Friday, January 29, 2010

Non-studded winter tires...what are you using?

So I have a set of Nokian studs that work great on the hard packed ice but not so great in the slushy conditions so I've been trying different tires.

Bontrager Big Earl Dry 26 x 2.5 GumBi coumpound - I was amazed how well these tires worked in the snow being a dry condition tire. The bigger volume helps to stay on top of the snow. They were okay on the icy stuff and were difficult at times to keep going straight in the deep snow. On the hard packed stuff there were very good. These are also light for such a big volume tire. It's worth mentioning that I did have to drop the air pressure down to about 25 to get the traction I needed. (Paid ~$30 for the set)

Maxxis Wetscream 26 x 2.20 60a - Knobbies seem too squirmy, works great in muddy conditions but haven't had much luck in slushy or icy conditions. Tire washes out in deep snow and it was very difficult to ride in a straight line. Works okay on the hard packed snow. Tires are also heavy since they are for DH. I also had to drop the pressure on these to perform better, also at about 25psi. (Paid $20 for the set)

Kenda Kinetics 26 x 2.60 Stick-E compound - I rode these recently at the Albany Pine Bush and was pleasantly surprised. Was stable on the ice and worked well on the slush. In deep snow it was better at holding a line that the Wetscream and Big Earl. On the hard packed snow they were great. Tire are surprisingly light for a 2.6 although they were slower rolling due to the compound. So far these have been the best. I had these aired at around 35psi. (Paid $20 for the set)

Right now the Nokians are on my singlespeed and I'll probably keep them there for now. These tires are all being tested on my RM Switch which is now suspended 6" F & R and about 35lbs. I would assume these tires might perform differently on a hardtail or lighter FS bike so take that into consideration.

So, what has everyone else has luck with?