3

Some (most?) manufacturers recommend running studded tires on pavement for the first miles to facilitate "seating". As my commuting route touches little pavement but woods, I see little chance to do this "seating" for 50 km as e.g. Nokian recommends. With a Nokian Extreme, I was not able to see a difference in spike positioning before and after the 50 km seating process.

Hence, I am wondering:

  1. What actually should we think is happening during the seating process? Fact or fiction?
  2. Why do the companies rely on the poor biker to do the spike seating process, why isn't this done by the manufacturer?

  3. How important is this for tire performance? With a pair of Nokian extreme, I'd guess it took me around 100 kms until I have had these tires for 50 km on pavement. Over the last 3 years, I lost (and replaced) not more than a handfull of studs on this pair of tires. With one of Schwalbe's studded tires, I actually lost around 30 % of the studs in the first 4 km ride (and returned the tire), with a pair of Continental, it was somewhat better, but after 50 km of seating, I still kept loosing spikes at a constant rate. Hence, with the Nokian, I've got the impression that these were already working before seating and little changed during seating, with all others, I've found out that riding on pavement does nothing good to tire quality.

4

Peter White has an excellent page on Studded tires.

To quote (answering questions 1,2) him: "Q: Why do Nokian tires have a tag stating that you should ride the tires on paved roads for 30 miles before using them on ice?

A: It's because Nokian is very sloppy in how they install the studs, and doesn't take the time to ensure that every stud is fully seated in the tire tread before shipping it. With some studs partly hanging out of the tire tread, if you ride them hard, the studs can easily fall out. Riding them "easy" is supposed to help seat the studs. Of course this as all just bovine excrement, and those half seated studs can still easily fall out."

On question 3: A few studs missing won't make much of a difference but if a lot of them are missing you lose the advantage of the studs (but you still have the advantage of softer winter rubber).

Also relevant: "Q: How can studs fall out of the tire tread?

A: The main reason studs fall out is riding too aggressively on pavement or on rocky trails. You cannot use studded tires on dry ground the same way you would use summer tires. On ice, you can ride as hard as you dare without damaging the tire or losing studs. But when you reach a bare patch of ground, you must take it easy, lest the studs be ripped from the tread."

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