The main reason for this are the steel studs. In the initial review I pointed out that steel studs have a reputation for not lasting long, and now I can say for sure: yes, they really don't. I admittedly rode more than usual this winter and a lot of it was not on snow or ice but just bare pavement. But the degree of wear just isn't acceptable. On the pictures you can see that a lot of studs have completely sunken into the tire. In addition, I have lost two studs in the front tire, despite following the manufacturer's advice to break in the tires by careful asphalt riding for the first 50 km1.
|The studs on the rear tire have completely sunken into the tread|
The problem is exacerbated by the overall low number of studs. 110 studs make for light weight and low rolling resistance, but on a 622mm tire they limit the performance on ice. I got a taste of that when -- somewhat foolishly -- I endeavored to ride over a bike path covered in snow that had been turned into ice by freezing rain. I quickly realized that this probably was not a very good idea but once you're on the ice there is not much you can do. So I kept going at a very slow pace, but after maybe ten meters it was over. Wham! The front wheel slipped and down I went. I landed on my behind and aside from a painful bruise no physical damage was done. The mental damage, a loss of trust in my tire, however, was quite severe. In my post-accident analysis I've come to the conclusion that 110 studs is not enough for riding on uneven ice on a 622mm tire. A 35-622 tire has a circumference of 2168mm, meaning that the studs are about 40mm apart on each side. On uneven ice that's definitely enough to take you down.
Do I have anything good to say about the tires? Well, they have a nice tread which works well in snow. And as long as the studs were still reasonably new they worked well enough for Montreal conditions. Because of the wear issues I can definitely not recommend this tire; however, if Innova would produce the same tire with carbide studs, like the very similar Suomi Tyres W106, it would make a pretty good commuting tire for urban conditions with infrequent ice. For next season, I will probably switch to something like the Schwalbe Marathon Winter with 294 studs.
Product details:Innova TR5263 Snow tire
110 steel studs
700x35C (37-622), also available in 700x45C
Price 40-75 USD
1 This is fairly common, however, even with more expensive tires from Schwalbe or Continental.