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Continental Nordic Spike 120 tyre



Excellent extreme conditions tyres but traction could be better under acceleration

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The arrival of Continental Nordic Spike 120 couldn’t have been timed better. 120 steel studs combined with an open, knobbly tread allowed me to cut a steady swathe through otherwise impassable back roads. However, a modicum of caution is required when accelerating – especially over icy tarmac – and their portly 42mm profiles can present compatibility hassles with more traditional ‘cross, touring and hybrid frames.

900g a piece, 84tpi and with a pressure range between 55 and 65psi the Nordic Spike are designed as an extreme conditions tyre. Taking its lead from cross country rubber, the open tread is designed to shovel away loose snow while the spikes bite deep, providing all important traction when negotiating sheet ice.

Three ply casings continue the belt and braces approach, safeguarding the sidewalls against punctures, tears and related damage. Wire beads make them less appealing companions for extreme/expedition touring but they require surprisingly little persuasion aboard most standard section road rims without creeping away at lower pressures. Bigger clearances, or at least careful measuring, are essential on bikes running low profile cantilever or V brakes- a moot point with the latest generation of disc ready cross and expedition tourers but my 1978 Geoff Roberts proved an absolute non starter.

Run at 60psi, the Continentals felt steady but purposeful. Clipping along at consistent 12- 15mph through otherwise abandoned back roads while, the spikes provided plenty of feedback and traction at the crucial points, especially braking and cornering. The joy of remaining upright brought with it a spell of over confident acceleration, causing the spikes to momentarily loose purchase approaching a roundabout.

Mercifully this didn’t spiral into a spill, something I attribute to the girth and greater rotational weight, characteristics that lend themselves equally well to swooping singletrack and even more challenging terrain. Steep climbs and descents demanded a steady, seated rhythm but I never once felt the call to unclip. The Univega and I only wish they produced a 26" MTB variant….


Excellent extreme conditions tyres but traction could be better under acceleration. test report

Make and model: Continental Nordic Spike 120 tyre

Size tested: 700x42

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

"For extreme 700C winter use only

Metal studded tyre for use in snow or icy conditions

120 or 240 studs

3 ply, 84 tpi casing

Open tread clears snow well"

Nothing I'd challenge here.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

120 or 240 studs

3 ply, 84 tpi casing

Open tread clears snow well

55-65psi range

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:

Should last many winters, especially given our relatively short spells of extreme weather.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

900g each, hefty but not that you'd notice in the snow.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:

Very reassuring, especially when cornering and braking.

Rate the product for value:

Excellent value given the quality of construction and overall performance.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Continental know a thing or two about tyres and the Nordic Spike 120 are very competent extreme conditions rubber for ice, snow and slush. a little care needs to be taken when accelerating but if our winters continue as they have, the Nordic Spike will repay their investment many times long as you've sufficient frame clearance.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Pretty much everything given the design brief.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing but a reflective sidewall might be handy and I want a 26 mtb version!!!

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes, would love a 26 inch varient too

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1m 81  Weight: 70 kilos

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

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Jules Brown | 13 years ago

I commute 25km+ daily in Helsinki year-round over the past several years/winters, and I have used various types and brands of studded tyres. I would expect the performance of these 120 stud-versions to be OK for British winters, but definitely not "extreme". You still need to ride very carefully over ice despite the shoulder studs. The price is reasonable and reflects this. One point to note that would prevent me from ever using this tyre, though, is that it seems that the 120-s verison is basically the same as the 240-s version but with the central 120 studs not fitted... this leaves 120 holes that will fill with trapped grit/stones that will press into the tube and eventually result in a flat. At least this is the failure mode with other studded tyres when a stud falls out.

monty dog | 13 years ago

Tried buying a pair of studded tyres lately? Everwhere is out of stock with most not expecting anything for a few weeks. I had some on order with Wiggle due last week - now next month so they cancelled my order!

dave atkinson replied to monty dog | 13 years ago
monty dog wrote:

Tried buying a pair of studded tyres lately? Everwhere is out of stock with most not expecting anything for a few weeks. I had some on order with Wiggle due last week - now next month so they cancelled my order!

time to break out the screws and dremel multi...  3

mrchrispy | 13 years ago

pah...made my own for nowt  1
(bloody heavy though)

dave atkinson replied to mrchrispy | 13 years ago
mrchrispy wrote:

pah...made my own for nowt  1
(bloody heavy though)

heavier than 900g a pop?

i've made my own mtb ones out of a bunch of screws, an old fire xc tyre and a busted inner tube. bit of glue, dremel multi, job's a good'n

haven't actually *used* them yet though  1 stay tuned and i'll report

Shelley Childs | 13 years ago

Conti here - We DO make a 26"x2.1 version! It's called the Spike Claw, available in both 120 stud(shoulder) or 240 stud (all tread area).

As we are due another bout of snow, here are the codes to ask your delaer to order -
Spike Claw 120 - 0115850
Spike Claw 240 - 0115849

dave atkinson | 13 years ago

i don't think you'll need to wait long. metcheck currently has us down for -14°C on saturday night...  13

jayme | 13 years ago

I bought some of these a couple of weeks ago and when i got them fitted all the ice and snow just vanished. I can't wait to give them a go when, if, it comes back.

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