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Help me pickout winter tires for the conditions I ride in?

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Help me pickout winter tires for the conditions I ride in?

Old 02-10-15, 05:21 PM
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Help me pickout winter tires for the conditions I ride in?

The Current Equipment:

I own a Mongoose Alta (mountain bike circa 1980's). It has a pair of 26 x 1.5 HE AP 21 wheel set and a pair of 26 x 2.1 tires with tread.

I've so far installed Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders on the bike, a bike rack, and a trailer hitch.

The Riding Conditions:

I ride around Amherst, MA. This area has encountered several snow storms within the past week or two. I have only fallen once on ice--on a sidewalk where I couldn't ride on the road--and have experienced many fishtailing moments, or moments when the treads of my tire fill with snow and I no longer have traction when turning or peddling uphill. I rarely see ice here, mostly a LOT of snow, especially riding through campus. Sometimes the campus walkways have more than 2 inches of snow on them after plowing, with twisting ridges and valleys. There are many instances where all I have to face are miles of bare roads or simply slushy roads, so the conditions I need the tires to perform in are varied.

Some Important Questions:

I'm curious about a few things:

1. What effect does tire height have on a bike's performance?
2. What effect does tire width have on a bike's performance?
3. What effect do deeper or shallower treads have on a bike's performance?
4. What effect do different tread patterns have on a bike's performance?
5. Is the sole purpose of studs to break ice, or are they effective for riding on inches of only snow as well?

The Question:

I'm wondering which tire set I should buy for my particular situation, maybe a pair of tires with less width than my current 2.1's but with studs?

I'm not sure if my bike's fork, wheels, and fenders can accommodate a taller tire set than it's current 26 pair, or if I'd want the tires to be taller. Deep treads might be useful to hold more snow before filling. Less wide tires would be useful to reduce rolling resistance, but not so useful when going through lots of snow. A tread pattern that accommodates lots of snow or no snow would be best. I've read good things here about the Schwalbe Marathon Winter set and one particular tire by Nokian I can't remember.


----------------------------------------------------

Thanks so much cycling friends! (:

Last edited by Distinguished; 02-10-15 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 02-10-15, 05:50 PM
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Maybe these?

2015 Schwalbe Winter Reflex Wired MTB Hybrid Commuter Snow Ice Studded Bike Tyre | eBay
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Old 02-11-15, 11:42 AM
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You want studded tires. I like the nokian mount and grounds 1.95 x 2.1 =. They work well for all my winter needs in the Boston, MA area. Performance? You don't keep track in winter. I don't fall down and hurt myself on hidden ice either. Studded tires tend to be really SLOW. But work well. YRMV.
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Old 02-11-15, 04:26 PM
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Up here in MN we got our snow. Not much this year because the entire East coast is hoarding it.

From someone who has commuted all year like most people in this sub-forum, I personally prefer the largest studded tire I can fit for winter. This will allow you to get lower pressure.

Me personally I run a fat front bike all year as a commuter and put a Surly Larry 26x3.8 up front have put a Nokian W240 29x2.1 on the rear on a wide rim. The nice thing with such a large tire up front is on those transition areas where you go up a driveway or through an alley area the front tire kind of plows everything down or out and makes a nice path for the smaller width rear tire.

If I had the space in a the frame and the nickels saved I would be getting ice spike pros front/rear. In 26 they come in a 2.1 and 2.35 size. Two of the guys I ride with have a set of these tires on their SS 29ers and they're on another level compared to the rest of us, even more so then the guy who runs Nokian W240s front/rear.
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Old 02-12-15, 02:00 PM
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First, awesome setup! Trailers rule! During the warm seasons I take the racks off and only use my burley flatbed for hauling anything. I can say for sure that Nokian makes fantastic winter tires for cars and trucks, I don't see why their bike tires wouldn't be awesome. I would bother finding out if I lived in MN, Sweden, or Canada, but I'm only at 43 deg N here.

1. What effect does tire height have on a bike's performance?
-more height, more cushion... less pinch flats, softer and slower ride. Less height, more prone to damage, a less forgiving, sportier ride.
2. What effect does tire width have on a bike's performance? More width, more height, more pavement grip, less snow/slush-cutting ability. Less width, less height benefits, better snow/slush-cutting.
3. What effect do deeper or shallower treads have on a bike's performance? Deeper tread=more rubber=more weight+less flex= sucky pedalling, especially on clear pavement.
4. What effect do different tread patterns have on a bike's performance? More grooves=less rubber touching the road. The road is plenty textured.
5. Is the sole purpose of studs to break ice, or are they effective for riding on inches of*onlysnow as well? Studs are of little benefit on snow. Their primary deal is clawing into the surface of the ice.

I'm in syracuse, usually similar weather as you- mostly well-enough plowed roads, sometimes awful roads, and only two or three days and ten or twelve nights of ice per winter. I started off with bmx's and mtb's. Suck. The fat tire is constantly climbing on and falling through then pushing and packing in front the snow. So much work that I'd rather walk. On a whim I tried my uncle's old twelve speed with little 28mm slick-ish tires. Angels sang. It would comparitively glide right through even the heaviest snow and slush. I stuck with skinny slicks for seven years before trying studded tires. Kenda Klondike 35mm. Suck. Slow, constantly tring to climb up on top of heavier snow then falling through. Great for those eight, widely spaced nights per year with little snow and lots of plow-polished buttered glass roads. But then on normal roads, you're stuck feeling like maybe suddenly all roads are significantly more uphill than they used to be. Last year I stuck them on a dedicated ice bike that I used five times through the season and used a regular touring bike with 28mm michelin dynamic sports (smooth and easy) for the rest of the time untill the potholes became too unavoidable (March) and I put a 32mm specialized nimbus on the back to soak up their edges. The spesh had some of the same problem of the other fatter tires, but not as bad and the more important wheel still cut through, I just had to be cognitive and ready to unweight it for every hole that I had to roll through. I'm a wussy who is usually late leaving the house and standing on the pedals rather than sitting and leisurely pushing at them. What works for me may not work for you.

I find 23mm tires are the best for cutting through most types of snow and slush and grabbing pavement and even grabbing hardpacked snow, but you feel every single pebble and crack in the road, potholes hurt and often return a flat tire or two unless you're really skilled at bunnyhops/unweighing and have the energy for them. 28's are about perfect for 180lb me and 32's float a little, and every larger size floats more and more, but never beneficially like fatbikes.

Last edited by MattoftheRocks; 02-12-15 at 04:08 PM.
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