PDA

View Full Version : Studded Tires -- Question for Experienced Users



eminva
11-10-2011, 01:21 PM
Hello --

This year, I'm going to attempt to become an all weather commuter by installing studded tires on my underutilized mountain bike. I normally commute on a road bike, but even the narrowest studded tires won't fit on it.

So, for those of you who have done this before, do you install the studded tires on your winter commuter and leave them there for the season? Do you swap tires as conditions merit? Get another set of wheels to make the process faster?

If the trails are snow and ice free, I can ride my road bike. My mountain bike wouldn't get much use over the winter except for snowy and icy commutes, so I'm thinking I can get by with leaving the studded tires on for the season.

What do you all think? Thanks in advance.

Liz

Dirt
11-10-2011, 01:35 PM
I tend to leave them on the bike most of the winter. Last year I switched tires 4 times over the course of the whole winter. There were many rides where I had studded tires on the bike, but only encountered small patches of ice that could have been easily steered around or just ridden over. I haven't found that it wears the tires out particularly much. I use the Nokian Hakkapelita 700x40c (240 studs) tires on the cross bike or Nokian 294 Extreme (They make a 26" version) on the mountain bike if it is really nasty.

Like you, if it is truly clear, I just ride a different bike rather than change the tires.

Riding the studded tires on ice is interesting. The traction is amazing... I'd say that it is on-par with the feeling of riding on gravel with normal tires... maybe a little better than that. There's some moving around and if you really try to lean hard into a turn, you'll slide, but in general you're gonna stay upright.

Riding studded tires on dry pavement is also interesting. The studs actually will slip on pavement a little if you corner really hard. You've got to lean into it much harder than you ever would for a normal commute in order for them to break loose. I wouldn't say they're scary at all on pavement. The really cool thing is the sound they make. There's no way to describe the clacking, rumbling noise that studded tires make unless you hear them for yourself.

If I don't know what the conditions are for the day, I tend to run the studded tires.

Definitely play with them in the snow and ice a time or two before you do your first commute. I suggest that with every major equipment change... you don't want to be unsure of things when you have to arrive at point B at a specific time.

Pete

Joe Chapline
11-10-2011, 01:40 PM
Liz,

Last winter was my first with studded tires, and I just put them on and left them on. My commute is short, and my rides around home, for errands and such, are short. I took the studded tires off in early spring because I was going to go on a long recreational ride. At that point there was still a chance there would be another snowfall, but I figured if I had to put the studs back on, it would be no big deal. I didn't have to.

I like to keep the bike ready to go and not try to guess what the weather is going to do every day. It sounds like this approach might be good for you, since you have another bike.

Dirt
11-10-2011, 01:42 PM
One more quick thing... ('cause you know I can't be that concise in a response).

Studs do NOTHING in loose snow. That's where the tread pattern of the more aggressive snow tires come in. Both the Hakkapelita and Extreme series are designed to work with snow and ice. Some tires have minimal tread and studs added. Those are AWESOME on hardpack snow and ice, but can spin in loose snow.

I haven't ridden the other snow/ice tire offerings in the last 5 years... I kinda felt like once I'd tried the Nokians, that I'd reached the pinnacle. Innova, Continental, Kenda, Schwalbe and others make very, very good snow/ice tires. Many are quite a bit less expensive than the Hakkapelita or Extreme tires. I can post somewhat enlightened opinions on their quality and characteristics, but I can't speak from having ridden them. A friend just got some Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires... Jabberwocky will definitely talk about those when he gets a chance to play with them a bit.

jabberwocky
11-10-2011, 01:44 PM
I have multiple bikes, so I leave the studs on one of them all winter long. Riding the studs on clear pavement doesn't seem to wear them much, but they are considerably slower.

consularrider
11-10-2011, 02:49 PM
I've been using the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires (a 26X1.75 on one bike and 700X35 on another) for three years now. These do not have deep knobby tread and as Dirt mentions they're only ok in loose snow/slush conditions. If I had it to do over again (and I'm sure I will at some point), I think I'd go with Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 which has slightly deeper treads. One thing I do like better about the Schwalbes is the refective sidewall strip since I ride after dark a lot. The first winter I had a spare set of wheels from another bike and I would switch them. Then I got a new commuter bike with different size wheels and have just pretty much left the studded tires on from the first sign of ice until sometime in March. Also, take a look at the Peter White (http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp) discussion of studded tires.

PrintError
11-10-2011, 02:55 PM
I built my custom MTB for the sole purpose of snow commuting. When the white falls, I've already got it sitting in the garage on Innova Tundrawolf studs ready to go. I leave them on until spring when I swap back to mud tires and find other ways to break stuff on the bike. :-)

The Innovas do great in slushy snow if you air them down a little. The studs buzz on dry pavement at 60 psi, it's kinda funny.

WEAR GLOVES WHEN YOU MOUNT THEM... AND JEANS...

Many cuts have been had.

Joe Chapline
11-10-2011, 03:32 PM
Another reason to leave them on: I felt better with the studded tires on cold days, even when the roads were pretty clear. You get icy patches from snowmelt, water main breaks, problems with household plumbing, construction work, etc. You don't know what you're going to find. There were very few days last winter that I needed the studded tires at all, but having them gave me more confidence to take the bike out.

MCL1981
11-10-2011, 07:33 PM
hmm. I think I know where the REI gift card I have is going to be spent now. My boss gives these things to me and then tells me not to buy anything crazy. I'm sure my next one will be to Macy's instead.

I wonder if it would be beneficial to just buy one spare wheel so I can just quickly swap the front wheel in a matter of seconds. The back is more of a PITA to switch so I would be much less motivated to swap it out based on the weather.

Which do you think is better in snow/slush, the Hakkalakadakawhatever or the Extreme?

invisiblehand
11-11-2011, 01:40 PM
So, for those of you who have done this before, do you install the studded tires on your winter commuter and leave them there for the season? Do you swap tires as conditions merit? Get another set of wheels to make the process faster?

If the trails are snow and ice free, I can ride my road bike. My mountain bike wouldn't get much use over the winter except for snowy and icy commutes, so I'm thinking I can get by with leaving the studded tires on for the season.

What do you all think? Thanks in advance.

Liz

I leave them on for the season. In your situation, given that you rarely ride the MTB, I'd be even more inclined to do so.

invisiblehand
11-11-2011, 01:44 PM
I've been using the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires (a 26X1.75 on one bike and 700X35 on another) for three years now.

In another thread, I wrote the following:


Here are my thoughts on studded tires.

http://washingtonwheelman.blogspot.com/2011/01/schwalbe-winter-tires.html

http://washingtonwheelman.blogspot.com/2011/01/schwalbe-winter-tire-follow-up.html

In short, for riding during icy conditions they make a huge improvement, in my experience. Moderately deep snow with slush, the studs probably don't do much and I would have preferred tires wider than the Marathon Winters (~44 mm wide). I think that the Marathon Winters are perfect for winter commuting on roads ... conservatively, I spend > 90% of my rides on roads. They are durable and the studs are replaceable.

You can find studded tires in 20", 26", and 700c. See Peter White.

In your shoes -- I believe both 27"-wheel bikes have cantilever studs and will have a hard time converting to 700c ... but I could be wrong -- I'd go with the MTB. If you stick to roads, then the ~44 mm wide Marathons are a good choice. If you're going to ride everyday on trails -- or have an easy option of doing so -- then I would take the speed penalty on the roads and go wider.

Dirt
11-11-2011, 02:51 PM
Which do you think is better in snow/slush, the Hakkalakadakawhatever or the Extreme?
The Extreme series are more oriented toward mountain bikes, I think. Mine are 29x2.1 and are made to be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at them. They are one of the only non-snow-bike tires (meaning less than 4" wide) that works well in deep snow.

The Hakkapelitas are more sized and designed for a cyclocross bike. Mine are 700x40mm. They are the most aggressive of the cyclocross tires though. They actually do pretty well in lose snow and slush, though not as well as the Extremes.

I guess the bottom line is what bike do you want to put them on? If the answer is "Mountain", then the Extreme will do better than pretty much anything I've seen. They're very heavy and you'll feel that on the hills and on pavement.

I have a good friend who rides year round in Finland.... 4-5 months per year he's riding on ice and snow. He uses the Extremes every day.

Does that answer your question?

Pete

ronwalf
11-11-2011, 04:07 PM
I guess the bottom line is what bike do you want to put them on? If the answer is "Mountain", then the Extreme will do better than pretty much anything I've seen. They're very heavy and you'll feel that on the hills and on pavement.

What's on the unicycle? I'm threatening to get one for "winter commuting" purposes. My wife is threatening back.

MCL1981
11-11-2011, 04:11 PM
My only bike is a mountain bike, but it would be for use on the paved road and paved trail. Are the Hakalakadakas "better" than the extremes when on normal dry pavement?

Dirt
11-11-2011, 07:58 PM
Hakkapelitas are probably better on dry pavement.

The unicycle has an arrow 3.0 DH tire right now, but sometimes I switch to a 3.8 Endomorph for more float.

MCL1981
11-11-2011, 10:01 PM
That's what I figured as well. How are they with rutted ice and getting OUT of those ruts?

Dirt
11-12-2011, 08:53 PM
That's what I figured as well. How are they with rutted ice and getting OUT of those ruts?
The Extremes were little better because I could run them at lower tire pressure. A lot of that is technique though.

Mark Blacknell
11-14-2011, 04:31 PM
While I'm mostly just echoing what folks have already said on this thread, I want to add:

1) The Schwalbe Winter Marathons definitely work on ice, and are well suited for winter on-road use.
2) The Schwalbe Winter Marathons are utterly useless in snow, and I regret spending $150 on them. Should have gone for the aggressively treaded Nokkians.

MCL1981
11-14-2011, 04:40 PM
Ya I think the aggressive tread won't change my ride too much. I'm already riding a mountain bike with mountain bike tires. Nothing super mean aggressive, but not easy rolling road tires by any means. So some aggressive snow tires will probably not be much different on dry pavement for me. Though I'm thinking about getting two new rims so I can switch them off when I know the WX and road/trail conditions will be be bone dry for the week.

vvill
11-14-2011, 05:25 PM
two new rims so I can switch them off when I know the WX and road/trail conditions will be be bone dry for the week.

And two new hubs too? Spokes? And a rear cassette?

I did this recently - got two new 26" wheels, and a new cassette for my new Nokians. Also got a BB7 disc front brake (rear is still a vbrake, made sure the wheels could use both styles). Went on a slow paced (13mph) 15 mile test ride Sat morning to "seat" the studs, as they recommend, and to test out the brakes. Those 400 studs are pleasantly loud, and trail users are usually aware of you even before you give them a shout. Let It Snow!

MCL1981
11-14-2011, 05:58 PM
Nope. Just the rim. I get bored very easily and removing each spoke and reattaching to a different rim should keep me occupied for most of a Sunday evening. :cool:

Yes, I meant WHEELS. Complete. With spokes and hubs.

Mark Blacknell
11-14-2011, 06:02 PM
Nope. Just the rim. I get bored very easily and

In related news, man, you're gonna hear the angels sing if you're moving from knobbies to something approaching a slick tire.

MCL1981
11-14-2011, 07:42 PM
Ya probably. Believe it or not I have never ridden anything but a mountain bike and have never experienced road tires. I'm also cheap. So I think I'll let the mountain bike tires I have now wear out and when they do, I'll get something much more road favoring hybrid tires for it.

vvill
11-14-2011, 08:00 PM
I rode many, many road miles as a kid/teen/young adult before getting even a bike with 700c wheels, and I only tried a proper drop bar road bike this year. Makes an amazing difference. (I'm also cheap, but not as cheap as I used to be.)


Nope. Just the rim. I get bored very easily and removing each spoke and reattaching to a different rim should keep me occupied for most of a Sunday evening. :cool:

Yes, I meant WHEELS. Complete. With spokes and hubs.

For a second I thought you weren't kidding. You will need a cassette/freewheel too though I guess? Unless you want to switch that over as well.

MCL1981
11-14-2011, 09:15 PM
I'd make both back wheels fully equipped so I can drop the quick releases and swap the wheels with nothing more than pulling the chain over it. I have no idea how much the full back wheel setup costs. Presumably more than a $30 front wheel. So I'll probably buy the back wheel after bonus checks arrive.

consularrider
12-08-2012, 02:09 PM
Just in case anyone is wondering this year, thought I'd bump this thread. Also saw a reference to a Minnesota company 45NRTH (http://45nrth.com/about). There are some great looking studded tires (including for fatbikes!) on their website along with winter cycling boots. Note that Trail's End Cycling in Purcellville is a dealer - but I bet they are special order stuff.

Dirt
12-08-2012, 04:42 PM
Just in case anyone is wondering this year, thought I'd bump this thread. Also saw a reference to a Minnesota company 45NRTH (http://45nrth.com/about). There are some great looking studded tires (including for fatbikes!) on their website along with winter cycling boots. Note that Trail's End Cycling in Purcellville is a dealer - but I bet they are special order stuff.
I've got a pair of 26x4" 45Nrth Dillingers on order. They'll certainly cause a bit of trouble this winter. :D

Mark Blacknell
12-08-2012, 04:46 PM
Note that Trail's End Cycling in Purcellville is a dealer

Very smart. You ride out, put them on, and by the time you get home you'll have lost all your studs and need a new pair.

Dirt
12-08-2012, 05:38 PM
Note that Trail's End Cycling in Purcellville is a dealer - but I bet they are special order stuff. I got my first set of 45nrth tires from Bikenetic. Special order, but they arrived pretty quickly.

MCL1981
12-09-2012, 01:49 PM
I'm really hoping for an actual winter this year. I got an additional set of wheels so I can "hot swap" based on weather. I have road tires and light weight rims for anything but snow and ice. Then I have studded snow tires on my old mountain bike rims. If there is going to be snow/ice, it takes about 3 minutes to change. I only had one opportunity to use them last year since winter sucked. I swear, I feel like I have better traction on packed snow and ice then I did on dry pavement with road tires. I could accelerate without and slipping. Turn without falling. And it stopped like I was glued to the trail. Southbound cruising speed is about 15-18mph and that was absolutely no problem.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeVo5hS9-i0

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-s4d1VuRlhc0/Tx11FF3VRuI/AAAAAAAABes/4NDbmrJKgKE/s640/Bike on Ice.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeVo5hS9-i0)

ShawnoftheDread
12-09-2012, 04:53 PM
Just picked up some Nokian studded tires off CL. Not sure they'll fit under my fenders, so I might be looking for wider ones. Bring on the ice!