Are All Studs Equal?
Extreme - W296
LOCATION & CONDITIONS:
12/97. Berkshires of western Massachusetts, temp. @ 15-20 F. Hard packed
and icy snowmobile trails in the woods, no snow here since mid-Nov. so things are pretty
packed down, with bare ice in lots of places, especially the normally wet and seepy places
of the trails.
WOW! Was I impressed with these tires! Started off carefully, occasionally
locking up the rear wheel to see how it held, making sharp (but slow) turns with the front
wheel to check the "bite". After an hour I was going full blast without any
(well, maybe some...) concern for slipping. In places where I was riding a few days ago
with regular summer MTB. tires at a very slow and scary pace I was cooking right along in
the big ring - the difference between riding at 5mph and 25 mph!
I performed three tests as to the effectiveness of these studded wonders:
Standing up and accelerating on ice while climbing up hill.
Result: no problem, no slipping.
Riding down a particularly steep, twisty, nasty, icy section with lots
of off camber bare ice. The site of some particularly bad falls in winters past.
Result: I was nervous and "on edge", but kept up my speed
as much as I dared, and the tires held perfectly!
Full "emergency" stop (both wheels) on crusty/bare ice.
Result: Some slippage, but no sideways washout. About what you would
expect doing the same kind of braking action on dry dirt or gravel.
The BIG PICTURE:
I've been ice biking for years, been slammed to the ground w-a-a-a-y too
many times, w/too many injuries as a result. Tried some homemade studded tires a few years
ago, but the studs were too few and wore down too quickly. Even road riding was a nervous
venture when I had to ride across frequent icy sections of the road. These Nokians will make
all the difference. My advice: skip the homemade junk and the cheap stuff, save your $$
and buy the best. They will last you a lifetime and will be worth every dollar spent. Look
at it this way: Do you drive your car in the winter with summer tires, or unstudded tires
or with homemade studded tires? Do you feel safe doing that? If not, then why ride a bike
w/o the right tires. These tires make winter riding a whole different sport now.