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Regular knobbies (mud tires) for winter riding?

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Regular knobbies (mud tires) for winter riding?

Old 11-08-19, 10:09 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Based upon my own experimentation and testing many different types of tires under many different conditions, I have to disagree with you...There are situations where a skinny tire with aggressive tread will keep you moving along while a fatter tire will just slide all over the place. It takes a lot less effort to pedal a skinny tire than a fatter tire through few inches of road snow and slush...I don't wish to argue and debate you on this any further because it would be a waste of time. You not going to change how I ride and I am not going to change how you ride.
Go to a beach. Ride across the beach on skinny tires and ride across it on fat tires. The fat tires are going to go much further because they don't dig in...or at least don't dig in as much and they don't have to shove sand away from the front of the tire to keep going. Snow is no different than that beach sand. The whole point of the fat tire bike craze is that they float on top of the snow rather than dig in.
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Old 11-08-19, 10:33 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Go to a beach. Ride across the beach on skinny tires and ride across it on fat tires. The fat tires are going to go much further because they don't dig in...or at least don't dig in as much and they don't have to shove sand away from the front of the tire to keep going. Snow is no different than that beach sand. The whole point of the fat tire bike craze is that they float on top of the snow rather than dig in.
I love my fatbike, it's great on sand and snow. But snow and sand are not the same. Snow is not all the same; wet snow versus dry snow, etc

As I stated above, I've biked in the snow with everything 700x28 summer tires to 26x4 studded winter tires. I prefer my fatbike for snowy rides, but the picture below was a great ride - 2-3 inches of fresh snow on roads that were clear the day before. Summer tires cut through the snow to the pavement, cut through dry snow.

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Old 11-08-19, 10:35 AM
  #28  
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Fresh and dry snow which isn't too deep is not like sand. And on the beach you have rarely asphalt a few cm below the surface.

I understand the fat bikes offroad and in deep snow, but not in the snow conditions I commute in a city with snow removal on the bike lanes and a long, cold winter. When there is a snow storm at -10 to -20°C, the snow isn't wet and heavy, you can easily cut it with narrow tyres. If I'd leave the city, I probably would need a fat bike.

It all depends on where you ride. How much snow, what kind of snow...
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Old 11-08-19, 10:41 AM
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Oh, and just because I just found it, from an event to promote winter cycling which turned into a coldest day of the year ride, 3 years ago (Vélo sous zero in Montreal). At -25°C, I think I did about 34 km that day. I'm the one in blue on the right...

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Old 11-08-19, 11:53 AM
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Wow. 34K in a -25 celsius**********? Daaaaang.

Only thing I know about fat tire bikes is they're freaking expensive and it seems like the mountain bike people are the people who are all over them. I caught a news segment showing them riding them on off road trails and also trails that are groomed but snowy out west. I wouldn't mind trying one but I'm not going to buy one. Don't have that kind of extra money.

Whatever works.... the discussion at least gives a lot of good ideas.
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Old 11-08-19, 12:15 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by 3S1M View Post
Wow. 34K in a -25 celsius**********? Daaaaang.
Yeah... twice 10km to/from the start/end point of the ride, and then the 14km loop. But I did a pause to warm up inside after the loop, so before the last 10km home. At the moment the picture was taken my ski goggles froze since I had taken them off 2 mins earlier at the start point. So I had to take them off completely, with a sweaty face in icy wind. Stupid me! And my feet got a bit cold since I had my new winter boots closed too tight.

My usual commute is 10km one way, and it's not every day that cold...
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Old 11-08-19, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I love my fatbike, it's great on sand and snow. But snow and sand are not the same. Snow is not all the same; wet snow versus dry snow, etc

As I stated above, I've biked in the snow with everything 700x28 summer tires to 26x4 studded winter tires. I prefer my fatbike for snowy rides, but the picture below was a great ride - 2-3 inches of fresh snow on roads that were clear the day before. Summer tires cut through the snow to the pavement, cut through dry snow.
I've ridden a lot in both. From my experience, snow and sand are essentially the same for the purposes of bicycle tires. And the different types of snow makes little difference in handling.

I don't see how "cutting throughs the snow to pavement" helps any. First, as your picture shows, you are shoving snow out of the way with the tire, rim and spokes. Shoving anything out of the way takes more power. Secondly, the tire doesn't "cut" anything. It compresses it. The smaller profile of the contact patch might even be enough to make it liquid which makes the tire/ice interface even slicker.

There is also the issue of ruts and things hidden under the snow. Ruts pull the bike off-line and a smaller contact patch results in less room for error when the tire is pulled off line. I gave up on narrow tires long ago for just these reasons.

Originally Posted by antdd View Post
Fresh and dry snow which isn't too deep is not like sand. And on the beach you have rarely asphalt a few cm below the surface.

I understand the fat bikes offroad and in deep snow, but not in the snow conditions I commute in a city with snow removal on the bike lanes and a long, cold winter. When there is a snow storm at -10 to -20°C, the snow isn't wet and heavy, you can easily cut it with narrow tyres. If I'd leave the city, I probably would need a fat bike.

It all depends on where you ride. How much snow, what kind of snow...
On some sand you do have a hard surface under the sand. It doesn't make going through the sand any easier. There are lots of sandy places to ride a mountain bike that are similar enough to riding on snow over asphalt. There may be some instances where riding on snow can be done on with narrow road tires but they are relatively rare and it doesn't take too much in the way of snow depth to make it harder to ride rather than easier.
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Old 11-08-19, 01:50 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've ridden a lot in both. From my experience, snow and sand are essentially the same for the purposes of bicycle tires. And the different types of snow makes little difference in handling.

I don't see how "cutting throughs the snow to pavement" helps any. First, as your picture shows, you are shoving snow out of the way with the tire, rim and spokes. Shoving anything out of the way takes more power. Secondly, the tire doesn't "cut" anything. It compresses it. The smaller profile of the contact patch might even be enough to make it liquid which makes the tire/ice interface even slicker.

There is also the issue of ruts and things hidden under the snow. Ruts pull the bike off-line and a smaller contact patch results in less room for error when the tire is pulled off line. I gave up on narrow tires long ago for just these reasons.
To start off, I'm not advocating narrow tires. I'm saying it's not as bad as you'd think it is. It can be done safely and enjoyably.

Wet/warm snow in spring/fall rides very different than dry/cold snow in middle of winter, then there's the mashed potato snow of late-winter and early-spring.

The photo I posted was a "surprise snow", I was in the office when the snow front slide more south than forecast. I had a 10 mile ride home from the office on a bike set up for spring/summer roads. The bike handled great, no 'shoving snow out of the way", and rolled fast. Repeating myself, the roads were perfectly dry at the start of the day (that's why I took my summer commuter), there were no icy ruts to deal with.

Fat tires compress snow, narrow tires cut snow... it's a thing, I've experienced it.

Repeating myself, I love my fatbike for winter riding - it's sure-footing on nearly any condition. But riding snow with narrow tires is not the worst thing.

And to make a clear point, I've taken my hits with summer tires when I should be on studs (exact same set up in the photo above but on icy roads).


Lastly, to be clear, I appreciate your experience and opinions, please respect my experience and opinions too. The OP will be able to read both and make a decision that they are comfortable with. Cool? Thanks!

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Old 11-08-19, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
... snow and sand are essentially the same for the purposes of bicycle tires. And the different types of snow makes little difference in handling.
100% false.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I don't see how "cutting throughs the snow to pavement" helps any. First, as your picture shows, you are shoving snow out of the way with the tire, rim and spokes. Shoving anything out of the way takes more power. Secondly, the tire doesn't "cut" anything. It compresses it. The smaller profile of the contact patch might even be enough to make it liquid which makes the tire/ice interface even slicker.
The snow layer on both sides of the wheel actually adds substantially to the lateral traction so the slickness of the tire/ice interface is of little importance. It is lots of fun to do controlled slides and donuts on a frozen lake with 4-6 inches of snow on it - something that is pretty much impossible on bare, slick ice.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:48 AM
  #36  
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It depends on the temperature, type of snow, and type of snow clearing done on the roads in your area. Most winter city cyclists in the city where I used to live use narrow knobbies or studded tires. In the city the snow is usually heavily salted and the narrow tires make better contact with the road. Now I am in a more rural area (more snow built up and left on the road compared to a city) and people use wider knobbies and studded tires here.

I recommend a studded tire on the front, even if you seldom encounter ice. The increase in drag feels very much worth it the one time you hit ice you didn't know was there.
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Old 11-12-19, 09:21 AM
  #37  
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"Wow. 34K in a -25 celsius**********? Daaaaang."

Did somebody say Winnipeg?

I'm using the only knobbys I have in the shed right now; a Trek Connection pair gleaned from a bought parts bike. They seem to have a decent soft rubber compound and tread pattern similar to a Kenda Alpha Bite. Was out yesterday in them on slicker surfaced roads, but not ice. Not too bad so far. Will switch over to studs in full blown winter if necessary.
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Old 11-12-19, 09:23 AM
  #38  
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My winter preference is supple summer slicks, or studs. I'm not really looking to optimize performance in snow (I'm just trying to get to work and back), and the slicks feel better to me on rough ice or hard pack snow than anything with treads. Heavily treaded tires seem especially bad turning on ice. For smooth ice you are going down unless you have the studs...
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Old 11-12-19, 09:36 AM
  #39  
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Finally snow here! And yesterday my first (super slow) falling, sliding still 2m slowly on the ground. Only spikes would have helped there, but they don't fit in my frame (the 45Nrth Xerxes 700x30 are too high for my frame, under the fenders).

And since we are talking about cold, slightly off-topic and totally fat bike area: In case someone wants to race across a frozen lake in Northern Quebec in February, for 32km, and I imagine crazy icy winds (I guess -20 to -30°C plus windchill): https://velosurlac.com/en . I never went there, but it sounds crazy...
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Old 11-12-19, 08:43 PM
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For smooth ice you are going down unless you have the studs...
Not necessarily - the Continental Top Contact Winter tires are surprisingly grippy even on smooth ice. You definitely can't expect sudden stops or sharp turns, but you're not going to slide out suddenly because you breathed wrong. Michelin's StarGrip tires are similar. This is because they have very soft, winter-optimised rubber as well as a tread pattern that acts a bit like tiny suction cups.

Studs/spikes aren't the be-all and end-all of winter tires; you also have to consider the rubber compound and how flexible it is at low temperatures. Summer tires, including mountain bike knobbies, have rubber that is most supple in summer temperatures, but will stiffen a lot and *lose* traction when they are cold. You wouldn't notice much difference if it's just hovering around the freezing mark, but at -10C or -20C it is a very different story.




Consider also (in more general thread reply) that snow and ice behave very differently at different temperatures, so one person saying "I can use my summer tires!" in England or California and another saying "I would die without my studded tires!" in Minnesota or Alberta are both correct because the snow/ice they are encountering is genuinely different stuff.

Source: I have ridden year round in Calgary for 12 years (dry cold, snow that tends to be dry and packable; very little ice, but when there is, it's super-polished and absolutely deadly). I've used studs, non-studded winter specific, mildly lugged non-season-specific (FAIL), and a variety of wheel sizes and tire widths.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:17 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Not necessarily - the Continental Top Contact Winter tires are surprisingly grippy even on smooth ice. You definitely can't expect sudden stops or sharp turns, but you're not going to slide out suddenly because you breathed wrong. Michelin's StarGrip tires are similar. This is because they have very soft, winter-optimised rubber as well as a tread pattern that acts a bit like tiny suction cups.

Studs/spikes aren't the be-all and end-all of winter tires; you also have to consider the rubber compound and how flexible it is at low temperatures. Summer tires, including mountain bike knobbies, have rubber that is most supple in summer temperatures, but will stiffen a lot and *lose* traction when they are cold. You wouldn't notice much difference if it's just hovering around the freezing mark, but at -10C or -20C it is a very different story.




Consider also (in more general thread reply) that snow and ice behave very differently at different temperatures, so one person saying "I can use my summer tires!" in England or California and another saying "I would die without my studded tires!" in Minnesota or Alberta are both correct because the snow/ice they are encountering is genuinely different stuff.

Source: I have ridden year round in Calgary for 12 years (dry cold, snow that tends to be dry and packable; very little ice, but when there is, it's super-polished and absolutely deadly). I've used studs, non-studded winter specific, mildly lugged non-season-specific (FAIL), and a variety of wheel sizes and tire widths.
This ^^^

I have to second the praise of Top Contact Winter tires as a great winter commuting tire. My Top Contact Winter story: I was riding 10 miles home from the office on roads with a nice wide shoulder, it's hilly and straight route with few stop lights. It was late winter with wet/slushy snow falling and packing to the frozen road surface. I was feeling great control, and was happily pedaling past slow & go traffic. I was thinking people were being nice, leaving extra room between cars, but not adding 1+1 .... until I got to a red light. I put my foot down to stop and damn near fell when my boot slipped on the road surface. Then I looked at the car tires to see that people were struggling to control their cars. At this point on my commute, I rerouted to separated trails and avoid riding close to sliding cars.

Over the last few years, I've worked from a home office and don't need a winter commuter. I've been riding studded fatbike tires for winter riding, but plan to get a new set of Top Contact Winter tires for my old commuter bike to save me from wearing down the studded tires when I'm riding pavement.
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Old 12-22-19, 09:24 PM
  #42  
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If I found a set of good used Top Contact in 26" I'd try them. I think I'm going to try and have multiple identical wheelsets setup each having a different tire set on them. It would make life easier to swap out complete wheels vs. changing tires all the time when the driving conditions change so frequently. Right now I have full studded 2.1 Conti Spike Claws on the front and the same tire in a partial stud configuration on the rear. As you can imagine, the bike takes some effort to crank. I could have gotten away with riding the Top Contact for the last few days and saved some pedalling energy vs the studs.
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Old 12-27-19, 09:31 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
2-3 inches of fresh snow on roads that were clear the day before
that's fun & easy peasy. next favorite for me is hard packed flat snow. but we don't always get what we want when dealing with Mother Nature
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Old 12-30-19, 12:15 PM
  #44  
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got out this past weekend on MTB tires w/o studs & survived. but only because (at 46 degrees) the snow was granular, sticky & provided traction. it was also just a thin layer over the gravel & leaves. (I was expecting just wet leaves) even the ice had softened enough to lose it's usual hard glare surface. the WTB Riddlers also did surprisingly well on ice, even ice under water, even tho I did sense some wiggle, I didn't lose control. can't count on that tho










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Old 12-30-19, 12:34 PM
  #45  
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You might consider cyclocross tires. I don't know what is available now but grippy, relatively smooth, fast CX tires are used for some racing surfaces and would do well for what you want. I used to commute all winter in my days without a car on sewup cyclocross tires with a fine diamond tread. MoOre recently (15 years ago?) I had a pair of green threaded Vittoria CX clinchers that were so "sticky" they were very ride-able on almost all ice/snow surfaces (and so much rolling resistance I used to seek out sand, leavers, gravel, whatever riding dry pavement just to make the ride a little easier! If you have a local cyclocross community, I'd consider asking one of them or going to the bike shop they use for their recommendations.

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Old 12-30-19, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Go to a beach. Ride across the beach on skinny tires and ride across it on fat tires. The fat tires are going to go much further because they don't dig in...or at least don't dig in as much and they don't have to shove sand away from the front of the tire to keep going. Snow is no different than that beach sand. The whole point of the fat tire bike craze is that they float on top of the snow rather than dig in.
When it comes to snow, no one width rules. I rode in one morning through a virgin 7" on narrowish CX tubulars and it was sublime. Tires cut right to the pavement. Wider tires would have gotten progressively harder and been less sucure. Now, going home was a different story, I crashes on one several mile stretch three times. I was OK as long as I could stay in a tire track but that was it. (Didn't get hurt at all, just very wet.) Yes, overall, wider tires would have done better that day, but the ride in would have been real work, not sublime. And the wider tires would have been heavier and slower all the time when the roads were not iced or snowed, being a lot less fun on that fix gear.

That ride in was one of the great rides of my lifetime. Well worth the challenges coming home!

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Old 12-30-19, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Buglady View Post
Not necessarily - the Continental Top Contact Winter tires are surprisingly grippy even on smooth ice. You definitely can't expect sudden stops or sharp turns, but you're not going to slide out suddenly because you breathed wrong. Michelin's StarGrip tires are similar. This is because they have very soft, winter-optimised rubber as well as a tread pattern that acts a bit like tiny suction cups.

Studs/spikes aren't the be-all and end-all of winter tires; you also have to consider the rubber compound and how flexible it is at low temperatures. Summer tires, including mountain bike knobbies, have rubber that is most supple in summer temperatures, but will stiffen a lot and *lose* traction when they are cold. You wouldn't notice much difference if it's just hovering around the freezing mark, but at -10C or -20C it is a very different story.




Consider also (in more general thread reply) that snow and ice behave very differently at different temperatures, so one person saying "I can use my summer tires!" in England or California and another saying "I would die without my studded tires!" in Minnesota or Alberta are both correct because the snow/ice they are encountering is genuinely different stuff.

Source: I have ridden year round in Calgary for 12 years (dry cold, snow that tends to be dry and packable; very little ice, but when there is, it's super-polished and absolutely deadly). I've used studs, non-studded winter specific, mildly lugged non-season-specific (FAIL), and a variety of wheel sizes and tire widths.
+1! I forgot I have a pair of TopContacts, Yes, all of the above!

Ben
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Old 12-30-19, 08:49 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
When it comes to snow, no one width rules. I rode in one morning through a virgin 7" on narrowish CX tubulars and it was sublime. Tires cut right to the pavement. Wider tires would have gotten progressively harder and been less sucure. Now, going home was a different story, I crashes on one several mile stretch three times. I was OK as long as I could stay in a tire track but that was it. (Didn't get hurt at all, just very wet.) Yes, overall, wider tires would have done better that day, but the ride in would have been real work, not sublime. And the wider tires would have been heavier and slower all the time when the roads were not iced or snowed, being a lot less fun on that fix gear.

That ride in was one of the great rides of my lifetime. Well worth the challenges coming home!

Ben
Less secure than what? You crashed three times once the snow was less virgin. I don’t consider crashing to be “sublime”. I’ve also ridden both kinds of tires in snow and ice and have found wide knobs to be what you would describe as sublime. And crashing makes rides a lot less fun in my opinion.
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Old 01-06-20, 10:21 PM
  #49  
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Zoom in...I ride the one in back in deep snow, the other in all other conditions...notice both have slick rears. Live in Spokane Washington.
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Old 01-07-20, 08:13 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by LorenMiranda View Post
I ride the one in back in deep snow, the other in all other conditions...notice both have slick rears
interesting approach!
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