Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

26 Dec

I bought my first pair of steel studded bicycle tires about nine years ago and used them until they dry-rotted. Two years ago I bought a pair of Innova steel studded tires and was happy with them (even though they are very heavy), but decided that this year I wanted to experiment with a different brand for one of my other bikes (I have studded tires on three of my bikes). I ordered a pair of the “new” 45NRTH Arcwelder tires, but returned them to the bike shop right after I got home when I saw that these “new” tires were the same as my old Innova tires (but with a 45NRTH logo). I finally decided to go with a top-of-the-line tire, the Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires—and I am now one happy winter cyclist.

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires are made with a special winter rubber (durometer 58A) and are intended for extreme winter riding. This tire has large knobs for great grip in mud and snow, along with 304 studs to keep you steady on the ice. The studs are made of aluminum and have sharp carbide pins—these pins should last for the life of the tire (or longer). Each tire weighs 750g (25.45 ounces). I bought a pair of 26″x2.2″ tires, but similar tires are available in other sizes. The recommended tire pressure is 29 to 65 psi. I keep mine at around 40 psi for winter riding.

These tires are extremely easy to install, but before you take them out in the snow for the first time you need to break them in by riding on hard pavement for at least 30 miles. The pavement helps seat the studs properly into the tires and roughens up the tips a bit for a better grip on the ice. The large tread pattern (knobs) on this tire provide wonderful traction in mud and snow, but they do require some extra effort on pavement because of their high rolling resistance.

304 Sharp Carbide Pins On Each Tire

304 Sharp Carbide Pins On Each Tire

One thing that all studded bicycle tires have in common is that they are loud. While I don’t carry a sound level meter with on bike rides, these tires did seem to be much louder than the other snow tires I’ve used in the past. How loud? Let me put it this way: You better hope that when the Zombie Apocalypse occurs that it happens in the summer, because if these tires are on your bike when it hits you are going to attract the attention of every walker and biter within 30 miles (it is a well-known fact that Zombies are attracted to loud noises).

Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Tires retail for $120 each at your local bike shop. They are also available from the REI Website and in some of their retail stores. I will only be using these tires when the snow just an inch or two deep—anything more than that and I’ll be riding my Surly Necromancer Pugsley (with 4″ wide steel studded snow tires).

Now for the confusing part: Nokian Tyres PCL is headquartered in Finland and is known throughout the world for their fine car and truck tires—they operate the world’s only permanent winter tire testing facility. At one time Nokian Tyres PCL manufactured bicycle tires, but not anymore. Today they license the Nokian name to Suomi Tyres LTD (another Finnish company). The Nokian Hakka WXC 300 tires are actually manufactured in Taiwan and are distributed in North America through Quality Bike Products (QPB).

One warning: When I installed these tires I noticed that the front tire wobbled a lot—it had at least 1″ of lateral movement. I took the tire (and rim) off the bike and but it on my Park Tool Truing Stand and found that the rim was in perfect shape—the tire itself was the problem. I then deflated, removed and then reinstalled the tire, but that only made the problem worse. I took the mounted tire to the local bike shop to have the professionals tell me what I did wrong. Turns out it was just a defective tire, so they got a new one for me. I have never been impressed by any tire made in Taiwan because of quality control issues. However, if you can get a good snow tire you are going to have a blast playing in the snow!


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26 responses to “Nokian Hakka WXC 300 Studded Snow Tires

  1. frankoshanko

    December 26, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    You truly are the All Seasons Cyclist! Rock on!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 26, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      Unfortunately, it looks like all that beautiful snow that is hitting the Midwest part of the United States is going to miss me (again).

  2. Jeff Katzer

    December 26, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    I’m really enjoying your work here. Lots of great bicycle information… and as a bonus – Zombie trivia too!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Combining winter cycling and Zombie trivia — that’s something you will probably never see in “Bicycling Magazine”.

  3. Keeping it Real

    December 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Hope you and your family had a lovely Christmas!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 26, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      Thank you so very much — I was able to have a nice bike ride after lunch on Christmas Day.

  4. draconianstylist

    December 26, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    I have no intention of riding in the snow (thank goodness it rarely snows here) but I still enjoy reading your posts. If I wasn’t following you I would have never even known they made studded tires for bikes. Did I mention it doesn’t snow here much? 🙂

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 26, 2012 at 9:57 PM

      Riding in the snow is a lot more fun than riding in the rain. I think I remember you mentioning Washington state in one of your posts — and since I’ve never been there, for some reason I think it rains there every day. 🙂

      • draconianstylist

        December 26, 2012 at 10:06 PM

        Well it has rained twenty five of the last twenty six days. Saw that on the news, not quite a record for December but close. So it doesn’t rain here every day!

  5. baileyaj

    December 27, 2012 at 3:25 AM

    I am completely envious. Riding in the snow is great fun.

  6. All Seasons Cyclist

    December 27, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    A few weeks ago on your blog you mentioned the first snowfall of the year in the Netherlands — I just assumed you were out riding in it. I think you would really enjoy these tires on the snow!

  7. tinatimebomb

    December 28, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    I want them now!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM

      Your local bike shop can probably have a pair ready for you in the morning! Maybe I am spoiled, by the shop I use normally gets out-of-stock items to me the following day.

  8. Cherry

    December 29, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Which bike did you install the studs on? love how you’re such a extreme cyclists – i always wondered how riding with studded tires would feel. Do they damage the pavements at all?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Cherry, I have studded tires on three of my bikes (Surly Pugsley, Gary Fisher Big Sur, and an old Trek 4300). They do not hurt the pavement at all — when you ride on the ride the hard pavement pushes the pins back into the rubber studs so you still have a good grip.

  9. st sahm

    December 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    Had no idea tires like these existed. As always your blog is informative and sharp. Love it.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      December 30, 2012 at 5:02 PM

      Well, thank you so much! There are so many neat winter cycling products available, but many of them are hard to find since most bike shops don’t stock them.

  10. pushingmiles

    January 2, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Those are some lovely knobby tires! I need some of those for my winter cycling in Alaska. Thanks for the article!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      January 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM

      These tires work so much better than the brand I used to use — the winter rubber really makes for a much smoother ride. However, in Alaska you would probably enjoy the new steel studded tires on my Pugsley (4″ wide tires). I’ll be reviewing them after I get a few more miles on them (love them so far).

      • pushingmiles

        January 2, 2013 at 11:09 PM

        Oh nice. I’ll be looking forward to that review! My dad uses a Surly Fatback, but I’m unsure what tires he uses on it. It’s pretty fun to ride!

  11. kurtbredeson

    January 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Thanks for the review! Last winter, I looked at a few winter studded tires and I think the Innova ones were on the cheaper side. I can see why a quality winter bike tire with proper studs would be much better, just like quality winter car tires are amazing on my car. If my DIY studs don’t work out, I might consider buying better winter tires instead of just going with the cheapest. Your review shows the advantages of good winter tires.
    Regarding noise: mine are definitely louder on pavement, and I have a homemade aluminum fender on my rear rack that hits two different resonances with the tires. It’s pretty funny when everything starts humming and buzzing… people tend to look and see what all the noise is about.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      January 4, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      The more I ride on these tires the more I love them! They have an amazing grip — far better than the Innova. You can also tell the difference in smooth pavement — when the temp is down in the teens these tires roll so much easier than any other tire I have — the winter rubber compound alone makes these tires a good purchase. As for the noise, I do seem to attract a lot of attention on my way to the trails!

  12. Jordan R. Hicks

    January 6, 2013 at 10:04 PM

    I live at 5,000′ on west slope of Sierra. I ride these all through the winter on ice and snow on plowed roads. Not so good off road because Sierra snow is heavy and wet, once the front wheel drops in, I can’t get out. But on steep hills on snow and ice left after plowing, they are perfect. Glare black ice both up and down 15% grades? No problem. These stick like glue. Of course, once the temperatures get up into the 40s, and the snow and ice get slushy, then all bets are off. When the entire slush pile gives way, the studs are of no benefit. Therefore I just ride early each morning while it is still sub-freezing. I highly recommend these tires. Of course you need hydraulic brakes, proper clothing, the right accessories, etc, in the winter, but that’s true with x-c skiing too. Run the front at around 24 psi and the rear about 34 for excellent traction. One of the really nice things about these tires, is that they don’t give way suddenly. You get warning that they are starting to slip. Then just feather off the disc brakes. Of course if a slush pile gives way, that’s something else. But on solid snow and ice, I have not experienced a tire wipe out in three years of riding.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      January 6, 2013 at 11:57 PM

      Thanks for the feedback! The more i ride on these tires the more I love them! The winter rubber compound makes for a very smooth ride.


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