Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    Riding in the snow

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    I've been trying to get out when temps are warmer, but we have a lot of snow and ice. I've been out with my cross bike and it seems to do the job in snowy conditions. I am reluctant to take it out when conditions are icy, though. It's kept me indoors more than I'd like this winter.

    I have read a lot here about people who talk about their "fat" bikes. To me, a fat bike is something like the Surly Pugsley? I'm not willing to add this to the stable because it's a freak snowy/icy winter. After this year, we may get a decade of very little snow coming up where I'd never have reason to ride this bike. In fact, it's been years since I've ridden in conditions such that we have now. Just wondering if, when people are talking about riding their "fat" bikes, they actually have a fat bike or if they are just riding mountain bikes and it's a misnomer. A mountain bike... THAT, I have. Is it enough for the icy conditions or do I really need an actual FAT bike. Too old to break any bones and this winter is just.not.ending.
    Last edited by velo; 01-30-2014 at 06:47 AM. Reason: clarification
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    northern Virginia
    Before fat bikes (like the Pugsley) were invented, people used studded tires on regular bikes for riding in snow. I know some people who have made studded tires for their mountain bikes (using a tool to poke holes in the tires and then pushing screws through them, sharp end out). I assume you can also buy studded tires. A friend recently posted a photo to facebook showing his bike -- something that looked like a road bike, I don't know if it's a racing bike, touring bike, cross bike, etc. -- with a new SKS fender for the back wheel. He said he had studded tires on that bike.

    The question is -- is it even worth the investment in the tires if you don't get snow that often?

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
    - Silver 2003 aluminum road bike
    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    You can, in fact, buy studded tires that will fit your cross bike/MTB, and they would allow to you to continue the snow riding you have been doing, as well as provide you some traction on the ice. Beware, however - snow over ice will usually still result in a fall, even if you have studded tires due to the tire floating on the snow, and not gripping into the ice below.

    I have been riding in the snow for years, typically on my MTB, with and without studded tires. This works in good conditions, but not all conditions. Fat bikes (yes, I have one, no it is not a regular MTB) have 4-5 inch tires that provide a much bigger platform for "floating"on the snow. These will let you ride in some conditions where a regular MTB wouldn't work. The race I did this weekend was a great example - much of the single track would have been fine on a regular MTB, but the snowmobile trail connecting the course, and some of the field sections would not have been rideable without a fat bike - the snow was simply too soft (and it would have been a LONG uphill walk!). Think of riding in sand for miles... The fat bike lets you do this where a regular MTB would not.

    Whatever gets you outside and riding is good in my book! FWIW - I hear that Schwalbe makes a pretty decent studded tire for the cross bikes.

    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    As a year round commuter in the snow belt, I can attest that there are decent studded tires out there. Schwalbe's Marathon Winter is a nice riding tire on pavement, very light snow and ice. I have a 700 x 38(?maybe 42?)c on my commuter. If the snow is more than an inch or two, the tire doesn't have enough nubs to cut through the snow. Nokkian has a reputation of having nice tires with a more nubby texture as well as narrower 700c with minimal studs. My mountain bike has more aggressive tires, but moving that bike through the snow is a lot of work.

    The studs make ice insignificant, but, as SheFly puts it well, if there is enough snow on top of the ice, your bike tires won't dig down deep enough for the studs to connect. Likewise, people I know that commute on fat bikes (yep, like the Pugsley) find that if the conditions are mixed snow and ice, that the lack of studs on snow+ice send the fat bikes down.

    This year I have the ability to take the bus into work. I've been doing a lot of bus riding. I just don't have the skills for riding when the snow is slightly car trodden with icy packed down sections. Fresh snow I can handle; smooth-ish ice, I can handle, but that in between....I need to take some cyclocross/mountain biking classes or just swallow my pride and take the bus.
    2009 Waterford RS-14 S&S Couplers - Brooks B68-Anatomica - Traveller
    2008 Waterford RS-33 - Brooks B68-Anatomica - Go Fast
    2012 Waterford Commuter - Brooks B68-Anatomica - 3.5-Season/Commuter
    2011 Surly Troll - Brooks B68 Imperial - Snow Beast

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southeast Nebraska
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2368.jpg 
Views:	115 
Size:	91.5 KB 
ID:	16938

    You can get studded tires for your bike. Not sure what are the best ones, but they are out there. I wouldn't invest in a fat bike like the Pugsley unless you truly want that style of bike. Studded tires should work just fine for your needs. However; I ride my fat bike everywhere all year round on road, mud, dirt, gravel and snow. This is a pic of Global Fat Bike Day a couple of years ago with a friend of mine. I have the blue Mukluk and she has the Pugsley.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Oslo, Norway
    Over here studded tires are de rigeur once winter comes, not som much for dry snow, which can be ridden on safely with regular mtb tires if you're lucky and careful, but for ice. We regularly get wet or damp snow that compacts to ice as soon as anyone even walks on it, so riding without studded tires is an accident waiting to happen. Even dry snow can get very slippery unless it's very cold.

    I've mostly used the Nokian Extremes, which are heavy duty, but have studs also along the sides. Very useful when I need to weave my way through badly plowed sidewalks and messy roads. I tried switching to lighter tires with studs only down the middle, but felt they were only good on flat, clear surfaces. Now I'm using Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro, which are at least as heavy duty as the extremes. All studded tires will pack with snow and "skate" if there's a dry powder layer on top of something harder.

    I see people downtown on cleared roads riding cross bikes, presumably with studs since we're inundated with snow at the moment. They must be using fairly lightly studded tires.

    PS. If you have good balance and aren't sure if you need studded tires, just put on on, in front. If the rear wheel slips the bike may go down from under you, but you won't go over headfirst.

    PPS. You can hack studded tires by putting lots of zipties around your rims. I don't think they last very long, but it's a cheap way to test it out :-)
    Last edited by lph; 01-30-2014 at 10:05 PM.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Columbia, MO
    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    PPS. You can hack studded tires by putting lots of zipties around your rims. I don't think they last very long, but it's a cheap way to test it out :-)
    That only works if you have disc brakes.

    I have studded tires but this winter I finally decided they weren't worth it. Even in this unusually (for this decade) snowy winter, there are far more days without snow & ice on the roads than there are with. I'd use them for a few days after the snow and then it would melt and I'd be stuck with the studded tires for 2 weeks or more before the next snow. So I took them off and that was fine.

    I biked for several years through the winter before I got studded tires but the winters this decade have been so mild. I always said as long as the roads were clear enough to drive on, they were clear enough to bike on. That has been mostly true. Of course, the bike lane may not be as clear as the rest of the street, but I just ride in the street in that case.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Well, I don't ride my mountain bikes much and I have hard tail and a soft tail, so maybe the way to go is to get some studded tires for one of them. Our DPW is not good about clearing roads so the cars end up packing down the snow into ice slicks. I'm leery because I seem to come upon these patches suddenly and have had a few near misses. Thanks so much for the info.
    The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world. ~ Susan B. Anthony



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts