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I currently use Nokian's Mount and Ground snow tires (approximately $50 each) on my mountain bike, and I have been able to bike my 2.5 mile commute to my Metro stop everyday.

Based on my experience of riding during various winter conditions, I rate the handling ability of these tires on a scale of 0 (lowest) to 5 (highest) stars for following:

Black ice and/or Smooth Ice - 5 stars
I roll over ice without any slipping. In fact, I have been intentionally trying to ride over as much ice as possible, in the name of testing these tires of course. I haven't felt the tires slip once.

Solid Wavy ice - 4 stars
This past week I have been riding over sidewalks covered with long glaciers of uneven ice, riddled with frozen foot prints. I am amazed at how well they handle this stuff.

Patches of Soft melting snow - 4 stars
You will roll right through these patches without hardly even noticing.

Plowed streets with smooth compacted snow (no ruts) - 4 stars
These areas are fun, and you'll experience great control.

Fresh snow (up to 4 inches) - 3 stars
I have biked in up to 4 inches of fresh powder, and most of the time I was able to maintain good control. I do have to be careful on sharp turns. While turning, I do feel the bike sliding a bit before the studs grab the road, but I haven't fallen yet. If you are going to ride in the snow, I recommend using regular peddles with toe clips but no straps. Riding in snow is challenging, but it is a lot of fun too.

A poorly plowed street with lots of ruts in the snow - 2 stars
You will be in for a wild ride in these conditions. Just take it slow, and again, use the non- clipping types of peddles.

Crusty Snow: Melted during the day and frozen overnight (3 or less inches) - 1 star
Another wild ride, but doable. Very exhausting. After 100 yards or so, I usually give up and move onto the road.

Heaps of Plowed Snow - 0 stars
If your trail is a side walk, and it is covered with 4 or more inches of plowed snow from the street, don't bother. The rolling resistance will be so high that you will find yourself stopping every 100 feet or so, just trying to catch your breath. Therefore, when my path is plowed over, I ride in the street, where all I have to deal with is the smooth ice, and as I said before, these tires are awesome for that.

Regular pavement - 4 stars
They handle well. They are bit heavier, a little noisy, use lower pressure (35 to 45 psi) and therefore have a higher rolling resistance. I actually purchased a second set of wheels, so that I can change my tires quickly.

In conclusion, these tires are awesome for handling ice, and are decent for soft smooth snow.

I purchased my tires over the internet from Peter White Cycles. I attached the link below.

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

I hope this is helpful.
 
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