I currently have kevlar vittorio rubbino tyres on my road bike, but they don't have enough grip for the oncoming uk winter conditions. What level of tyre tread do I need for road commuting on uk winter roads and any recommendations welcome. I would still like to maintain a low weight and good rolling resistance.

  • Which bit of the UK makes a big difference - here in the south of England we don't even get snow lying on the ground every year, and you mainly have to deal with wet or proper cold. When it turns cold just after rain though, there can be large patches of ice, which no tyres will handle well. Further north snow is much more of an issue. – Chris H Oct 24 '13 at 16:09
  • Commuting and road riding are different as commuting tends to be more about getting a job done whereas road riding in general could be competition or longer rides etc. – Andrew Welch Oct 24 '13 at 21:35
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    If you like your Vittorias, they do one called a Pave which they claim is even suitable for riding the classic courses. By which I take to mean (a) bad weather and (b) poor road surface. Never tried them myself though. – PeteH Oct 24 '13 at 23:05
  • And incidentally, I rode my audax bike on Rubinos right through last winter. My only caveat is that when its snowy or icy I stay home and use the turbo, but I was out in most other winter weather. Its up to you but you might want to try the Rubinos before you shell out for new tyres. – PeteH Oct 24 '13 at 23:09
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    A lot of this depends on what kind of bike and rims you're running. I wouldn't run a twitchy race bike in the winter, but I might be willing to run something like a Trek 520 or something since it has clearance for large(r) tires and stable handling. Most modern road bikes don't have the clearance for anything reasonable to run in winter IMO. – Batman Oct 25 '13 at 1:12

I used Swalbe Marathon's last year without too many problems. As has been previously said, the narrow (25mm) tyres do help cut through snow, but when you are on ice nothing is very good.

I liked Continental Top Tourers previously.

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    Studded tires work great on ice. There are even races held on frozen lakes in some areas. – Carey Gregory Oct 25 '13 at 23:18

In my experience, road tires are inherently "unsafe" to use in winter. As soon as there's ice, the tread doesn't help much. In snow however, narrow tires will "cut through" to the asphalt anyway and have the same grip as in summer, provided there's no ice underneath the snow.

I would suggest tires with a puncture-proof layer because of grit and salt in the roads, especially once the snow melts. I've made good experience with Continental's GP4000 tires in this regard.

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    MTB tires are no better on ice. Only something like Schwalbe Ice Spiker has a grip. But they are pointless without the ice. – Papuass Oct 24 '13 at 13:57
  • I do believe he means for very cold wet conditions rather than snow. – Mark W Oct 24 '13 at 14:16
  • @MarkW If that's the case, I need to say I haven't noticed a big difference between wet roads during summer or winter, apart from roads/paths covered in wet leaves. – arne Oct 24 '13 at 14:19
  • You'll be hard pressed to find a modern road bike that has clearance for spiked tires. A touring bike or a cyclocross bike is more likely to have the needed clearance for spiked tires. Surly also makes road bikes that are compatible with larger tires. – Kibbee Oct 24 '13 at 14:36
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    I'm sorry, but to say that road tyres are unsafe to ride on during the winter months does not fit with my experience - its a sweeping generalisation which for the most part is untrue. What you say might have some relevance in the specific snow/ice conditions that you mention, but not winter in general. – PeteH Oct 24 '13 at 22:59

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