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Is it time for me to switch to studded tires?
Is it time for me to switch to studded tires?
This is an annual debate for me. Some years I go without switching, other years I switch. It depends on the winter weather. I have used studded tires for about 20 years. When I use them, I notice increased roll resistance, but when I hit ice I do not loose traction.
As I pointed out on another thread, it looks like Putin is up to his old tricks of making our winter worse then normal (US winter weather is set, to a degree, by the snow cover in Siberia as of November 1 of each year, by November 1, 2016 Siberia was all snow cover, with coverage reaching into Mongolia , Manchuria and Xinjiang (the last two are regions of China, Mongolia is an independent nation but use to be called “Outer Mongolia”, Inner Mongolia is a region within China Inner Mongolia is NOT snow covered as of 10-31-2016).
more on Xinjiang:
Anyway, snow coverage in Siberia leads to harsher winters in North America East of the Rockies (but warmer winter from the Rockies on west, Alaska is affected but not as much as the US East of the Rockies). Map of a typical Polar Vortex from 2013:
The Votex follows the Jet Stream:
Anyway, early snow coverage in Siberia tends to increase the likelihood of future bad weather in Northern US. The issue is should I switch to Studded tires, or wait till another snow hits?
Now, I would have switched a few weeks ago, but I had new fenders installed on my bike over the summer. The bike shop installed fenders that covered my summer tires, 1 inch high pressure tires. My studded tires are 1 3/4 inch. The new Fenders are just 1 1/2 inches wide (you always install fenders at least 1/4 inch wider on each side of the tire, otherwise water from the tires will miss the fender and hit you, thus 1 1/2 inch fenders for 1 inch tires).
I liked the fenders so I made a comment, but kept the fenders. The question is should I still put on the Studded tires and run the risk of some water hitting my legs (I wear overpants in the winter when biking so not much a problem) or stay with my 1 inch tires? I am leaning to just do without the studded tires, unless it really snow and gets cold. Last week I had a bad ice storm, but most of the ice melted when the warm front that brought the ice warmed up enough to produce rain.
Come late February I end up removing the studded tires anyway, by then it has warmed up enough that the snow and ice does not last more then a day or two. In many local winters, that is the norm throughout the winter, snow, then it melts nothing lasts. On the other hand about 50% of the winters, it snows in December and the snow and ice stays on the ground till later February (occasionally early March). When the weather turns good, I take off the Studded tires, for the less roll resistance of conventional tires.
My fear is this will be a repeat of 2010 and 2014, a long period of snow and ice. Thus should I do the switch or wait to see how bad the winter is?
by the way, I obtain my studded tires from Peter White Wheels out of New Hampshire:
His page with Studded tires:
Side note: unless you are going off road, stay with the tires with the least number of studs. The more studs the more roll resistance and the harder it is be pedal. On the other hand the low end number of studs are sufficient for on road use with ice and snow,. I use the low end number of studs on my tires, and their are more then sufficient for most purposes. I do NOT go off road with my bike in winter, but if I did the tires with more studs would provide more traction.
Please note another way to get more traction is to lower the tire pressure. I have found studded tires more effective when it comes to bicycle tires, but when I was driving old Army Trucks (The M35 series of 2 1/2 ton trucks), lowering the tire pressure made a huge difference in traction when off road. I just have NOT notice the same level of increased traction when it comes to bicycle tires but lower tire pressure means more traction.
Side note: Traction and roll resistance are the same thing, but seen from two different perspectives. Both can be both good and bad:
a. Traction as how much grip the tire has on the road to make sure you stay on the road and not slide elsewhere,
b. Roll resistance is how much traction the tire has on the road that you have to overcome to move forward.
Depending on the situation Traction and Roll Resistance can be good and bad, often at the same time. Increased traction keeps you on the bike. Increase roll resistance means you have to pedal more and often have to dismount for the bike is to hard to pedal. Decrease roll resistance means you do not have to pedal as much as you slide, do to the decrease in traction, into whatever you did not want to hit in the first place. Roll Resistance and traction are thus both good and bad, the key is to balance between the two,.Herman4747, elias39 like this
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