Winter Riding

Who would ride one of them old things?!?


I might go with car studs from now on so I can do my road tires as well. Skinny tires will find the bottom easier- if there IS a bottom… However, it’s more effort to push through than ride on top, but any bike will sink, and a wider tire is more tire to try push through snow. My next commuter will have 700C tires because of that, and other things.

However, wide studded tires, or too many studs, both have similar effects. If you try to split the low weight of a bike and rider over too many studs, there is a chance they might not have enough share of the weight each to effectively be pushed into the ice.

The best snow tires, for a bike, are usually also good mud tires. Those old-school spikey skinny mud tires WORK in the snow. My Innova snowtires are great on hardpack, fresh snow and ice, but are terrible in car snot. I may get some car studs and stud up some Kenda Smoke 816’s and see how that works. Awesome mud tire, and really heavy lugs to accept studs. And the 15 dollar price don’t hurt either.

I have been coveting a KTRAK kit forever, but after reading numerous reviews like this one, I think it comes down to fat rims and tires still.

Snowriding: Ktrak and Snowcats

Written by Michael Stamm

Saturday, 12 January 2008

I am reviewing the Ktrak rear wheel adapter/front ski and the Snowcat rims with Nokian Freddie’s Revenz tires. To begin with, those that know me understand I am the ultimate gadget guru, always looking for equipment to help compensate for my riding ineptitude. They also know that my philosophy is “time spent off the bike is time that could have been better spent”. Thus, the broader array of conditions (snow, for example) one can ride on, the better. Enough of that, on with the review. I purchased a pair of Snowcat rims from All Weather Sports in Anchorage 2 years ago (I since learned that Bob can get these). These rims are 44mm in width, twice the width of standard cross-country rims. They are drilled out to save weight. (check out this link for pictures The object of these rims is to allow the tire beads to spread wider which slightly increases the tread contact, but more importantly allows running tires at a lower press (real low, like 5 PSI) without sacrificing control/stability. I mounted Nokian Freddie’s Revenz which are like Extreme 296’s but are 2.3" with 300 studs weighing 900 grams. This set-up is great allowing me to float over softer deeper snow while my colleagues with standard rims and 2.1" tires sink and cuss. But that wasn’t good enough for me; they still sink and bog down with more than 4" of soft snow. I want wheels I can ride Earl’s trails with after a massive snow storm. Now comes the Ktrak which promises to convert my mountain bike into a snowmobile. Check out their website for pitures and description I immediately put my name on their waiting list, and the machine arrived last September on a 90 degree day. Of course, I had to mount it to my bike and ride it through the house. I have to say I was disappointed immediately after our first snow storm. I hoped the relatively huge surface area of the track would allow me to float better, but it doesn’t. It still sinks and bogs down. The traction is exellent, but I couldn’t climb the moderate slope of my back yard. The worst part was the humiliation in my neighborhood, as my neighbors, who were as eager as I was to see me ride this thing, watched me walk it up the hill. So does the Ktrak stink? No, it still works great on packed snowmobile trails and light snow, but does not not give me the float I hoped for. The added weight makes climbing a real chore. The bottom line: the Snowcats with Freddies Revenz are superior. The people at Ktrak are graciously giving me a partial refund, but I am keeping the ski portion. I love the ski; Snowcat/Freddies Revenz in the back and ski in front is the ultimate combination. It floats better than a wheel and carves turns effortlessly. The downside: if your ride will incorporate any dry pavement, you will have to walk the bike or you’ll destroy the ski.

I’ve got 2 sets of studded tires. I can’t remember what the original set is, but they look like Specialized Hardrock’rs. Their claimed width is 2.1", but to me they look narrower than that. The newer set are Specialized Eskars, 2.3". The original tires aren’t bad, but the narrower width makes them trickier in soft snow. The Eskars have much better float, but their tread pattern is not ideal. There’s a gap between the center and side knobs, so puttng studs on the side knobs would put them too far outside, so they don’t corner well - have to be really careful to keep the bike upright when cornering.

Found this site, which looks interesting, but haven’t spent much time on it yet:

I used to live on that site… :slight_smile:

This looks QUITE fun!

You would think narrow tires would be better in the snow than wide tires,
and wide tires better on ice.

look at the lean on this guy Tioga DH #12 studs