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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got a set of Conti Spike Claw 120 studded tires that I will be using when there's a lot of ice on the trails. Looks like I may get an opportunity this week to give them a try.
I'm looking for tire pressure recommendations. I normally prefer lower tire pressures (around 25 psi), but I'm not sure that the same factors are in play with studded tires on frozen trails. Note that the Spike Claw 120s only have studs in the outer knobs.
I doubt I will be using these a lot since I'm fine with regular tires for riding frozen ground or light snow as long as there is not a lot of ice on the trails, so I don't want to have to do a whole bunch of trial-and-error testing of tire pressures. I will only be using them on trails (frozen midwest dirt, ice, packed snow, roots).
 

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Although I do not have the Conti's I have seen them and have an idea. Since the studs are only on the outside (why???) one would need to have the tire square to the ground in order for them to contact the ice. If they are pumped up all the way (40 psi) they would only contact at a point of no return.

Since you have plenty of snow experience, many of the same rules apply. Contact patch, no quick movement, steer more with your body and no leaning.

My studs work better than regular tires in snow, open pattern and deeper lugs. Did a nice ice ride yesterday after the heat and rain. They still slip some, but are a life saver. Remember that your feet will still have no traction if you stop on ice.

To answer your question it depends on air temps/your weight. I keep about 30psi, at the end of a ride it might have dropped 5 psi cause of cold. Snow / ice rides are typically slower so there is less likleyhood of pinching.

Good luck-

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks.
I tested them out yesterday on some ice in a nearby park. I set them up with a little over 40psi (the mfr recommendation was 40 to 60) and as soon as I hit the ice, I went down. These things felt no different on ice than my regular mtb tires (the bike just flies out from underneath you with the slightest turn or lean). It may be that just having the studs in outer knobs is not enough. To say I was disappointed would be a serious understatement. I'll try them again with lower pressure (closer to the 25 to 30 psi I normally run with my other tires). If that doesn't work, I may need to invest in a full studded tire for at least the front (probably not this year though).
And yes, I'm well aware that putting a foot down on ice is not going to do anything but cause more pain. That's why I went for the studded tires this year. Last year I had several hard falls on ice, and the experience of having your bike fly out from underneath you unexpectedly combined with your instinctive reaction of putting your foot out only to have that fly out in the opposite direction, is unpleasant to say the least. I am thinking about possibly modding a pair of old shoes though.
 

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That is why I put in the ???'s, that type of tire makes no sense tro me. I ride with two people who got the Innova's and they are a worse tread pattern IMHO. In order to get that outer row on the ice you might have to go less than 20#, depends on your weight.

I have seen a spectacular deal on Schwalbe Ice Spikers at Chainreactioncycles.com. I personally treated myself to the Nokian Freddiez Revenge with 336-1=335 studs. Nice and wide and open pattern. Sure they cost more than most car tires, but my hips/knees/elbows thank me every time I see someone go down.

Rob

PS- by the looks of the picture it looks like you could add the center row with the Innova tool and replacement studs. Might be a cheaper solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Jack'sDad said:
PS- by the looks of the picture it looks like you could add the center row with the Innova tool and replacement studs. Might be a cheaper solution.
I considered that but based on the pricing I found for replacement studs, it would be cheaper to buy a complete tire (I think it was like $20 for 25 studs, and I would need 120 for the center studs for one tire). I may be able to pull the studs out of one tire and put them in the other so I have at least one fully studded tire. Then I can buy another full stud tire.
I got the 120s (120 studs) because they were cheaper and I found a review somewhere that claimed they worked pretty well. Since I'm used to riding without studs, I figured that having some studs on the side knobs might be all I need to provide the little extra grip I need to turn on ice (not high speed turns). Now that I think about it a little more, they may have put this tire (the 120) out with commuters in mind, thinking they prefer no center studs while riding on pavement but want a little something if they hit ice. However, based on my experience with them yesterday, I don't see that they do much of anything at the recommended tire pressure. Like I said, I'll try them again with much lower pressure and see if that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Update:
I did some trail riding today with the 120s at between 25 and 30 psi, and I continue to be very disappointed with these tires on hard ice. Sure, they're fine in snow and hardpacked and crusty/icy snow, but so are the non-studded tires I normally ride. When I hit ice, they slip out sideways just like normal tires. So I'm out there today with my new studded tires, pretty much walking any hard ice sections of trails just like I would have done if I didn't have studded tires. I did have fun though, but would have had more fun if I could ride the ice.
I just ordered one Nokian Extreme 294 and will try that on the font and hopefully will be able to transfer the studs from one of my 120s to the other to get a rear tire with 240 studs. I don't know if we'll still have these icy conditions then, but if we do I'll give another update. I'm tempted to post a nasty review for the 120s on the review site, but I'll hold off until I get a chance to try the Nokian so I have something to compare them to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Final update.
I transferred studs from one of the 120s to the other to get a 240 stud tire, and got my Nokian Extreme 294 on the front. I now have traction on ice. Running about 30 psi seems to work pretty well, but I haven't tried other pressures with my current setup.
I posted a little tutorial on replacing studs here http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=481115
 

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Studs here in Alaska

I have a set of 2.1 Schwalbe Ice Spikers (306 studs/each) on my hardtail singlespeed I use as my winterbike that I bought 3 years ago when I moved up here to Anchorage. I had to get used to riding on snow/ice for 6 months out of the year. It's usually in the teens/20's all winter long, so I usually hit the paved trails around town that get plenty packed down/icy from all the skiers, joggers, and cyclists. I run 30/front and 35/rear for fast rolling on the ice. If I were riding in softer snow/off-road trails, may want to drop a few PSI. I'm around 150 w/gear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was mainly looking for PSI recommendations related to the stud engagement on ice. And it seems like lower pressure is the way to go.
However, your comment on running 70psi in snow was interesting. Snow is always different (different depths, moisture content, temperature, compaction) so sometimes you want to cut through the snow and try to get traction in something firm below, other times you want to try to ride on top of the snow. Generally, I would expect lower pressure to create a flatter profile and therefore ride better on top of snow. Higher pressure should result in a rounder profile, but also results in a larger overall tire width (the tire will actually expand some as the pressure increases), so it's not as obvious as to what overall effect that will have on traction in snow. I may have to give it a try sometime, but I generally don't ride in deeper snow (I ski instead).
 

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trailville said:
I was mainly looking for PSI recommendations related to the stud engagement on ice. And it seems like lower pressure is the way to go.
However, your comment on running 70psi in snow was interesting. Snow is always different (different depths, moisture content, temperature, compaction) so sometimes you want to cut through the snow and try to get traction in something firm below, other times you want to try to ride on top of the snow. Generally, I would expect lower pressure to create a flatter profile and therefore ride better on top of snow. Higher pressure should result in a rounder profile, but also results in a larger overall tire width (the tire will actually expand some as the pressure increases), so it's not as obvious as to what overall effect that will have on traction in snow. I may have to give it a try sometime, but I generally don't ride in deeper snow (I ski instead).
Yeah, for snow I run really low pressures too. High pressures can make for sudden traction loss when least expected, generally soft tires are nice and predictable.
 

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I was running Schwalbe Ice Spikers but just put on Nokian Freddies Revenge Lite 26x2.3.

My rims are Sun Single Track SL's 31mm wide. the Fredides are nice and wide with a nice supple sidewall I run them at 28psi.
The trail where I ride is 80 percent iced.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Those trails look a lot like the stuff I've been riding.
Rigid single speed? Really? I hope you at least have it set up with some easy gearing for these conditions. My rigid SS give's me a beating when I ride in the summer. These hard-frozen hiker-trampled ice, snow, frozen mud trails are way to bumpy for me to go rigid. I was out on my hardtail this afternoon and expect to be feeling some pain tomorrow as a result.
 
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