The Pros and Cons of Studded Bike Tires - Appalachian Mountain Club

The Pros and Cons of Studded Bike Tires

February 9, 2015
The Pros and Cons of Studded Bike Tires
Photograph courtesy of Surly Bikes.

Studded bike tires provide remarkable traction on snow and ice but don’t fully replicate the regular all-rubber grip you experience on dry asphalt.

  • Think of riding with studs as the biking equivalent of walking on sand-covered ice. You can walk or bike as you normally would, but any abrupt or sharp turn can cause you to slip.
  • If you lock your studded tires while braking, you’ll slide farther on ice than asphalt. Give yourself more room to maneuver and brake than you would in dry, warm conditions.
  • Tires vary in the number of embedded studs—from as few as 72 to more than 300—and the more you’ve got, the better traction you’ll get. But studs also significantly increase rolling friction and pedaling effort, making it important to choose the right model for your needs.
  • For commuting on plowed roads with only occasional patches of smooth ice, fewer studs are necessary for safe riding. If you’re dealing with ice-covered paths, ice ruts, or other bumpy, uneven ice and snow conditions, maximize your stud power.>

This column originally appeared in the print edition of AMC Outdoorsalong with the column “Ride On! How to bike through the winter.”

Equipped is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.