This bike is a mishmash of parts from other bikes, but it's still a lot of fun to ride. It's especially fun now that winter is here and I've mounted the studded tires. The 45NRTH Arcwelder tires have 268 stainless steel studs in a 2.1" knobby, and are just a re-branded Innova studded tire (it has the same tread and stud pattern as the old Innovas). This is not a commuting tire. The relatively soft stainless steel studs wouldn't hold up to extensive pavement use. Commuters should go with carbide studs. The Arcwelder is an off-road winter tire, and as far as I can tell, they fit that bill nicely.
I took the studded GED out for a quick ride to Lake Harriet and back. Today's ride had two purposes; to try the new tires on packed snow and ice, and to check on the status of the creek. On the way to the lake I stuck to the singletrack and the walking paths. The sections of singletrack were a lot of fun with the few inches of snow cover, and the Arcwelder did a good job of getting traction.
On the way home I finally mustered up enough courage to get on the ice and check it out for myself, close up. I'm glad I did. There were definitely areas of open water and/or thin ice, but they were easy to spot and avoid. The creek turned out to be in much better shape than I expected. Below is a short video of one frozen section I rode today...
The Arcwelders did well on the sheer ice, and I was pleased to find that I could skid both the front and rear tires without loosing control. But they didn't have the same surefooted feeling of the DIY studs on uneven ice. In areas where footprints or moving water had created ridges in the ice, I could feel the Arcwelders squirm a bit. Not to the point of loosing control, but they don't have the bite of my DIY tires. At the same time, I do appreciate the lighter weight of the manufactured tires versus my homemade versions.
I'm interested to see how long the studs last. They are replaceable, but replacement studs are expensive and the job is likely as labor intensive as replacing the DIY studs. When the time comes to replace the studs I'll probably try to find a hardware store alternative to the expensive Innova replacements.
It felt good to be back on the ice, and while it was short, I had a lot of fun on today's ride. The weather will be warming up over the next week, but as soon as we get another cold snap I hope to be riding the frozen creek again.
Stopping is half the fun.