All other factors being the same (normal carved tires, 28x1.40, paved road with 5-10 cm snow), does reducing the tires pressure provide any improvement for cycling onto snow?

My idea is that lowering the pressure increases the contact area and thus the grip.

2 Answers 2


Lower pressure for a larger contact patch to increase traction is common. Cyclocross riders (for one) use low pressure.

Weigh that against pinch flats. As you lower the pressure you increase chance of pinch flats. In snow the pot holes and bumps are partially hidden.

Tread type and depth will also affect snow traction.

  • Can you add something about winter studs? I've no experience on them, are they any help on snow or do they just help on ice?
    – Criggie
    Dec 10, 2017 at 19:53
  • 1
    Ice-only in my experience. The stud contact points are intentionally quite small in order to present a large force to the ice itself, and don't do anything in slush or snow...
    – Ross
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:52
  • The risk of pinch flats may be mitigated by using tubeless tires. At sufficiently low pressure, however, impacts to the tire carcass may cause air to leak out of the sidewall bead and/or damage the rim.
    – Tim D
    Dec 12, 2017 at 16:12

This is the most common way, lowering the pressure ob the tires when in the winter. The idea come from a physical fact that when the tires have lower air, their contact area with grount level will be expanded, in other wird the height of car will be near to the ground.

  • I talk about bike, not car. And also I miss your answer here, I just a rephrasing of my last paragraph.
    – L.Dutch
    Dec 12, 2017 at 16:39

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