• 01-18-2005
    Semi-OT: Nokian Hakkapeliitta Studded 700x45 ride report
    Spent the long weekend in Central Oregon, got in a fair amount of riding on the 700x45 Hakka. I also got a few miles in on it in the Central WA snows over the New Years weekend (and encountered some snow on a local night ride last week), so I'm now starting to form some impressions about it. Been running it on the front of my KM, with the Kenda Klaw in back.

    First of all, the biggest surprise is how well this relatively narrow tire floats on top of packed snow without punching through. Maybe it's the increased diameter (versus 26") that makes the difference, but on Saturday I had little trouble riding down a slushy snowmobile trail that wasn't particularly well packed down. It had warmed up and started to rain on top of the snow, yet the tire still tracked reasonably well, and was very controllable when it did start to wander. I did wander around on the trail a fair bit, but never fell once. Traction wasn't as much as you'd get from a full knobby, but it was more than adequate for the conditions I encountered -- and of course this would only get better in colder conditions. Also rode a few miles on hardpack, and as you'd expect the sucker rolls fast, and thanks to the studs it grips very well on hardpack and ice.

    Bottom line: a much better snow tire than I expected, and of course it's great on ice and hardpack. Not sure I'd trust it to an Iditabike situation, but for shorter rides it works pretty well, and with snowcat rims (too bad someone beat me to buying Mikesee's) I bet it would work in quite a variety of situations. I'll keep you updated if I discover anything else new about this tire.

    ps... I've been commuting on some other tires in this size category too, so let me put in a plug for the 700x42 Maxxis WormDrive. I started using this as my rear commuter tire a couple of weeks ago because I wasn't happy with the grip of my 700x42 Mythos XC Slicks on wet pavement. The WormDrive does much better (and rolls more smoothly too) in those conditions, though it's noticeably smaller than the Mythos or the Hakka. I also hit the trails with it on last week's night ride because I was too lazy to swap wheels. Mud performance is poor, even worse than I expected. It was hard not to break it loose while accelerating or climbing on any kind of mud. But what amazed me was that it did quite well in snow. In a mix of crusty and slushy snow, it provided plenty of climbing traction, gripping FAR better than it did in mud. In fact, as the surface transitioned back and forth between snow and mud, it would spin a bit in the muddy spots and grab on in the snowy spots. Maybe it's the sticky Maxxis rubber, I don't know, but I thought the board might be interested. I haven't encountered a tire that behaved this way before.
  • 01-18-2005
    Guitar Ted
    How is the casing?
    First, thanks Glowboy for that review. I commute on 700x45mm Inova studded tires. Their casing is pretty rigid. I can run really low pressures, ( for a 45mm tire) and not pinch flat. This is okay on snow and ice, but rolls badly on dry pavement sections. My question concerns what type of casing the Hakka has. Is it also a stiff/rigid tire, or is it more like a normal 29" casing? What pressures do you run? Thanks!
  • 01-18-2005
    Oh yeah, forgot to mention the pressures. I'm about 170lb, by the way. On the 'biler tracks I was on, I ended up lowering it to about 10 psi and it worked great, though the tire did slip slightly around the rim, putting the valve stem at a bit of an angle. The Alaska-riders on the board might have some suggestions for adhesives or something that might prevent that. I had started out at more like 18-20 psi at the beginning of the ride, which wasn't quite as good for float and stability but still worked ok. If I were on singletrack with snow rather than pure snowmobile tracks I would have kept the pressure in the upper teens, otherwise 10-ish psi did perform better on pure snow.

    From the pics I've seen of the Innova, I'm not surprised it doesn't roll as well - its tread pattern looks similar to the Nokian Mount & Ground rather than the Hakkapeliitta. Of course at 10 psi the Hakka doesn't roll that well either - I was running 20+ psi on the ride I did on hardpack snow.

    As far as the casing goes, it's quite a bit stiffer than most regular mtb tires, but I think it's just from stiffer sidewalls rather than anything added to the casing to stiffen it. Still nowhere near as stiff as a DH tire though.
  • 01-19-2005
    -from AK
    Glue one side of the tire to the rim with tubular glue.
    Another option is buying super sticky double sided tape from the hardware store and using it as rim tape, the tube sticks to it, but only good for your first flat or two though..
  • 01-20-2005
    I have been looking for those,
    GlowBoy, where did you find the wide Nokians?
  • 01-20-2005

    Originally Posted by fotu
    GlowBoy, where did you find the wide Nokians?

    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp is the only North American source I know of. Cost me about $65 shipped (yes, that's for one tire). If you're buying only one you'll need a good story as to why, because he likes to sell studded tires in pairs for "safety" reasons. Makes sense if you're riding them on glare ice, but otherwise the policy is silly.
  • 01-23-2005
    Guess I might as well get around to posting some photos.

    Here are some of the snowmobile tracks:

    And here's one of the hardpacked snow in the desert east of town:

    Might as well point out, I had the ideal campsite for a 29"er rider, even if I don't ride an Airborne:

    Yes, campsite. I like to winter camp at least once a year, to keep in touch with my MN roots or something. Here was the temp. reading in camp the first two nights of the weekend. It's actually a couple degrees high: notice the reflection of the light bulb shining on the thermometer from less than a foot away: