Schwalbe Winter Tyres

With snow already falling in Britain, and talk of Ireland getting the bad weather later this week, I thought last night that it was probably time to fit my Schwalbe Winter Tyres.

winter tyres with studs
Schwalbe Winter Tyres

The main concern, when trying to ride in snow and ice, is getting enough grip on the road. For snow you ideally need a deep tread such as on mountain bike tyres, but for ice you need a specialist winter tyre – and that’s where the Schwalbes come in.

I fitted the tyres last night, and had my first ride on them this morning. The weather in Dublin at the moment is cold (around 0-3 degrees centigrade), and there was a little bit of ice on the roads this morning, but they were mostly clear. This is good, because apparently you’re meant to ride for the first 20km on clear roads, to ensure the little metal studs in the tyre are properly seated.

My first impression is that the tyres are very noisy! This is to be expected, I guess, because you’ve got lots of little metal studs hitting against the road. To me it sounds a bit like riding over gravel, or the sound of popping candy. I was really concious of the sound, even in fairly heavy traffic, but that might be because of my proximity to the tyres. I’m not sure how far the sound carries away from the bike, but I didn’t have anyone stop and stare at me.

Weather in Dublin
Weather in Dublin

The other impact of the tyres is that they’re noticeably slower than normal tyres, particularly when taking a corner, when more of the studs are connecting with the road. The tyres are perfectly safe to use on clear roads, but they will slow you down a bit – or force you to exert yourself a little more. However, it’s something I think I can live with, in return for the extra grip they give on the roads.

Of course the true test of the tyres will be when the bad weather arrives, and whether they allow me to keep cycling. For that verdict, I’ll have to wait a few days and see if the snow and ice actually come to Dublin city.

Update 22-Jan: One week on, and the tyres have at last been tested on the roads of Dublin. We had a couple of hours of snow yesterday morning, and some ice on the roads this morning. The tyres aren’t designed to help that much with the snow, but are meant to really come into their own with the ice. And I can certainly say they do help with the grip, particularly on corners. However, the noise and rolling resistance issues are starting to get very annoying, and so I’m going to swap back to normal tyres over the next few days, unless the weather forecast shows the cold patch continuing.

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog richardbloomfield.ie.

One thought on “Schwalbe Winter Tyres

  • 25 January, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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    The tyres only lasted on the bike a couple more days before I took them off. The noise and increased rolling resistance were just too annoying.

    Reply

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