Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

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urbanhiker
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Joined: 10 May 2010, 3:47pm

Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby urbanhiker » 8 Nov 2012, 9:35pm

So winter is arriving. Its getting cold, damp, leafy and perhaps a bit frosty out there on the tarmac. So what's the best (non-studded) rubber out there from a grip point of view? I just don't want to fall off, but think studded tyres are probably OTT. I'm really interested in grip, too many roads/pavements/paths seem to have become so slippy that my normal tyres, Marathon Supremes, lose grip on a regular basis.

I initially set my heart on a set a TopContact Winter II Premiums, but it seems that they are not actually available yet, and probably wont be till the spring. The non-premium versions are out there for £45, but I find it hard to pay that for tyres that have been updated and so are effectively obsolete stock ;-)

So what else is out there? Manufacturers don't make it easy to work out just how grippy rubber will be, so I'm turning to the collective mind of CTC. Over to you...

Valbrona
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby Valbrona » 9 Nov 2012, 1:40am

You don't say where you live in your profile, but if it was 'Norway' your post would make more sense. Geezer, you can easily get mid/low teens degrees C in UK winters. My point being, our winter temperatures are very variable, so much so in fact that the purchase of specific cold weather tyres would not be very clever, unless that is you had a spare set of wheels.

But I guess you want a 'project'.
I should coco.

Russcoles
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Joined: 6 Nov 2010, 8:09pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby Russcoles » 9 Nov 2012, 2:49am

I have had good results from cheap off road tyres, the sort that are only knobbly on the edges. I found these don't roll too badly and when you start to slip in snow and ice the edges dig in. I also tend to use small wheeled bikes for a lower center of gravity which adds to stability.

Brucey
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby Brucey » 9 Nov 2012, 6:44am

what size tyres does the OP want to run? This does affect the choice available somewhat.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

urbanhiker
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Joined: 10 May 2010, 3:47pm

Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby urbanhiker » 9 Nov 2012, 7:35am

Ah, yes of course, my mistake. I live in the south of England. Looking for tyres to fit in say November and leave on till march, that would near temps rarely would be above 10c.

I plan to have a spare pair of wheels with spikes for when/if the temp falls way far and it becomes a snow/ice fest.

Just to confuse things I ride a 29er, so 26 on the back and 29 on the front.

Cheers for the info so far.

Oh, just additional info. It's a delivery bike so has fairly large volume tyres. Usually run 1.5(ish) inch. Can take unto 2.0. So we're not talking super narrow.

stewartpratt
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Joined: 27 Dec 2007, 5:12pm

Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby stewartpratt » 9 Nov 2012, 7:52am

The Premium seems to be just an added bit of puncture protection and a folding bead. The former's only worth having if you regularly pucture (not including pinches from potholes etc as it won't protect against those) and the latter doesn't seem a big deal on a delivery bike. So I'd say go for the current ones. The Premiums will be a pile more cash anyway.

That said, if you've got a spare set of wheels with spikes then I'd say why bother with the additional expense of the Contis? (Though if you've got the wallet for it then, equally, why not...)

willem jongman
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby willem jongman » 9 Nov 2012, 7:57am

I first bought the Topcontact Winter II two years ago, when, on his ride to his new school, my son had fallen three times in one week. We live in the North East of the Netherlands, where it does get cold. The difference these tyres made was spectacular. Rolling resistance was on a par with an average touring tyre, but they felt more comfortable at lower temperatures, and, most importantly, grip was from a different planet. On frozen icy snow I failed to produce a slide braking as hard as I could. So I decided to fit them immediately to all my family's the other commuter bikes with tyres in the right sizes.
The improvements on the new premium version seem to be a more advanced Vectran anti puncture layer and a folding bead for lower weight and better performance, and more and wider sizes. The latter is important because these tyres were running much narrower than stated. The 37-622 was only 32 mm on one of my bikes, and the 50-559 was only 42 mm in reality. I talked with Conti about this and suggested they produce wider versions, which they now did. Both 622 and 559 will now come in one size wider as well, and that is a real advantage for a tyre where you want as much rubber on the road as possible.
I have looked around a bit, and could not find the new tyres in stock in any German online stores. You could ask Conti when the new tyres will be available. I would expect them to be on sale before the real winter season, but if you want to be sure to save your skin this year, get what you can get.
Anyway, they make a huge difference.
Willem

stewartpratt
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby stewartpratt » 9 Nov 2012, 9:56am

Willem, while you're here:
a) don't suppose you saw this thread?
b) could you persuade them to do a 700x25 version? :)

Elizabethsdad
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby Elizabethsdad » 9 Nov 2012, 10:19am

urbanhiker wrote:So winter is arriving. Its getting cold, damp, leafy and perhaps a bit frosty out there on the tarmac. So what's the best (non-studded) rubber out there from a grip point of view? I just don't want to fall off, but think studded tyres are probably OTT. I'm really interested in grip, too many roads/pavements/paths seem to have become so slippy that my normal tyres, Marathon Supremes, lose grip on a regular basis.

I initially set my heart on a set a TopContact Winter II Premiums, but it seems that they are not actually available yet, and probably wont be till the spring. The non-premium versions are out there for £45, but I find it hard to pay that for tyres that have been updated and so are effectively obsolete stock ;-)

So what else is out there? Manufacturers don't make it easy to work out just how grippy rubber will be, so I'm turning to the collective mind of CTC. Over to you...

Oh Poop! the new bike I am getting from Rose bikes is coming fitted with Marathon Supremes - perhaps I should have asked for an alternative.

SleepyJoe
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Joined: 30 Sep 2010, 12:16pm
Location: North Devon

Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby SleepyJoe » 9 Nov 2012, 12:56pm

Why not just get a set of studded tyres?
I live in North Devon so I am guessing a similar climate, and I commute most weekdays.
I have been caught out before with falls on black ice & I am getting too old to hit the tarmac again.
Therefore, 2 years ago I invested in a set of Schwalbe Marathon Winters for my mountain bike (about £35 each)
I will then use my mountain bike + studs to commute most days from December-February-ish.
For the majority of these winter days there was no snow or ice and the very short studs ride on tarmac without a problem. It is a bit slower but it gives me confidence on icy/slippery conditions and is great fun when there is ice!
However, if there is NO risk of snow or ice, I can still ride my road bike fitted with Continental Gatorskins.

Mark

thirdcrank
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby thirdcrank » 9 Nov 2012, 1:29pm

Until recently, I'd have suggested that the tread compound and pattern were irrelevant for cyclists on slippery roads*. I've now read so much - especially from my motoring advisor Honest John, suggesting that winter tyres for cars, which depend on the compound rather than studs, give a greater improvement than four-wheel drive, that I'm beginning to wonder. In particular, Willhem Jongman's experience seems to bear this out.

Every now and then, a wonder invention matches the hype and this sounds as though it is one.

* Note for nitpickers, I changed that from slippy. :mrgreen:

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meic
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby meic » 9 Nov 2012, 1:34pm

It is something that the Germans have had to work on.

Chains are too destructive (and I think forbidden) for the urban environment yet winter tyres are very much needed (in fact compulsory!). I think chains are still legal and used in the hills.
Yma o Hyd

willem jongman
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby willem jongman » 9 Nov 2012, 2:07pm

We also use them on the car, if only because across the nearby border with Germany, they are compulsory. And yes they do make a real difference. To be honest, I was surprised by the big difference they made on a bike. Studs probably still have the edge in really bad conditions, but in those I just stay at home. For the rest of the year, these are far preferable. Since I have the Conti Winter tyres on both 26 inch bikes and on a 700c bike, I must say the grip of the 50-559 is significantly better than that of the 37-622 that is only about 31 mm in reality. Wider clearly is better, so I am glad the new premiums also come in 42-622 (probably about 37 mm in reality :D ).
Willem

Vorpal
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby Vorpal » 9 Nov 2012, 2:44pm

As I am now in Norway, I put these on my bike a couple of weeks ago. Yes, I know the OP asked about non-studded tyres, but, this is in response to
willem jongman wrote:Studs probably still have the edge in really bad conditions


The Continental Nordic Spikes are simply amazing. The first day I rode them in snow and ice, I decided at one point to get off and walk over a pedestrian & cycle bridge that had very icy conditions. I wasn't certain that I could get over, even with studded tyres. But... I couldn't walk up the bridge in winter walking boots, so I tried it on my bike, and I actually had no problems going over on my bike. 8)

Last night I had a quick stop for some pedestrians, and I think that on my studded tyres, on a road with a light dusting of snow, I stopped more quickly than I would have on Schwalbe Marathons on dry tarmac.

It takes me about 10% longer to go anywhere (more in ice and snow), but it's still easier than pulling two children or the weekly shopping. :D
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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meic
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Re: Best gripping winter road tyre (non-studded)

Postby meic » 9 Nov 2012, 2:57pm

Are most of the other cyclists around riding on similar tyres?
Yma o Hyd