Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nokian Extreme 294

A week ago, on bitter cold day, I decided to install my new studded tires on my hardtail. A good day to work in the house and I was anxious to see how well they work.

You are supposed to ride them on pavement for 30 miles as a break-in. Before doing that, I rode 4 miles in the snow, singletrack at Lake Manawa.

On the snow-packed trail, they performed abut the same as normal mountain bike tire (riding with less than 25# air pressure). As the temperature climbed, I watched for snow packing on the tread. The fork of my Trek4300 hardtail was starting to pack with snow, but the tire tread kept pretty clear. At icy spots, I noticed that I did not slip on the hills (a very good sign).

The next day, I headed out on the local paved bike trail (11 miles). I upped the air pressure for this ride - about 35#. As expected, the trail is mostly clear, with spots of ice from snow melting. This is where the studded tires excelled. Previously, I would lift my feet off of the pedals and spread my legs for better balance as I rode across the ice. With the studded tires, I could continue pedaling right across the ice. As a test, I found I could even accelerate on the ice!

The other test was section was riding on a packed snow/ice trail which was plowed, but not "cleared" (see photo). Where previously I might walking the section, I was now able to ride right through.

Finally I finished the break-in with a 20 mile ride on pavement. Air pressure upped to 40-45# (probably should have been higher). On a 20 mile ride, I noticed the higher rolling resistance of the studded tires. My riding pace was slower and my legs sure felt it the next day!

Bottom line - The Nokian Extreme 294 Studded Tires are AWESOME. Now I am not an aggresive rider, but I did not feel slippage on either bare pavement or ice. They do the trick riding on ice or packed snow. However, for the higher rolling resistance of the tires, I will ride non-studded tires for normal riding - use the studded tires when you know you will encounter icy conditions.

1 comment:

Brian said...

I have not fully broke mine in yet but I agree these are great tires. In a strange twist I find them more squirrely on dry pavement than on ice or snow pack.

Another product I highly recommend is Yak Trax - basically snow tires for you hiking boots. They are sweet too.