Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Right Tool for the Job

Most Boston area MTB riders have been bemoaning the recent snow-freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw pretty aggressively, and not without reason.  We were out in the woods last week, and as you can see it was a little "slick".  In fact, the looks I got when cruising confidently by people holding onto trees in order to keep their feet under them were rather impressive.   Now I'm a pretty solid rider, if I don't say so myself, but as much as I'd like to believe that I can defy the laws of physics (or have Eric make up some new ones for me), I have a pointy little secret:  The Schwalbe, Ice Spiker Pro (more here).  With these things underneath you, ice simply no longer matters.  

It's not often that I am totally impressed by a product, but I am utterly floored by how well these things grip on glare ice.  With a little finesse you can even do this:

Having owned/ridden other studded tires before, I can say without a doubt these are seriously in a different league.  Not only do they grip tenaciously, they also wear excellently.  The carbide studs show no wear from close to 50mi of pavement riding, and after 5 rides or so on mixed snow/ice/rock the tires are missing exactly 0 studs.  This is more than I can say for the Nokian Extreme 294, which wears well but does occasionally pop studs (which Nokian does not sell separately), and the Innova budget tire that was effectively useless after 6 rides.  Rumor has it that Schwalbe will provide replacement studs upon request as well, though at this rate it may not ever matter.

The one negative of the tire is that for all its giant knobs, it was outperformed in loose snow by the good ol' Panaracer Fire XCs Eric was running.  Still, Eric was impressed enough to buy his own set of studs.  It's only 4 months, 3 days to BCBR.  Gotta get the miles in...


toshi said...

your positive experience with spiked Schwalbes bodes well for my hopefully-upcoming experiment with these bad boys:

Unknown said...

Does that mean the trike is gonna happen?

(talk about silly over-engineering, Schwalbe even used the aluminum shank spikes on your tires-to-be. I can't imagine the weight savings is significant given that it has half as many spikes as the bicycle version with a lot more rubber)