Temperatures dropping and snowy roads don't need to be an excuse for you to put away your bike for the winter. With the 45NRTH Xerxes winter commuting becomes that much easier. The Xerxes will have you feeling confident and more importantly will keep you safe to and from home all winter long.
Winter commuters know that the biggest hindrance to a successful ride (aside from the cold) is the unpredictable road conditions. Hidden black ice is treacherous and if you don''t come prepared, it can be terribly unforgiving. The Xerxes comes equipped with 140 concave tip studs that come in handy when faced with slick road conditions. Its narrow profile will slice through snow and claw in, avoiding skidding and keeping you moving down the road.
Perfect for the road bike commuter, the 45NRTH Xerxes will keep your commute alive as the calendar turns and the mercury dips.
I live in Chicago and ride my bike to commute to work every day. This is my first year doing so and I wanted to be prepared for a Chicago winter. Chicago isn't quite as cold or as snowy as some places, but we usually get a few good snowfalls over the course of the winter and in between we have fluctuating temps going down into the single digits and even negatives (Fahrenheit). This makes the streets a mix of snow, ice chunks and flat rutted ice. Normal tires will work when it's fresh snow, but once the ice sets in, you need something with more grip to keep you upright.
So, studded tires were on the "winterize the bike" list. I did some looking around and there seemed to really only be about three manufacturers who even make studded tires: Suomi (Nokian), Schwalbe and 45nrth. I wanted something not dramatically larger than my normal commute tire which is a 700x30mm G-One. My commuter has somewhat limited tire clearance in the rear and although I could probably fit a 35mm tire, it'd be tight with the added clearance needed for studs. I also wanted to avoid too much extra weight and rolling resistance from a larger tire, so I was hoping to find a 30mm studded tire. All three manufacturers make studded tires in this size, but Schwalbe Winter Studded tires are almost impossible to find in 30mm unless you want to buy from eBay. Suomi are a little easier to find, but they're not generally distributed here in the states as much and information on them is sort of hard to find. So that left me looking at these Xerxes tires from 45nrth. Reviews were sort of thin, and they aren't cheap. But Tree Fort Bikes had a good deal on them and 45nrth has a good reputation. 45nrth are a Minnesota-based company and I figured if anyone could make tires to deal with a Mid-west winter, it'd be them. So I decided to go for it rather than waiting for the Schwalbes to come back in stock at another online retailer, and I'm glad I did.
So far, these tires have done a great job of handling the worst that Chicago can throw at me. I still don't feel particularly comfortable plowing over heavily rutted ice at high speeds, but I'm also not afraid of the bike slipping out from under me on normal ice and if I occasionally get off into a dodgy rutted parking lane, careful steering and pedalling will get me back out in one piece. These _are_ heavier tires than I'm used to, so there's a bit more effort required to push myself along, and snow/slush just makes that worse, but when it's gross out, I wouldn't want to be without them.
When I first rode them in snow, I was riding them near the top of their pressure range and I found them to be super finicky about riding over built up ice chunks, usually causing the entire bike to suddenly shift an inch or two over off the ice(!). I found that letting just 5lbs of pressure out of the tires has made this a lot more predictable. I'm a big guy and I'm deathly afraid of having a pinch flat when it's in the low teens out, so I probably won't let much more air out, but know that these do get a lot better if you just don't run them at the highest pressure when the roads are snowy/icy out.
Overall, these are great tires. So far I've put about 150 miles on them and they're holding up well. I lost about 6 studs in the initial 50 or so miles and none since then, so remember to get replacements and a stud insertion tool.