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ol'guy who says hi &waves
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We may do a ride in 3-4 inches of snow/mud this weekend with some steep rocky (probably icey)descents thrown in for good measure.

I have no experience in these conditions. Clothing-wise I'm good to go.

Tire-wise, I have some brand new Rampages and Klaws.

Which ones or combo would you recommend? Thanks in advance, Fred
 

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I prefer...

fred-da-trog said:
We may do a ride in 3-4 inches of snow/mud this weekend with some steep rocky (probably icey)descents thrown in for good measure.

I have no experience in these conditions. Clothing-wise I'm good to go.

Tire-wise, I have some brand new Rampages and Klaws.

Which ones or combo would you recommend? Thanks in advance, Fred
...a tire with a sturdy sidewall so I can run lower pressure...for ice that is. I do not have experience with the above tires, but would recommend whichever one has the most aggressive knobs. You can use studs, but you don't really need them. For ice riding just remember to set yourself up to be always riding the fall line, riding against this line will usually result in sliding out. Be deliberate and stay away from quick sudden movements and you will be fine. Lower pressure, low center and a low smooth cadence will help to keep you upright. Riding ice is all about slow smooth deliberate movements...outa the saddle reefing riding will not work. Also, look for rugosity in the ice and dirt or rocks sticking out...sometimes you can connect these 'dots' to clear a section or two. You will gain some technical skills that you can apply to your more common terra-firma riding and you will smile.

Giv'r
 

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It's hard to say since the conditions vary massively. EG today I rode on really icy, smooth hardpack. Skinny, studded tires were great, very fast. Anything without studs would have been death (I fell over every time I got off).

Sunday I tried riding in about 3" of slightly crusty, icy snow and made no headway at all. That was on IRC Mythos. If I'd had a 3" tire, maybe I could have floated it.
 

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If it's 3" of anything but very hard crunchy snow I'd go with the Klaw. It has lots of grip in that type of snow, and it's narrow enough to cut through the bottom better than a wider tire.

If you were expecting to ride on top of more consolidated snow, I'd go with something wider like the Rampage (if it's hillier and/or softer so you need the grip) or the Weirwolf LT (if it's flatter and/or crunchier and traction is less of an issue).

I'd be concerned about ice too, especially if it's steep. No amount of rubber is going to help you if it's steep and there's very much ice. If it were me I'd probably shod up with the Klaw (especially in back), but bring the Rampage in case the snow was very firm but still not icy -- and I'd also bring my 700x45 Nokian studder in case things looked (d)icy when I got to the trailhead.
 

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Another option is the Nevegals, preferrably with studs.

In MN, most of us stud our tires for winter. If you will be off-pavement and not riding much bare ground, that is the way to go. If there is any ice or slippery stuff under the snow, an average rider on studs can smoke even a good rider that is not on studs.

Last year, I studded up a set of Klaws. They were excellent on ice, and fine in fresh fluffy snow that isn't very deep, but not very good when the snow got deeper and more settled. The guys with the wider tires (26 x 2.5 or 2.7 Timberwolves) didn't have as much trouble in that stuff.

This year, I switched to Nevegals, plus about 250 screws each (3/8 inch #6 self-tapping pan heads). I've only had them out a couple times so far, but they seem better than the Klaws. The extra width helps a lot. It takes about 2 hours per wheel to stud them up and glue in a liner (extra inner tube). Of course, the drawback to studding your tires is that they will only be winter tires.

In a decision between Rampage and Klaw, I'd use the Rampages. They are nearly identical to the Nevegal. They also have a decent knob to put studs through if you go that route.
 
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