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Old 12-08-2010, 12:35 PM   #1
JAVAR WRX
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Default Snow tire dilema

Hey guys I'm ready to buy my winter tires set, I'm getting the General Altimax Artic.
But I live in CNY and I don't know if I should get them with the studs or studless?

Any other guy from around this area or anybody from a place where it snows like crazy. Any suggestions with this set that I'm getting?
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:32 PM   #2
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I watched a review on the tires and the studded/studless tires performed very similarly except on ice. The studded tires will give slightly more traction on ice. The other thing mentioned in the review was that the studded tires make SIGNIFICANTLY more noise when driving on dry roads than the studless ones. Just something to keep in mind!
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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If your #1 priority is ice traction, and typical temps are above 5F, and noise does not bother you, then get the studs.
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Old 12-09-2010, 07:42 AM   #4
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Studs are only mildly helpful on glare ice compared to studless ice+snow. On any other surface they're useless or actually detrimental. They're also really annoying on dry roads.

That said, unless you have a reason, I would buy tires without stud locations if you won't be studding them. The holes and tread blocks that support studs compromise the design of the tire. That's just me, though. *shrug*
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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Studded snow tires compromise your overall handling on wet and dry roads and forget about performance, i would recomend a performance winter non studded, Vredestein wintrac extreem would be awesome for you
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:58 AM   #6
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i wouldn't get studded tires. they're louder than you think and i didn't notice much of an advantage from having them when on ice. i think they help more when you're trying to get going, not when you're stopping.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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I went to school at colgate in hamilton, ny. Dont do studs. All you get up there is fresh snow really and they plow the main roads rather well. I did fine with my hakka q non studded for 2 winters up there. Never got stuck and never really lost control.
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Old 12-09-2010, 02:55 PM   #8
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like its been said, studs work ONLY on ice but todays studless perform just as well if not better in ice conditions. You'll have way less traction on wet and dry roads, and they don't help in snow at all. Not to mention with high speed driving studs can actually shoot out, although its not very common.

This tirerack video has very good information. And think, its 3 years old and studless have goten even better
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:06 PM   #9
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To be fair, those are winterforces. Not exactly the pinnacle of studded tires.

I still think studs are a poor choice, especially given the conditions described by highjumpharry, and confirmed by my own experiences in the area. You simply don't get a ton of real ice up there.
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:26 PM   #10
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^^ never stated what tires they used. they had multiple cars with different tires. That was one of the tires, not sure of the other studded but i know they used the bridgestone ws-60 and michelin x-ice for studdless. Just to clarify things.... hopefully luke can chime in to comfirm or deny this
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Old 12-09-2010, 03:29 PM   #11
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Not sure where you live but studs are not legal in some places as they are bad for the road when its not ice covered. At least thats that last I heard on that issue. I havent had any problems yet with a dedicated snow tire.
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Old 12-09-2010, 04:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wakeboard_dude5 View Post
^^ never stated what tires they used.
Michelin X-Ice, Dunlop Graspic DS-2, and Blizzak WS60. The studded tire was a Winterforce. Kind of a lame tire to use for the studded section.

Anyway, At ice races I've seen little to no benefit to street studs over studless ice+snow tires. I've won multiple events on WS-60s out of a slew of cars using a large variety of studded and studless tires. Typically the studs work moderately OK (but not stellar) on polished ice, and quickly go wrong from there.

If you want a benefit from studs, you really need something less wimpy than the typical ~100 street legal studs. These, for example, are about 3 times faster on ice than a street legal snow tire of any make:





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Old 12-09-2010, 04:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper1rfa View Post

Anyway, At ice races I've seen little to no benefit to street studs over studless ice+snow tires.
Fundamentally different application though. The same also goes for the above Tirerack tests.

The point of street studs are to dig into the underlying pavement, through the thin layer of glare ice, to grab. While ice racing and on an ice rink, you are JUST digging into the ice with no hard backing and using those brittle holes that the studs punch to try to gain traction.

So, in an actual glare ice condition on the street, I would expect the studded winterforces to absolutely trounce the other tires in the test. While that doesn't mean they are the right choice, it's something to consider when looking at those test results.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:31 PM   #14
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I guess. Pretty much all of the "actual glare ice", by which I mean ice with no snow on top, that I've seen on roads where I've done significant driving (northern new hampshire, massachusetts, central new york, and minnesota) has been thick, lumpy ice caused by partially melted and subsequently re-frozen snow. The smoothest ice I've seen on a road was in minnesota, where some interesting weather conditions created a 1/4 to 1/2" thick layer of perfectly smooth ice. Extremely thin layers of black ice are, in my experience, extremely rare. It may be more common elsewhere, but I don't see much of it in new england.

I have a hard time believing the design intent of studs is to break through to pavement, especially given the typical protrusion of a standard stud.
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Old 12-09-2010, 06:37 PM   #15
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We get it all the time in western PA. Typically, it will be a light dusting of snow that has had heavy traffic before it's been treated. The traffic turns it into a very very thin layer of ice that's impossible to stop on with a grade, even with pretty hardcore winter tires.

Glare ice really isn't a heavy winter area (like the ones you listed) phenomenon. It occurs when you have a spell of cold weather with a little bit of warming to near freezing. This is typical around here. It will stay in the low 20s for a week and then warm to near freezing with snow. The traffic melts the wet snow which then refreezes on the cold pavement.

The air temp isn't cold enough to create a thick layer of ice, but the water right next to the pavement turns into ice because it's well below freezing.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper1rfa View Post
Studs are only mildly helpful on glare ice compared to studless ice+snow. On any other surface they're useless or actually detrimental. They're also really annoying on dry roads.

That said, unless you have a reason, I would buy tires without stud locations if you won't be studding them. The holes and tread blocks that support studs compromise the design of the tire. That's just me, though. *shrug*
and

Quote:
Originally Posted by wtwwholesaletire View Post
Studded snow tires compromise your overall handling on wet and dry roads and forget about performance, i would recomend a performance winter non studded, Vredestein wintrac extreem would be awesome for you
Check data from the last 5 years, from either of these sources (and many other European tests):

http://translate.google.com/translat...TION_ID%3D2173

http://translate.google.com/translat...kktest-2010%2F

Hard numbers don't lie - like I said, trace the data back, on Auto Review you can go back to the 2005 test, the last time I checked. In each case, modern premium studded tires clearly out-perform their "friction" (known as "Studless Ice & Snows" in the North American market, because this is the only place in the world where "studdable winters" exist, as in other areas of the world, those "studdable" winter tires come studded, from the factory) cousins, even in clear-dry and clear-wet conditions.

The notion that, somehow, studded tires are dangerous under such conditions is old thinking, fitting of our fathers and theirs in-turn: if you were to make such an assertion today, based on that same data, you'd also have to concede that modern "Studless Ice & Snow" tires are every bit as "dangerous."

Like SubLGT said, if you can tolerate the noise, and if your local/traveled-areas' laws are favorable, *AND* your conditions favor best-traction from studded tires (more on this in just a minute) - and your biggest worry is ice traction - then don't hesitate: go studded.

But if any of the above is unacceptable or unfavorable to your use of studded tires, then don't stud. It's as simple as that.

Now, to go back to the "conditions favor" part of the equation -

I've often wondered why, in Tire Rack's ice-rink tests, the studded tires don't seem to perform as well as they would otherwise have been thought to do, based on the countless European tests that bear out conclusions that truly do cross-check and cross-validate.

Here's the answer: ice is a highly variable surface, and one part of that equation is temperature - that's something that, again, SubLGT noted above, in his recommendation.

What do I mean?

From the Russian http://www.zr.ru/a/16906/ , test figures for braking distance, on ice -

Quote:
-19C (-2 to -3F) and colder: studless tires are better on ice, because the ice surface may be too hard for studs to bite effectively.

-13C (8 to 9F) : studded and studless tires are more or less similar.

-5C (23F): studded average braking distance (from 50km/h down to 5 km/h) 29 m, studless ~55 m.

0C (32F): studded 33 m, studless ~82 m.
^ Translation courtesy of brother error, of LegacyGT.com .

Now, from that, here's a very interesting way to see the data....

Quote:
Originally Posted by outahere
Very interesting indeed. At -19C (-2.2F) the best studless tire requires 9.8m less to stop on ice than the worst studded tire. A significant advantage!

At -1C (30.2F) the best studded tire requires 58.3m less to stop on ice than the worst studless tire. A monumental advantage!
^ That's from outahere - you've all heard of me speak of him here; he's one of the handful of true winter tire gurus on LegacyGT.com.

Now, that illustrates something very, very, very important:

Depending on where you live and what your winter conditions are, your choice in the "ultimate" winter tire can well hinge on something as seemingly unimportant as temperatures, alone. Tire Rack's data illustrates this well - on their groomed ice surfaces, on a cold ice-rink surface, studded tires demonstrates braking distances more similar to that of their non-studded direct-counterpart.

But this isn't all - the data also brings up the interesting observation of the premium studded winter tires performing better in the clear: something that's directly contrary to all the oldthink that our parents and their parents put us up to...something commented on by our hard-core winter-tire European counterparts, a little while ago.

Again, it goes back to the tire's composition.

Current technology demands that studded tires be of a "harder" compound than their "Studless Ice & Snow" cousins. This is seen in the temperature-related data above: where it's too cold for even the studs to chip into the ice/hardpack to effect traction, "Studless Ice & Snow" tires, with their compound so soft as to still be flexible at such extreme temperatures, start to come into their own.

It is, unfortunately, this very softness that makes the tires a compromise in objective (i.e. hard numbers) clear-dry and clear-wet performance tests: they're so soft that they simply cannot offer the resistance necessary to effect good performance, under those conditions. Look at the relatively atrocious straight-line braking figures for any "Studless Ice & Snow" tire under such conditions, the numbers tell their own tale, and supports this current theory.

The take-home is that currently, *_ALL_* tires are a compromise: it doesn't matter if you run "the best" premium studded winter tire, "the best" "Studless Ice & Snow," or the best "Performance Winter" - each of those tires still have their specific weaknesses, just as they are blessed with their special abilities.

Match the right tire to your anticipated driving condition and your personal needs - that's really all that matters.

A person who lives in an area that sees temperatures well below -10 deg. F. will likely benefit most by going with modern premium "Studless Ice & Snow" tires - but that doesn't mean that the person who lives in a black-ice/glare-ice prone area that's significantly warmer (i.e. that typical wintertime temperatures hovers around freezing and never really dips far into even the single digits) is necessarily "wrong" by choosing the same tire, particularly if either they or their primary passengers will not tolerate the noise generated by studded tires, or if they have concerns for tire-restrictions where they live or often travel. Similarly, a person who specifically wants to keep their vehicle's sporting aspirations and is willing to compromise a bit of wintry-precipitation capabilities cannot be said to be wrong for choosing a "Performance Winter," even if they lived in an area that sees significant snowfall.

Every tire has a purpose: match your needs and desires to the capabilities of the tire, and know where your compromises/weakness exists so that you can take special care under such conditions.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:34 PM   #17
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I never said dangerous, I said detrimental. A tire without studs will be better on dry roads than that very same tire with studs.


What I did say is that given my experience both driving and racing with street studded tires, as well as my experience with the area the OP will be living in, studs would offer little or no benefit with a lot of drawbacks.

There are certainly conditions which would warrant the full time use of studded tires. In the US those conditions are few and far between.
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper1rfa View Post
I never said dangerous, I said detrimental. A tire without studs will be better on dry roads than that very same tire with studs.
If that's the case, please explain the 5-years' worth of data from Auto Review, and the last two years' from the NAF. That's quantitative data that goes directly against what you're saying is true.

The "studdable winter" sub-genre is a uniquely North-American sub-genre. A winter tire designed to use studs, without those studs, is simply that same tire without studs, and will not see an enhancement in performance factors: and will see a decrease in performance factors which were specifically enhanced due to the mechanical intervention of the studs.

Quote:
In the US those conditions are few and far between.
So most areas in the US sees winter temperatures below -3F ?

The only conditions under which a studded tire's performance is eclipsed by its "Studless Ice & Snow" cousins is when the temperature drops that low. Yet, even so, the hardcore European reviewers - who actually do see conditions more severe than most of us do here in North America - still give preference to the studded tires.

In the OP's specific area, your opinion may (or may not, I honestly do not know, which was why I never made assertions either way, in that regard ) be valid, but to take the broad approach to denouncing studded tires as you (and others) did in this thread flies directly in the face of all available hard data, data which has been accrued over the last half-decade by multiple highly respected sources. That's the part of it that doesn't make sense, and that's the part of it that I object to.

Tires are compromises - there are strengths and weaknesses of each, and these can be quantified by objective testing.

Last edited by LGT+WRX; 12-10-2010 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 12-11-2010, 07:14 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAVAR WRX View Post
Hey guys I'm ready to buy my winter tires set, I'm getting the General Altimax Artic.
But I live in CNY and I don't know if I should get them with the studs or studless?//
Post this in your regional forum, otherwise your question will devolve into "how many angels can dance on the head of a stud?"

Studded tires are the norm in NNE where road surfaces are snow-covered for extended periods and you need all the traction you can get.

The Altimax Arctic has a good rep for those conditions.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LGT+WRX View Post
So most areas in the US sees winter temperatures below -3F ?
No, most areas in the US don't see roads that are covered in raw ice for a significant portion of the year.

Quote:
The only conditions under which a studded tire's performance is eclipsed by its "Studless Ice & Snow" cousins is when the temperature drops that low. Yet, even so, the hardcore European reviewers - who actually do see conditions more severe than most of us do here in North America - still give preference to the studded tires.
I'll be honest, I couldn't care less what the "hardcore reviewers" say... . What I've seen are laptimes - lots of them. Smooth ice, rough ice, snow covered ice, wet ice, dry ice, and temps ranging from just below freezing to -40*F. Everything. Under none of those conditions did the studs show laptimes (which will reflect everything, acceleration, braking, and cornering) which were significantly, or at all, better. We're talking a second or two over as much as 2 minutes at best. On several occasions studless tires outperformed the studded tires, even when parts of the track were completely wiped smooth. And I've been up against some excellent studded tires (hakkas and other premium tires). I've even driven cars back to back with and without studs, and frankly the grip provided by studs is fairly underwhelming. And that's with lots of exposed ice, which if we're honest isn't all that common. *especially* where the OP lives.

Quote:
Tires are compromises - there are strengths and weaknesses of each, and these can be quantified by objective testing.
Very true. I think it's rare that the advantages of studs outweighs the disadvantages, even if the only disadvantages are the ridiculously annoying noise and the damage done to road surfaces.


EDIT: to clarify my stance on automotive reviews: I've seen way too much crap spouted by well respected outlets to take most testing without significant salt. Things like the tireracks "here's a crappy tire and a bunch of good tires" studded vs. studless test, or that test C&D did with a jetta and upsized wheel packages. Those tests, and tons of others, were pretty pointless.

Last edited by sniper1rfa; 12-11-2010 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:17 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniper1rfa View Post
No, most areas in the US don't see roads that are covered in raw ice for a significant portion of the year.
^ Exactly - so the question becomes one of what specific people are preparing for: and the "right" or "wrong" of the decision melds into, instead, a "better" versus "worse" for those specific conditions.

Quote:
I'll be honest, I couldn't care less what the "hardcore reviewers" say... . What I've seen are laptimes - lots of them. Smooth ice, rough ice, snow covered ice, wet ice, dry ice, and temps ranging from just below freezing to -40*F. Everything. Under none of those conditions did the studs show laptimes (which will reflect everything, acceleration, braking, and cornering) which were significantly, or at all, better. We're talking a second or two over as much as 2 minutes at best. On several occasions studless tires outperformed the studded tires, even when parts of the track were completely wiped smooth. And I've been up against some excellent studded tires (hakkas and other premium tires). I've even driven cars back to back with and without studs, and frankly the grip provided by studs is fairly underwhelming. And that's with lots of exposed ice, which if we're honest isn't all that common. *especially* where the OP lives.
Again, I respect your opinion as one based on where the OP lives - I have no personal experience there (at least not in wintry conditions), which is why I did not offer a personal recommendation.

And as I suspected, you've seen lap-times: but the problem with the lap times is the variability of driver skill (given that you've done back-to-back drives, this can be ruled out), driver performance, vehicle differences, as well as the variability of the ice surface (which you specifically cited). Look at the Car & Driver 2009 comparo of the four Michelin tires - the lapping data for the MXM4 "all-season" and the Pilot PA3 "Performance Winter" would, at first glance, seem very similar, but the data plot clearly shows where the Pilot PA3 delivers on its promises as a proper winter tire. With lap time as the sole determinant, without being able to correlate specific data with specific track conditions, we are left with the confounding factor of not knowing the precise "why" or "how."

I'm not saying that what you've seen/experienced in terms of ice-racing doesn't apply to the streets: rather, it's important to realize where the shortcomings are in taking this kind of data and extrapolating it. More below.....

Quote:
EDIT: to clarify my stance on automotive reviews: I've seen way too much crap spouted by well respected outlets to take most testing without significant salt. Things like the tireracks "here's a crappy tire and a bunch of good tires" studded vs. studless test, or that test C&D did with a jetta and upsized wheel packages. Those tests, and tons of others, were pretty pointless.
^ And that's precisely what I mean - no one test can possibly paint a full picture of what we see in the real-world, where there are just too many variables at-play: the old "you'll never believe what happened, doc" scenario exists all too commonly, on the streets. For those of us who have driven a significant number of miles, we can all recount butthole puckering tales for which we can offer little explanation.

But this doesn't mean that those tests are pointless - particularly if they are well controlled.

Look at just this set of data: (a) Tire Rack's ice-rink tests comparing studded to "Studless Ice & Snow" tires (b) the NAF and Auto Review's data regarding the same, and (c) your ice-racing observations.

At first-glance, they seem opposing, so the quick assumption is that *something* must be wrong with either one or more of that set.

But that's not true - given what we know, thanks to yet another set of tests and observations, of the variable of temperature and ice-surface conditions, we can reconcile the observations.

What I've been trying to say in the posts above isn't that your recommendations for the OP is incorrect (for I simply could not render an opinion, myself, as I don't have enough experience in that very area) or that your opinions are invalid. Rather, it is to focus specifically on what I had specifically quoted of your response (and that of wtwwholesaletire's) - that based on current data, you just can't make those sweeping accusations and assumptions. That they are findings which must be viewed with as much validity - given their specific context - as those which you've based your opinions on, and which deserve to be debated, and not overlooked or dismissed.



Quote:
I think it's rare that the advantages of studs outweighs the disadvantages, even if the only disadvantages are the ridiculously annoying noise and the damage done to road surfaces.
I truly think that the value of studded tires depends on the particular end-user's needs.

Two scenarios strike close to home:

(1) My wife outright refuses to put up with that much noise. I can well imagine others to have the same NVH concerns.

(2) Legality, for travel - while ajoining states' laws are permissive, two of our typical destination states do not allow studded tire use.

As for the damage to road-surfaces?

What about the municipal snow-plows.


-----


Quote:
Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
Post this in your regional forum, otherwise your question will devolve into "how many angels can dance on the head of a stud?"


No, there's no difference where the OP posts - the facts are what they are, as they stand.

Quote:
Studded tires are the norm in NNE where road surfaces are snow-covered for extended periods and you need all the traction you can get.
^ And that is what I'm starting to question.

Conventional wisdom left over from many years ago would seem to suggest that in the harshest winter regions, we go with studded tires.

The Russians and other hard-winter Europeans suggest the same.

But given their own observations of the temperature-dependent traction and ice-surface dependent performance differences, I'm left to wonder exactly why this is so: wouldn't, in these cases, a modern premium "Studless Ice & Snow" be preferable, particularly if the end-user's most often traveled road surfaces either do NOT, ever, during those months, see complete clearing or is at-risk for re-freeze (and see road-temperatures that are favorable to the friction tires)?

Last edited by LGT+WRX; 12-11-2010 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 12-12-2010, 10:32 AM   #22
Rubin
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Hey guys I'm ready to buy my winter tires set, I'm getting the General Altimax Artic.
But I live in CNY and I don't know if I should get them with the studs or studless?

Any other guy from around this area or anybody from a place where it snows like crazy. Any suggestions with this set that I'm getting?
Bottom line . . . 99% of the time studless is the way to go. Last winter I swapped my wife's '09 Cayenne-S's Conti 4x4 all-season tires for a set of Blizzak's new DM-V1's. OMFG. These tires turned that truck into a snow leopard. I literally drove through TWO FEET of snow like it wasn't even there. I went up my 15% grade driveway, which was a solid sheet of ice, and never spun even one tire. You simply can't overstate how capable a good set of studless snow tires can be. Unless you're racing on a frozen lake or get a ton of ice, you probably don't need studs.
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:38 PM   #23
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Unless you're racing on a frozen lake or get a ton of ice, you probably don't need studs.
^ Again, it all depends -

"Ice racing" isn't solely dependent on studded street-winter tires: there exists both specialty studded tires for such use, and also used are modern "Studless Ice & Snows."

Similarly, just because there's a lot of ice around doesn't necessarily mean that, automatically, a studded tire will be best: current data suggests that as temperatures transition below the -5 deg. F. point, as long as the ice isn't perfectly glass-surface smooth, "Studless Ice & Snow" tires can outperform their studded cousins by a healthy margin as the former's compounding begins to really come into play, while the latter's studs are no longer capable of chipping into the ultra-cold ice.

The choice between a studded tire or a "Studless Ice & Snow" again should depend on end-user preference in terms of cabin-noise concerns, legality/use concerns, as well as noting the actual physical conditions most often encountered (i.e. the temperature variable).
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:59 PM   #24
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..........current data suggests that as temperatures transition below the -5 deg. F. point, as long as the ice isn't perfectly glass-surface smooth, "Studless Ice & Snow" tires can outperform their studded cousins by a healthy margin..........
When I look at the Russian data, I see the transition point being around -15C, which converts to +5F.

".....Engineers Continental and Michelin, for example, argue that the temperature of the "equinox" studded and non-studded tires - 15 Celsius......."
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Old 12-12-2010, 06:55 PM   #25
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^ Wait a minute, did I do the friggin conversions all wrong?!!!!! Arrragh!!!!! '

Wait, nope, I just checked - my calculator is right, I simply had my notes all wrong!!!!! WTF, totally didn't make sense, as I have error's pull from the Russian source correctly inserted with temperature conversions, but managed to insert a negative sign in front of the flippin' 5!!!!!! Now that's flocking' embarrassing.. :redface:

Thank you, SubLGT, for that correction!!!!!!!!
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