Dec 16, 2010

Schwalbe Ice Spiker review

I recently reported my first impressions riding the Schwalbe Ice Spiker on dry tarmac.

Now I can finally report about their performance on ice and snow covered roads and paths.

What do they feel like to ride

On dry tarmac, once you have dialed in the inflation pressure, after the first 20 or so miles of run in period, they feel just like any regular knobbly tyre. Although very noisy!

On fresh snow, they perform just like any mud tyre with excellent clearing properties.

On compacted snow, they just glide effortlessly, occasionally giving a sort of sliding sensation but always grippy. The 50 TPI carcass definitely helps here.

On sheet ice, they are fantastic! You get a sort of slip-grip effect, which once you get used to it, becomes positively reassuring.

With these tyres, I can achieve the same average speeds as my usual winter commute, around 16 mph, without ever worrying about falling.
Top speed on ice about 30 mph, downhill. 18 to 20 mph cruising, on sheet ice, is something to be experienced to be believed.

If when braking hard front tyre locks up, it will still track straight, and won't slip from under me. It is a huge safety benefit.

The studs are very durable: I have so far covered about 150 miles with these tyres, out of which 100 on dry tarmac. They are made of steel and tungsten carbide. They also appear to have sort of flat head rather then a pointy one (such as found on the Ice Spiker Pro).

I know most people will probably think I am nuts riding on snow and ice covered roads.
But who is the real nut? Me or someone driving on icy roads without winter tyres?

The picture above was taken, on my regular commute, the morning after most of the snow had gone. Roads were still icy.

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