Stud or Dud?
January 7, 2011 12:06 PM   Subscribe

BicycleFilter: I have a Cannondale ST600 with fenders and (currently) 700x28c tires. I want to put on 700x38c studded tires. Will they fit?

Pictures here.

As this picture shows, there is not a whole lot of room between my current tires and the fenders. I'm concerned that if I install larger tires they will rub against the fenders. How do I measure to check if the 700/38c studded tires will fit?

Bonus question:
Any comments on studded tires? Worth it? Waste of money? Unfulfilled promise of traction?
posted by 47triple2 to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
It looks like you have a little room to move your fender out a little before trying to go with the wider tire. If you're near Minneapolis, I'd let you test fit mine.
posted by advicepig at 12:19 PM on January 7, 2011

I used studded tires briefly, then abandoned them. Fantastic on ice. No difference from knobby rubber tires in snow, whether hard-packed or soft. Huge increase in rolling resistance on ice-free, paved roads.

So I'd say they make sense only if the majority of your rides are on solid ice.
posted by randomstriker at 12:32 PM on January 7, 2011

you can always adjust the fenders, but you can't adjust the chainstays. i don't see any pictures of those-- are the tires almost hitting them?
posted by hollisimo at 1:03 PM on January 7, 2011

It doesn't look like the tires will be too wide. (On a related note, my bike is filthy.)

Is there a measurable difference in width of the tire or the edge of tire to rim between the different tire sizes?
posted by 47triple2 at 1:29 PM on January 7, 2011

The only real way to know if they'll fit is to try it out. You might be able to pull the fender out more (with my Cascadias, you can adjust where the fender stays meet the fender to allow for more clearance), or even bend the fender stays to allow more room. Your friendly local bike shop might be able to help you out, if such an entity exists.

As for the studs, I agree with randomstriker - it depends really heavily on conditions where you ride. I loved them in my old neighborhood, which was very infrequently plowed and never salted, and thus became a rutted, icy nightmare for several months out of the year. Now that I'm in a more central location, I'm usually riding on pavement and they're kind of a drag. I'm probably going to ditch them until we hit freeze-thaw.
posted by yomimono at 1:32 PM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is this for winter biking? If so, you could just try zip ties. :)
posted by jillithd at 1:53 PM on January 7, 2011

With the new pictures, I'm gonna say that they would easily fit.

I'd agree that studded tires are a drag on good pavement and studs do nothing in loose snow. Knobby tires work best for that, and there are knobby studded tires. Neither makes much a difference on well packed snow. Studs do dramatically improve traction on ice.
posted by advicepig at 1:55 PM on January 7, 2011

jillithd: Is this for winter biking? If so, you could just try zip ties. :)

The zipties only work for people with disc brakes. Otherwise, I'd have already done that. :) (On a related note, if anybody wants to give me a bike with disc brakes, I wouldn't be opposed. ;) )

advicepig: and there are knobby studded tires.

As you might be able to see in the pictures, I have super smooth tires, so knobby tires would most likely make a huge difference. I'm pretty sure that the studded tires I would buy are both studded and knobbly; would it make a significant difference (rolling resistance wise) just purchasing knobby tires?
posted by 47triple2 at 2:15 PM on January 7, 2011

Is there a measurable difference in width of the tire or the edge of tire to rim between the different tire sizes?

The 28 or 38 measurement is the width of the tire in millimeters. A fully inflated tire tries to be round in cross section, so the outer edge of a 38 tire will be 5mm wider on both sides and roughly 5mm further from rim, with the tread being equal. Factor in the difference in tread thickness and you've got something to go on.

Another question is whether the wider tires will fit your rims. Sheldon Brown has a chart of tire/rim size compatability. It's worth noting that it errs on the conservative side. And of course he's got info on measuring rims too--you want the inner width.
posted by hydrophonic at 3:21 PM on January 7, 2011

...and the rim's width is probably listed on its label, if there is one.
posted by hydrophonic at 4:27 PM on January 7, 2011

Those zip ties are an incredibly idiotic idea. Studded tires are for ice. Tire and rim combinations are a dynamic situation, the only way to determine this is in the shop; although Sheldon's chart can help eliminate clearly incompatible choices. The rolling resistance fetish that road bikers have is even sillier in the winter than throughout the other seasons. So, it takes you 10% more time to get where you're going? It's not a big deal. Seriously. Just get some knobbies that fit, add some rim-protection, then slightly under-inflate them when needed.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:49 PM on January 7, 2011

It doesn't look like you have enough room between the rear chain stays to me if the tires shown in and are 28c...

The difference in width between the 28c's I'm running and my wife's 38c's is quite noticeable - though they are from different manufacturers.
posted by csmason at 8:19 AM on January 10, 2011

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