Improved Traction Options for Winter Biking: Commuter, Hybrid & Cyclocross Bikes

Winter is fast approaching and those of us who don't want to pack away the bike for the winter have a few options to choose from to help improve traction on ice and snow.  Studded tires are the obvious choice for most and chains are still yet another option.  Studded tires are available for all types of cyclists, from the daily commuter, all season mountain biker or the winter fatbike rider.  Chains are used primarily by mountain bikers and fatbike riders.  In this post I will go over some of the products available for commuter, hybrid and cyclocross bikes to help make your ride a little safer and provide better traction this winter.

When biking this winter, whether it's for commuting, exercise or fun, icy conditions are a major concern and riding with studded tires can give you the traction you need to prevent a crash.  Icy ruts, black ice, packed snow and changing temperatures that cause freezing and thawing are just some of the hazzardous conditions you may run into on a daily basis.  Choose the correct tire for the type of surfaces that you will encounter to get the maximum benefit from tread and studs.  Will you be riding mostly on plowed roads and paths or dirt roads and paths that may not always be plowed?

The Kenda Klondike Skinny comes in two sizes, 700c x 35mm and 700c x 40mm.  It has open, directional knobs and 100 carbide studs to provide stability and traction on ice and snow.  With wear, the studs retract extending tire life.  The skinny width of this tire will give you good clearance of the fork and frame for packed snow conditions.

The 45NRTH Polara is a 700c x 35mm tire with 110 replaceable stainless steel studs and tightly spaced center knobs with deep inter-knob trenches.  These tires roll well on pavement and give you the traction you need in the snow and on ice.

The 45NRTH Xerxes is a 700c x 30mm commuter folding tire with 140 lightweight aluminum carbide studs.  It's ultra-narrow profile will easily cut right through deep snow and slush while its tight center tread allows it to be a fast rolling tire.  This is an excellent tire for the daily commuter that rides on plowed roads or paths.

The Innova Studded is a 700c x 45mm tire with 114 replaceable steel studs.  It is the widest of the tires mentioned in this post and would be a good winter cyclocross or trekking-commuter tire.  Replace worn or missing studs with the Innova Replacement Tire Stud Tool Kit.

 The Kenda Klondike K1014 Studded Snow Tire comes in two sizes, a 700c x 35mm and a 700c x 40mm.  This tire has 100 polymer-body carbide tip studs and is a great choice for the trekking-commuter or cyclocross bike owner in light snow conditions. 

Don't let another Minnesota winter keep you from getting out there on your bike.  For you commuters, winter isn't going to stop you from making the daily commute and many of you have already switched to your winter tire of choice.  For the rest of you, implement one of the above choices to add plenty of traction and increased safety for snow and ice on your rides this winter.

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