Yesterday we received 40cm of snow. The first 20-25cm was light fluffy snow.
Then the temp raised and the remainered fell as heavy damp snow.
I started my journey is the light stuff. Then meet the wet stuff.
I rode my 29" to see how it would fare and how my riding skills fared.
With a bit of speed the 29" didn’t even notice the light fuffy snow.
Freemounting required some extra effort, but still acheivable with extra attempts.
Then came the heavy wet stuff. I started noticing the wheel sinking between layers of snow when my speed reduced. The snow plows and sidewalk plows started creating layers of hard and soft packed snow. My pedaling became laboured between the different sections of snow. Time to go home.
Next day the plows and sidewalk machines had done their magic and made the roads and sidewalks passable again.
Decided to wait to ride again at night. At 9:30pm mounted my trusty 29" and tried again. Now I was encountering crusty snow and hard packed ice. On my first mount the multi layers of snow caused the tire to sink, making it difficult to freemount. So I steadied myself off my car and pushed off.
Neighbours walking their dogs, people shovelling their driveways stared in disbelief as I drove by. Oh well live with it guy’s, I’m a unicyclist.
I found riding in the next day required more effort on my part to ride on the sidewalks and roads. My skills in freemounting and riding up hills where also challenged. Making sharp turns and sudden twisting on the seat while riding on ice was also a no-no. But the most impressive thing was the unicycle felt more shore footed in the snow and ice then me walking on it. Thanks primarily to my tire (Kenda Klaw).
My trip only lasted 3kms, but man it was fun.
I realized from this trip my riding skill need to improve in the freemount area. Next time I’ll ride in the day and capture the fun on video.
Good to hear you won’t give up due to the weather! We have significant snow here now too but I’ve been hesitant to get out on the roads because of weird and unexpected stuff I’m bound to encounter. It really comes down to being scared of a hard fall onto icy pavement.
So, to gain some traction, and hopefully some confidence, I ordered a studded snow tire for my 29":
Your right about the free mounting. My only free mount was a roll back mount until I started to do some winter riding. As it did not work well on ice I was forced to learn a static mount.
Suit up with all your protective gear and just spend some time on a fairly slippery area (part ice & part snow works great) just doing static mounts.
I’m not Geoff, but, based on my experience with different models/size Swalbe and Nokians I dare to state that that Schwalbe is better than the expensive Nokian’s, and so recommend you the 1st one. My (above) limited review was only focussed on the funtionality of the studs and the working of the grid.
And for those who don’t know: note the difference between a snow tire and a ice-tire; ice tires have studs in the center-path, snow-tires don’t.
Oh, bytheway, I have a slight variant of this one for sale against any reasonable bid: http://www.suomityres.fi/sw336.html, used for less than 10 minutes, will ship worldwide.
Nokian doesn’t want to re-produce the 20" studded tire they still must have a molding for. They claim there is no market for it.
So at one point I was willing to spend $20K on a own designed 20" studded tire made by Nokian, but then, after some progress, they started telling me I wouldn’t be allowed to sell them, as it would damage their current dealer-network.
Left me wondering… if they initially claim there was no market for it… how can there be damage? I can’t deal with that kind of trickery way of doing (EU illegal?) business.
I run a Nashbar.com studded tire on my 28" sun (29"?). It’s a 700x35 tire, kind of skinny but has fairly good stud coverage. It isn’t on every lug but because the tire is so narrow alot of the studs make contact.
I’ve ridden onto a hockey rink with it, causing some hockey players to cease playing and stare in amazement. Just don’t try to dismount! Freemounting on ice is super challengingly difficult.
I also run Nasbar 26" studded tires (I think 26x1.95) on my winter mtb. Pro: cheap at $35 each, hard rubber long lasting, nice center contact for smooth rolling. Con: kind of skinny, studs only on outer lugs. It’s alot of fun to slide around on ice, and to ride out on Lake Champlain past the ice fishermen (have to wait a couple of months for that!).
Anyway, cheapo studded tires are way better than no studs, I can only imagine what a fine Nokia studded tire would be like.