Previously we talked about how a tracklocross bike works well as a commuter bike; one of the ways to up this utilitarian use is to use studded tyres in winter. Studded tyres will help you find grip where previously there was none. You’ll find yourself riding across sections of paths where others will slip and fall.
Do Studded Tyres Work on Ice?
Ice can make commuting or just going outside hazardous during winter. There are ways to lower this risk. We talked previously about how you use your legs on a tracklocross bike, similar to how you use engine braking in a car. Now, we’re going to give a shout out to studded tyres.
What are studded tyres?
Studded tyres contain between 2 and 4 rows of steel studs at regular intervals. To go with these studs, you’ll also tend to find increased puncture protection.
You’ll want extra puncture protection as soon as you’ve tried to fit studded tyres. They don’t just slip on, and they can put up a bit of a fight. A helpful tip is to use cable ties to hold the tyre down in places you have bedded the tyre as you work around the rim.
Talking of cable ties, you can use cable ties if you don’t want to use studded tyres. You don’t want them as tight as the above picture, just snug, so they don’t move. Put them at regular intervals, and you’ll have a cheap set of winter chains you can fit and remove in minutes.
How do the studs work?
The studs bring you grip by digging into the surface of the ice. The feeling is fantastic when you’re on the ice. I’m sure someone could write poetry about it, thankfully I’m not going to.
You do need to break the studs in before riding them on ice. It’ll take around 20 km to 40 km to break them in. The studs will sound like they are pulling the asphalt off the road. You’ll be likely to make enough noise to have people turn and stare at you during this point.
After the 40 km, the studs will still make noise, but the noise will be slightly duller than the previous racket. One of the other drawbacks with studs is that they create drag. You’ll be going slower on roads with no ice, but you’ll save time by not crashing on ice.
For us, the ultimate ice bike would be a nice fixed gear with a set of ice tyres. A tracklocross bike will not mind the salt on the road as much as a geared bike, and we did talk about the benefits of pedalling to slow down in our previous article.