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  #1  
Old 11-11-2019, 04:46 PM
Jaybee Jaybee is offline
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Winter commuting - studded tires

It's snow and ice in Denver today - almost went rubber side up 3 times on my commute this morning. I'm interested in experiences and recommendations for studded tire options for a shortish (6 to 12 miles, depending on time available) commute. Based on bikes and wheels currently in house I could do anything from 27.5x4.5", 29x2.6 or less, 27.5x3 or less, or 700c x 35-45. Is wider better just to put more studs on the ground, or is there value in a narrower tire that will cut through the slush to the firmer ice below? A studded tire would add to my fat bikes capabilities, but i'm also not keen on pushing that huge wheel on pavement or spending $200+ per tire.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:52 PM
tuscanyswe tuscanyswe is offline
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Unless there is ice there is very little benefit from studded tires. Here in stockholm maybe 10 days a year or something i prefer to have studded tires or something like that.

I used non studded winter tires last year and was pretty happy with those actually. Better tires for anything but black ice, then the studded are better.

Wider tires helps to imo. I bought to narrow as the 38s were more like 33s IRL or something like that. So if i bought again would go with the wider version.

The ones i got were: Continental Top Contact Winter II
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2019, 04:56 PM
mtechnica mtechnica is offline
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They work pretty well, make sure to get nokians with carbide studs. None of them are great in deep snow but they’re pretty much a must have so you don’t crash on ice, since you can’t always anticipate where it will be. You can ride on solid ice just fine with studs.
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Old 11-11-2019, 04:57 PM
mtechnica mtechnica is offline
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Now that I think about it I’m pretty sure I still have my Nokians, they are 700c, I’ll sell them cheap if you want them. I live in CA now so I don’t need them.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:03 PM
jamesdak jamesdak is offline
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Just watch the slush with consistency like pancake batter. I've never found any tire that will work in that stuff, studded or not.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:07 PM
Jaybee Jaybee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuscanyswe View Post
Unless there is ice there is very little benefit from studded tires. Here in stockholm maybe 10 days a year or something i prefer to have studded tires or something like that.

I used non studded winter tires last year and was pretty happy with those actually. Better tires for anything but black ice, then the studded are better.

Wider tires helps to imo. I bought to narrow as the 38s were more like 33s IRL or something like that. So if i bought again would go with the wider version.

The ones i got were: Continental Top Contact Winter II
Today was ice from freezing rain hidden under 1-2" snow. I'm comfortable riding on snow itself, even deep snow and I've got the bikes for it. I take your point about having very few days where you actually want studs and how much of a drag they are for every other condition. That said, it only takes one time to break a wrist and then I've lost a whole season of riding and XC and downhill skiing.

mtechnica, I tried to PM you but your inbox is full.

Last edited by Jaybee; 11-11-2019 at 05:11 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:07 PM
David in Maine David in Maine is offline
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I commute all winter in Maine and definitely believe in studded tires. For patches of black ice, narrow tires are fine as long as you don't lean into corners. I prefer wide 44north Nicotine tires for dealing with the mushy snow, sand mixture that ends up in the shoulder after a the snow plow goes by.

David
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:08 PM
Jaybee Jaybee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
Just watch the slush with consistency like pancake batter. I've never found any tire that will work in that stuff, studded or not.
I feel you on this. Even my fatbike slips around in that stuff.
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  #9  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:19 PM
Jaybee Jaybee is offline
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Another option to throw out there: DIY studs in my existing tires. Anyone do this?
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  #10  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:35 PM
benb benb is offline
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I agree with tuscanyswe, they have specific use cases where they work and the rest of the time in the winter you shouldn't need them.

Do you MTB? I only ask cause MTB skills make more difference than the tires. Riding in snow & ice requires ultra smooth bike handling. Studded tires mostly make a little difference (a few % points?) in what you can ride if you have good skills.

I've got Nokian Extremes for my MTB. An excellent bike handler can ride across a frozen pond/lake on them. An average bike handler will crash very quickly no different than unstudded tires.

I have a set of 35NRTH 700x35c studded tires for my All City Space Horse.. they have fewer studs and it's nowhere near as good as the MTB. More security than anything else.

Neither set of tires will help at all if you fail to notice a patch of ice and you ride through it at speed while cornering or you are going straight and you mash the pedals or brake hard on the ice. You can't do the roadie zone out thing in winter riding, you need to be watching the road the way you watch a technical MTB trail. And both sets make the bike feel like a tank. We are talking serious serious extra weight and slow acceleration. I haven't even put them on in a few years it's such a buzzkill to ride with them.

On the flipside if you get a set they last a long time.
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  #11  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:38 PM
OldCrank OldCrank is offline
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Temps are coming down and CX is winding down.

I swap one set of wheels over to the Nokian A10 32s for the road.

They also make 40s but I don't see the benefit.

Heavy as hell but they are really confidence boosters on ice.

IMO YMMV etc etc
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  #12  
Old 11-11-2019, 05:46 PM
Jaybee Jaybee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benb View Post
I agree with tuscanyswe, they have specific use cases where they work and the rest of the time in the winter you shouldn't need them.

Do you MTB? I only ask cause MTB skills make more difference than the tires. Riding in snow & ice requires ultra smooth bike handling. Studded tires mostly make a little difference (a few % points?) in what you can ride if you have good skills.

I've got Nokian Extremes for my MTB. An excellent bike handler can ride across a frozen pond/lake on them. An average bike handler will crash very quickly no different than unstudded tires.

I have a set of 35NRTH 700x35c studded tires for my All City Space Horse.. they have fewer studs and it's nowhere near as good as the MTB. More security than anything else.

Neither set of tires will help at all if you fail to notice a patch of ice and you ride through it at speed while cornering or you are going straight and you mash the pedals or brake hard on the ice. You can't do the roadie zone out thing in winter riding, you need to be watching the road the way you watch a technical MTB trail. And both sets make the bike feel like a tank. We are talking serious serious extra weight and slow acceleration. I haven't even put them on in a few years it's such a buzzkill to ride with them.

On the flipside if you get a set they last a long time.
I MTB more than anything else, am comfortable with black diamond trails, and I think it's my comfort with loose traction situations that kept me off the deck this AM.

Your post is kinda confirming what I was thinking, which is that there will always be some risk and studs are only mitigating a small % of that, especially for a place like Denver that does get snow fairly often, but also has it melt fairly quickly and doesn't spend weeks on end at sub-freezing temperatures.
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  #13  
Old 11-11-2019, 07:05 PM
jamesdak jamesdak is offline
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For me when riding daily outside in the winter I found the peace of mind with constantly using studded tires well worth it. You just never know when you're going to hit ice in my experience. Plus, just consider any penalty of running them to be a training bonus.
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  #14  
Old 11-11-2019, 07:20 PM
muz muz is online now
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Nokian studded tires are amazing. I used them when I lived in Minnesota, I could even ride on frozen lakes, in places I could not walk without slipping. When it's cold, all tires are slow, carbide tipped tires were noisier but not much slower.
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  #15  
Old 11-11-2019, 08:35 PM
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charliedid charliedid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuscanyswe View Post
Unless there is ice there is very little benefit from studded tires. Here in stockholm maybe 10 days a year or something i prefer to have studded tires or something like that.

I used non studded winter tires last year and was pretty happy with those actually. Better tires for anything but black ice, then the studded are better.

Wider tires helps to imo. I bought to narrow as the 38s were more like 33s IRL or something like that. So if i bought again would go with the wider version.

The ones i got were: Continental Top Contact Winter II
I just installed a pair also. Surprised by the width after putting them on a customers bike but went with an old pair hanging in the shop that were wire bead and looked wider. I wonder if narrower is similar in design to car tires for winter? Anyway they sure seem nice on a wet road going home but no snow today. There will be 1.5 inches of packed ice tomorrow morning and knowing me I'll take the train but we shall see. I gave up on the harsh stuff a few years ago. Sliding under a car to or from work just doesn't hold the appeal it used to :-)
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