For the first time in my life, I have had stud tyres installed on my bicycle, because I've nearly killed myself bicycling the last few winters, no matter how slowly and carefully I go. It seems like they only bother heating (or whatever they actually do to clear them) the sidewalks next to main roads, but absolutely not anywhere else.
I was frankly shocked today when, for the first time, I truly got to test them for real. Before, there was too much snow to really know if they work, and my standard/summer wheels seem to work just as well when there's enough snow to sort of "slow down and protect" the bicycle from falling.
Today, however, there was little snow but tons of ice. And... what? I barely felt any kind of support whatsoever from the studs or the "winter pattern" of the tyres. The bicycle kept sliding around and I might honestly just as well have used my old/summer tyres. There was ZERO discernible difference in grip.
I understand that there are many different stud tyres, and ones with more studs that cost much more and whatnot, but come on... The difference cannot be like night and day between the different models/brands. I strongly doubt that mine are unusually bad, but I also don't know what to think after this experience...
I had to walk besides my bicycle, holding it, just as I had done prior to buying and having these (apparently) overhyped things installed.
I definitely should not fail to notice that, according to my schedule, it was time to pump my tyres today. So I did, using my PSI-measuring pump. The value is supposed to be 50 for my tyres, and I always pump my summer tyres to that value. This makes the bicycle go much easier than if you use it with less pressure.
But I noticed that the tyres (which had been professionally installed by a local bicycle place) had far less than 50 PSI of pressure, so I had to pump them up a lot. Only about halfway on my trip did the thought strike me that I had (possibly) heard or read somewhere that stud tyres work better if you don't pump them up to the correct pressure. But this could also be something I've got all wrong.
But, again, even if this is the case, should they not still give much better grip than the summer ones? I truly felt absolutely no benefit at all, and was completely handicapped. I don't understand why lower air pressure in the tyres would change the amount of traction the studs would enhance. Is this the case?
Or are stud tyres just a scam?