This has been one of those winters where I have been pretty darned stoked to be testing studded tires. It seems like every other weekend has been “studded tire only” conditions due to a big melt and freeze cycle. During this time the 4.6″ studded Terrene Wazia tires have become my best friend because they have allowed me to ride anything deep from fresh powder to glare ice and everything in between.
For all the geeky numbers on these tires, check out my first look at the Wazia line up. Since writing that, winter has kicked into gear and I have predominantly run the 4.6″ light casing version of the Wazia. I have bounced them around between a couple different pairs of wheels and bikes running them on everything from 70mm up to 100mm rims. During that time I had a chance to do some back-to-back-to-back testing against the studded 4″ PSC Vee Tire Snow Avalanche and the 5″ 45NRTH Dillinger 5. The results of that testing was discussed in the Stud Show podcast.
The performance of the Wazia’s has really impressed me. It is one of what I would call the “Tweener” tires that fall somewhere between the bookends of 4″ and 5″ tires coming in at right about 4.5″ on a “tweener” 80mm rim (in between 65ish mm summer and 100mm deep winter fat setups). For all but the most extreme soft conditions that tweener size gives you plenty of float without weighing and slowing you down a ton when it isn’t warranted.
On top of the “tweener” size, the knobs also fall on the aggressive end of the “tweener” category not being excessively chunky nor too skimpy to grab onto stuff when needed. Drive traction was excellent in even the loosest conditions surpassing its direct rival the Dillinger 5. It isn’t a Lou or 2XL in super soft stuff but for its size it was pretty darned tenacious. Cornering traction was also good but there was slight tendency for the front tire to push and slip sideways in hard cornering when the bike was more upright. This was especially true on narrower rims (70mm) and was diminished on 100mm rims. The tires transitioned over to higher lean angles nicely with no weird transitional zones.
On snow, both drive and cornering modulation was good with a nice transition between gripping and slipping if they did let go. They allow you to feather the edge of traction well and rarely just wash out. They also seemed to shed snow well and I never ran into times where the tread filled up with snow and negatively affected the traction.
The tire seemed to work well on a variety of width rims. Sometimes tires get weird when on one extreme or the other with side knobs being too far in or out on the tire and producing strange handling characteristics. I didn’t notice any weird behaviors when running them on 70’s or 100’s beyond what you would expect (more stable and floaty on the 100mm, more bouncy and liking higher lean angles on the 70mm rims). The amount of self steer increased with wider rims and lower pressures on firm, grippy surfaces but it wasn’t anything unusual or noteworthy.
Rolling resistance seems to be a bit higher in some conditions than the Dillinger 5 but not by much. Given the added drive and cornering traction of the Wazia’s, the slight increase in rolling resistance seemed like a worthy tradeoff in most conditions.
The stud performance is excellent and easily rivaled or surpassed the Dillinger 5. Absolute traction on glare ice seemed slightly better than the Dillinger 5. Even though the studs are placed a bit more narrowly on the Wazia’s compared to the Dillinger 5’s I never noticed an issue with cornering traction nor issues on off camber.
Durability seems to be good. Even though I have run them a fair bit at lower pressures I haven’t seen any degradation in the sidewalls (like threads showing or other signs of stress). Knobs are not showing any signs of wear but that isn’t unsurprising since they have pretty much only seen snow/ice and a bit of dirt. Even after clocking 100’s of miles on the Wazia’s on a mix of terrains, the studs still feel noticeably sharp and there hasn’t been any discernible drop in traction on glare ice. I also haven’t lost a single stud yet which is a great sign.
I have used these tires more than enough to give the studded 4.6″ version a 5 out of 5 rating overall and would highly recommend them to anyone considering a higher volume studded tire. If studs are not your thing, the unstudded version are a great option in that “tweener” category giving you a near perfect blend of rolling speed vs traction and float vs weight. You will not be disappointed in the least picking up a pair of these.