Author Topic: To spike or not to spike  (Read 2778 times)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
To spike or not to spike
« on: November 27, 2018, 12:00:01 pm »

I'm planning a bit of a cycle tour over the Christmas period, I'm gonna be cycling 600+ km over 3 days. I know it's gonna be cold, but I'm worried that it's going to be icy Which means I'm gonna need spiked tyres, which have a rolling resistance considerably bigger than what I have on my current GP 4 seasons. I'm likely to do a lot of the ride in the dark (with an edelux II light), so I'm not expecting to be able to have a 100% success rate of spotting any ice patches in advance.

Is there anything other than full on spiked tyres for these conditions? Or shall I just stick 8 bar in them and hope for the best?

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2018, 12:21:03 pm »
Some of them are fairly spike-free in the tread centre and are just to stop you falling off rather than for maximum traction.  Have a look.  Marathon Winters have a good reputation as an all-winter tyre and CRC have them at half RRP.  I wouldn't recommend my Nokian Hakkathingies except when absolutely necessary; they are pretty damn slow.
Never tell me the odds.

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2018, 12:33:50 pm »
IIRC there's a Schwalbe 'Winter' that has fewer central spikes than the 'Marathon Winter'.  I've not used them, though.

I've got a set of Ice Spikers for the Reasonably Priced Mountain Bicycle, and their rolling resistance is in another league compared to 700c Marathon Winters, especially once you've dropped the pressure to 20PSI or less.  Of course, you gain the ability to ride on mud and loose snow in exchange for that.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 12:37:17 pm »
A tricycle.  ;)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2018, 01:02:45 pm »
A tricycle.  ;)

Seconded, actually.  I've been known to use three wheels in winter for exactly this "might be ice, but probably won't" reason.

An extra wheel with a normal tyre adds some rolling resistance and aero drag, but it's not as hard work as a bicycle with winter tyres.  While prolonged patches of sheet ice can result in loss of traction and/or steering control, you do generally stay the right way up.

The disadvantages, at least with a tadpole recumbent, are colder feet compared to an upright[1], and that your face is down in the beam of everyone's dipped headlights (which is also gritter height).


[1] Demonstrated to be postural (rather than air cooling or whatever) while sitting around on a stationary trike awaiting puncture repairs on group rides: Almost instant increase in foot warmth from unclipping from the pedals.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2018, 01:12:29 pm »
I've never used spiked tyres but I have ridden in bits of Polish winter on hybrid knobblies. Never a whole winter, too cold! People do, though, and without spiked tyres. And certainly not 600km in three days either. Are you expecting (the possibility of) thick sheets of ice or isolated patches and frost? If the latter, experience and observations says you probably don't need spikes. So I guess a lot depends on how well ploughed and gritted the roads.

Or shall I just stick 8 bar in them and hope for the best?
8 bar? I only ever have to talk of pressure in tyre terms, so that means I had to convert this – 116psi. Surely if you're planning to use normal tyres you should be letting the pressure down for ice and snow? You don't say what width they are, but if they are sufficiently narrow to justify those pressures, they're probably not going to be much good on ice, I'd say.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2018, 01:19:41 pm »
Spikes work, but at a price: as Kim says, the rolling resistance is extremely high. I only ever used them for short commutes, and I think the longest I've ever ridden on spikes in one go is about 25 miles. I wouldn't want to do 600km on them!

I've long been curious about the Conti Winter Contact, which claims to be a non-spiked winter tyre (https://conti-tyres.co.uk/commuting-touring/top-contact-ii-winter-premium), but not curious enough to invest in any (these days I just don't go out when it's icy).

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2018, 01:20:50 pm »
I used to commute on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres in the snowy weather. They were only really necessary for 1.5km of my 11.5km commute (the roads after that were clear). Absolute confidence where it was a struggle to even walk.

Inflated to the upper limit they aren't that bad, probably only 10% slower than non-spiked tyres (pulling a number from thin air).

Neither of the Schwalbe winter tyres (https://www.schwalbe.com/en/spikes.html) have spikes down the centre line of the tyre, there's only minor contact of the spikes when riding normally if the tyres are inflated well.

But, 600km over 3 days on spiked tyres? No thanks. I'd go for normal tyres + caution or bin the idea completely if the weather looks awful.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2018, 01:22:07 pm »
Spikes work, but at a price: as Kim says, the rolling resistance is extremely high. I only ever used them for short commutes, and I think the longest I've ever ridden on spikes in one go is about 25 miles. I wouldn't want to do 600km on them!

I did a little over 100km on Marathon Winters once.  Emphasis on the once.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2018, 02:23:54 pm »
A tricycle.  ;)

Seconded, actually.  I've been known to use three wheels in winter for exactly this "might be ice, but probably won't" reason.

An extra wheel with a normal tyre adds some rolling resistance and aero drag, but it's not as hard work as a bicycle with winter tyres.  While prolonged patches of sheet ice can result in loss of traction and/or steering control, you do generally stay the right way up.

The disadvantages, at least with a tadpole recumbent, are colder feet compared to an upright[1], and that your face is down in the beam of everyone's dipped headlights (which is also gritter height).


[1] Demonstrated to be postural (rather than air cooling or whatever) while sitting around on a stationary trike awaiting puncture repairs on group rides: Almost instant increase in foot warmth from unclipping from the pedals.

Not really an option,

a) I don't own a trike

b) I'm coming back on trains that only allow 2 wheeled cycles...

c) I'm skint.

I've never used spiked tyres but I have ridden in bits of Polish winter on hybrid knobblies. Never a whole winter, too cold! People do, though, and without spiked tyres. And certainly not 600km in three days either. Are you expecting (the possibility of) thick sheets of ice or isolated patches and frost? If the latter, experience and observations says you probably don't need spikes. So I guess a lot depends on how well ploughed and gritted the roads.

My big concern is the patch of slippery stuff on a corner when going round a corner in the dark, and not knowing it, and finding myself laying in the gutter unable to reach the panic button on my inreach, when I have no signal on the broken phone in my pocket...

Quote

Or shall I just stick 8 bar in them and hope for the best?
8 bar? I only ever have to talk of pressure in tyre terms, so that means I had to convert this – 116psi. Surely if you're planning to use normal tyres you should be letting the pressure down for ice and snow? You don't say what width they are, but if they are sufficiently narrow to justify those pressures, they're probably not going to be much good on ice, I'd say.

On this bike it's the 42-622 Marathon Winters. They only go upto 5 bar, the 30-349 Schwalbe Winter's on my Brompton go up to 8 bar.

At max pressure they run a lot smoother, the idea is you run them at 5 bar when it's not too bad, and drop it to 2 bar when there's more issues.

So my thought of 8 bar, was a) remembering the brompton pressure not the 700, and b) run them at max operating pressure so as to minimise rolling resistance.

Spikes work, but at a price: as Kim says, the rolling resistance is extremely high. I only ever used them for short commutes, and I think the longest I've ever ridden on spikes in one go is about 25 miles. I wouldn't want to do 600km on them!

Longest I've done on spikes was 90km, through the Ardennes' last winter. A couple of days later in Germany the temp had gone up 10°C, and I had to hunt puddles on a descent to keep the studs from getting too hot...

Quote

I've long been curious about the Conti Winter Contact, which claims to be a non-spiked winter tyre (https://conti-tyres.co.uk/commuting-touring/top-contact-ii-winter-premium), but not curious enough to invest in any (these days I just don't go out when it's icy).

I have no choice, I have to get to work, hence having the spiked tyres in the first place. Having them makes me think that 600+ km across Germany in winter is a good idea...

I used to commute on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres in the snowy weather. They were only really necessary for 1.5km of my 11.5km commute (the roads after that were clear). Absolute confidence where it was a struggle to even walk.

Inflated to the upper limit they aren't that bad, probably only 10% slower than non-spiked tyres (pulling a number from thin air).

Neither of the Schwalbe winter tyres (https://www.schwalbe.com/en/spikes.html) have spikes down the centre line of the tyre, there's only minor contact of the spikes when riding normally if the tyres are inflated well.

But, 600km over 3 days on spiked tyres? No thanks. I'd go for normal tyres + caution or bin the idea completely if the weather looks awful.

The thing is, if I get 300km into it, and find that in front of me is snow and ice, my only option would be to turn round and find a hotel. On Christmas day, in the middle of Germany.

My route takes me round the bottom of the Harz mountains... all the way to Leipzig.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2018, 02:38:55 pm »
Okay, how about the carry two spare tyres option?  Changing them would be faff, and spikes won't save you from unexpected ice if they're not fitted, but they'll slow you down a lot less strapped to the bike if conditions do improve...
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2018, 02:41:28 pm »
Okay, how about the carry two spare tyres option?  Changing them would be faff, and spikes won't save you from unexpected ice if they're not fitted, but they'll slow you down a lot less strapped to the bike if conditions do improve...

This I've thought about, except the marathon winters don't come in folding bead option, making things a right faff to transport.

Not to mention fitting them is an exercise of single combat...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2018, 02:41:57 pm »
Harz mountains are nicknamed Rentnergeberge = Pensioner Mountains, because they are so tame! Really just hills not mountains. However, even a hill can be treacherous in winter.

Re tyre pressure, I misunderstood; thought you were talking of pressure in the GP4S as an alternative to spikes.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2018, 02:44:52 pm »
Harz mountains are nicknamed Rentnergeberge = Pensioner Mountains, because they are so tame! Really just hills not mountains. However, even a hill can be treacherous in winter.

I've only been there once, but it was -10°C and had 500mm of snow on the ground...

Quote
Re tyre pressure, I misunderstood; thought you were talking of pressure in the GP4S as an alternative to spikes.

I was unclear on it.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2018, 02:53:17 pm »
I've never used spiked tyres but I have ridden in bits of Polish winter on hybrid knobblies. Never a whole winter, too cold! People do, though, and without spiked tyres. And certainly not 600km in three days either. Are you expecting (the possibility of) thick sheets of ice or isolated patches and frost? If the latter, experience and observations says you probably don't need spikes. So I guess a lot depends on how well ploughed and gritted the roads.

My big concern is the patch of slippery stuff on a corner when going round a corner in the dark, and not knowing it, and finding myself laying in the gutter unable to reach the panic button on my inreach, when I have no signal on the broken phone in my pocket...
Well I never had a mobile phone back in Poland... But I was riding mostly in town, even if in the country it was populated areas, and somebody was expecting me back that day. And, because winter is (obviously) A Thing in Poland (and austerity isn't), they're pretty big on snowploughs, ice clearing and gritting. Probably most of that goes for Germany too, but nevertheless the whole thing's beginning to sound rather a mad escapade. Quite quintessentially Quixotic Geekery in fact!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2018, 02:57:30 pm »
I'd guess that Poland and much of Germany does a better line in Proper Winter than you get in the UK or the Netherlands, so you don't get quite the same stealth patches of black ice on otherwise clear roads problem.

Certainly Scandinavian conditions (once ploughed and gritted) are much more conducive to cycling (even on normal tyres), as it just stays properly frozen all winter, rather than the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw rubbish we have to gamble on.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Cudzoziemiec

  • Solar powered, tea fuelled cycle-wol
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2018, 03:03:52 pm »
You do get some freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw in Polish towns, where district heating pipes run close to the surface or are inadequately insulated. But it's not a general condition like here, true.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2018, 03:09:31 pm »

I'm planning a bit of a cycle tour over the Christmas period, I'm gonna be cycling 600+ km over 3 days. I know it's gonna be cold, but I'm worried that it's going to be icy Which means I'm gonna need spiked tyres, which have a rolling resistance considerably bigger than what I have on my current GP 4 seasons. I'm likely to do a lot of the ride in the dark (with an edelux II light), so I'm not expecting to be able to have a 100% success rate of spotting any ice patches in advance.

I highly recommend Continental Top Contact Winter II Premium tyres. They don't have spikes but use the same Lamella system as car winter tyres. They grip surprisingly well on even blank ice, but also on wet cobblestones etc.

They were a major upgrade compared to my Nokian W108 spiked tyres; Probably less than half the weight (only 470g for the 37mm Premium edition) and at least half the rolling resistance too, probably more. No noise either and "feels" nice to ride. The have a nice range of bar pressure too allowing to ride with up to 6 bars pressure for pure road riding or 3 bars for off-roadish snow covered roads.
 



 

 



--
Regards

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2018, 03:20:35 pm »
I'd guess that Poland and much of Germany does a better line in Proper Winter than you get in the UK or the Netherlands, so you don't get quite the same stealth patches of black ice on otherwise clear roads problem.

I have no idea what the road conditions will be, I can make a guess based on what Komoot says, but I'm not sure. I may be on roads which are gritted and ploughed, I may be on a cycle path with the ice and snow.

What I do know is where I am on a road, it will be a surprise to many motorists, so I'm gonna need to cycle in christmas tree mode...

Quote
Certainly Scandinavian conditions (once ploughed and gritted) are much more conducive to cycling (even on normal tyres), as it just stays properly frozen all winter, rather than the freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw rubbish we have to gamble on.

Agreed.

I highly recommend Continental Top Contact Winter II Premium tyres. They don't have spikes but use the same Lamella system as car winter tyres. They grip surprisingly well on even blank ice, but also on wet cobblestones etc.

That sounds like quite a good idea.

Quote
They were a major upgrade compared to my Nokian W108 spiked tyres; Probably less than half the weight (only 470g for the 37mm Premium edition) and at least half the rolling resistance too, probably more. No noise either and "feels" nice to ride. The have a nice range of bar pressure too allowing to ride with up to 6 bars pressure for pure road riding or 3 bars for off-roadish snow covered roads.

€47 each. so €100 by the time a pair are delivered. Tis tempting. What are they like on ice? on Frost?

Might be worth having them for Jan/Feb Audaxes... *thinks*

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

jiberjaber

  • ... Fancy Pants \o/ ...
  • ACME S&M^2
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2018, 05:15:57 pm »
I've done 200km on schwalbe spikes before (sods law was there were only needed for a short 100m section!)

It wasn't that bad but adding additional 2x200km days might be a bit tiring :)

Good training ! :thumbs:
Regards,

Jason

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2018, 05:19:39 pm »

€47 each. so €100 by the time a pair are delivered. Tis tempting. What are they like on ice? on Frost?


I haven't tried them yet on totally ice covered roads, but riding on ice puddles and on snow covered roads with the occasional ice patch with give me confidence in their traction. I have tried skidding them across ice (while holding the bike ;D ) and they really stick to the ice very similarly to my spiked tyres.
 
I would say their optimal usage is for freeze-thaw weather and general asphalt road riding with frost, ice and light snow.

For deep snow riding a knobby tyre is better, and for off-road riding with deep ice ruts, spikes are probably better.
They keep their excellent grip and feel even in -10 degrees due to the rubber compound; Conti say the ideal range is between +7C and -25C.

This site test their rolling resistance to be similar to Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, but the test is probably very skewered since the rolling resistance is much higher at normal temperatures and these are tested at 21-22C, which will have a significant impact on their RR. 

https://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/tour-reviews/continental-top-contact-winter-2016

They should have tested at 0C (I believe the Conti GP4S actually also perform better at lower temperatures).
--
Regards

fd3

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2018, 09:40:03 pm »
I used to commute on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres in the snowy weather. They were only really necessary for 1.5km of my 11.5km commute (the roads after that were clear). Absolute confidence where it was a struggle to even walk.
I'm not a very skilled cyclist, which might explain why I have the opposite experience - my winter tyres are mostly placebo for me, if it's genuinely too snowy for normal tyres I'll crash just the same with studs.

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2018, 11:30:43 pm »
I used to commute on my Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres in the snowy weather. They were only really necessary for 1.5km of my 11.5km commute (the roads after that were clear). Absolute confidence where it was a struggle to even walk.
I'm not a very skilled cyclist, which might explain why I have the opposite experience - my winter tyres are mostly placebo for me, if it's genuinely too snowy for normal tyres I'll crash just the same with studs.

I cycled one handed past a police car that was spinning its wheels up a relatively gentle incline towards my house. They wound down their windows and asked me how the hell I was keeping upright. "Spiked tyres, might want to get some" and carried on.

When the resulting snow freezes it's just as fun.

They aren't much use on deep snow though, knobblies are far better for that, but for anything that doesn't reach the level of the rim they're brilliant.

(I have a pair of 700Cx35mm Marathon Winter's I no longer need, would be nice to swap them for some 700Cx30mm versions now that my commuter bike has slimmed down a bit.)
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2018, 11:41:40 pm »

I dug my marathon winter's and spare wheels out of the basement. One tyre was missing 3 studs, which I've now replaced. The other was missing none.

Will fit them to the spare wheels some time this week.

I'm seriously considering the conti top contact II winter's linked above. Just trying to work out if the €100 is a good idea when I already have the studs...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: To spike or not to spike
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2018, 04:37:16 am »
I'm seriously considering the conti top contact II winter's linked above. Just trying to work out if the €100 is a good idea when I already have the studs...

Having used the Top Contact Winters extensively, as well as Schwalbe's Winter and Marathon Winter tyres, the answer for me is a resounding "Yes" as to whether they justify the outlay, and I agree completely with interested's assessment.

There's no way I'd use studded tyres for the ride you're proposing when I know that the Top Contact Winters exist.

For an idea of how the rolling resistance data translates into the practical world, I've routinely found that Schwalbe's 30mm Winter studded tyres (two lines of studs) add about 15-20 minutes to the 60-70 minute commute (for the same level of effort), whereas the 32mm Top Contact Winters add about 8-10 minutes....over a 32mm Continental Gator Hardshell which is only slightly slower than a Continental Grand Prix 4Season in the same size.  The time differences are largely down to rolling resistance rather than time lost to the additional caution due to the conditions - both Top Contact Winters and studded tyres instil confidence on general ice.  For extensive sheet ice, the Top Contact Winters are still good, but more caution is required for cornering etc compared with studded tyres.

The Top Contact Winters do come with folding bead.  Bear in mind, however, that the '37mm' option actually measures about 31-32mm wide; the 42mm option is true to size.

I think Continental has got it just right for general frosty/icy road cycling with the Top Contact Winter, and don't understand why they aren't better known.  I reckon there would be mileage in releasing them in more sizes too - a 28mm version would be nice for narrower-clearance bikes, and a 37mm actual size option wouldn't go amiss either between the 32mm (actual) and 42mm versions.  Having said that, I only really use them when frost and/or ice are likely - not as a general all-British-winter tyre - as the increase in rolling resistance is definitely noticeable....just not as horrendous as studded tyres..