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Road bike in the snow!

2803 Views 14 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  BrianMc
hello all,i have been floating around the commuter forum the past two months to help get me through the cold winter morning commutes and the never ending snow here in northern IN

however i have yet to hear of anyone on here using just normal road bike tires in the snow. like many i have multiple bikes mountain road fixie etc. and so far even on ice and up to about 2-3 inches I can still ride my road bike with 25c tire and not really have any problems, anymore then that and i ride my fixie with 35c cyclocross tires no studs. anybody else here use normal road bike tires in the light snow/? they seem to just cut right through the snow and light ice and of course get me to work alot faster.
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Not me, but there are times I wish for skinnies to cut though better. Whatever works...

No more catch and fall into the traffic?
haha not lately rodar...surprised you remembered a post from a newb like myself (atleast a newb to the forum)....but if you can try it would be surprised how well skinnys do on just cant turn as sharp thats all
I'm to old to try things I know might hurt me.
Besides falling down on slippery roads and skinny tires would just make my hour commute longer.
We just had some snow here lately. I ride a Nashbar X bike with 35mm Small Block 8's in the winter. They seem to do great in snow and wet conditions. I rode some 32mm slicks last year in snow and they seem to slip a bit more than the SB 8's.
I find that bike commuters become like Eskimos (Inuit now?), very in tune with the many different kinds of snow, because they affect the bike differently. Warm snow may let the tire cut down to pavement, greasy snow churned up with salt by cars is super slippery, hardpack has great grip with studs, etc. I'm with Norm, I'm sure it would only be a matter of "when", not "if" that I hit the ground road biking on snow\ice.
Light snow and road tires I find no problem. Just need a bit extra care. It is the lousy snow clearing causing ice/snow pack/snow-snot/sugar-snow that is just too scary to ride summer road tires on. Traffic idiots are bad enough. Southern Indiana snow removal leaves a LOT to be desired. I could use deeper tread and more studs at times (a 29'er or fatbike with studded knobbies!). So a third bike would be very nice. Second winter in a row for this need here (why snow removal is so poor: no practice).
hydrogeek said:
I ride a Nashbar X bike with 35mm Small Block 8's in the winter.
I sure wish something similar to that 35mm SB8 were available in 26. I make no predictions as to how well it would do at anything, but I`d love to try a 26 x 1.5 knobby just for kicks.
When we get snow, which is typically 1-2 times/year (Seattle Area), it often starts as rain which then freezes and turns to snow, so you get snow over an ice layer which is just slick as hell. Thankfully, it's usually gone after a week or so.

If the snow is light and there is no ice layer underneath it, I'll ride my regular commuter with 25c gatorskins. Deep snow or snow over ice I pull the Mountain Bike out. The Moutain bike will add 20-25 minutes to my 65 minute commute. No need to be stupid to save 20-25 minutes.
hydrogeek said:
We just had some snow here lately. I ride a Nashbar X bike with 35mm Small Block 8's in the winter. They seem to do great in snow and wet conditions. I rode some 32mm slicks last year in snow and they seem to slip a bit more than the SB 8's.
I'm looking at re-incarnating my Nashbar X... it's been hanging patiently in the rafters. What fork are you running with those tires, and are you running fenders?
it all depends on what type of snow you are dealing with and what is beneath that snow.
I'm in Seattle too. We've had some snow lately, but no heavy accumulations in the city.

For me, 2-3" of snow would be too much to try to ride with slicks. It's usually a little on the packable side here, so it's not like I'm pushing through to pavement - I'm creating an ice track. Trace to an inch of snow, though, and I don't change bikes.

A friend of mine bought a Jamis Aurora for the purpose of being able to run studded tires the few days out of the year there's ice on the roads here, and so he can use knobbies when there are wet leaves. I give him crap about it. :p I'm on the same stuff on 28mm slicks, usually. But I have a MTB to switch to if the roads get really messed up, and he doesn't.
Snow varies A LOT. Seven inches of powder? HAH! Three inches of wet snowman snow, [email protected]! One inch of power on ice? Fougetaboudit w/o studs. Mtbxplorer says you get really good at reading snow conditions. I''l add that THEN, you have to factor the drivers in. :madman:
I've biked through a heavy-snowfall winter (432.7 cm, 170.4") in Ottawa ON, Canada, on 23mm slicks. It was on a fixed gear, not a normal road bike, but the tires worked really well on any road that was regularly travelled by cars. These roads had little to no ice at the base thanks to heavy traffic, and so my tires only had to plow through new snow. Never fell once.

However, on side streets where traffic was much lighter, old snow packed down into an icy base layer that couldn't safely be ridden on skinny tires. It would only have been easy to ride on fat studded tires. This was about 2 blocks of my commute, right by my house, that I just walked with the bike most days.
SSSasky: I commuted by bike in spring through fall there off and on for most of two years. Just into Nepean to near RCMP headquarters, then a bit closer to hand. Were you downtown? In the 'burbs it seemed suicidal, but there were no bike lanes marked then. Drivers often hadn't cleared windows fully and they weren't expecting a bike. In fact, I only remember seeing one in winter, on a sidewalk, downtown.
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