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 recently picked up a set of used, but in great shape, Nokian Xtreme 294s.  I got them in the summer for less than 1/2 the cost of the pair from a guy whose son used to ice race and they have never been on cement.  They will be going on my commuter rig once the weather turns south.  If it is just cold but dry, I'll probably ride the roadie.

I have a set of Kenda Klondikes for winter riding, which were much cheaper than the offerings from Nokian or Schwalbe. To be honest, I only used it a handful of times, and only on the front wheel.

Good review of benefits & cons of studded tires on Peter White Cycles site:

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

I have a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winter that I have used the last two seasons.  As many above have noted, and as has been discussed in prior postings, studded tires really only help on ice.  They are completely unnecessary to deal with snow.  The other thing to note is that they are really only effective when you are running them at low pressure.

For most of the winter, ice is not an issue for me.  The streets / paths I use for my commute are typically well plowed and well salted, so I don't often contend with a lot of ice.  I most often use the studded tires in late-winter, when there is the thawing / freezing pattern that produces a lot of black ice.

The whole low pressure thing is the main reason I don't run studded tires all winter long.  The low pressure really slows my commute.  So I keep a spare wheelset with the studded tires for the days when I need them. Absent ice, my regular tires (Schwalbe Marathons) work great.  And they even work pretty well on ice assuming I don't make any sudden moves when I am actually on the ice.

Well, everyone, thanks for replying, since my main concerns is my 3 mile ride to the Belmont bus at Cumberland and then 3 miles from Belmont/Ashland to clark/foster or if I take the L, 6 mile ride to Rosemont L stop, at midnight, with the western suburbs not really clearing the streets that well. I might get a set of Schwalbe marathon Winter, tried it out. Maybe it will be a mild winter. thanks.

I bike commute (5 miles each way) on country roads 6 days a week and I have two bikes I use for winter - one with studded tires (front and rear) and one without. Studded tires DO make riding on snowy/ice covered streets more assured in handling.  The studs in the tires are a soft metal and will wear down if used on dry pavement. In order not to replace tires every two or three years (at $75-$110 EACH - https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/continental-nordic-spike-st...), I ride these tires ONLY when needed, and in dry conditions ride regular (non-studded) tired bike. It is possible to just buy another set of wheels with just studded tires, but that is almost as much as a decent bike on Craigslist (plus a pain in the rear to change each time needed).

Last year's weather was so bad it really felt unsafe to me to bike most days, and I had biked happily through the previous three winters. I had been thinking about getting studded tires for one of my bikes this year and this string inspired me to do a little research and order a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Winters. The  Armadillos I've had on it for the past 6 years are almost completely bald anyway, so there's no way I could ride that bike in any kind of winter situation. I figure I can ride my other bike on nicer days when the roads are dry, and save the studs for when it's really bad (which in my opinion was just about every single day last year). Thanks for the discussion!

Richard Steirs & Nancois8.5;

      Maybe I use one bike for studs and the other for better condition riding. I too, will probably give the Schwalbe marathon winter a tried. Are you going with a 700c or 26" size? I am going with the 26" and 1.75" width.

    How does a 700c bike handle the snow weather, better or worst than a mountain bike?

I have 700c and with Marathons its' been fine. As others have written, the ice is the enemy.  Riding  on the plowed streets - given the aggressive salting - for me at least has made slipping a non issue.  

My bigger worries in winter biking are drivers who don't expect bikers in the winter months and just the physical strain that constant cold weather rides takes.  


Jerry Lee said:

Richard Steirs & Nancois8.5;

      Maybe I use one bike for studs and the other for better condition riding. I too, will probably give the Schwalbe marathon winter a tried. Are you going with a 700c or 26" size? I am going with the 26" and 1.75" width.

    How does a 700c bike handle the snow weather, better or worst than a mountain bike?

I commute 30 miles/day, year round and I've never had studded tires. I slow my pace and ride more cautiously during slippery weather.

 

I ride on 26" Continental Travel Contact's. I stay vertical.

 

I probably just jinxed myself.

I've ridden 700c bikes through the last 6 winters, and have not had any problem with 700c tires.  On those days where the drifting is so bad that I am having to bunny hop my bike through parts of my ride, I don't think that I would be helped by having 26" tires.  That being said, I don't think that having 700c tires conveys any particular advantage for winter riding either.  Since my commuter is a bike with 700c wheels, that's what I ride in the winter.

As for being upright (like on a mountain bike) vs. riding a bike with drop bars, I again think it's what you get used to.  I initially rode with a flat bar bike, but switched to drop bars.  I'm able to maneuver just as well with drop bars (with my hands on the top of the drop bars, or on the brake hoods) as I am able to maneuver with a flat bar).

Jerry Lee said:

    How does a 700c bike handle the snow weather, better or worst than a mountain bike?

I don't know, as I have never owned a mountain bike. But I will say that my 700c handles the snow and ice much better than my vintage three-speed, which goes over with very little provocation. I think it's just something about the way the geometry positions me over the bike that makes it much easier to stay upright on the hybrid. So that's the one that's getting the snow tires.

Jerry Lee said:

    How does a 700c bike handle the snow weather, better or worst than a mountain bike?

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