d’Andre’s post yesterday’s about studded tires had a lot of good advice in the article and the comment section that I thought were worth summarizing today. Below are the highlights of sage winter cycling advice I pulled from all the comments
- Studded tires, while not a magic bullet, greatly improve traction on icy roads.
- Good carbide studded tires like Nokians and Schwalbes while expensive, are worth the investment as they last 3-5 seasons or more
- Cheap studded tires like are generally not worth the money if as the studs wear quickly when riding on pavement
- Studded tires are NOT a winter riding necessity. You can certainly get around all winter on regular rubber bicycle tires.
- If you want to save money but improve traction on ice, adding a studded tire to the front and not the rear works better than studs on the back and rubber on the front.
- Some believe skinny road tires work better than fatter mtb tires. The couriers all run regular skinny tires all winter long and they get around just fine. But others prefer fat mtb tires which ride over packed snow.
- All studded tires are slow in comparison to regular bicycle tires, but most agrees the 32mm Nokian A10s are the fastest of the studded tires out there.
Many people also commented about their “winter bikes.” That reminded me of back when cars rusted faster and people used to drive junkers in the winter so they did not expose their good cars to the salt. Perhaps my good bike would be many people’s junker, but I ride my regular old lugged Schwinn all year round, but I add the Nokian A10s in when the Hank Aaron Trail gets icey. The only special component I have on it that works really well for winter riding is the rear coaster brake and SRAM 5-speed internal hub. The internal gears reduce maintenance to almost nothing and the coaster brake never fails when the rims get wet and slippery.
I would like to hear how many people tend to switch out their “good bike” for a winter commuter and why. Is it to run mtb or cross tires or is it to spare the nice bike and its components from exposure to salt? Any special components you use for winter commuting? Feel free to email me (overthebars(at)yahoo.com) photos your bike or you riding your favorite winter steed. I will post them together.
And what I really want to know: Anyone commute on a Surly Pugsley?