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Tread direction for optimal traction in winter?

Old 09-29-19, 04:39 PM
  #1  
johnspack
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Tread direction for optimal traction in winter?

I have a giant trance x4 2012 model with 26" tires, last year they did that size. It's rather snowy and icey here in the winter so looking for optimal traction. I rode a 30 year old vintage
bike here all winter last year and nearly died a few times! I have 2.4" on the front and 2.5" on the back directional knobbies. I've currently put the front on forward, and the back on reverse.
Won't the reversed rear tire give me more take off traction? I know it's something dirt bikers do.
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Old 09-29-19, 08:53 PM
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Okay snowfall in a day or 2... I guess I'll just find out! Thanks all.
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Old 09-29-19, 11:37 PM
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Yes, that's how it's done. Thanks for all the info!
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Old 09-29-19, 11:38 PM
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Not much for Canada in here eh?
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Old 09-30-19, 01:34 AM
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On the ground is best.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:48 AM
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For tractors they talk about the "V" pointing towards the ground in front, so the point of the V hits first, and it pushes mud out to the side.

Ultimately, I don't think it makes a huge difference on bikes.
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Old 09-30-19, 04:32 AM
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Whatever the directional arrow on the tyre says.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by johnspack View Post
nearly died a few times
why? what happened? under what conditions? I've ridden in the winter & before I put studded tires on, it ca be hairy & dangerous. meaning maybe tread direction isn't the issue, but rather not having studs?
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Old 09-30-19, 11:07 AM
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We have weird winter conditions here... it's in a constant state of freezing and melting. This causes washboard ice to form on the roads. My old steel bike hits those and just starts bouncing and then looses traction. My new bike has full suspension, and bigger tires. Should stick to the road a lot better. Last winter a car crowded me too far to the side of the road where the washboard ice was really bad, and I went down hard, my rear bike basket came off spilling groceries everywhere, I'm lying on the ground with the bike on top of me, and the car just keeps going.
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Old 09-30-19, 11:36 AM
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Do you have studded tires?

Perhaps a set of tires/wheels that would be quick and easy to install when conditions warrant?
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Old 09-30-19, 12:42 PM
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@johnspack they make spikes, you know. MTB treads do nothing particularly useful on ice
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Old 09-30-19, 09:46 PM
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Not much fool proof for icy crud. Get the narrowish Nokians they use in Scandinavia. Wider tires tend to float vs cut through the icy crud. They are expensive but let's me ride on frozen lakes and glass ice on trails
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Old 10-01-19, 12:04 AM
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Dam, so I should get the 2.1" nokias for 250 can? I was hoping on a fixed income the 600 I already spent on the darn thing would be enough. Would narrow studded tires make that much more difference over larger
new knobbies? And I'm certain the dual suspension will help, my old steel bike just bounced around on the ice. I still held it though, even during snowstorms. I'm very stubborn.
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Old 10-01-19, 07:08 AM
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ice is unforgiving. was riding a favorite paved trail a cpl yrs ago with a hybrid & studded tires. it's a plowed trail so I was doing well over the icy patches. caught up to a guy on a mountain bike who was also doing quick well. started thinking maybe I should be using one of those instead. then he approached a road crossing & somehow slipped & fell. as he was getting up we greeted each other & commented briefly about the weather. I could see he had knobby tires but no studs. I've read that a front shock will help with moguls & I agree. but studs rule when there's ice. wide tires have benefits but so do narrow tires. I was commuting in the winter & had a good combo, but thought a tank like bike with bigger, more aggressive tires would be better. but the bike had some drawbacks, heavier, wider tires wandered more rather than digging down & it was slower & harder to pedal. the hybrid w/ 35mm studded tires was the winner. last year I got another MTB & equipped it w/ wide studded tires, but I use that off road. like said if I was commuting again I would go with narrow. you get more pounds per square inch on those studs. so what's a good 26" narrow studded tire? here's my guess

Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus 26" Tire (HS 396) 26 x 1.75

I agree that the cost of studded tires is very annoying. I've bought them used, so that might be an option

but you know your personal conditions better than any of us. try what you have & if you think studs will help, try to find a pair you can afford.

this was my 26" tank. had fun setting it up but ultimately it was a waste of time, effort & money for my 26 mile round trip commute




ultimately this bike was the winner (for my winter commute) cuz it was faster & had narrower tires





oh, the memories

Last edited by rumrunn6; 10-01-19 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 10-03-19, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by johnspack View Post
Dam, so I should get the 2.1" nokias for 250 can? I was hoping on a fixed income the 600 I already spent on the darn thing would be enough. Would narrow studded tires make that much more difference over larger
new knobbies? And I'm certain the dual suspension will help, my old steel bike just bounced around on the ice. I still held it though, even during snowstorms. I'm very stubborn.
The crappiest set of studded tires will perform light-years ahead of any non-studded knobby when you hit ice.

Studded tires will also make worlds more difference than suspension.
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Old 10-03-19, 07:45 AM
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^^^^This. Look for used studded tires. 26ers should be easy to come by. They will last 5-10 years.
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Old 10-07-19, 08:48 PM
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I kind of know the conditions I'm riding on... last winter I rode on 2.1s and basically summers. This year I ride on 2.4 and 2.5 knobbies with full suspension. I do appreciate the suggestion about spikes however, I may
go that route. And 26" studded tires are 250 up here, and I'm on a fixed income. Whole giant bike only cost me 600!
Edit: great, what I'm seeing above... I need to spend another 250... that means I dont eat for another 2 months arg!

Last edited by johnspack; 10-07-19 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 10-07-19, 09:54 PM
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And honestly, none of you have ever run the winter without studs on your bikes? Really? What fun is that? Guts or glory, dam, and I'm a Canadian. I ran all winter long last year on tiny tires on an old steel bike
and survived just fine. I may try spikes this year, or not. I might just use balls instead!
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Old 10-07-19, 11:58 PM
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Keep your eyes open for used studded tires. Some pop up hardly used. E-Bay? Co-ops,
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Old 10-08-19, 07:16 AM
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Canada? $250? have you seen this website?

Schwalbe Winter K-Guard HS 396 26in. Wire Tire $64.95

Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus SmartGuard HS 396 26in. $109.95

1 (888) 847-0770
locations
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Old 10-08-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by johnspack View Post
And honestly, none of you have ever run the winter without studs on your bikes? Really? What fun is that? Guts or glory, dam, and I'm a Canadian. I ran all winter long last year on tiny tires on an old steel bike
and survived just fine. I may try spikes this year, or not. I might just use balls instead!
Uhhhh, you clearly stated in your first post that you “nearly died” running that setup last winter.

You then went on to detail ending up in in a pile on the side on the road with your bike on top of you and groceries all over the place.

You then asked if studs would make much of a difference.

Your words, not ours.

Last edited by Kapusta; 10-08-19 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 10-08-19, 03:54 PM
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Well, a 30 year old steel bike is not really suitable for winter conditions. Even with studded tires. My giant with dual suspension should take the washboard ice better. And yes, I'm looking into spikes for my tires.
Will be much cheaper than studded tires up here. 250can for 2.1" arg. Being on a fixed income, I kind of have to do this on a budget.
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Old 10-08-19, 04:41 PM
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I don't have bike studs. The last time I really needed to ride in ice/snow I was riding narrow 700c with small knobbies, and couldn't get studs for the bike. It was not a fun ride. I don't think suspension would have helped.

I have driven vehicles with studs, and they make a night and day difference. Even studless winter tires.

I realize issues with Canadian exchange rates, Canadian taxes, Canadian shipping & etc.

Is there any way to convince your legislators that critical safety equipment should have a tax exemption?

Anyway, keep your eye out at bike co-ops, bike swaps, local classifieds, E-Bay, etc for a good deal.

If you find the right deal in the USA, there is also the Facilitators Thread which could extend your range significantly.

Then ask yourself how much a serious injury is really worth?

I realize critical budget issues, but weighing my life&limbs vs a month of Ramen noodles... I think the Ramen would win out.
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Old 10-08-19, 08:06 PM
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You don’t say where in Canada you are. Here in the Kootenays of BC most of us ride fatbikes in the winter and use studs if we are using the bike to commute or ride icy trails. And, yeah, they’re expensive!
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Old 10-08-19, 08:39 PM
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Originally Posted by johnspack View Post
Well, a 30 year old steel bike is not really suitable for winter conditions. Even with studded tires. My giant with dual suspension should take the washboard ice better. And yes, I'm looking into spikes for my tires.
Will be much cheaper than studded tires up here. 250can for 2.1" arg. Being on a fixed income, I kind of have to do this on a budget.
Huh, in my book an old rigid bike would be preferable to a FS bike for winter commuting simply due to how hard that is going to be on the suspension components. Is there salt in the roads there?

As far as your tire direction question... who knows? Some rear tires do well reversed, others not.... and snow and ice are different than dirt. And what is more important, drive traction or control while braking?

Best thing you can probably do with the 2.4 tires you have is run the pressure as low as you can.
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