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chas

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It is winter, and I've decided not to go the fat tire bike.  Besides, my largest problems by far have been how fast and hard a bike goes down when hitting glare ice.  So, its time for some studded tires.

NOKIAN HAKKAPELIITTA w106 W240

I love these tires.  I’m still experimenting, but I have the W106 on the rear and the W240 on the front.  This gives me power and low rolling resistance in my power tire, with plenty of grip in the front tire.

The tires dig through deep snow (unlike fat tires) and claw their way down to something firm underneath.  If that something firm is ice, it just bites right in.

So far, I can’t get the rear to let go first on snow.  Putting higher traction tire on the front is working great.    

On ice, they work well too, although I have not done any bone headed moves.  I can get the rear, with 106 studs, to slide around a little bit if I accelerate and turn at the same time on glare ice.  Its manageable and kind of fun.  The studs make some nice claw marks in the ice.  I’m hoping to find a lake with a thick layer of ice (6” or more) and no snow.  Maybe one of our outdoor hockey rinks around the state… 

Drawbacks:

Very heavy.  This makes the tire reliable, and gives a good cardio workout in the winter

Kinda noisy on bare pavement.

They are much thinner than I thought for a 2 inch tire.  My summer tires are 54mm wide, and these are about 42mm wide.  However, that allows the tires to really cut through the snow and slush.  Like a mud tire, narrow is good!

EDIT - POST #14 has and updated review of the Nokian tires

P.S. Studs don't go fat in the winter! ;-)

studded snow sm.jpgsnow tires.jpeg


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Christian Bratina

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Reply with quote  #2 
Did they go on straight and true?  I have heard that is a problem since they started making them in Asia.

Have you lost any studs?
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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #3 
FWIW - I've got the Schwalbe Winter Marathon's in the 26"x2.0" and like the Nokians they are heavy and slow and they're amazing on ice.  I think the tread pattern of the Marathons will roll faster than the Haka's on dry pavement but I would expect the Haka to do better in snow.  This has been the consensus in the few reports from people who have ridden both tires.  FWIW - the Winter Marathon 26x2.0 is spec'd with 200 studs and weighs 1150g.  I did weigh the tires and tubes and they did come in just about at 3 pounds (1320g) each!

I followed the break-in directions and after about 300 miles I have not lost any studs, but I haven't skidded the tires and the grip has been so good they haven't slipped/spun on ice.  For icy conditions I air down to 25 psi front and 28 psi rear - this is well below Schwalbe's minimum pressure. At low pressure both rows of studs are in contact with the ice/pavement for maximum grip. If I the roads are mostly clear, I'll run the tires at 35/38 psi where they roll MUCH better as fewer of the studs hit the pavement. Hardpack and ice is where the studded tires excel. On snow more than 4" or heavy soft snow the bike will squirm. I'd expect deeper snow is are the conditions where a fat bike would perform better.

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Laeljon

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Commuting for ten yrs.....never had a problem. Considered stud tires, but realized the hassle of riding with hard tires. Deep snow, slush, ice, no problems. My commuter bikes. Even in -15 degrees below Just wear goggles to keep eyes from freezing shut.DSCN2829.JPG  fullsizeoutput_128.jpeg  DSCF0240.JPG

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chas

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Reply with quote  #5 
@NoCoGreg 

Actually, I find that fat bikes don't do good in deep snow.
They do great on something that is packed down - something that is uneven where the bike needs to float on top.

My studded tires cut through deep snow that I just can't get very far on a fat bike.  But the fat bike will float over a groomed trail, or road that has been driven on.  The skinny 26" tires just wander all over the place in those condtions, and I can't get the bike to go straight. snow bike 2.jpeg 

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chas

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@Laeljon,

I find that works great if the temperatures are consistantly below freezing.  Its the freeze/thaw cycles that cause invisible ice patches that bite me.  When I ride over those, it is like someone violently kicked my wheel out from under me.  I need studs if there is a freeze/thaw cycle.  Here is a shot of the studs digging into a sheet of ice that is lightly covered in snow.  Ice covered in 1cm of snow is almost invisible and deadly in my experience.

20161213_082225.jpg 

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chas

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Reply with quote  #7 
@ Christina

My Nokia are fine, although I did ride gently on them to get them to seat.  They say "made in Finland" on the sidewall, even though it is made by "Suomi".

Peter White cycles has a great page on winter tires:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.php
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Johan Ny Toci

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Reply with quote  #8 
Suomi-Finland like we used to say here in (Suomi-)Finland. 


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Rich S

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Reply with quote  #9 
I run 45NRTH Gravdal's on my winter bike. They are fantastic on ice but heavy, slow, and noisy otherwise. My commute is all city streets which are salted. But I come across plenty of ice patches, especially in the new curb separated bike lanes that Chicago is installing more and more. 

We also get plenty of freeze thaw cycles which, as someone else mentioned, are particularly treacherous. Yesterday's high was 16 and by the weekend it's supposed to be in the upper 30s. 

And for kicks and giggles here are a few pics of my winter rig:
IMG_3715.JPG  IMG_3718.JPG  IMG_3721.JPG 

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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laeljon
Commuting for ten yrs.....never had a problem. Considered stud tires, but realized the hassle of riding with hard tires. Deep snow, slush, ice, no problems. My commuter bikes. Even in -15 degrees below Just wear goggles to keep eyes from freezing shut.    DSCF0240.JPG

Love the fenders. How did you make them?  How are they secured?

Thx,
Greg
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Laeljon

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Reply with quote  #11 
LOL... made the fenders out of soy protein or Heed energy drink canisters. Rear is bolted on, front is Zip tied... DSCN3483.JPG 

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Barrettscv

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Reply with quote  #12 
I had good results with the Schwalbe Winter Marathon. It's best on hard ice, but not ideal in dense snow.


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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrettscv
I had good results with the Schwalbe Winter Marathon. It's best on hard ice, but not ideal in dense snow.

Yup - exactly the same assessment I'd have of my Schwalbe Winter Marathons (26 x 2.00, 200 studs).  They'll knife through several inches of light snow and excellent on ice, but definitely not for deep and heavy snow.
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chas

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Reply with quote  #14 
Here is the  verdict:

Nokian studded tire review.

 

1st: studded tires have opened up my winter world to do things I never would have done without them.  Just taking a ride within a mile of my house is an adventure in the winter time, and encouraged me to see what is near where I live.  I now look forward to below freezing temperatures, where I know the air will be dry and crisp, and there will be no mud or water to make a mess of things.  I’m looking forward to some clear cold days coming up this week where I can do some bike riding across frozen lakes.  That is going to make for an interesting STRAVA map!

In the past, I have hit the ground HARD trying to ride too early in the spring and finding ice.  Now I have the traction to ride year round.

 

2nd:  The difference between studded 2 inch mountain bike tires and fat tires (4”-5”):

Studded tires do not work well on hard or heavy snow.  They follow ruts and bumps and get pushed all over the place.  Fat tires float above this stuff and are better in bumpy snow – as long as they don’t sink too deep to the point where I don’t have the strength to plow through the mess.  With studded tires, I’ll happily ride through deep virgin snow, next to a sidewalk or road, rather than try to ride through the ruts caused by footprints or tire marks.  If bumps are deep, that is just not doable on studded tires

 

3rd Sizing:  I use 54mm wide tires in the summer.  I was shocked to see how small these Nokian’s looked on my bike.  All three have a tire carcass of only about 40mm.  That is about the size of a cyclocross tire.  While the nominal 54x559 sizing of the “Nokian Extreme 294” is important for knowing if the tire will fit in your frame, the tire pressure should be set more in align with a 40mm tire carcass.

 

W160 (26 x 1.9)

Short answer:  this is my favorite tire.  It slices through snow of any depth I have found, and provides plenty of traction for normal riding, commuting, cruising along.  In spring/fall I can air these up and ride more on the rubber than on the studs.  In the icy heart of winter, I can run them soft, and keep two rows of studs in contact with the ground. Even with the tires that have 4 rows of studs, only two rows are really doing the work unless I am trail riding.  The W160 is  not too bad on trails either, but they are super skinny for a mountain bike tire.

 

W240  (47-559 26" W240)

I’m not sure what good these tires are.  If you want a heavy tire for the road, they might work.  If you want an off road tire that is too narrow to work off road, that might work?  They really don’t seem to be good for anything that can’t be done better by another tire.  They don’t have the float or the volume to go off road, and on the road, I don’t ever use the outer row of studs, so it is rather like riding a heavy tire with only 120.  I have used them as a front tire with the W160 in the rear, and that is a viable option, but the W160 is a better option for the roads.

Peter white call this “Nokian's best, all purpose, do just about everything really well, no compromise tire” Personally, I don’t like it.  No, I don’t find it bigger than the W160, it is just that the lugs are bigger and more aggressive.  It has been said that these are good for climbing out of ruts, but if the road is that poorly rutted I’m not going to be riding it.  If the carcass is too skinny to ride rough roads/trails, what is the point?

 

Nokian Extreme 294 (54-559mm Extreme 294)

Woah, these are aggressive deeply lugged and studded tires.  Almost 300 studs.  At low pressure, these stick confidently on ice.  I have taken them on fat bike trails, and they work OK, but in snow you don’t need studs. The exception to this is if there has been a freeze/thaw cycle and glare ice under the snow.  Riding trails without studs, I have gone down very hard, fast and painfully.  2-3 inch wide tires are pain on a fat bike snow trial as they wander all over the place, and are difficult to keep in the grove.  A 4-5” wide tire will just cruise along with little effort.  But, if the trail is a mixture of frozen mud, frozen ice puddles (very slick), and light snow, - these studded tires could be a lot of fun.  On the road, they are heavy.  The sound of the studs crawling along the pavement makes me think I don’t have good traction, but I have yet to experience slippage on pavement.

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chas

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Reply with quote  #15 

Update:  Pure ice.

 

The conditions in the last week have created ice skating rinks out of all of our lakes (temps in the teens, no snow).  What better test conditions for studs then to test them on a lake of smooth glare ice?

 

I tried the 296 on the front and rear, and the w160 on the rear.

 

W160 (two rows of studs for a total of 160 studs)

With some good bike handling skills, these did relatively well as a rear tire.  Above 8mph, I could really accelerate hard on these.  They obviously had less traction than the 294 tires, but either way I typically had two rows of studs on the ice.

 

I finally found a weakness in these tires.  At 30psi, they put two rows of studs on the ice, except when turning.  If turning one row of studs can pick up, reducing the number of studs by 50%.  This is not a problem with the 240 or the 294.    Anything more than a gentle turn or a bump in the ice could cause these tires to get loose.  I found it controllable, but a bit squirrely.

 

W294.

Rear.  Wow.  I had about 30psi in the tires, so I had 4 rows of studs on the ice.  But when accelerating hard from a stop, I would lift the front tire of the ice rather than spin.  I was impressed!  Out of the saddle acceleration with my weigh forward could get some spin, but while seated I could accelerate hard.

 

The only problem with this was the front tire does not have near the traction   with a 40F60R weight distribution, the front tire had much less traction on the front, so I had to be careful with that wheel.  It was easy to lock up the tires braking, but the acceleration and turning performance surprised me.

 

Conclusion:

For commuting, the W160 is a great tire.  If you are concerned about traction and  steering, the combination of the W240 front and W160 rear makes for a neutral handling bike.  Both tires break free at the same time in my case.  However, I think the W240 is a bit narrow to “climb out of a rut” as that requires a big soft footprint to do – and the W240 is a pretty narrow tire.

 

For commuting and general winter riding, I’ll use the 294 as a front tire on really bad days, and only use the 294 as a rear tire off road. 

 

The W160 is a great winter tire in all conditions other than an ice rink.  Its main drawback is that it can not corner hard without 4 rows of studs, as turning can lift one of the 2 rows off the ice.

 

The W240’s 4 rows of studs adds a little more security than the W160’s 2 rows, but I don’t see much of an advantage to this tire, unless possibly you don’t ride in bumpy conditions and want the extra security on your front tire.

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NoCoGreg

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Reply with quote  #16 
Chas,
I noticed your comment in an earlier post about the Hakka's being small for a 2" tire.  I've only seen the W240 in 47-559 (26x1.9") and the W160 in a 50-559 (again listed as 26x1.9").  So it appears the W240 is close to spec and the W160 is a bit narrow.  Since tires tend to stretch a bit with use you may see them reach their listed width.

Similarly my Schwalbe Marathon Winter 50-559(26x2.00) measure small - an average of 47.4mm.  I've got a few hundred miles on them and haven't seen any stretching - but I'm also running very low pressure so perhaps that is also contributing to the narrow measurement?

I'd be interested to hear from anyone running a 700x35 studded tire to see if these measure true to size.  I'm planning to put these on the wife's CX bike but it has limited clearance.

Cheers,
Greg
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