Urban Velo

Nokian Hakkapeliitta Studded Tires

nokian hakkapeliitta a10 snow tiresIn Finland, where 25% of the country lies above the arctic circle, rolling on ice and snow is an accepted part of life. About 90% of Finnish vehicles run studded tires between December and March. And of course the tire of choice is Nokian.

Nokian has been making tires in Nokia, Finland since 1904. The tires shown here are 700×32 Hakkapeliitta A10′s. It’s plain to see these aren’t the most aggressively studded tires on the market. They’re designed to be reasonably smooth rolling tires that offer added traction on patches of ice. The tread is deep enough to negotiate slush and snow, but if you’re looking for extreme condition tires Nokian has other tires for you.

The 700×32 A10′s weigh in at a beefy 800g each, thanks to a wire bead and 72 steel studs. The steel studs have carbide centers to help prolong their life and usefulness. The rubber is relatively soft (58A durometer) and the 22tpi sidewalls are very sturdy.

Of course if you’re not constantly riding in snow and ice, these tires aren’t for you. The tires are only rated to 58psi. While they’ll get you home safe all winter long, 58psi in a road bike tire makes for slow going. And studded tires pretty much suck on paved surfaces—even with their relatively low stud-count, the Hakkapeliitta’s make sharp turns feel sketchy at speed. And the sound of metal studs scraping the tarmac just might drive some people crazy.

Hakkapeliitta A10′s retail for about $45 to $55 per tire, but good luck finding them. People in the north tend to snatch these up as quick as they’re offered. In fact, I recently heard that a Minneapolis bike shop sold more than 50 of these tires in 3 days. There are several other companies that offer studded tires, and even one discount mail order company has their own brand. But the word on the street is some of them just don’t hold up like the originals.

Visit www.suomityres.com for more info.

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  1. JoeJanuary 12, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Schwalbe also makes a comparable tire — I’ve been running ‘em through Boston’s snowier-than-normal winter & having good results.

  2. PeterJanuary 12, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I’m one of those Minneapolis guys who picked up a pair of these suckers. They’re expensive but worth every penny when you’re navigating the snowy streets.

    As to the discount mail order, I’ve owned a pair of Innova studded tires and they arn’t worth a damn. The studs wear out in a few weeks then rust, getting red residue everywhere.

  3. JoukoJanuary 12, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    Helsinki, Finland today: it’s 40 F/5 C degrees and all the snow’s gone.

    Here’s the Arctic Circle philosophy: an A10 rear wheel, and two front wheels. One with a slick tire and the other one with 106 (or 240) studs. I love the noise.

    The A10 feels OK on tarmac if it’s inflated to max pressure. One rear wheel in winter = one cassette/chain ruined at the same time.

    Oh did I mention the brakes & rims? Don’t get me started. Up here it’s WET and DARK.

    Good luck with urbanvelo, Jeff! I got the first issue from you when I was sipping my java at Enrico’s two summers ago. I did my best to spread the gospel. Now you have fans here, seven time zones away. Cheers!

  4. Early ManJanuary 12, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I disagree that these tires are only suitable for people constantly riding in snow or ice. If there is some probability of hitting black ice on your commute on a regular basis then these tires provide a lot of peace of mind on cold dark mornings. And I agree with Jouko, the noise these tires make is wonderful–like riding on gravel, turning every urban commute into an adventure on unfinished roads (one can dream). They are slower, but since I cut my winter bike commute in half using the metro for part of the trip, the slower pace ensures decent time in the saddle. Turning is much better with a “beefier” Nokian (294 studs in the Gazza Extreme)–it is the low stud count that makes a studded tire feel sketchy in the corners.

  5. Urban JeffJanuary 12, 2009 at 9:25 pmAuthor

    Ha, I remember you, Jouko. I hope all’s well in Finland!

  6. JimJanuary 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I just picked up a pair of Hakkapeliitta W106s a little over a month ago from Peter White Cycles. They stock a large number of different Nokian & Schwalbe studded tires and his site was helpful in deciding what type of studded tire to buy. The link to the page is http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp

    We haven’t had a lot of snow yet in Pittsburgh, but those days when we have, I would have never ventured out on my normal slick road tires. With the Hakkapeliittas, I’ve gotten good traction, even on snow covered roads.

  7. JonJanuary 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Swear by Nokian’s Freddie’s Revenz here in Winnipeg, Canada, where it’s been -27ºC for weeks (-38ºC yesterday morning!). I bought two at horrendous expense, but have fournd that I only require one on the front. Winter riding’s a breeze with these …

  8. KirkJanuary 26, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve been using Nokian’s since 97′-98′ various models for messenger work here in Anchorage, Alaska. They’re good you should use them too. I’m really fond of the 700c W-240 for the rutted ice we get around here.

  9. J RMSJanuary 28, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Im glad to hear about the innova tire because I was about to purchase a pair (in my 2 day research for reviews got to this page). Im in Wisconsin and like Jon said, it has been in the deep freeze around these area. Anyhow, Im not gonna get the studded tires; anyone knows about the Maxxis Locust or the Ritchey SpeedMax Pro?

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