Thursday, January 9, 2014


Finally, enough snow to really try out the studded tires! I admit it, dry streets and no snowfall over the past month had left me feeling pretty dumb about investing $150 in snow tires for my bike to ride on cold but perfectly clear asphalt.

But wonder of wonders, the past two days have brought inches of snow in the valley and feet in the mountains (hooray!) and I finally got to give my Nokian Hakkapeliittas a fair shake in the snow, slush, and slick surfaces they were designed and purchased for.

After 75 clear miles and 40 snowy ones on my studded tires here are my thoughts and reflections on owning studded bike tires:
  • On dry pavement the tires definitely feel like they have a higher rolling resistance than my Michelin City tires (which are not particularly light tires either!).  I just have to be ok with a slower-feeling commute.
  • In an inch or two of snow the tires feel great.  I felt secure, stable solid even on unplowed snowcovered roads and trails
  • Apparently even with studs ice is still slippery.  Who knew?  I found this out this morning when I ended up sliding on my butt down a trail underpass.  Still, I'm sure I looked good even when sliding down the dirty mucky ice.  Fortunately no one was there to tell me :)
  • Because my Nokians are commuting tires, they only have studs on the road surface instead of also on the sides like some mountain bike studded tires have.  That means that riding through thick slush or in any kind of ditch or trough feels skiddy.  I definitely want to stay on the main surface of these tires.
  • I'm mindfully trying not to apply too much torque, which according to reviews can rip out the studs (not unique to the Nokians, just a normal part of riding with studs).  So far so good, all the studs are still there! 
  • I freaking hate going downhill in the snow.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but I wish I could find a commute route that is uphill both ways for my winter commute! I just don't feel confident in my ability to keep my speed down and my bike in control when gravity is assisting with my speed.  Hopefully I'll get more confident with practice. 
  • I kind of like the tickety tick sound of the studs on dry pavement.
  • And, let's face it, there's a certain bitchin' factor to having studded tires for one's bike.
Overall, I really like my Nokian Hakkapeliittas for winter commuting.   In a couple of inches of snow or the skim left over from a snowplow they feel great and I feel confident on them. 

And never you fear, I recognize that not everybody on the road has bitchin' winter tires and I'm especially careful to stay on less-traveled roads in slippery weather.  No matter the weather, I remain grateful that most of my commute is on bike paths where the scariest things I have to dodge are kids on scooters and ladies jogging four abreast!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jamie, I am so glad to see you blogging again! I have missed you and think about you all often.


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