We had a few early-season snowflakes fall over this past weekend, so to get in the spirit, I mounted my new Schwalbe “Marathon Winter” studded tires on my mountain bike. They were a bit of a pain to mount, but I was able to wrestle them on eventually. Unfortunately, my “bead jack” tool is not designed for larger tires, so it was no help with these. I also installed a new set of grips on the bike. My old setup was a set of standard-issue 1990s-vintage handlebar grips with metal bar-ends. Looking for something more comfortable, I replaced them with a pair of Ergon GC-2 grips with integrated bar-ends. Yesterday, I took the bike out for a spin to try out the new tires and grips.
Most manufacturers of studded bike tires recommend “breaking in” the tires for 25-30 miles, so this was the start of my “break in” period. I just wanted to see how the tires rode; there was no ice or really any reason to ride with studs. The tires ride fine, and as expected, they’re noisy, because the studs chatter against the ground as the tires rotate. It sounds kind of like riding on a road that’s been over-treated with road salt. On the trail, pedestrians can actually hear me coming. I could get used to this.
The Ergons seem like they’re going to be pretty nice. I still have to play around with the positioning of the grips, to get the most “natural” ergonomic hand position. One tip: make sure the grips are pushed ALL THE WAY onto the bar. Initially, I didn’t get one of the grips on far enough, and it kept slipping on the bar. I unscrewed it, made sure it was fully seated, and re-tightened, and no more slipping.
I’ll be posting more on this stuff (particularly the tires) as the winter wears on, I’m sure.