road tires on snow?

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  • 03-20-2010
    beagley
    road tires on snow?
    how well do slick road tires (the only ones i've got) fare on wet/light snow. getting freezing rain here in missouri at the moment and i've got to be at work in 2 hours.

    i spent the last week commuting (hastily i might add) on a recently aquired trek road bike. i've never had the fortune of knowing what it's like to take a mostly slick road tire into such conditions. i've managed to find some bundly clothing and i'm sure of myself in that area, but i'm absolutely terrified of a crash en route.

    can anyone with some experience in the area share it with me please? i've plenty of fictional cookies to hand out for great responses :D
  • 03-20-2010
    klohiq
    if there is any accumulation then it won't work. If they are true slicks with no tread then they will be dangerous on any snow and/or ice. Even basic mountain bike tires are hard to keep control of in many slush/snow/ice situations. I have successfully ridden in heavy ice and some snow on lightly treaded road tires, it worked alright and luckily I only rode about 5-7 miles.

    I'd advise caution...
  • 03-21-2010
    BrianMc
    Too late. But better than never?

    I have ridden snow in solid frezing temps and the almost worn to slicks Passelas were no issue but the frozen rims and brakes were. Big time.

    I rode the last of the last big snow and the melting white greasy slush on hard pack was a real nail biter if I had been free to remove my hands from their death grip on the bars. Never in over over 40 years of cycling have I had som many close OTBs in so little time.

    But freezing rain on icy roads? With water lubricating the ice/tire interface? Have you even tired to stand and walk on that?

    I'd call in sick first rather than from the hospital later. Studded tires for me this coming winter. Discretion IS the better part of valor.
  • 03-22-2010
    mtbxplorer
    Beagley, hope you made it OK or found alternate transport! You would get away with it if it is snow & the ground is warm enough that it basically melts upon contact, but if it's accumulating or if it's freezing rain (the kind where ice actually accumulates on all surfaces), it would be trouble. And unfortunately the line between rain and freezing rain can be a few minutes or a few 100' down the road. I am a studded tire believer, they grip like crazy on ice, just have to worry about cars without good ones. My friend always said that all season tires were the south's revenge on the north for the civil war.
  • 03-22-2010
    Schmucker
    If it's just snow it's fine. Ice can be a bit tricky. Some people ride 23c slicks here in WI all year.
  • 03-22-2010
    CommuterBoy
    I rode 28c cyclocross tires all winter this year (NorCal Sierras)...they have some tread, but not much. In light snow they were fine, you just really have to concentrate on keeping your weight in the right place to get traction on hills. The advantage to a skinny tire is that in a lot of conditions they will cut through everything and find traction way down below the snow.

    On any sort of ice they are worthless. I got caught in a couple rounds of freezing fog/freezing rain this winter, and the only hope of any kind of traction in that stuff is studded tires. I thought ahead and rode the mountian bike once when it was like that, and it was basically just as bad.

    If you're dealing with what I would call "wet/light snow" you'll be fine... if there's any chance of it freezing up, I wouln't risk it.
  • 03-22-2010
    beagley
    it was unfortunate indeed, but i did make it safely. also, no alternate option. i've no automobiles :)

    the roommate had taken the cranks/bb (which in all fairness i did say i would sell him) out of my mountain bike just earlier that morning. kinda wish he had waited through the snowy weather =/

    i managed to make it on about 1" of snow/slush, with every moment in great fear of a horrid wreck. i was wet, was cold, and worst of all, couldn't find my gloves before leaving for work. needless to say i couldn't feel my hands at the end of either side of my commute.
  • 03-22-2010
    mtbxplorer
    Glad you made it, the glove-less sketchy ride is no fun. I can relate to that, started this commute thing in VT in Nov & no car as backup til last week in Jan., there were a few hair-raising moments! Always worried I'd leave the gloves in the office as I took a bus first, but luckily the short (like 1 block!) ride to the bus stop was an instant reminder.