I've currently got a fixie road bike with some stock road tires. They're fairly low-profile, as in, they aren't knobby, and have low-profile treads.

Because my fork and stays have enough clearance for it, I'm debating using some CX tires at least early in the winter, before riding becomes nigh impossible altogether.

The two biggest environmental hazards I'd be trying to work around would be the cold (I want to try and stay on the bike down to about -10 or -15 ºC) and slush, which is extremely abundant where I am even fairly early on in the season.

I'm not looking to avoid ice; at that point I'll probably look for another means of transportation.

Are CX tires generally alright for winter riding? What road conditions would limit their effectiveness?

  • 1
    It'd help if you describe you describe your riding conditions. On ice, studs are what you want but fixies would likely not do too well with that.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 19:12

3 Answers 3


Considering that you will be hanging up your bike come ICE time... I would say that CX tires can/would be a bit more confidence inspiring that a typical slick tire. However, I don't think that a CX tire would be much better (and likely more expensive) than a nice inverted tread commuting tire like the continental Touring Plus or an equivalent.

Having commuted in an area like you describe... cold wet, more slush than snow, etc... I have had very good luck with inverted tread commuting tires and they can be (are) usually a bit more pleasant on pavement than CX tires.

  • Touring Plus would not be a good tire for snow. It does not have an enough tread depth to grip. I have enough trouble with mine on wet grass, and the few times I took out in snow it was sliding the whole time. Better would be a dual purpose mountian bike tire that had a smooth center and knobs to the side.
    – BPugh
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 16:47
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    Point well taken... the CX tire I use (the Ritchey Speed Max) is as you describe but it has no grooves for slush to channel through like an inverted tread tire so it has limitations too. I dont think there is a tire that will give you the same performance in snow/slush that you get on your summer time commute. One should go with what they think will inspire confidence and adjust their riding style for the conditions.
    – dafew
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 13:02

Studs really work on icy terrain. It is the only way to go if you are riding were temperature is below zero regularly.


You should also consider using studded tires. While they are bulky, they help to prevent slips on black ice. On two occasions black ice had my wheels slip out from under me, which damaged my wheel. I suppose studs matter if you have a lot of freezing days.

  • Studs are not effective on black ice on asphalt, as the ice is not thick enough for the studs to bite into (surface ice on compacted snow is another story as the studs can penetrate through the ice into snow underneath). About the only thing that might work on black ice, is a very sticky rubber compound with lots of contact edges.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 19:09
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    I have found studs to be helpful on black ice. Certainly they are not a guarantee, but I'd rather have them than not.
    – Ben
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 13:35
  • As my answer suggest, studs really work. I live in Iceland with temperature around and below zero for about 6 months a year. It is in no way possible to ride a bike in those conditions without studs. If you have them you can ride any ice, thick or thin, even the ice hockey field if you want!
    – bjorsig
    Commented Aug 25, 2020 at 13:02

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