john b.
AsshatOrganizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 518
Aggressive tread or not, high stud count or not, made in Finland or made in China; what's really important is that the studs are carbide tipped and the rubber is treated and high on the durometer scale. Plain steel studs will last you one winter if you're lucky and you'll notice a marked decrease in performance over that time. Good studded tires are pretty stand alone as far as durability. While $160-$200 for a pair of tires does hurt your wallet at first, it's a seriously worthwhile investment. There are few bike components that withstand this much abuse in the worst conditions over years and years. Good studded tires will do that and retain as much applicability as they boasted the day they were taken off the rack.
Bob B.
user 3380725
Scarborough, ME
Post #: 159
There is no question that a good pair of studded tires work exceptionally well on ice, and leave the rider with a high level of confidence. The downside is the significant increase in rolling resistance. I found that there really aren't that many days during the winter when you need studs, and changing the tires is a pain. For that reason, I have a beater set of wheels with the studded tires mounted that can be easily switched out with the road tire wheels. Of course, you can always ride on the studs all winter and feel like Superman when you switch back to the road tires.
john b.
AsshatOrganizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 519
The downside is the significant increase in rolling resistance. I found that there really aren't that many days during the winter when you need studs, and changing the tires is a pain. For that reason, I have a beater set of wheels with the studded tires mounted that can be easily switched out with the road tire wheels. Of course, you can always ride on the studs all winter and feel like Superman when you switch back to the road tires.

-OR- have multiple bikes. I left the studded tire bike at home today. Tomorrow looks to be much the same weather but the temperature could drop below freezing for my ride home. I'll slog it out on the studded tire bike tomorrow for this reason.
mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 787
If you have multiple bikes, the problem then becomes deciding which bike to put the christmas lights on.
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 2,006
I just finished mostly successfully resuscitating the old mountain bike with studded tires, the one that got completely seized up last winter after the last time I rode it in deep snow and slush and then didn't clean it afterwards. (DUH!) Only permanent casualty was the front derailleur, which still refused to budge after repeated applications of Liquid Wrench, so I just removed it and stuck the (new) chain in the middle ring and it's now a 7-speed instead of a 21-speed. Brakes work pretty well, and the rear derailleur gets to all 7 gears, although the higher ones skip a bit when I ride it, though not when I'm working on it in the garage, so I'm not sure what to do about that on my own. But since I'll only ride it maybe a half dozen times over the winter, when really necessary, I'll just put up with it. And I promise to clean it after each ride this year!!
John V.
user 37549972
Portland, ME
Post #: 2
Thanks for all the replies. All the information is very useful.

I am still debating whether to give up commuting until spring. I ride Cape Elizabeth to Bridge Street Westbrook which come out to 23 miles round trip. I feel USM to Cape Elizabeth is really safe. I do not feel very safe in the dark at 5:30pm from Lowes on Brighton Ave to Stevens Ave. I wish there was a better way. I was even considering the bus after work to avoid Brighton Ave.

I have not commuted in a week and I do miss it.


John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 2,011
Whenever I ride on Brighton Avenue, I control the rightmost lane on the 4-lane sections, and ride somewhere in the right half on the 3-lane with the two-way center turn lane, because motorists willingly move into it to give me passing distance. (Just watch out for if there is a car in it the other way, waiting to turn.) Lane control is not always agreeable with all the motorists during rush hour, but it's a lot safer than letting them try to pass in the same lane, or trying to stay in the too-small shoulder. It'd be nice if they had some Bikes May Use Full Lane signs on the 4-lane sections.

I assume you have lights. Reflective jacket or vest?
mike
user 3053132
Portland, ME
Post #: 791
I used to ride Brighton Ave all the way from Bridge to Woodford St. everyday when I started commuting. It's definitely a "trial by fire" sort of route for the starting commuter. But I came to ride pretty much as John describes above and basically you get used to it. Definitely get some extra lights/reflective items.

As for an alternative, you can turn right onto Capisic St. (just before Breakwater School) and take that until it re-connects with Stevens. It is marginally longer though.
John B.
JohnB38
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 2,014
I used the studded tire bike today for the first time. I also tried something new. They say it helps cars get traction to have weight in the back, so I thought maybe the same would work with bikes, so I clipped the grocery pannier to the rack, on the other side from my regular pannier with laptop and tools, and I put a brick in it! Heck, I'm already going slow with the studs anyway. Of course I don't know if it made a difference or not, not having a scientific "control ride" to compare it to. Maybe just one brick isn't enough, but I did stop at the store and get a 3-liter bottle of soda, and a 1/2 gallon each of milk and OJ, so I was pretty loaded down by the time I got to work. I do know, however, that my legs are a little tired. tongue
Brian E.
user 13760096
Raymond, ME
Post #: 208
Got a new 9er!
Got studs for the new 9er!
I'm ready for the hardpack, icy snowmobile trails!

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