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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

If you think you don't need it, you're probably wrong!

Old 01-28-20, 07:51 AM
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mcours2006
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If you think you don't need it, you're probably wrong!

My disdain for riding on studs got me in trouble yesterday morning. The roads were a bit damp, but had been well salted, and after riding the first few hundred meters I thought it was fine. It was fine, for the most part, except when I got close to work. It was a newly paved road. Approaching an all-way stop sign, and a bit of a bend in the road I saw ahead a bit of sheen on the road. Then it was too late.



I was going slow already. No harm done other than a bit of a bruise on the hip where I fell.

Lesson learned. As much as I dislike studs I dislike falling more.
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Old 01-28-20, 08:09 AM
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Beware, studs can also "cause" falls, when going too fast around turns, on dry pavement. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
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Old 01-28-20, 08:29 AM
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I agree. Studds are critical some times of the year (even though I hate them). I'm not worried about falling with them, but have had some nasty spills without them.
Slow falls seem to be the worst, as I hit hard. If I"m going fast, I just slide for a while.

Some examples:
- Freeze thaw cycles cause black ice over night from melting snow or damp conditions
- Damp pavement doesnt look much difference from ice. Got caught in the rain once and had no way of telling I was suddenly riding on ice - went down hard.
- Heck I was going to work one nice day - sunny dry about 34 degrees - road into a shadow that oddly turned out to be black ice.

If it is constantly below freezing and the pavement is dry, I'll just use my winter tires. but those freeze thaw cycles can be nasty...
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Old 01-28-20, 10:42 AM
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Three wheels is where it's at.

They never salted (or did anything really) to the roads in Seattle, so I wouldn't ride if the temps were below 40 (cold enough to cause ice at night). And lots of people would continue to water their lawns (and usually the adjacent streets) all winter, so even with no rain, it wasn't safe.

I couldn't convince myself that studs would do the trick, and I'm a wuss, but now I ride all winter with the velo.
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Old 01-28-20, 10:47 AM
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I’m quite thankful the only time I see ice on the road around here is when someone spilled their drink. Nothing spells disaster like a spilled Frappuccino!

On a more serious note — props to anyone living with the realities of ice, and snow, and studded tires, and oh man. Much respect.


-Kedosto
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Old 01-28-20, 10:50 AM
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I use snow tires on my RWD car and they are incredible. The tread pattern has a ton of edges to grab the ice and the compound is soft in the cold. It's like magic. Does anyone make commuting tires with similar characteristics?

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Old 01-28-20, 11:21 AM
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If I had studs on yesterday I wouldn't have even given that icy patch a second look or s second thought. It would have been a non-event. I've ridden over stuff like that countless times on studded tires. They work as advertised.

Yeah, this warming/cooling trend around the freezing mark is the problem lately. Much the same today, but I've got the studs today. Put a few flurries during the overnight period and it's even more treacherous as you can even see where the slick spots are.

Careful out there!
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Old 01-28-20, 11:29 AM
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I’ve ridden over a few frozen puddles this year, but haven’t broken out the studded tires yet, now going on the second year in a row. Kinda hoping for adverse weather conditions.
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Old 01-28-20, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
My disdain for riding on studs got me in trouble yesterday morning
There was a little light rain and flurry action last night, and this morning I had to decide to take my heavier, slower snow bike with its studded snow tires, or my main bike with smooth tires. I took the "dry" bike, but was watching the road ahead of me like a hawk. In my case, there was only one splotch of ice this morning.

Glad you weren't hurt worse.

Originally Posted by john m flores View Post
I use snow tires on my RWD car and they are incredible. The tread pattern has a ton of edges to grab the ice and the compound is soft in the cold. It's like magic. Does anyone make commuting tires with similar characteristics?
My studded Suomi Nokian W016s have a soft compound but no sipes (the tiny cut pattrerns) to help grip.

Riveting I can understand how generously studded tires would be "slick" on dry pavement. My studded tires merely have a single line of mile studs along each "shoulder" of the tire. I can sometimes feel a little slide to the left or right when cornering as the row of studs becomes the contact point with the pavement. If the bike continues to lean further, then better grip is restored as the weight is again supported on just rubber.

It reminds me of 20-years ago when I tried those hybrid road/trail tires. Smooth in the center section with knobby shoulders. When cornering on those grip would lessen as the bike leaned into a turn, but unlike the studded tires, there was no better grip further into the lean.

All that being said...with my studded tires at least, lowering the psi gives the tires more grip on dry pavement as under-inflation gives the tire a larger footprint. Of course lower psi makes my heavier snow bike even more of a chore to pedal. And I don't know if lower psi would help with grip on more aggressively studded tires.
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Old 01-28-20, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores View Post
I use snow tires on my RWD car and they are incredible. The tread pattern has a ton of edges to grab the ice and the compound is soft in the cold. It's like magic. Does anyone make commuting tires with similar characteristics?
Continental makes a non-studded tire for winter: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5057-3...Reflex-Folding
Haven't tried them as I find my winter tires seem to last forever.
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Old 01-28-20, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
Continental makes a non-studded tire for winter: https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5057-3...Reflex-Folding
Haven't tried them as I find my winter tires seem to last forever.
Looks promising...




But considering how small a bicycle tire's contact patch is compared to a car's, I wonder how well they work?
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Old 01-28-20, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores View Post
Looks promising...


But considering how small a bicycle tire's contact patch is compared to a car's, I wonder how well they work?
I expect they would work well on anything other than glare ice. For comparison, I'm using the continental speedride as a rear winter tire and it works really well.
I get a lot of glare ice here, so I'm sticking with a studded front tire.
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Old 01-28-20, 01:53 PM
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i do not ride with studs. maybe that's a mistake. interesting to hear people in this thread saying they work. when i talked to repair tech while having something or other fixed, he told me my current tires were fine for snow (700 x 32, whatever's stock on an fx) and studded tires would not save me from ice.

i stay off backroads during certain temps, and if i see anything that looks vaguely like ice i walk my bike over it (if it cannot be ridden around). i've of course not noticed until it's too late. the second my bike touches both wheels to a sheet of ice, it drops like a brick.

glad to hear you didn't get seriously hurt.

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Old 01-28-20, 02:05 PM
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i didn't ride studs this morning either because it looked like things were pretty dry. i had to roll over a couple of small frozen melt-water puddles on the MUP, but all good.

however, i did see a fellow rider take a hard fall on glare ice on a different part of the braided-path MUP that didn't get plowed and salted. the recent warm up had exposed the pavement, but i knew from experience not to take that part because of glare ice problems after a cold night with melting snow the previous day. he said he was okay though.




Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Beware, studs can also "cause" falls, when going too fast around turns, on dry pavement. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
as a 4 season bike commuter in chicago for over a decade now:

# of falls riding in the winter on studded tires: 0

# of falls riding in the winter before i got wise to studded tires: too numerous to remember



Originally Posted by denada View Post
i do not ride with studs. maybe that's a mistake. interesting to hear people in this thread saying they work. when i talked to repair tech while having something or other fixed, he told me my current tires were fine for snow (700 x 32, whatever's stock on an fx) and studded tires would not save me from ice.
that mechanic gave you some utterly worthless advice.

studded tires absolutely work for keeping a bicycle upright on ice.

i have ridden across ice rinks with confidence on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 01-28-20 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-28-20, 02:26 PM
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Schwalbe studded winter tires. Amazing on the snow & ice. I think 35psi had all the studs making contact. They are a little like velcro on pavement, but awesome for the one snow day we had. Rolling resistance leaves a lot to be desired, but who really wants to crash going faster than 12mph on ice, anyway? This ride was between 16 & 17 miles. The next day I took 'em off to save for next year.

20200115_140437 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

20200115_142825 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr

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Old 01-28-20, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
as a 4 season bike commuter in chicago for over a decade now:

# of falls riding in the winter on studded tires: 0

# of falls riding in the winter before i got wise to studded tires: too numerous to remember


that mechanic gave you some utterly worthless advice.

studded tires absolutely work for keeping a bicycle upright on ice.

i have ridden across ice rinks with confidence on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires.
noted. first time chicago winter rider here, so i appreciate the advice. actually pretty new to riding in general, so i recently got changing flats by myself down pat. might use my newly developed tire removal skills to swap out for some studded. or do you all have a whole other front wheel with a studded tire that you swap out according to that day's conditions?
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Old 01-28-20, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by denada View Post
or do you all have a whole other front wheel with a studded tire that you swap out according to that day's conditions?
i actually have a whole other dedicated "winter bike" that lives with studded tires on it year round.

i did the tire swap thing earlier in my bike commuting days, but eventually got tired of it because the conditions in chicago can change daily in winter.

and i really, REALLY, REALLY don't like riding on studs when i don't have to, so i got a second bike.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Beware, studs can also "cause" falls, when going too fast around turns, on dry pavement. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Blame the rider and not the tires....Only somebody who is an idiot would go fast around the corners with studded tires....Studded tires are not designed for high speed performance on dry pavement, they are designed to make winter riding on ice safer.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i actually have a whole other dedicated "winter bike" that lives with studded tires on it year round.

i did the tire swap thing earlier in my bike commuting days, but eventually got tired of it because the conditions in chicago can change daily in winter.

and i really, REALLY, REALLY don't like riding on studs when i don't have to, so i got a second bike.
word. swapping tires regularly does sound like a chore. but one road bike for working out and one hybrid for transportation might be my limit. i currently have a 700 multitrack that i could make my winter bike, but craigslist is more likely its future.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by denada View Post
i do not ride with studs. maybe that's a mistake. interesting to hear people in this thread saying they work. when i talked to repair tech while having something or other fixed, he told me my current tires were fine for snow (700 x 32, whatever's stock on an fx) and studded tires would not save me from ice.
The repair tech who told you that studded tires don't work is stupid and has no idea what they're talking about.....Studded tires work very well on ice and they can make a difference between riding or not riding.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by denada View Post
when i talked to repair tech while having something or other fixed, he told me my current tires were fine for snow (700 x 32, whatever's stock on an fx) and studded tires would not save me from ice.
Studs do work on ice. Especially the black kind. You have to lower the pressure on them to make them more effective. I do run the psi a bit higher on mine as I want them to roll better on bare pavement. On snow, they are not much different than non-studs.

Folks here who commute in winter will tell you that studs do work.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
that mechanic gave you some utterly worthless advice.

studded tires absolutely work for keeping a bicycle upright on ice.

i have ridden across ice rinks with confidence on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires.
+1; and I have to wonder if the studs + dry pavement warnings are overrated. I've run Nokian/Suomi W106s, 160s and now W240s. On concrete, and especially on asphalt, I've never felt the front wheel slip, even leaning into a turn. 'Course, here in WI, you never see that smooth polished concrete on public roads, like what you'd see on a mansion driveway. I don't know if it's the climate, or the "recipe" they use to pave the road here, or what, but even the most newly paved roads are always just the slightest bit rough. Maybe it's intentional. Maybe it's different elsewhere.

Really smooth tile is another thing. Depending on the route, part of my commute some days includes a short stretch walking the bike in an indoor walkway with a hard tile floor. First time or two, I could feel the front wheel want to slide out sideways on the studs. Keeping it upright quickly became second nature.

WRT swapping, one affordable option is a cheap second wheelset, so you just swap wheels instead of tires.
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Old 01-28-20, 05:49 PM
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+1 for a dedicated stud bike. I used to wait till the morning to decide if I needed to swap wheels on the same bike. That was a hassle when I guessed wrong the night before. And of course, the shifting is never exactly spot on and required a half turn or quarter turn of the adjusting barrel.

Even with two bikes there's still the hassle of mounting the lights and cameras in the morning, but certainly not as big a hassle.

FWIW, I run Schwalbe studs with the two rows of studs, not the four rows. They work well. With the 240 studs (4 rows), you can probably take corners a bit more aggressively, but then again, why do you need to under conditions when need studs in the first place?

I have Suomi W106s as well on another bike, but the treads are more aggressive looking and probably do roll as well. They are also great on ice and compressed snow/ice/slush.
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Old 01-29-20, 10:04 AM
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If you don't think studs work on ice, watch the video below. Granted, the studs they put on cars and motorcycles (yes, motorcycles) are significantly stronger, longer, and more robust, but you're not cranking out 200 hp either.

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Old 01-29-20, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores View Post
I use snow tires on my RWD car and they are incredible. The tread pattern has a ton of edges to grab the ice and the compound is soft in the cold. It's like magic. Does anyone make commuting tires with similar characteristics?

Like the ICE in that recent video, most ice has quite a bit of SNOW on top. That is not the same as black ice or glare ice. I have had the experience of sliding helplessly at low speed, the length of an urban intersection, coming to a stop mere inches from another vehicle that was just as helpless to avoid being hit. The tires (all season radials) had been well up to the job of getting us to that point in space and time, and through the rest of that winter. A bicycle does not have tons of mass to increase the coefficient of friction at the contact patches. Cars need studs for real ice conditions. A bicycle NEEDS studs for real ice conditions, an aggressive tread pattern will simply not be enough. This thread fails (IMO) to make a consistent distinction between glare ice and ice with snow cover. It also fails (IMO) to allow for the International reach of this forum (to say nothing of the range of climates and micro-climates in just the US alone) and the complete lack of any connection (though possibly sympathy) through experience with the subject matter. Where I live now (Portland, OR) studded tires would have been used exactly once this winter.
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