Urban Velo

Continental TopContact Winter II Snow Tires

Snow tires are standard equipment on cars, and even for us that live in cities with serious winters studs are relatively seldom seen. Tires with deep tread designed to hook up in snow are the gold standard for most—it only makes sense that the same concept would work on bikes. The Continental TopContact Winter II snow tire is just that, a studless winter tire that rides reaosnably well on bare pavement without sounding like a tank and hooks up in the snow. Available in 26 x 1.9″ and 700 x 37c, the secret is the deep tread and the tons of surface area in contact with the snow and the hundred of edges of the aggressive tread digging in.


  1. PatrickSeptember 16, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Hm. I recently asked my local bike store about winter tires for bikes and the owner looked at me and said: “Don’t ride your bike in winter, because of the salted roads, you’ll be lucky if your bike makes it through the season.”

  2. ZekeSeptember 16, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Wouldnt regular old mtb or cx tires work just as well? I dont think this is much of a step between nobbies and studs

  3. scottSeptember 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    They don’t cost much more that cross tires which is good. I think a product test may be in order.

  4. KibbeeSeptember 18, 2011 at 4:46 am

    I had some doubts about using non-studded tires in the winter. The biggest problem I see is ice, not snow. And it doesn’t matter what you do to the tread pattern, a bike tire without studs isn’t going to work on ice. Once you start to slide on the ice, there isn’t anything you can do to recover, unless you can hopefully make it to part of the road without ice.

  5. SteveSeptember 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Ice is definitely the issue. A snow tire might be useful on trails or areas where snow accumulates and stays. But on city streets, it turns overnight into ice sheets and ridges. Nothing short of studs will be effective on ice. I know: I ride in Iowa winters and would not do it without my studded ice tires.

  6. WillemOctober 22, 2011 at 3:42 am

    I used these last winter, and I was impressed. They were much better than normal tyres, even on icy roads. Even braking with full power the tyre did not slip. I never lost traction in any situation. I can imagine that there will be conditions in which you would need something more drastic, but for many people and in many conditions I think these are the perfect compromise. They are light,roll as well as any high quality medium tread tyre, and they remain soft and comfortably flexible at low temperatures.

  7. ColinNovember 12, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    I ride through the winter in Minneapolis on my single-speed mountain bike equipped with wider than normal knobbies (2.3–though some people around here see those tires as laughingly skinny).

    Yep, you certainly can slip on ice so be very careful when making corners. Other than that I’ve never had any problem with riding on knobbies. I believe you can even handle snow better on fat knobbies than with skinnier studded tires.

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