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Yesterday I awoke to 25-degrees and snow. Luckily Chicago didn’t have any measurable amount of the white stuff, but it was enough to blow around on the pavement and set the tone for wintry weather to come.

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By the time I rode home the roads were completely clear, but as I approached a red traffic light and a fellow cyclist, I heard the recognizable chatter of studded tires on dry pavement. When we stopped, I had to verify that my ears weren’t deceiving me, “Do you have studded tires on your bike already?” Of course he did! His preferred tire? Nokian brand tires from a company in Finland. He seemed very confident in his decisions – both in brand and in having mounted them on his bike already.

My friend Dottie from LGRAB swears by her Schwalbe brand studded tires, which I’m sure will soon be back on her Oma for the winter.

So far I’ve managed to commute year-round in Chicago without studded tires, but each year about this time (when I see white snowflakes dancing through the air and patches of ice forming on the streets), I question whether or not they would be helpful. I am impressed by the seeming lack of rolling resistance that studded tires offer while on dry roads. Apparently the carbide studs used in today’s studded tires are much more durable than the steel studs manufacturers used to use. The bike commuter I met last night definitely rolled along at a speedy pace.

Questioning your own need for studded tires? Stay tuned… Our very own Just Ask Jack will soon be offering up more answers to your questions about studded tires.