When the snow starts falling you only have a few choices if you want to avoid gaining 20 pounds during the winter. You could set your bike up on a trainer in your basement or garage, but within 15 minutes you are going to feel like a hamster when he is running on the wheel in his cage. The best solution is to man-up and buy a pair of steel studded bicycle tires so you can ride all winter long. Unless you live north of the Arctic Circle cycling in the snow is a blast! While there are many good brands of studded bicycle tires available, last year I chose a pair of Innova (26 x 2.1) snow tires and used them all winter long.
Unlike the more expensive Nokian or Schwalbe tires that use carbide studs, the Innova tires use steel studs, so yes, they are going to rust (see the photo above). However, the Innova tires are at least half the price of Nokian or Schwalbe tires. The Innova snow tires have 268 replaceable steel studs and an aggressive tread. I rode with them all last winter and found them to be a pleasure to ride on. While it is very common to lose a few studs during normal use every winter due to friction, the best I can tell I didn’t lose a single stud in over 500 miles.
While the side of the tire says the maximum air pressure is 60 psi, I would recommend you don’t go above 50 psi. At 60 psi I just didn’t feel like the studs were gripping the snow and ice as well. I hate to admit it, but I did a face plant into the snow last year while riding with these tires. I was cranking along at about 20 MPH on my street which only had a bit of ice on it when I turned into my driveway that had six inches of snow on it. My front tire came to sudden stop, but my body didn’t. I should have shoveled my driveway before I went on my ride, but where is the fun in that?
Innova steel studded bicycle tires are made in Taiwan. While I have not had any problems with these tires, I think that if I had it to do all over again I would opt for a more expensive Nokian tire simply because I love riding in the snow and I think that in the long run the Nokian tires would be a better buy. However, if this is your first year to attempt riding in the snow I would suggest you try out a pair of Innova tires—even if you only use them for two years you will get your money’s worth out of them.
If your local bike shop does not carry Innova tires, you can buy them from Amazon.com for around $60.