extreme 294s on my mtb, and am liking them really well so far. I'm currently in the tip-of-the-mit part of the state and will be taking my first extended ride as soon as the plows get done with the 18 in. of snow we just got. For biking around campus, I don't think the rolling resistance of the 294s will be a big deal. Spinning your wheel is going to be more of an energy drain than the added rolling resistance of the 294s. The main issue that I see is price, as the 294s not cheap.
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Old 12-12-09, 07:41 PM
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Small world! I'll be going from the West Campus Apartments (by Cramer) to Science building most of the time, so it's not so far that the rolling resistance will wear me out. Now that we've had about a week of snow I can see what the plowing habits are for the school and it looks like the most common surface will be packed snow. I like the idea of being 100% confident in my tires, so I plan to go with the extremes.
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Old 12-12-09, 08:31 PM
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The more studs the better for traction especially uneven surfaces. But the 294's are heavy-who cares. I actually do wheelies on an ice rink with them. With 20 psi I can ride straight over 3" deep frozen footprints on a bike path.

In snow with no ice underneath for the studs to grab, studded tires are like any knobby would be in snow. The harder, colder, and flatter the ice the better the studs grab the ice.
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Old 12-13-09, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Bam42685 View Post
Small world! I'll be going from the West Campus Apartments (by Cramer) to Science building most of the time, so it's not so far that the rolling resistance will wear me out. Now that we've had about a week of snow I can see what the plowing habits are for the school and it looks like the most common surface will be packed snow. I like the idea of being 100% confident in my tires, so I plan to go with the extremes.
Very small world. I lived in Cramer Hall for 2 yr. back in the '70s. I've done a couple short (10mi) rides since I put the 294s on my bike, and am really happy that I didn't go with a lesser tire. My experience so far is that rolling resistance on bare pavement is not all that different than my regular knobby summer tires. Traction on hard packed snow, or even glare ice is excellent. The most difficult surface to deal with is a couple inches of snow on top of ice, so you need to be just a little careful on that. I'm running around 55psi in the rear and 50psi in front, but will continue to play with that under different conditions. Good luck, be safe, and go Bulldogs!
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Old 12-13-09, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by stomppow View Post
I have 2 project bikes going, kind of a hobby to find the perfect winter bike.
One is a Surly Karate Monkey, fixed gear, front disc brake, big fenders, mustache bars, Nokian 294's....

I'm wondering what you guys think about wide vs. narrow studded tires for very mixed conditions, lots of packed snow, ice, crud etc.
Wacky; the Karate Monkey you describe is exactly what I have for a winter bike (minus the fenders, I won't see liquid water or slush for another four or five months). I say the bigger the better, tire wise, if you're riding over rutted and uneven surfaces. Low pressure and a large contact patch give you a great deal of security on crummy, un-maintained winter roads.

The 29x2.0 studs let me crawl out of the deepest ice ruts and I gladly pay the rolling resistance penalty in exchange for knowing my bike will go exactly where I point it, regardless of surface conditions. Who wants to go fast on ice anyway?
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Old 01-01-10, 11:15 AM
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Bam42685 - you get these on your bike yet/ how you liking them? I would have said that any 26" wide studded tires would be fine
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Old 01-01-10, 05:20 PM
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I've been riding M+G's everyday for the last two weeks in light snow and ice. Have yet to fall. I like being able to go off on a 30+ mile ride and not have a lot of rolling resistance. The M+G's allow that.
Yesterday I got into some very hilly country (100' elevation changes in less than a mile) with icy roads covered with an inch or two of fresh snow. It was very spooky on the downhills. My hands are sore today from applying the brakes. Still, I didn't crash but came close a few times. I wish I could try out the Extremes to see the difference.
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Old 01-02-10, 10:39 AM
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I find the Extremes to have way lower rolling resistance compared to W240's, which must be the all-time worst rolling tyre Nokian ever made. Now with Extremes existing in 622, there is little reason in my opinion to buy new W240's, except on some bikes the width difference. I'm not going to throw my W240's away, though.

In any kind of actual snow Extreme and W240 perform much better than the other studded tyres which only seem to have tread for the looks.
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Old 01-02-10, 11:15 AM
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I just ordered some 294s from Brand's. Good price, no S&H. Have always been happy with them.

I don't live in a heavy all-winter-snow-and-ice state, Kansas, but we get enough that it really torpedoes daily-ride routines if riding on regular tires. I want to ride, not wait for things to clear in 5, 7, 14 days. We have a mixture of dry main roads within a day or two after snowfall, with lots of car-packed snow, with icy crusts on unplowed neighborhood streets and MUTs for longer periods. For example, the street in front of my house has been snow and ice patched since Christmas Day.

I don't mind the speed-cost, e.g. 8 mph on the MTB in this crap vs. 18 mph on the road bike in later spring, summer and fall. I'm riding for exercise, so speed *********** due to more rolling resistance isn't an issue. I'm a gray-hair and injuries take a lot of time to heal, so I just don't want to go down. mtbr.com reviews say the 294s and previous model 296s give awesome traction on ice, and if you look at the stud pattern, it's easy to see why.
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