Studded tyres for winter commuting

After a couple of years braving snow and ice on standard touring tyres, I'm thinking of putting Schwalbe Marathon Winters on my main commuter bike. Does anyone have any experience of these for London winters? 

This post was edited by ma499 at 6:19pm 20 November 2012.


Studded tyres are also available from Chas Ohlson branches.

I'd want to plan that the clearances between tyres+studs and frames and mudguards stays is sufficient.

And I'd have to be aware that the studs are noisier. 

But no experience!

  • By gegi at 2:05pm 2 November 2011

You'd want to have them on a spare set of wheels I guess. Even with the snow last year it's only a handful of days when you need them.

Spare wheels seem the practical answer - a shade expensive as a solution, that has to be compatible with your favoured commuter bike.

So the next evolution is to fit them to a spare bike, perhaps? And then for £60 we'll know if it renders the bike impractical for short sunny duties...

  • By ma499 at 5:10pm 3 November 2011

Since it's only a few days per year I'm not keen on going for spare wheels just yet. Happy to change tyres when needed to try them out - althogh I may well take the opportunity to get my spare bike back in order. However, I'm keen to learn from anyone else's experiences of how these tyres affect stability, speed and comfort on the various surfaces one might practically encounter in London. For example last year, on a single journey I woudl go through clear, gritted tarmac, deep snow and sheet ice. I'd like to know the tyres will work fine in all those conditions.

This post was edited by ma499 at 5:13pm 3 November 2011.

  • By gegi at 9:22am 4 November 2011

Oh, and of course you should have bought them in the sale in March ;-)

  • By smsm1 at 11:15am 10 November 2011

I found the Schwable Marathon Plus Tour to work quite well in the snow last year and was able to get through when cars were stuck. Having studs would have made it a bit better. As a cheap alternative to studded tires, you can use cable ties instead.

I have some Nokion studded tyres (700s) and find them scarily slippery on normal tarmac and painted road surfaces.  Anyone who wants to try them please let me know - Teri - Greenwich Cyclists Rides Coordinator.

  • By Stily1 at 6:39am 26 November 2011

Cable ties? As in, just putting a bunch of plastic zip ties (zap straps) around your existing tyre/rim? Like, one per spoke? If that's what was meant, what a cool idea! Anybody confirm?

  • By smsm1 at 11:18am 26 November 2011

Here's an article about it that I read last year:

Appropriate web searches also come up with other similar info.

I'm aware this doesn't ask the original poster's question, but is relevant...

I'm lucky enough to have a second bike, which is a cheap ebay mountain bike. Last winter I found that cycling with the widest (2.1"), knobbiest tyres I had, at the lowest pressure I dared run (1.5 bar, 20psi for my 85kg) and with caution over the worst bits meant that I didn't slip once on ice, snow or slush. And that included cycling miles for work or leisure every single day that it was snowy. I'd certainly happily run anything fairly fat (around 37mm / 1.5") with heavy tread again, rather than get studded tyres for the few days they are needed.

@ma499 - what width touring tyres do you normally use? Are they mostly slick, or do they have substantial grip? Have you tried running at lower pressure on those snowy days?

In fact, my worst problem was rather a fun one - I'd cycle cautiously but confidently where cars and pedestrians were struggling, then put my foot down and try to climb off the bike... even my trainers didn't have a fraction of the grip that my bike tyres did! I did wear a helmet - I don't normally for road riding, but I do when I think I might fall down, such as ice or technical off-road trails.

This post was edited by jondclarke at 8:47pm 29 November 2011.

  • By ma499 at 8:45pm 11 December 2011

@jondclarke: I normally run Schwalbe Marathon's (the bog standard ones) which do have some tread. I usually run 32mm, although currently have 28mm. I don't find snow difficult - just ice.

This post was edited by ma499 at 2:11am 6 February 2012.

  • By ma499 at 1:19am 12 January 2012
Quick update: I went for winter rubber sans studs. Specifically Continental Top Contact ii Winter. Very happy with extra grip in wet and suitable to leave on all winter (like winter tyres for cars). Highly recommended - though disappointed not to have had the "full-on" winters conditions of last 2 yrs to try out more thoroughly. Yet.

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