Having moved to the Frozen North, I decided to get some studded tyres; we had a proper freeze last week, so I fitted them. I am arrogant enough to think someone else might be interested in my experiences with them, so here you are :-)
My bike's a 2006-vintage Dawes Super Galaxy, so I went for Nokkian A10
tyres (from a Finnish manufacturer, but I bought them via Germany's Starbike
), as I wasn't entirely sure the Marathon Winters would fit under the mudguards. Getting them on was a bit of a PITA (this may partly be because I'm fortunate enough not to have to change tyres very often!); if I didn't have a dynohub, I'd be seriously thinking about a spare front wheel! Particularly, one kept on unseating, although it seems fine now it's on and inflated.
On ice and snow, I've been pretty impressed. Obviously, these tyres don't magically make ice a grippy surface, but I've felt pretty in control over ice patches and snowfall - there's enough grip there. Indeed, I now feel more secure riding over a partly-iced surface than walking over it!
The obvious downsides are rolling resistance and noise. Partly because of the studs, and partly because of the lower pressure (about 58 psi compared to the ~90 I inflate my Marathons to), they do feel like harder work to ride, and seem to add ~10% to my journey time. A friend described the noise as being like riding with angry Rice Krispies, and it's certainly noticable. Slightly alarmingly, it sounds rather like the noise of riding on a flat tyre, which takes a bit of getting used to! I'll be leaving these on now until the weather gets more Spring-like, so I will no doubt be used to it by then...
In summary, I think they're money well spent, but that may be because icy roads are rather commoner round here than when I lived in the Midlands. If we get some properly cold weather, I might take them for a night ride round Loch Ness...