Planet Bike Employee Winter Tire Selection by james on Dec 23, 2009
When I started working at Planet Bike the amount and variety of bicycles and accessories each and every employee rode baffled me. We are constantly tinkering and swapping out parts and components to make the daily commute a little more comfortable. More recently with recent snowfall the daily fleet of commute bikes starting appearing with bigger knobbier tires. Below you will find 4 of the tires we have chosen to ride for the worst winter conditions.
1. Nokian Hakkeplitta - 700 x 32 - 72 Studs
At about $45 a tire they are definitely on the lower end of the studded tire price spectrum. The tread provides a fast commute while the 72 studs per tire keep the mind at ease. On raw pavement you don’t have to worry about sliding out around corners and they don’t weigh much more than a regular tire. They are perfect for the winter cyclist who may be trying studded tires for the first time.
2. Kenda Klondike - 700 x 35 - 110 Studs
These things are narrow enough to cut through the snow and bite the hard pack below. They cost about $64 a tire. Generally the greater the stud count, the greater the price. The tread pattern is relatively deep and generously spaced so they do well in the powder, hard pack, or ice.
3. Nokian Hakkeplitta – 700 x 40 - 240 Studs
This tire hooks up in snow/ice better than any tire I've ever ridden. It's narrow enough to cut through powder and avoid the "snow plow effect". It has a stud on almost every knob, giving tremendous grip whether you're turning or riding in a straight line. The overall knobby tread works great for snow and ice covered paths. Nokian tires also allow the replacement of the studs once they've worn out.
While the large amount of studs is great for snow and ice, they are not the best on solid pavement. I haven't noticed a whole lot of sliding on pavement, but it is definitely something I watch out for when turning on pavement. The 240 steel studs add a substantial amount of weight/rolling mass. At 940 grams, they are close to 3 times the weight of a standard (non-studded) cyclocross tire. However, the piece of mind I get rolling over the icy streets of Madison is well worth the weight penalty. As with any studded tire, there is an increase in rolling resistance. This is especially noticeable on bare pavement. The Hakkapelitta is widely viewed as the standard in studded tires. With that title comes price. These tires are expensive. You can expect to pay about $120 for a set.
4. Nokian Gazza Extreme - 29 x 2.1 - 294 studs
The name says it all. At 294 studs these tires are nothing short of extreme. Every single lug features a steel stud. On bare pavement these tires are fairly loud due to the stud count but the reservation I get floating over the most extreme ice and snow conditions is well worth it.