With the temperature touching 19°C this afternoon, on a beautiful autumn day, nobody would even be thinking of buying winter tyres now, right? Yes that’s right, nobody is buying them now which is exactly the reason I just did!
I got caught out last winter and the winter before that. Because I only thought about studded tyres when I actually needed them, i.e. when the temperature had dropped below zero and the snow was already falling or the roads were fully iced up. Of course by then it was already too late and I couldn’t find them anywhere. So this year, determined to be prepared I kept a careful eye on the on-line stores waiting for the winter tyres to come in stock.
Cycling on ice
The usual advice regarding cycling on ice is don’t do it. This is perfectly sound advice and having come a cropper several times over the years would have to agree. However, if like me you don’t really have an alternative means of getting to work (and are also somewhat of a cycling nutter), a decent set of winter tyres can substantially reduce the risk of falling off. In fact some reviews go so far as to say that you can more or less cycle normally.
Schwalbe Marathon Winter Tyres
I’ve selected the Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres as they are widely available in the UK, have good reviews (e.g. Peter White Cycles describes them as a fine all-rounder for snow and ice) and are available in a 700c size that will fit my Trek 7.3fx hybrid bike. My plan is to stick them in the back of the cupboard for now, and when snow or ice is forcast, I’ll fit the tyres and leave them on for the rest of winter. Schwalbe recommend running in the tyres for 25 miles riding carefully on flat roads without rapid acceleration or deceleration. I think this is to properly bed in the studs.
That’s about all I’m going to say about them for now. I shall report back and let you know how I get on with them later in the winter. Of course now I’ve bought them this will be the hottest winter on record…
Update: I’ve now had a chance to try out the Schwalbe Marathon Winter tyres
Where to buy the Schwalbe Marathon Winter Tyres
I purchased my 700×35 tyres from here. 26″ versions are also available.
Both versions are also availble here.
As I’ve said above, they do sell out quickly when it snows so I highly recommend getting some sooner rather than later.
The Schwalbe Ice Spiker and Ice spiker pro versions are also available from the same stores. I believe these are better for off road and generally provide better grip but have higher rolling resistance so are less appropriate for commuting. They are also a lot more expensive.