Need something that can handle the aftermath of a Chinook? In Calgary, winter tires are a necessity. You can get away with using a 3-season tire, but your performance, safety, and confidence will soar with a winter-specific tire that has studs.
Studs are where it’s at when you want to own the road. If you have been waffling about slick conditions, get the ultimate Calgary winter tire: studded tires. A set will cost you about $200 (give or take), but they will last for years and will keep you rolling many miles, even in winter, which is priceless.
Ride them at minimum pressure for the ultimate traction on ice; run them at higher pressures on bare asphalt — perfectly adaptable for our variable climate.
This secret is how you conquer 8 months of winter. Studded tires put you in the driver’s seat.
Calgary winter tires
The Xerxes only have studs on the outer edges. You can run these tires at high pressure and the studs won’t touch the ground, which is great as we often have dry conditions throughout much of the winter (just not this year!). Lower the pressure a bit and they help with grip on corners; lower the pressure even more and you have full stud contact, when the conditions require it. These tires used to be on a cross bike and now they’re on a Brodie commuter (2014 Section 8).
The Schwalbe Marathon Winters are a little more like a narrow mountain bike tire with diamond tread and studs all over. I would argue that they are the most common studded tire out there and the one that you can find at most reputable bike shops. They work great. I have two complaints about these tires (and one is only a problem for two days per year): I wish there was a balloon tire version for our rigid cargo bike and, by golly, the bead is too damn tight. The Marathon Winters come in a variety of tire sizes (20, 24, 26, 700, 29), so this is the tire we use for our 20″ front and 26″ rear wheels on our CETMA and the two 20″ wheels of the Haul-a-Day.
Head into your local bike shop with your bike and I am sure that their friendly staff can help you get rolling with more confidence and the right sized tire for your wheels.