For the past several winters I’ve been riding with some DIY studded tires. When the rubber on one of them was just too old, it split and my tube came out. So I bought a studded tire on sale the following spring. They didn’t have the one I wanted, so I ended up with a Kenda Klondike. Now that I’ve had a couple winters on it, how does it stack up against my home made ice tires?
The tire seems to be made for pavement with occasional packed snow or ice on the side of the road. It has no center rows of studs and only sparse studs on the outer rows. The farthest row has about one stud for every 4 tread blocks. The center tread of the tire is mostly continuous, which helps for commuting on dry pavement. But this is winter, right? I don’t see any dry pavement around here. Not in Winnipeg, MB, that’s for sure!
With no center studs and almost-continuous center tread (read: no tread blocks for traction) this tire is barely passable as a winter tire. The side studs do help when riding in the tire grooves of cars, as you ride on a banked trough most of the time, like the gutter in a bowling alley. Confidence in cornering is zero as you’d have to get past the slipping center treads to lean far enough for the outer studs to bite. I haven’t had the confidence to try yet, so I just end up slipping sideways at slow speeds.
I have this tire mounted on the front because I wanted rear traction with my DIY studs. Maybe that was a mistake since this tire offers no traction for stopping.
DIY Studded Tire
This oh-so-cheap MTB tire came on a heavy CCM bike and is 17 years old. It has four rows of 3/8″ wood/metal self-tapping screws, spaced every second tread block. It is not meant for dry pavement and would be (is!) very loud and cumbersome on the same. But this is winter right? Yeah, you get it.
This tire has enabled me to do full catwalks on a skating rink. I can ride in circles and figure eights on pure ice and have 99% confidence on snow packed side streets with polished ice intersections.
The lugs on this tire are large enough to help me through snow and packed snow trails almost as well as a fatbike (although with less floatation than one).
The Kenda Klondike may be a suitable tire for mostly dry pavement with the occasional crust of hard packed snow on the side of the road. I don’t know. I’ve never experienced that kind of mild winter. It is not suitable for my winter, which includes 4″ thick packed snow with polished ice intersections and icey gutter-ball wheel troughs made by cars. This year, I will be adding my own rows of studs to the middle treads of this tire.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive winter tire, build your own $8 worth of screws and an old MTB tire will get you far. If you want confidence on icey roads in traffic, build your own or spend $120+ for some mega-studded ice tires. I can’t afford it, so I build my own. Check it out: https://kurtbredeson.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/diy-studded-tires-finally/