Finally, Some Security

Well, the long streak of anxiety when I ride on ice is over. For the past three years, I've risked life and limb to pedal through the winters here in Lexington. Though the winter is far more mild than some places, I have ridden ice and snow at least a few dozen times each year without studded tires. That slippery journey is no longer an issue. I finally have some security because I finally have studs.

I happened to be in a local bike shop, killing some time while my wife was at a doctors appointment when I spotted some Continental Spike Claw 240's on a clearance table for 75% off. 75% off of this sticker price? Could that be right? It was. Apparently, the market for studded tires isn't strong enough around here to unload them at full price. Well, I snatched them up and threw them on the Xtracycle as soon as I got home.
I was a bit worried about clearance with the fenders and frame on my Xtracycle. But everything worked perfectly.

From what I can tell, the Xtra isn't the best option for slippery riding on the ice because of it's long wheelbase. But my Xtra has the internally geared hub, so it's going to get the most foul weather duty this winter. I'm sure I'll make it work. I do have a feeling the the Troll will see these studs here and there, as well.

But I'm just excited to finally have a studded tire for those rough rides. I've taken enough spills each winter to generate some excitement, I think.

Get out there.


  1. I hate falling. I installed my Marathon Winter studded tires last night (on the LHT). I ended up not needing them, but it's easy insurance.

    I'll eventually buy another set for the Big Dummy (next winter?) as the Dummy makes a great winter bike.

  2. I thought my Xtra wouldn't be the best winter ride option either, but I'm starting to change my mind about that.

    I opted for chains and have used them during one winter event over three days and they worked great. I did use them on my MTB, but I think adding them to the Xtracycle would make it go on snow and ice as well as they did for the short wheelbase MTB.

    My hesitation for going with chains over studded tires was the onerous reality that I would have been constantly swapping tires. Here the trails and roads tend to be cleared within the day, so after one snowy commute I typically face a mostly dry commute. If that happens with chains I can just take them off.

    If I could afford the luxury of a full second set of wheels I would probably have gone with studded tires though.

  3. @ David - Obviously, you and I have identical winters. What do you do? Do you just leave them on there and ride studs even though you don't need them 99% of the time? I'm seriously considering building up a beater single speed to run the studs on. I could hang it in the garage and grab it the 12 times a year I need it.

    @ Chris - I think I'll be fine on the Xtra. My issue is that when it does ice, there are no salt trucks or plows on the bike paths. So I'm stuck with it for days if not weeks at a time. Last year, I had two ice storms that left me dealing with ice for six weeks worth of commutes.

  4. Stoneagefamily here - Being military I had to run the studded tires all winter to be ALLOWED to ride on base in the winter. The penalties for not are steep. The Nokian tires' carbide studs NEVER wear down. They are initially encased in aluminum that is designed to wear off. I have had them for three winters and the carbide still has a sharp point. I run them specifically on my xtra and prefer the relaxed slower turning in snow and ice. Northern Japan's winters see more snow and perpetual ice, melt, ice cycles.