View Full Version : Recommendation for winter commuting?

11-10-2011, 05:06 PM
All this talk of studded tires has gotten me excited. Oops, that didn't sound too good. Anyways, I was thinking of dabbling in commuting on the (few) days when there is snow and/or ice on the ground. My normal ride is an Trek 620 with 27 x 1 1/8 tires. If there is ice/snow on the trails, I would normally take streets around them.

This year, I am thinking about setting up a second bike for snow and ice. I am constrained by the fact that I am a cheap bastard. My commute is 7 miles one way. My options are equipping 1) a Schwinn Voyager (another touring bike) with 27 x 1 3/8 knobby tires or 2) a non-suspended mountain bike with knobby tires. Distance suggests I go with the touring bike. Control suggests the mountain bike. Studded tires are only available for the 26 inch wheel. Any suggestions? Is the cost of studded tires worth the limited amount of use they will get if just used during commutes when there is ice on the trails?

11-10-2011, 06:43 PM
Here are my thoughts on studded tires.



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.

Joe Chapline
11-10-2011, 07:52 PM
Whether studded tires are worth the cost is for you to decide, but when I think of what I'm spending on the bike as part of my transportation budget, all the costs seem very small. Almost any service or repair I need for my car costs more than almost anything I do for my bike. I decided to buy studded tires, even though I won't use them often. The tires will last for many years, and when I'm using them it's extending the life of my spring-summer-fall tires. Most importantly, I feel I'm less likely to crash -- and avoiding a crash could be a huge cost savings. You do need a place to store tires you're not using; that's a consideration. And, with limited use, studded tires may well outlast your present bike, so buying a common size would be a better investment than an odd size.

11-10-2011, 08:59 PM
I've never tried studded tires. Last winter, my CX tires did OK in snow or slush up to about an inch. When we had that one larger heavy compressed snow storm, I used the non-suspension MTB, which was also OK. For my route, the sun seems to clear the paths pretty quick in a day or two -- the MBT was usually clear after a day and the NE Branch and NW Branch were clear where they're open to the sun. The NE branch back in the trees in College Park was a walked-on glacier after day 1, really appreciated the larger lower pressure tires on the MTB because the ride was so rough.

11-11-2011, 05:37 AM
Wiggle has the Marathon Winters for 46.82 apiece at the moment, with free shipping to the US (they are UK based). Studs are worth the money IMO; they allow you to ride confidently in conditions where you'd otherwise have to hang the bike up and stay at home.