Mountain Bike Tyres: snow tyres, stud tyres, spike tyres, ice tyres, winter tyres. MTB tyres- serious tyres for serious Mountain Biking

MTB Rims, Rubber, Studs & Spikes

Serious Tyres for Serious Mountain Biking in the Snow

Winter MTB Tyre - Nordic Spike by Continental Continental Nordic Spike
Extreme Winter Hybrid Bike Tyre
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Nokian Mount & Ground MTB Tyre

Continental Spike Claw
The Continental Spike Claw 240 and 120 tyres are classified as an extreme winter mountain bike tyre.
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Alex DX 32 MTB wheel rim

ALEX AL-DX32 MTB Rim
Wide 38mm MTB 26" Rim ideal for snow tyres.
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What We Have Found

Studs won’t make any difference in deep snow

Mountain Bike Tyres: snow tyres, stud tyres, spike tyres, ice tyres, winter tyres. MTB tyres- serious tyres for serious Mountain BikingAnd don’t believe anyone who says different! In deep snow the issue is about floatation, which is dictated in turn by the size of the footprint your tyres present. Look for wide mud tyres with wide spaced lugs that won’t pack out with snow. Floatation is further enhanced by running a low tyre pressure in the (experts suggest you can get as low as 10-15 PSI), which allows them to flatten out, and the use of wide rims (but more of that later). Tyres will tend to creep around the rim at low pressures, and some people suggest glueing the tyre to the rim, but remember, only glue one side and remember which one you glued!

If you are never likely to encounter ice on your rides, then there is no real need to consider studs at all.

Studs do work on ice

For many of us who live in more temperate regions, the likelihood of a midday thaw followed by an overnight freeze means that ice may be frequently encountered. Whether off-road or on-road this is where studs come into their own. They are not failsafe, and you still need to treat ice with due respect, but studs do offer a big improvement in control to the extent that you can easily be lulled into a false sense of security, only to slip straight onto your backside soon after stepping off the bike.

Studs are available as off-road tyres with wide spaced lugs, or on road tyres with a much closer spaced tread. It should be noted that compared to regular tyres, there is increased rolling resistance (making pedalling harder), and the studs can be pretty noisy on bare roads. In climates where snow and ice persist through the winter, riders would tend to use studs throughout the season, whereas in regions such as the UK where ice is a more sporadic event, a quick change of tyres or even better a spare set of wheels made up ready seems to be the more efficient approach.

Front Tyre, Back Tyre or Both?

We’re a mountain bike web-site selling studded tyres, so it’s probably no great surprise that we think studs on both back and front is best, giving you control over both steering and traction. However, if your budget won’t stretch further than one tyre, then the stud should go on the front. You are more likely to remain upright if you rear-wheel spins than if your front wheel washes out.

All Studs are not Equal

On first appearances, studded tyres cover such a huge price range that it is difficult to see why anyone would bother with the most expensive ones. However, things are not always what they seem. A painstaking labour of love by Bill Dobson nicely demonstrates the difference in stud quality between the tungsten carbide Nokians and a brand of cheaper studs available in the USA . Once the studs wear down to the level of the rubber the tyres are no longer effective, so stud durability can dictate the lifespan of the tyre. This is particularly so for commuting tyres which are likely to spend more time on bare tarmac.

Running In

Nokian recommend a 50 km break-in period for studded tyres, during which heavy usage and heavy braking should be avoided. This helps the studs bed in and reduces subsequent losses. However, stud losses do still occur, and while replacements are available it is thought that up to 10% can be lost before performance is affected.

Rims

In order to present a bigger footprint, a double width rim is a great help. The definitive snow rim, the “snowcat”, is a 44 mm wide single skinned rim that can be further drilled out to save weight. Designed and built in Alaska by Simon Rakower www.whickedwheels.com, these rims can prove hard to come by in Europe. Down-hill rims such as the Sun doublewide are more readily available and can be used as an alternative, but are comparatively heavy.

Studded Bike Tyres

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