The Chainlink

  It is getting close to that time with the white stuff. I plan to bike commute this winter, rather than using a taxi every night. I am thinking about getting studded snow tire, got it narrowed down to either Nokian or Schwalbe. I have a few questions about this, is it really worth it, to have have studded snow tires? I am more concern about icy roads. When you buy these do you buy two, one for front and one for rear? or if you only need one, will you mount it in the front or rear? At close to $100 each, will there be benefits from them. thx

Jerry

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I've never used one and haven't had any wipe-outs that would have been saved by using them. BUT, my commute is only about 5 miles (each way) in the city, and the roads I use are usually quickly cleared of snow. If I had a different commute, that called for them, I'd buy them.

Another way to look at it: Studded tires are really only useful a couple times a year in Chicago. I don't mind taking the bus one those days. Save your money and buy good fenders, boots, goggles, and rain gear. 

Get used, like we did last year. Keep looking online, some up now:

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bop/4704982271.html

Front more important than rear to maintain control, both are better. If you plan to ride everyday I would recommend them. There have been too many times you ride to work in the morning when it is clear and have freezing rain on the way home. Like Mike said, you can take the bus/taxi when that happens, but where is the fun in that!?

I would say it depends on your route. I have commuted the last three years through the winter except for incredibly snowy days and the minus 30 polar vortext stuff.

I go from Uptown to the Merchandise Mart via Clark to Wells. Those routes are very well plowed, have good bike routes, and slippery surfaces have rarely been an issue. I have Marathon winter riding tires.

Ironically the only fall I have taken was the first cold night of last November when I wiped out on black ice going up Franklin.  Snow actually gives you a fair bit of traction if you have the right, non studded tires.  I  also use the other major streets to commute all over the north side - Lawrence, Sheridan, etc. and have few issues. 

So my two cents is unless you are travelling a route that is not often plowed/salted, you don't need studded tires.  From an environmental standpoint I'm less than thrilled with all the salt chicago uses but my my it does clear the roads.

Well, I go to Franklin Park from Andersonville(18 miles) , going there is no problem, there is bus service, coming home at midnight, there is no bus service, last bus in area is about 10:30pm. Last year I took a taxi 4 days a week for 4 months($20/day), I didn't ride much last year because of the snow,Franklin Park only has a pickup truck for snow removal, sidewalks are not existance, but I was out there in december with sub zero temp, got a chance to breakin my layer equipment. I was comfortable. This year I want to bike at least on better days. I don't have plans to ride all the way home, just about 6 miles to the Rosemont L station. If there there is no snow accumulation, with temps in in the 10 to 20 degrees, I might tried to ride all the way home.

   with my luck, if I get the studded tires, there will be no snow or ice, and the tire noise would drive me crazy. Well thanks everyone, for the replies.

   I even thought about getting a fat tire bike, but I don't believe the tire would fit the bus bike racks.

If I was in your shoes, and riding that late at night, for that distance, in those road conditions, I would definitely get studded tires. They'll probably last you at least 3 seasons if you get the good ones. 

KevinM;

   All I need them is to last this coming season, then retirement.

Tandemonium;

I seen on utube of making your own studded tires. I have a friend who used to race recumbents in January up in Minnesota's Big Bear lake, he would use thumbtack, so they barely stick out and not slow you down.

I will say that if this winter is like last winter, which is what they are saying, really taxes one's morale.  I come home around 10 or 11 a lot of nights and in those temperatures I just found the entire experience very draining.  the constant sub zero temperatures just  weighs on one's soul, night after night.  Big difference  between riding in the 20's and in the low single digits.

Good luck!

Jerry Lee said:

Well, I go to Franklin Park from Andersonville(18 miles) , going there is no problem, there is bus service, coming home at midnight, there is no bus service, last bus in area is about 10:30pm. Last year I took a taxi 4 days a week for 4 months($20/day), I didn't ride much last year because of the snow,Franklin Park only has a pickup truck for snow removal, sidewalks are not existance, but I was out there in december with sub zero temp, got a chance to breakin my layer equipment. I was comfortable. This year I want to bike at least on better days. I don't have plans to ride all the way home, just about 6 miles to the Rosemont L station. If there there is no snow accumulation, with temps in in the 10 to 20 degrees, I might tried to ride all the way home.

   with my luck, if I get the studded tires, there will be no snow or ice, and the tire noise would drive me crazy. Well thanks everyone, for the replies.

   I even thought about getting a fat tire bike, but I don't believe the tire would fit the bus bike racks.

It's not going to snow this winter in Chicago, so I wouldn't even worry about it ;)

I don't think any one type of bike tire will negate the dangers of ice, unfortunately.  Unlike a car, where you're sitting on 4 tires, with a bicycle, you're balancing on two.   I've gone down on road slicks, mountain treads & cyclocross tires... I'm not sure it's worth spending the $$$...

For my mountain bike that I use for bad weather, I have the Nokian Mount and Ground Studded Bike Tire.  Got them on sale last year at REI.  I really like them and I didn't find them annoying on dry pavement.  

Unfortunately I have not been able to try them out on a lake.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgOIoLoMp9g

I use Nokian studded tires on my bad weather bike if conditions merit (I have a spare set of wheels with them that I'll change to).  They do improve traction, steering and braking on ice (especially black ice).  Not sure if they help significantly on snow but they're on worse than regular tires.  I think to get any benefit you need them on both wheel.  Don't mind the noise - sort of a pleasant hum. Bought mine from Ben's Cycles in Milwaukee (they are on the internet).  Nokians use tungsten studs which are more wear resistant then steel studs

Over Thanksgiving weekend I'll put the spikes on folding thunder. I only bike ten miles a day, but I never ever miss a day of commuting. Studded tires make winter biking a real pleasure, I would highly reccomend investing in them.

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