Late winter has arrived in the Twin Cities. For bike commuting, this means a mix of all conditions. The morning ride was a pleasant 24 degrees, and the evening return felt spring-like at 35 degrees. The freeze and thaw cycles create the full spectrum of challenging winter road conditions: glare ice, inches of powder, re-frozen crust, and the best of all, powder on top of ice.
My commute is mostly on well maintained bike trails, so there was a lot of clear asphalt, but even that had streaks of glare ice across it. Once again, the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires were amazing. I could ride with confidence across glare ice and even brake with control. I got to the point where I was seeking out stretches of ice to see what I could get away with. It was remarkable.
The picture above is from one section of ice that I actually locked up the rear wheel to see how it would react. Without studs, this would lead to total loss of control (ask me how I know), but with the Marathon Winters, it was predictable and controlled. Full disclosure: these are my first pair of studded tires, so perhaps this is nothing that remarkable for any studded tire, but I’m very satisfied.
The Marathon Winters make fantastic winter commuting tires. The studs are arranged to give a clear center strip for less stud wear and better rolling efficiency, but still close enough to the contact patch to provide that delightful whir and traction. The reflective sidewalls are a nice commuter touch too. I hope they keep making them, because I plan on buying them again when these wear out.