Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro

Overview

Close Up

Example Run

If Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome had taken place during winter, they would have been riding mountain bikes with studded tires.

Winter is the season when many cyclists store their bicycles and find other means of transportation and recreation. Every year up until now I followed suit; I’d hang my bicycle in the garage and set up the stationary trainer just as the last leaves of Colorado’s long autumn withered and fell. I was content to take a break from my two-wheeled stead and wait for the spring thaw. This year, however, I braved the cold. I decided to ‘buck up’ and keep riding through ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. With a few extra layers and some specialized rubber, it hasn’t been hard to transition into winter riding.

Before putting myself at winter’s mercy, I prepared for the most extreme conditions. I outfitted my full-suspension mountain bike with the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379. It’s the second most aggressive model Schwalbe offers, and it’s made for serious off-road adventures. The price of the Ice Spiker Pro may be steep, but quality justifies cost. And, made with 361 durable tungsten carbide-core spikes, the tire doesn’t weigh much more than a regular mountain bike tire.

In total, Schwalbe sells four different versions of spiked tires for both on- and off-road journeys. For singletrack junkies like me, the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro is the answer to the winter I-can’t-get-out-to-ride blues. This winter, bike equipped with the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro, I’ve accomplished my daily errands (grocery store, post office) and navigated the frozen, snow-covered trails near my home in Littleton.

The performance of the Ice Spiker Pro has been impressive. During a recent ride at Bear Creek Lake Park, I encountered a wide range of frozen terrain including glare ice, frozen snow, and powder. On pure ice the tires gripped well and I was able to accelerate without spinning; on packed and frozen snow the tires were stable and I felt like I was riding on dry trail. Powder was the greatest challenge. While plowing through six inches of the fresh stuff, I spent the same amount of time going sideways as forward.

Lateral slipping was, however, an occasional problem throughout the ride, powder or not. I slipped sideways a couple times when standing up to pedal or banking through a turn. Fortunately, such slipping was relatively rare, and, I think, inevitable given the conditions. I finished my early-morning ride in Bear Creek Lake Park before the temperature rose above freezing. As one could imagine, studded tires and mud do not mix well. Picture Fruita after it rains…

Winter riding has proven practical (all those chores!) and liberating. This year, I’ve explored Colorado’s winter landscape in a more intimate way, and I now have a great alternative to indoor workouts. With twelve months a year to explore, the prospect of new riding destinations excites me. Think of all the terrain—sun-baked and frozen—I’ll discover!

Pros:

Durable and lightweight

Great traction in a variety of winter conditions (ice, packed snow, minimal powder)

Rides like a standard mountain bike tire

Keeps you riding through winter!

Cons:

Expensive

Break-in period of 25 miles on pavement

Challenging to ride in deep powder conditions

Tire Specs:

Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro HS 379 26 x 2.10, folding bead, 695g, 361 tungsten carbide core spikes

Notes:

The tires require a 25-mile break-in period on pavement. It’s best to avoid rapid acceleration or hard braking during this time.

Price:

$149.75

Manufacturer:

Schwalbe North America

105 – 536 Herald Street

Victoria, BC V8W 1S6

Canada

Toll Free: 1-888-700-5860

Website: http://www.schwalbetires.com/


Writing & Photography By:

Leslie Kehmeier

http://www.livelearnride.com

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