Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Studded Bike Tires, Update.

Well we have definitely had some snow and ice lately. Temperatures have been cold and we received about eight inches total of snowfall over the last week or so. I've put a decent amount of miles on the studded tires and now have a firmer grip of what they are like.

I LOVE THEM. My goodness I should have tried these years ago. As I previously mentioned I purchased the Nokian mount and ground 160's. One hundred and sixty carbide studs arrayed towards the outside of the tire. When I first mounted them, I was unsure as to how well they would perform. Here is the most notable improvement I have had.

Those of you who ride in the winter know that sideways slip is what gets us in winter riding. When you apply power to the pedals you also apply some sideways force to the tires, since the pedals are mounted to either side of the center line of the bicycle, there is no way to avoid that. It's not an issue unless you are on a surface that would allow you to lose traction. Snow, ice or gravel will allow the tire to slip sideways. Most of the time this forces you to occasionally put a foot down to stop the bike from sliding out from under you.

An experienced rider can compensate for much of this, but occasionally you will still have that slip that goes too far and it is either foot down or all down and you fall as the bike slides out from under you. With the studded tire you still have that slip, but it is only a couple of inches, then the studs on the outer edges of the tires catch as they dig in.

A good example of how much this helps was my trip to the grocery store yesterday. The most direct and safest route for me for this is plowed sidewalk. The store is located on the busiest road in town with traffic speeds of 50+ mph. They plow the sidewalk which leaves about 3 inches of soft snow with a base of ice from previous snowfall. Soft snow over ice is just about the worst for slipping. Normally I would travel slow and be prepared to put a foot down on this trip. But I made the transition from the road to the sidewalk portion and just kept going, the rear end would slip as expected, for about 2-3 inches then the studs would catch and I would continue on. I never had to put a foot down the whole trip and my speed was almost double what I would normally have maintained on that route this time of year.

I did a maintenance inspection yesterday on the bike. I'm missing one stud, which I had noted when I installed the tires. So I have lost zero studs since I started using the tires, tread wear is not noticeable as of yet. I'm very happy with the tires and they are going to be my new winter tires from now on.

No comments:

Post a Comment