The virtues of studs

Riding on ice is never a good idea, but you’ll at least have a fighting chance with the addition of some studded winter tires. Compared to riding with fair-weather tires, studs are the technological achievement of the century.

Apparently studded tires have come a long way. Back in the day studs were made out of steel and wore away quite quickly. These days both major manufacturers of studded tires, Nokian and Schwalbe, manufacture their studs out of carbide, which isn’t the stuff they froze Han Solo in. These new studs are reported to last as long as the tire itself, so you won’t need more than one set for many years.

You can also ride studs on bare pavement. The only downside is that it sounds like you’re being chased by an angry swarm of bees. They will still hold fast and won’t add that big of an effort to your ride.

I personally have a pair of 700c Nokians on my bike because that’s what my local shop carries. Had I planned ahead, a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires would have been the best match for my Opa. Still, the Nokians have been a lifesaver and it seems somehow fitting to be riding on Finnish tires in Minnesota. Remember, the Finns kicked some major Russian butt in ww2 and love saunas. That’s good enough for me.

For more detail on studded tires go to


5 responses to “The virtues of studs

  1. Hi – I came upon your blog and enjoy it – I lived in Minneapolis for a year – the coldest year of my life! Ha. 🙂

    I live in the Washington DC area and bike everyday to work. I bought some studded tires for my mountain bike last winter and they have served me well so far and kept me upright, which is most important! We are due for some snow tonight and tomorrow…so I’ll be pulling out that bike for it’s first 2009 ride. 🙂 Take care and be safe! Charmaine

  2. Studded tires are definitely a must! I see quite a few cyclists without them in Chicago and I simply don’t understand. The ice is too dangerous. I bought my studded tires after falling off my bike on the icy lakefront trail. I have Schwalbe just because that’s what Dutch Bike Chicago had. I’ve heard great things about Nokian.

  3. Scofflaw! Don’t you know that studded tires are illegal in Minnesota?

    See Mn Statute 169.72:

    I’m a scofflaw too.

  4. I was aware of the fact that studded tires are illegal on automobiles, but does this law also apply to bikes? I don’t think that a bicycle counts as a “vehicle” under MN law. Correct me if I’m wrong 🙂

  5. A bicycle IS a vehicle in Minnesota:

    This link
    is for definitions in the Minnesota driving rules and includes this item:

    Subd. 2. Vehicle. “Vehicle” means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property
    is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, excepting devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

    (Other statutes exclude bicycles as vehicles, but the one that contains the driving rules counts bikes as vehicles.)

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