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When to put studded tires on?

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When to put studded tires on?

Old 11-04-12, 10:08 AM
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I have two bikes. A hybrid for spring/summer/fall and an MTB for winter.

My winter bike got tuned up last month so it's ready to go for whenever the snow & ice comes.
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Old 11-07-12, 12:59 PM
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Well I wish I had swapped out last night. Forecast for this afternoon is rain mixed w/ snow, accum potential 1". While not a lot, my 28's ain't gonna like it. Plus I use 2 bikes for commute and my winter beater is not at the 2nd location. So tomorrows AM commute will not be fun.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:28 PM
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my one winter of commuting I waited until I experienced the panic of riding on black ice before I even bought mine. obviously you should put them on before you need them.
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Old 11-07-12, 02:47 PM
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will 47 wide tyres be significantly more rideable in 5 cm deep snow than 35 mm wide ones?
Seems better traction comes from getting thru the snow, rather than riding on top.

I noted [on TV] WRC races on wide tires till the Rally in Sweden, in deep snow,
then the studded race wheels are narrow.
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Old 11-27-12, 01:14 PM
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Yesterday. I woke up to our first snow yesterday, and after my daily commute I put on the studs as the snow melting in the day sun causes alot of ice in the evening/next morning.

Today, I sound like a helicopter
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Old 11-27-12, 02:38 PM
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really? not bacon?
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Old 11-28-12, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by roby
Yesterday. I woke up to our first snow yesterday, and after my daily commute I put on the studs as the snow melting in the day sun causes alot of ice in the evening/next morning.

Today, I sound like a helicopter
I've had some pedestrians look at me funny because my tires are so noisy! lol

Last edited by DJ Shaun; 11-28-12 at 06:36 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-28-12, 08:45 PM
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When you do put them on, allow yourself enough time (ie. leave home earlier) to account for a drop of 2-4 mph in your average speed. And don't try to match your normal speed, you will wear yourself out and possibly hurt yourself.

Winter tires are harder to push and you will go slower, just realize it and plan ahead. Be one with the slowness.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:54 AM
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Mine sound like popcorn.
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Old 11-29-12, 09:37 PM
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bacon sizzling
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Old 11-30-12, 01:32 PM
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I put my studded Nokians on early enough so not to encounter black ice unprepared. Generally for me in Maine its around thanksgiving weekend each year. If they are carbide studs, no problem running them on dry pavement as the carbide does not wear out. They will last the lifetime of the tire itself, generally 3 to 6 seasons depending on the mileage. This way I only have to change the tires out twice a year and the only drawback is studded tires are slower and you'll get tired quicker so pace yourself and allow more time for your trip.
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Old 11-30-12, 06:11 PM
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Here we are the end of November, and no need for studded tires 55 miles north of Minneapolis.

But they are ready as soon as the weather changes. Or I could put them on to expand my riding area as the lakes are frozen over.
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Old 12-01-12, 08:54 AM
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was thinking the same thing the other day and last year so so snow-less that one probably didn't need them at all.

I had put mine on that one year when I has my first encounter with black ice. before that I remember telling people there was no way i would be so extreme as to use studded bike tires.

so I guess the best answer is, you put them on only when you need them
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Old 12-02-12, 06:21 AM
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I usually put my studded tires on, the friday after Thanksgiving, aka, Black Friday.

I would generally rather carry more weight, than deal with the added rolling resistance, until I get used to them againl.
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Old 12-02-12, 07:31 AM
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Studs 4 Safety

Unless tragically bad conditions, I feel a studded front tire to be adequate.

If you use studded tires for, fairly level terrain, commuting, I recommend keeping a 2nd tire-wheel ... 1 studded, 1 mountain tread.
Swapping, based on expected conditions, can take less than 1 minute, (with practice).

If you use 2 studded tires, swapping the front will give better traction - safety. Studded for ice and snow, mountain for dry and wet.
You definitely want better traction up front!

Losing traction in the back is called fun.
Losing traction up front is called, an almost instantaneous, ... ouch ...

So ... I recommend a quick change front wheel and close monitoring of The Weather Channel!

PS - I Recommend a Mountain tire tread as the bare road "swap", because ... sand on the curves can take you down, an aggressive tread will give you a fighting chance.

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Old 12-27-23, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
was thinking the same thing the other day and last year so so snow-less that one probably didn't need them at all.

I had put mine on that one year when I has my first encounter with black ice. before that I remember telling people there was no way i would be so extreme as to use studded bike tires.

so I guess the best answer is, you put them on only when you need them
that was December 2012. now it's December 2023 also snowless
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Old 12-29-23, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac
Changing of the tires are easy... realigning my BB5's take the longest.
Pro tip. Disc brakes and cassettes are easy to align so when you swap wheels you do not need to adjust brakes or derailleurs. Syntace and Sram make .2 mm shims for six bolt rotors. These shims also work for centerlock mount disc brakes. Likewise there are shims for behind cassettes.

Technically speaking you just gotta remember that you can only space things outward and not inward so you have to first identify which wheelset has the most outboard sitting cassette / rotors, you align the brakes / derailleur to that wheelset. (Pro ttip: Make sure they are perfect as possible... it will make the process easier.) Then you place one or two shims behind the rotor or cassette on the secondary wheelset, try it on the bike. If it doesn't align perfectly you add or remove shims from the secondary wheelset until you have it perfect.

I find its a lot like setting up wheels tubless. The newer the wheels the easier it is. The newer the wheelsets the more likely they require no shims at all. With things like thru axle skewers modern wheelsets have near perfect alignment from one hub to the next even when the hubs are made by entirely different manufacturers. Anymore when I set up two wheelsets for newer bike the wheelset are pretapped for tubless and the cassettes and rotors just align perfectly from one bike to the next. And yes I am a pro mechanic and have been doing this for 15 years. I also ride 6-7,000 miles a year. Indeed I just put my studded tires on the 2nd wheelset for my ebike because I f_cking love winter riding. Especially in the snow. But more on this in a minute.

I have two wheelsets for nearly every bike I own. I recommemd this for my customers too. As mentioned most new wheelsets align perfectly without any shims. It takes me a little time the first time I set up two wheelsets to work on the same bike, then I never have to worry about it again. I will typically run studded tires on one wheelset in the winter. Usually a cheaper, heavier wheelset. Then on the more performance wheelset I will run a road / performance tire. In the summer I run road tire on one and a gravel tire on the other.

Another pro tip. I play for keeps when buying or recommemding a second wheelset. If someone is looking to save money because they don't want to buy a second bike (or simply on a budget) then I recommend buying the cheapest wheelset or even finding a used wheelset. If someone is looking for performance then I recommend buying a high quality second wheelset maybe even carbon depending on their needs.

Most wheelsets that come on bikes are cheep pieces of crap so a second wheelset is the number one performamce upgrade you can make for your bike. It also gives your bike versatility. Think about it this way, god gave you a pair of feet but instead of running around barefoot all day you should think about maybe getting a good pair of warm waterproof biking boots, some lightweight trail runners or zero drop hiking shoes so you can do different stuff without loosing skin, toe nails toes and stuff from your bloody stumps. Its not that "manufacturers" are cheap. Its that cheap wheelsets are a great way to make a bike more affordable and for most people they are fine. (So technicallly not crap just a lot heavier then they need to be.) Wether you buy a $500 entry level bike or a $7000 bike you are going to get a "budget wheelset" unless it is specifically a "high mod" or "pro spec" model. This is not a cheat or a scam. Its SMART because wheelsets are one of the easiest thing to upgrade, second only to the saddle, pedals, grips/bar tape. What you should spend your money on is first and foremost a good frame and secondly good components because those are (or were) the hardest things to uograde. That said components have gotten way easier to upgrade with 1x mountain bike tech. Hell all you need is a new cassette, shifter, derailleur and chain to go from a 1x10 to a 1x11 or even a 1x12. You too can have a 9-52 tooth gear ratio so you can climb moutsins or just futz around in really deep snow. And why not go electronic while you are at it! Lol. I love electronic shifitng but that is another topic.

Disc brake wheels, as opposed to rim brakes, have made this wheel swap game awesome because tires and wheels can be completely different. For example my fat bike has 26x4.2" tires on one wheelset and 29x3.25 on the other. Likewise running 27.5x47 (same as 650x47) with gravel tires on one wheelset and 700x28 with road tires on the other has become popular and is promoted by manifacturers as the overall diameter on these wheelsets remains the same so bottom bracket height, geometry and handling remain optimal yet the bike takes on radically different capabilities from road biking to gravel. Or in the case of my fat bike from riding in the snow in the winter to ripping singletrack in the summer.

To give you another hopefully insightful example of how this adds value to your bike I also set up secondary rear wheels for people with trainers. I just find one cheap wheel and set it up with a trainer tire. The key is making sure to shim the rotors or cassette the first time so everything lines up perfectly. After that you are all set to go between the trainer and riding outside and back again on the trainer in minutes. Or as I say around the shop. Just bring it to a professional like me. I make it work perfectly and seem easy. That is my job and why I get laid the big bucks! (Note: People working at Walmart make more.)

Here's what I personally do. First of all as mentioned I f_cking love winter riding. So I have always had studded tires around since I made my own some 20 years ago. That said in the last two years I started ditching the car more and ebike commuting 4-5 days a week so this winter I have decided to up the game. This year I made the leap to the latest / bestest new breed of tires from "45 Nrth". Sure I love the old Schwalbe studded I habe been running for years but from a technical standpoint they are pieces of crap. Well not really crap but more "primative". This is to say the quality of the new breed of stuff is spectacular. Not to be to much of a geek but but 45Nrth has almost singlehandedly revolutionized performamce winter biking with their tires let alone cloathing and other gear. Basically like their sister brand Salsa they have shined a bright light into a space that only "loosers without a licemsce" have dabbled in and made it not only cool but fun. And yes.. when people see me riding in the winter they still occasionally ask me if I lost my license implying that I am some sort of drunk. But mostly people realize because of my fancy carbon, titanium, merino wool and lycra "virtue signaling" that I do this because I love it, not because I am some sort of a "loser" but more of a "weirdy". Anyway the old schwalbe are steel bead and have a habit of blowing off the rims if over inflated or just old. Especially since moisture has a way of getting into the rubber and corroding the steel bead. Rubber is porus after all. The new 45Nrth are kevlar beeded and can be set up tubless. The old tires weigh twice as much as the new tires which have much more enginering including multiple types of rubber instead of just a single ply. This with the kevlar threads means more pliable sidewalls don't break down from running lower pressures while having different properties in the belt to avoid flats and again different rubber on the tread and fancy "sipping" for grip.. Also the old Schwalbe tires are 30-60tpi or something like that while the new tires are 60-120tpi. Thats "threads per inch". What it means is a considerably lighter more durable tire that can hold up to a high pressure and yet be more compliant and flexible so it does not break down when running lower pressure. Finally the studs on the old Schwalbe tires litterally get rusty and on occasion fall out. The new tires have corrosion resistant studs. On the old tires if studs fell out oh well. On the new tires you can litterally add and remove studs as you see fit. Some people like more studds in the front and less in the rear just the same as some people will use a studded up front and not in the rear. If you loose control with the front tire you die. If you loose control with the rear tire you simply "drift" and if you go down you go down much more predictably.

So in summary. First, I f_cking love cycling, especially winter cycling. I think its the same reason as I love true wilderness. Its because when I'm out there riding in the blizzard, the snow, the dead of winter the only mofos I am going to run into are crazies like hang out on this forum and talk about studded tires, gear ratios and rubber compounds. And those mofos are my bros, my sisters, my peeps and my tribe. Congrats on being a crazy guy or girl on a bike. And if you are a crazy old guy or girl on a bike, like in your 70's or 80's... you are my hero. I'm getting there rapidly. Gonna hit 50 soon. Health awesome so far due not sitting behind the wheel of a car. And I might make it if the cars don't kill me one way or another yet. F-cking polluting, metal death coffin, fat and lazy making pieces of sh_t.

P.S. And yes when I say I love riding in blizzards that is not some sort of metaphor. I really mean I f_cking love riding in blozzards. And if you challenge me on it I will share dozens of photos of rides and trips I have taken in the winter. You see I live in Ohio. We don't have mountains... so the only time nature aserts itself is when it storms like a mofo. So I have to either ride hundreds of miles to mountains and nature or wait until it storms like a mofo and scares away all the lazy people so I can have my "nature" all to myself. And then I am apt to either bike hundred or thousands of miles or if I am busy just go do a quick overnighter in a raging blizard in the public park a half mile away in my hammock or hot tent... because noone expects a crazy bastard to be stealth camping in a public park in the middle of a damn blizzard! And that is why I love the winter. #MicroAdventure #AlastairHumphryeys #BeauMiles #s24o

If this is helpful or you have any questions give me a thumbs up... oh wait this is not R_ddit-dot-com. LOL, bikeforums is autmatically redacting mentions of other websites. I did not realize they were so insecure. Well instead of a thumbs up just respond with a question or to let me know if this was helpful.

Last edited by mmeiser; 12-29-23 at 05:08 AM.
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Old 12-29-23, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6
my one winter of commuting I waited until I experienced the panic of riding on black ice before I even bought mine. obviously you should put them on before you need them.
The problem is its black ice not snow that will kill you. Its very hard to know when until its to late. Just remember ICE is the killer. So if you wake up and you had freezing rain you better have studded tires.

Most of the time when people break themselves its because they got caught off gaurd. Its sunny and 55 degrees and they round that corner into the shade behind a building and that pile of snow has been melting across that parking lot and its still frozen in that shade and then they wreck hard and break their bike, their hip, their colar bone.

I have been commuting for years and have a second wheelset with studded tires ready to go so it only takes me a couple minutes to swap to studded. Hence I make the decision usually spur of the moment in the morning. In my neck of the woods snow unforetuneatly does not stick around long. We'll habe a good ice or snow storm and then it will all melt and go back to being 50 degrees. If it snows I don't bother with studded immediately. I can wait a day or two. Once it starts melting it gets glare. It can occasionally snow and then melt and then refreeze as ice between the time I ride to work and when I ride home at 6-7pm. Its ticky but of course I always air on the side of caution. I am quick to out the studded tires on and slow to take them off in the spring. I think spring melt is more dangerous.
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Old 12-29-23, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Seems better traction comes from getting thru the snow, rather than riding on top..
Wide tires are for float. They are awesome for groomer snow trails and riding on top of thick and tracked up choppy snow.

I assume, as I think everyone here does, that we are all specifically talking about road commuting. Commuting is one of the very few times I actually use studded tires. Whats more I always ride 38-42mm. This is because narrower tires cut through the snow and get down to the pavement (or ice) to give you traction. If the world was just snow I would never run studded tires. I would go for my big 29x3.25" or 26x5" tires. They give predictibility by riding on top of the snow and giving a predictible slip / friction ratio. However specificallybwhen I am commutig and road riding I encounter alot of icy situations and that isnwhen I break out the studded 38mm tires. I mostly save the fattoes for recreational amd off road riding. Im fact in my 20 some years of winter riding only once have I wanted studded tires on my fat bike amd that was a sketchy situation where snow wasmelting on a hill sode collected on a trail, refroze and sent me sliding down a hillside some 25 feet to the river below. Luckily I knew exactly what I was doing. It didn't make it much less dangerous but I would say I did a deliberate and "controlled" descent onnthe non-drive side of my fat bike. Ever since then I have been wanting studded tires for my fat bike but they are $250 each and notnonce since have I ever needed them.

On the other hand I have put thousand thousamds of miles on my various studded 38mm amd 42mm tires over the years and not died. To be clear "dieing" is what I call it when you hit black ice with your front tire... because that is what it feels like when you hit the deck .02 milliseconds later. I have not broken any mones luckily on ice but I do have a "not even once" philosphy on riding bikes onnice without studded tires. Its never an acceptable risk.

This is not to say I do not ride most of the winter without studded tires. Where I live we will have a good storm and then it will all melt withim days or a week and go back to being 45 degrees. Most of the time studded tires are unecessary but as mentioned elseware in this thread it is when the snow is melting that things are at theirnkost dangerous because its the freeze / thaw cyclesnthat create black ice conditions.

I was once riding the blue ridge parkway in january on a sunny blue day and came around the corner into hollow where there was no sun and it was 20 degrees cooler and found myself unexpectedly on black ice. Instead of layingnit down I tried and suceeded innkeeping it upright. The problem was I just picked up to much speed to correct on the gravel and grass shoulder. When I hit the ditchnI was probably doing 20 mph. I was in such pain I could not believe I didn't break my bike or my colar bone. Indeed I walked for a long while until I got back on and coasted into wayneborough where I got a hotel and started making plans to seek medical treatment and return home. I had assumed my trip was over but the next morning I woke up and my shoulder felt much better. I realized their was nothing broken or torn and I was able to continue my tour to Ashville and on to Charleston. If I did the trip again I would probably take studded tires. At least on the front.
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Old 01-02-24, 07:32 PM
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whelp, started juggling auto wheels & tires. I guess I'll be putting the bike's studded tires on soon
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Old 01-02-24, 07:40 PM
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my little soap box. this stuff is very dangerous. rare but dangerous. fresh powder over glare ice / aka smooth flat ice


the powder packs into the tread lifting you off the studs. then down you go

so I switched to more aggressive Schwalbe Spiker Pro studded tires with deeper & wider voids which don't block up like the Schwalbe Winter Marathons


unmaintained forest roads get frozen precipitation, which then melts & refreezes very smooth. then the new powder collects right on top of that. the maintained roads get plowed, etc

fast forward to 8:15

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