I currently have Kenda 27 x 1 3/8 inch tires on my road bike. I live in a snowy, icy city and am a bike commuter in warmer months. I would like to occasionally commute this winter. I am wondering about the safety and challenges of riding with this size of tire width? I can have these tires studded at a bike shop in town, but I am hoping for advice whether this is a good idea. We have some ice and snow on the side roads here, as salt is not used.

  • Do you know the model number of your tire? If not is it a slick, street, or does it have some tread blocks on it?
    – BPugh
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 19:41
  • 1
    You need to verify that there is frame & brake clearance for studded tires. As to whether the studs are a good idea, they are (if properly installed) at least moderately effective on ice, but they do little to add traction in snow and slush. Do note that tire life will be significantly degraded. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


It will depend largely on your handling skills and the conditions of the snowy, icy city you live in.

Narrower tires, like what you have will cut through small amounts of snow quite easily, but will quickly bog in deeper snow and can be difficult to control when you can't see irregularities underneath the snow. Since they also need to be run at higher pressures, they tend to be a bit twitchy, which is fine on slick even surfaces, but can easily cause slips and crashes where surfaces are uneven (transitions between roads, bike paths, sidewalks, etc).

I often commute in the spring on narrower studded tires, but am very careful around transitions, or uneven slick surfaces (jumble ice). They are great for icy patches left by melt/thaw cycles, but definitely less forgiving than a wider tire. By contrast, I can maintain more speed or jumble ice and the like with the studded tires on my fat bike.

TL;DR I skip using them on days where you have deep snow, or in areas likely to have slick and uneven surfacing.


I know it is not cheap but if you are going to try spikes then go for some good tires that come with spikes and save your existing for summer riding. The base is imbedded in the tire so it has an anchor.
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As for if it will work for you? I think you just need to give it a try. Clearly studs will help.

Again not cheap but a mtn bike with bigger studded tires would be your best bet.

  • Reading a related thread and the sources behind one of its answers earlier, I got the impression studded tyres were hard to find for 27". I second your recommendation though.
    – Chris H
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 19:56
  • Some model tires come with the same recesses that "pre" studded tires have. Studding them is just a matter of inserting the studs into the recesses provided with a special tool. If this is the case, having them studded is fine. This answer is correct in that anything else is a recipe for future tire failure. Commented Feb 13, 2016 at 21:15
  • Commuting all year round with possibly icey conditions for around two month, for over 10 years, I'd highly recommend good tyres with spikes. With spikes, you have a very hard time on asphalt. But rather accept that than falling 2-3 times each winter (in addition, my route has steep hills where traction control is essential). In general, I've found tyres of manaufacturers close to the polar region more durable than of those, I usually buy. I've never researched whether imbedding the spikes, like you mention, makes this difference - but I follow your argument.
    – StefG
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:24

They should be safe to ride. For comparison, your tire is is 37mm wide. Schwable makes a Marathon Winter tire in 35mm and 42mm for a 700c tire so the width isn't an issue. The only problem you will have is soft snow where the studs don't help. If your tire doesn't have a more aggressive tread pattern then you may still have traction issues.

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