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Might be done bike commuting for the winter...

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    Might be done bike commuting for the winter...

    I just installed W106 studded snow tires on my bike. I live in the Northeast and I can encounter snow and black ice on my 20 mile commute. My goal has been 20 mph for 20 miles, otherwise it takes too long. I am now approaching 3000 miles.

    On my first ride into work with the studded tires this past Friday, I noticed increased rolling resistance but I was only down 1.5V from my normal end voltage (49.5V to 48V on a 52V battery pack). I have the 52V 13.5 Dolphin with the Panasonic NCRB cells.

    But, the ride home was a different matter. Ride home is a gradual climb over 20 miles and I faced stiff headwinds. Within a mile of home, I started to notice voltage cut out. I ended up ~45V, below my personal limit of 46.3V (10% battery capacity) to avoid draining the battery too much.

    Either I take the studded tires off (or maybe just the rear) or I pony up and get a bigger battery pack (17,20 or 24ah). It is amazing the increase in cost to allow me ride at night (bike lights), in the cold (clothes, helmet, and footwear) and winter (snow and ice), basically 4 months. So, I might hang it up until March and maybe get the larger battery pack next year.

    $600 for 17ah
    $599 for 20ah
    $629 for 20ah
    $749 for 24ah


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    #2
    Interesting. what tires did you get, and how's the grip? I went sideways a few times and am considering some. looking at studded Vee Snowshoes, in my case.
    Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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      #3
      Originally posted by JPLabs View Post
      Interesting. what tires did you get, and how's the grip? I went sideways a few times and am considering some. looking at studded Vee Snowshoes, in my case.
      I bought Nokian (Suomi) W106. They are supposed to be "fast" studded tires. The A10s are faster though and I could try them. The Schwalbe Marathon Winter looks like the W106 but with more studs.

      As far as grip? They are very grippy except on the sidewalls. I have issues with them in the icy ruts in my driveway but they are grippy on icy asphalt.

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        #4
        OK, thanks for the feedback. I think your narrower tires with higher pressure probably put more pressure on each stud, letting them bite well. As opposed to the fat ones I'd run. Glad to hear you find them nice and grippy.

        I'm sure scrub friction will be AWFUL with fat tires and sharp studs. But I have had enough near wipeouts to give 'em a try. And a 20 Ah pack; I hope to get 30 miles out of it that way.
        Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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          #5
          I hear you. I'm not enjoying Winter commuting either. I'm also toying with the idea of hanging it up until Spring.

          JPLabs, I'm running Vee SnowShoe XL tires with studs. Great grip and really help on ice and snow, but major rolling resistance even inflated to 20psi. Still better than slipping and sliding...

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            #6
            Originally posted by mtm408 View Post
            I hear you. I'm not enjoying Winter commuting either. I'm also toying with the idea of hanging it up until Spring.

            JPLabs, I'm running Vee SnowShoe XL tires with studs. Great grip and really help on ice and snow, but major rolling resistance even inflated to 20psi. Still better than slipping and sliding...
            MTM,

            Thanks a lot for your feedback about the Vee Snowshoe XL with studs. I read up on these, and liked what I saw. About 1/2 the price of the 45NTRH Dillinger 5 tires I was considering (about $500/set seems cheap, but I've busted my collarbone at least 4 times, so.......traction is cheaper!). I like the Dillinger 5's hollow stud design, but the tires are narrower than what I want for winter. The Snowshoe XL is reported to be about 1/3 inch wider than the D5. Also maybe 1/3 inch narrower than my 4.8 Knards. I'm willing to give up a little float for better traction. But, as little as possible. So the XL looks good that way.

            One thing I don't like about the studded XL is that the studs look kind of rounded (sharpened to a point maybe?) instead of a flat cylinder with a sharp edge, and are not all properly installed, in every Vee Tire promo photo and video I found. But I do like Snowshoe tires. I have them on my 2nd bike, 4.5" version, and 'single compound' as opposed to the softer/grippier 'Silica Compound' used on the XL.

            How were your studs, as received? Sharp, flat-ended cylindrical inserts, or something else?

            My main bike currently has Surly Knard 4.8 tires. For pure snow traction, my Snowshoes seem better than the Knards, in my experience with 8" of wet accumulation last Sunday. They just sink too much. The wider Knards float better and tolerate lower pressure better. But their denser knob pattern picks up more snow, and slips more, than the Snowshoes. So, the XL Snowshoe with Silica should be even better! Knards are great for summer, though; they roll well, seem tough, and are quieter than my Snowshoes.

            The Knards do seem to slip predictably, at least; I was able to do a few drifting donuts in my yard without putting my foot down. Never pulled that off before.

            You helped to convince me that the Snowshoe XL is a good option. In fact, I just ordered a two XL tires, in silica compound (not the optional, white, extra soft Pure Silica Compound, but the black ones like yours), non-studded, for $66 each. (Amazon, not prime, 3 left) They do have pockets for the studs. I also spent $160 on 500 of the 45NRTH studs and an installation tool. So, I'll have the Snowshoe XL tire, with the sharper, unique, concave studs from 45Nrth. For $292, or a bit more than half the price of the Dillinger 5s. Of course, I'll need to spend a few hours installing studs.

            Snowshoe 2XL also appears to have stud pockets, ready to be loaded! I'd have picked them if they could fit, but I don't think they would, on my Sturgis frame. I was sinking pretty bad in the single-track where it was drifted in low spots, even with my 4.8 Knards.

            Note there is info on the web claiming 45NRTH has an XL carbide stud with a 3mm cup on the end, instead of the 2mm standard carbide insert. Sounds even better, they have a pretty sharp edge all around. These:




            I tried to buy the XL version; they are listed for sale on Milltown's site - long story short, they won't be available from 45NRTH until at least 2018, nor the tires they were intended for. Delayed.

            45NRTH's normal concave studs, which I did order, look like the below picture. The idea behind making them hollow is to have more bearing pressure on the ice when new, and as the edges round off with wear, they get sharper instead of duller. Since that outer edge gets thinner as the stud wears. Sounds good to me...







            Thanks everybody for the cautionary tales and the studded tire opinions, it helped motivate me to do something about better ice safety. Now I'm looking forward to be able to use the icy, hilly trails I had to avoid last year, too!

            Question: Do studs work well with low fat tire pressures, like 5-6 PSI, or do they need a firmer tire so they can bite better? Hoping they will grab just as well with soft tires...
            Last edited by JPLabs; 12-13-2016, 04:01 PM.
            Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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              #7
              I did something very similar to you and purchased the stud ready tires and inserted the studs myself. I didn't spring for the expensive 45NRTH studs but found these on eBay (flat) and got them for about a $100, tool included. So far, no complaints other than it took a long time to insert all those studs. I did it over a couple nights in front of a couple bad movies...

              Comment


              • JPLabs
                JPLabs commented
                Editing a comment
                Good to hear.

                I plan to lube mine with tire patch contact cement, for easier insertion and hopefully good retention and sealing, since I'm tubeless and I did read of some leaks at studs, and studs pulling out if you spin on ice then hit dry asphalt. Some guys put custom shims under the studs so they stick out further, too, but I don't plan to get that crazy about it.

                Are your carbides still about 1mm above the tread blocks, or sunk down flush after use? I saw stories of both. One guy pulled his and added shims to adjust height. I think they were SS XL tires.

                Edit: I'm re-thinking the contact cement idea, after reading about how they seat during break-in. Don't want to interfere with that.
                Last edited by JPLabs; 12-13-2016, 08:41 PM.

              #8
              Sorry JP, didn't see your question earlier. The studs stick stick out a little, which is good but they wear fairly quickly riding on clean roads. I don't think I'd play with a shim or the contact cement. I'm running the tires fully inflated for commuting (20psi) but it the roads got really slick, I'd drop the pressure to about 12psi for more contact. This is all new to me, so anyone else with experience, please share.

              This mornings commute was 15 celsius with just a dusting of snow. The roads are fairly clean but there are patches of ice here and there, usually on the shoulder of the roads where most of us ride.

              Here is a photo. Tires were a little dirty from the ride.
              Last edited by mtm408; 12-30-2016, 08:26 AM.

              Comment


                #9
                Thanks! Those look good.

                Mine are done, and working fantastically. I didn't mess with shims or glue either. Snow here melted due to heavy rain and then refroze. Lots of ice for the last week.

                With only the stock stud pattern, my front end was getting pulled around and was pretty hard to control when running along rutted or crowned trails or road shoulders, etc. Back would spin pretty easily when going uphill, too. So I ordered some of the studs like you have and drilled some more holes. Added 40 to center row on each tire, every other lug, staggered. And on the front, I also did every other outside lug. It tracks a lot better now. Front is well planted. Outer lugs don't touch for road riding, but off camber ice and tight turning makes them real noticeable. It's a whole lot easier to go straight over uneven icy ground now, and the center studs roughly doubled my braking and climbing power on ice. Big help there. Not really much louder than the stock pattern.

                On the front this means I have every-other lug studded, 50% of them. Good balance of ice traction and rubber on the road. The grip on ice is solid now; I've wheelied climbing steep, glare ice if my weight is too far back. Ice is not scary at all now. And, their tenacity on frozen dirt is incredible. Just nuts, it's the stickiest bicycle handling I've ever experienced. Same for log crossings and wet wooden bridges. All good now.

                I lost only 1 stud out of 640, front tire on the first ride. None since then, about 120 miles, on 'em.

                My hands are STILL sore from all that work. Holy cow.

                Worth it x 1000!
                Last edited by JPLabs; 12-30-2016, 10:12 AM.
                Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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                  #10
                  Sounds like you got your tire situation figured out well enough, overkill is better. Had you thought about carrying a second similar or Panasonic GA dolphin battery pack? More Ah in a single big Ah pack would be better but then you would have extra weight for most of the rest of the year. You could carry the spare battery and swap at 40% capacity which is better for battery lifetime anyway. During the warmer months you could just use one pack one day then the other pack the next day, or put the second pack on another bike for significant other, or carry it for occasional longer trips. You can't charge in parallel unfortunately but maybe you could get away with charging one pack at work (if you do charge at work, sounds like you must if you do 20 miles one way if I have that correct) and then you could use the spare to start the return trip.

                  Just a thought I haven't tried this. I tried commuting in the cold dark as well on some of our nicer Colorado days last week, it sucks but I was surprised it was very doable with extra gear, I could also hammer on my 52V Dolphin PF/BBSHD combination more to get average 24 mph speeds without any lasting heat in my system (10-20F in morning, 40-50F in afternoon). I bought Schwalbe Winter Spike MTB 26x1.75" but haven't tried them yet because there was no ice, I have a spare set of wheels that I would quick swap out but most of the time I wouldn't spikes.

                  Good luck, none-the-less you are a hard core commuter at 3000 miles, my round trip is 26 miles and I've put on 1600 miles/year (bike build last Dec 2015) and that was done with making some sacrifices in comfort like riding in rain, strong headwinds, cold, dark, sore, traffic, bike repairs, flat repairs, etc.
                  Last edited by BikeB4Drive; 12-31-2016, 10:34 PM.

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                    #11
                    I do 20-21 miles each way and speed is important. If I think most of these studded tires aren't really meant for high speed commuting and trying to do that with any snow on the ground would be difficult and still keep to 20mph....

                    I am mostly riding again but I am driving a car more frequently.. I am only running the W106 studded tire up front now and just a normal tire in the back. This provides a bit of safety for the occasional ice patch. I know many recommended running two studded tires but they aren't going as fast for as long as I am.

                    Running one front studded tires works very well and helps reduce rolling resistance. I don't plan on riding when there is snow still on the shoulder. Battery seems to last just fine with just one studded tire.

                    I recently swapped my front fork to one that can take hydraulic disc brakes. I was running cantilever brakes. Holy shit! Intense braking capability!

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                      #12
                      Have any of you guys tried heated ridiing gear for winter commuting?

                      seems interesting to me to make it more bearable.

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                        #13
                        I wear a heated jacket. It's a Milwaukee tools jacket with a small 12V lithium battery. It good as a stand a lone jacket, but when it's really cold, I wear it under a technical shell. On high it's good for about two hours.

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                          #14
                          Originally posted by Eric Luna View Post
                          Have any of you guys tried heated ridiing gear for winter commuting?

                          seems interesting to me to make it more bearable.
                          It hasn't gotten cold enough for me to use heated riding gear yet. I think it was 15F when I left the house this morning. Cold is bearable by wearing multiple removable layers. I am not even wearing a heavy jacket or true winter gloves yet. The latter is due to the use of Bar Mitts.





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                            #15
                            I'd like heated grips. Hands and face are all I have trouble with.

                            And as of this weekend, my forks. My Bluto fork fell flat yesterday in the cold on a log crossing. Put me into the bars. I guess there's a kit to fix that, but for the first time in a year, I'm out-of commission for mechanical reasons.
                            Fabrication is fun! Build something today. Show someone. Let them help. Inspire and share. Spread the desire.

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