Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cycling Studs

Fitted my newly purchased studded snow tyres - Schwalbe Marathon Winters - the other day and these are my first impressions.

Schwalbe Marathon Winter Tyres

The tyres were easy to fit by hand over the rims and didn't require gloves for protection. The studs are flat ended carbide rods and are not sharp at all. I've covered about 26 miles since - had one return trip to work in a thin covering of snow and ice and today 18 miles to/from south Manchester (to see a secondhand bike I'm thinking of getting but that is another post to be hopefully). This last trip was mainly on clear gritted roads with some banked slush in the cycle lanes which I took care to avoid as well as a mile or so along national cycle route 6 covered in compacted snow.

National Route 6 crossing the M60
It was good to be able to compare handling in both snowy and clear conditions. The tyres handle pretty well on the tarmac, although they are quite noisy and there is a little bit of vibration through the handlebars. The ride remains comfortable however and there is no noticeable drop in speed compared to my normal Schwalbe Marathon Supremes. On the snow/ice the ride is grippy and assured and while I still took it easy, I'm sure as I gain in confidence with them I'll be back to cycling almost as if the road was clear - almost!

I'm happy I bought them as I'll be able to get to work whatever the weather. I know some committed cycle commuters are making alternative arrangements for their commute while the roads are snow and ice covered but I would just miss my cycle fix too much for that.


  1. Sounds good. These tyres are one of those purchases which I keep thinking about but putting off. Schwalbe Fat Franks run at a lower pressure are acceptable for snow/ice riding, although I doubt they are as good as a dedicated snow tyre.

    At least I know they are good now.

  2. @MrC

    Thought about getting them last year and when I persuaded myself it wasn't a ridiculous purchase I couldn't find any in stock. Then the thaw came and I forgot about snow commutes till recently. Even so I had to get them from Germany but they were cheaper than in £ and came within 4 working days.

    Even if I only use them for a few weeks i'll have them ready for next year and beyond so the the upfront cost is spread over several winter commutes. That's the way I justified it anyway ;>)

  3. Really interesting post! I came across them first time, last year through "Lets Go Ride a Bike" blog, but kept thinking they may be excessive here as our snow only last few weeks, compared to say Chicago (as in the LGRAB example). But, like MrC, it's really useful to read your impressions. Next year when I will be back working full time it may be an investment I will definitely do for my Pashley.

  4. @naturallycyclingmanchester

    I'm not sure it they'll come in the right size for your Pashley, They don't do them in 28 inch (635 mm) used on the larger Pashley and I don't think they do them in 26 inch (590 mm) which I believe is the tyre size on the smaller Pashley Princess. They do them (or equivalents) in 26 inch (559 mm) and 700C (622 mm) but I think that is all.

  5. Thanks for your positive impressions Darryl! Being quite a pricey purchase, it's nice to know that they work.

    If last Winter is anything to go by (and quite possibly this one too), these tyre's could well be an essential.

    @LC I've just had a search myself & think Meestar Cee maybe right y'know. Hope not though & I'm surprised those 650C tyres aren't more popular - I've had the tape measure out on Wend's Pashley & they seem to offer a nice compromise - the diameter of a sporty 700C tyre & the depth of an average 26" tyre for comfort.