Which bike tires to use in winter?


Winter is coming and the time of the year mud, snow and even ice on roads and trails can surprise us. Nikola Pedals  wants to provide a few tips on how to choose the best winter tires for your bike.

We adapt our clothes to the cold and so we must  adapt our bike to the weather. It is clear that we do not ride a bike on hot asphalt at 90 ° F  in the same way as on ice or snow.

Some of the reasons why we should equip winter tires are:

-      In winter the road is likely wet or slippery.

-      We find more dirt, mud, and debris on roads and paths

-      If we have a puncture, the tire is more rigid due to the cold and it will always be more difficult to change it or repair it.

Therefore best to take into consideration the following aspects when choosing winter tires:


1.  Tire Pattern

With or without studs? We know that the treads of the tire is necessary to evacuate the water. On road bike tires, being narrower, the pattern does not impact or benefit as much as in MTB tires or fat bikes tires. 

Where the pattern really affects is in fat bike tires. For fat bikes you'll find tires with very large and deep studs. The studs are separated enough so mud or snow cannot embedd between them.

If your journey is going to take place on ice or snow, you can buy tires that incorporate spikes in their studs, giving you a greater grip on the surface. 


2.  Width and Size

The width of the tire is very important when choosing ideal winter tires. The wider the tire, the more grip the wheel will have on the road or trail. That is why is normal to increase the width of the tire up to 1.1 inches on road bikes.

If you ride a fat bike,  the width of the tire can increase up to 5 inches. These wheels give a buoyancy sensation and it is very difficult for them to sink into mud or snow.

The negative point of these tires is the weight which increases considerably.

There is no size that fits all surfaces, so it depends on the surface you ride on.

And finally, the tire has to adapt to the bike, specfically the width of the fork needs to be wide enough to equip the bike with very wide tires. You can measure width or consult with your local bike shop on options

3.  Compound

Another very important feature of the tire, and which we rarely consider when buying, is the compound and the material the tire is made of.

A tire with a hard compound is ideal for riding in summer and on the road. In winter we need more grip due to the temperatute and debris found  along the way. This extra grip is provided by softer tires, which "stick" to the road or surface on which we ride.

4.  Flexibility and Threads Per Inch

Flexibility is another crucial feature when choosing a winter tire. You will wonder, why? Have you heard about TPI? It means Threads Per Inch and depending on the threads that integrate the tire, the hardness and flexibility will be different. The TPI range is between 26 TPI for the most rigid tires, and we have up to 320 TPI appropriate for tires designed for competition, very flexible.

When the TPI value is higher, it will give the tire a greater sense of control in the curves and more safety, it will be more flexible but less resistant with use.

An intermediate value, over 120 TPI will be suitable to equip them on your bike in winter.


5. Pressure

If we want to increase our grip on the road, reducing the pressure on the tire will help us to have more grip.

On the market, we can find tires that require a tube, or tubeless. In this case, tubeless tires allow the lower pressure and to avoid the risk of ripping the tube with the rim. Tubeless tires are an excellent option to equip our bike in winter.

Photo credits: Pixabay
Sources: Cambatrails, Livestorng, BikeRadar

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