Tuesday, November 27, 2007

First Snow Aught Seven

We woke up to snow this morning and Maddie had a huge cow. She loves the snow. Here's Liza on the Schwinn snow bike, shod with Hakkapeliitas.
I took the Turd out, which has big fat urban-type knobbies. These are no good in the snow. I figured they'd rule because they were so wide and they have knobbies, but the knobbie profile is rounded so these things just slide around. You really do need the hooked knobbies that stick out at the sides to get traction. It's all about the front wheel and keeping it in control.

I put the Hakkapelittas on my 720 last night and it's a breeze to ride. The snow right now is mostly powder, with some areas that are a bit more compacted from cars driving over it. I would not call it "hard packed." This snow is hard to ride on because it's unpredictably unstable. This snow tends to slide out under the weight of the front wheel. Compare this to hard packed snow or ice, which is predictably stable. It may be slicker, but you know it's going to hold up under your front wheel.

Conventional wisdom says that studs are only useful on ice and hard packed snow. I need to put some non-studded knobbies on the turd and see if they perform the same as the Hakkapeliitas that I have on my 720. Is it the studs or the proper knobbies that make riding my 720 easier?

I also think the next set of studded tires I buy will have the full studded surface. The Hakkapeliitas only have studs running down the center of the tire. Which makes sense for city riding, but a little overkill in the stud department would be interesting to check out.

6 comments:

Jason said...

I'm very curious to see how my bikes perform in deeper stuff like today's powder. My Trek's Hakkapelittas were good last night in about an inch of snow, but I imagine they will struggle some in the 3"+ range. I would have taken the Norco and its fat tires out for a test run this morning before work, but I decided to clear my driveway and ran out of time. I'm looking forward to going for a spin around the neighborhood tonight though and will let you know how the big studless Kendas perform.

ken said...

Studs are only good on ice. In most conditions, a good set of knobbies (like the big square ones I just gave up b/c they don't fit the cb-0) do the job.

But there was quite a bit of ice this morning on my commute, and boy was I glad I had those studs on. I was able to book it downtown at a pretty good clip and never felt out of control. I was sitting on glare ice at stoplights a couple of times, and while my foot felt like it was going to slide out from under me, the bike felt rock solid.

They suck, though, on dry or wet pavement, which is what we've got most of the time. I'm going to put them on some junky old rims I've got and just swap them out when I need them.

The cb-0 is an absolute blast to ride, even in this crap. I can't wait for summer...

Bujiatang said...

Am I weird for wanting 1 3/8 studded tires? Nokian makes a 26x1 3/8 studded tire available in Finland, but they can't seem to get them into the states.

If everyone wrote to their QBP rep, do you think we could make it happen?

John Speare said...

jason: what's the word? It's icey now so you'll really appreciate your studded tires.
Ken: the cb-0 is a gift from the bike gods. I'm going after some knobbies for my RB-T and I'm going to put knobbies on the turd. I"ll report back.
bujiatang: if your tires are 590 (650A) and not the schwinn 571s, then you may be able to get them from peter white cycles; he carries the Nokian A10 for 650B. Otherwise if the bike is worth it, maybe consider switching to 650B wheel set.

bleckb said...

I'm glad to have studs on my commuter. Heading into downtown and going through downtown, I don't need them, but working my way along sunset blvd and government way, I need them, unless I want to take over the only lane of traffic and have speeding monster trucks on my butt, which I don't. It's not ideal, but what is in weather like this?

The only bummer so far is my fenders and rack had to come off the back because the tires wouldn't fit otherwise. I'm running 700x45 Innovas on a Soma Double Cross and the clearance just isn't there in the back for much of anything when it comes to a fender and tires this size. But I'm still riding!

everett said...

I put the spikes on the Volpe today. Can't wait to hit the streets. Let me rephrase that...