A Continental Spike Claw 240 Review
On Monday morning I awoke to a surprise coating of ice and snow covering the ground. My first thoughts were that this would be an opportunity to try my new studded ice tires! Before I made the decision to swap the tires, I took a stroll in the front yard to determine the slickness. It was a coating of frozen rain with a light snow covering, and quite slippery to walk on. I decided to mount the Continental Spike Claw 240 tires that I purchased at the Bicycle Authority, and see what they’d do for me. The “240” refers to the number of studs per tire.
After mounting the tires, I headed down the driveway and into the street. I gave a couple little brake checks to see how the back end would do. There was traction where I had previously slipped trying to walk. Once underway, the studs on the ground made a crackling sound. The sound reminded me of bacon sizzling in a pan!
After a short distance, I began to relax on ground that would normally make my commute very tense. I had to remind myself to slow down when approaching corners, not being sure how the studs would handle a turn. I figured, why hit the ground after spending so much money on these things? I would experiment with corners gradually, and not get too excited. The confidence built as my commute went on. The extra traction made darting across traffic much safer. This is always a problem on icy days. Slippery tires are like delayed reaction time.
At lunch, we headed up to Ash Canyon for a recreational ride. The ice had melted, but the canyon trails were full of snow and mud. This was my opportunity to see how these tires would transition into different terrain. The studs had no effect in these conditions, but the very tall knobbies of the Spike Claw dug deep into the snow and mud.
The Spike Claws come in a 2.1 inch width, and weigh about 970 grams per tire. That’s a lot of weight, and you feel it on the climb. The casing height is medium tall. Bigger than a racing tire, but not as tall as an “all mountain” or freeride tire. They weren’t as confidence inspiring as the big tires I normally run on my single speed, but certainly not horrible either. Considering the muddy conditions we were in, I thought they handled well, transitioning between ice, snow, and mud quite nicely.
At well over $100 per pair, the Continental Spike Claw is not for everyone. But if you rely on your bike for transportation in any weather, I highly recommend a pair. After crashing twice on the ice already this season, I wish I would’ve had these tires earlier. Commuting in ice was my biggest challenge, and these tires took care of the problem. Recreational riding at lunch was not compromised thanks to the aggressive knobby design. Thanks to these tires, there is now one less excuse not to ride!