Do Studded Tyres Work on Ice?
We've had an icy winter so far. Ice can make commuting, or just getting outside, hazardous. There are ways to lower this risk, last time we mention riding a fixed gear and using your legs to slow down instead of braking. Now, we're going to give a shout out to studded tyres.
What are studded tyres?
Studded tyres are tyres that contain between 2 and 4 rows of steel studs are regular intervals. To go with these studs, you'll also tend to find increased puncture protection.
You'll want extra puncture protection as soon as you've tried to fit studded tyres. They don't just slip on, and they can put up a bit of a fight. A helpful tip is to use cable ties to hold the tyre down in places you have bedded the tyre, as you work around the rim.
Talking of cable ties, if you don't want to use studded tyres, you can use cable ties. You don't want them as tight as the above picture, just snug, so they don't move. Put them at regular intervals, and you'll have a cheap set of winter chains you can fit and remove in minutes.
How do the studs work?
The studs bring you grip by digging into the surface of the ice. The feeling is fantastic when you're on the ice. I'm sure someone could write poetry about it, thankfully we're not going to.
You do need to break the studs in before riding them on ice. It'll take around 20 kms to brake them in. During this point, you'll be likely to make enough sound to make people turn and stare. The studs will sound like they are pulling the asphalt off the road.
After the 20 kms, the studs will still make noise, but it will be slightly duller than the previous racket. One of the other drawbacks with studs is that they create drag. You'll be going slower on roads with no ice, but you'll save time by not crashing on ice.
For us, the ultimate ice bike would be a nice fixed gear with a set of ice tyres. A fixed-gear will not mind the salt on the road as much as a geared bike, and we did talk about the benefits of pedalling to slow down in our previous article.