2019 Studded Winter Tyre Test

Test Summary
Dry BrakingContinental VikingContact 7: 43 M
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 48.2 M
Subj. Dry HandlingMichelin X Ice North 4: 5 Points
Continental IceContact 3: 2 Points
Wet BrakingContinental IceContact 3: 28.8 M
Hankook Winter i pike RS2: 31.4 M
Wet HandlingNokian Hakkapeliitta 9: 43.18 s
Continental VikingContact 7: 45.65 s
Straight AquaHankook Winter i pike RS2: 62.2 Km/H
Continental VikingContact 7: 57 Km/H
Snow BrakingContinental VikingContact 7: 16.7 M
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 19.2 M
Snow TractionContinental VikingContact 7: 4.05 s
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 4.57 s
Snow HandlingContinental IceContact 3: 83.75 s
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 93.63 s
Ice BrakingContinental IceContact 3: 08.67 M
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 13.97 M
Ice TractionContinental IceContact 3: 4.14 s
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 6.58 s
Ice HandlingContinental VikingContact 7: 51.35 s
Sailun Ice Blazer WST3: 60.11 s
While studded tyres don't have much use in the UK, for parts of the Nordic countries they are essential for safe mobility.

To find out which  of the latest studded winter tyres are worth fitting, Swedish magazine Vi Bilagare have tested seven studded winter tyres in 225/50 R17, and included a studless nordic friction winter tyre as a comparison.

Even if you don't live in an area that needs such an extreme winter tyre, the difference in performance between the latest studded and studless winter tyres is an interesting demonstration.

The main novelty of the test came from the new Continental IceContact 3, which is the first tyre to use rubberised flexstud spikes. These studs claim to offer reduced road wear, while improving traction on ice.

 

Dry

During dry braking testing, the studless friction Continental VikingContact led the way with a significant gap to the best studded tyre, which was also a Continental.

 

 

Wet

Wet braking testing swung the balance back to the studded tyres, with the studded Continental tyre stopping the test vehicle in the shortest distance. The studless winter tyre could only manage a mid-group performance.

Due to the tread design of studless friction tyres, the studded tyres all had a significant advantage during wet handling and aquaplaning testing.

Snow

Continental dominated all three snow tests, with either their studded tyre, or studless tyre taking top spot. The budget Sailun Ice Blazer was extremely weak in all three tests.

Ice

The new type of spike on the Continental IceContact 3 delivered on its promise of improved ice trip, winning both the ice traction and ice braking tests.

Perhaps the most interesting result of the test was the ice handling, as the studless friction tyre beat ALL the studded tyres! This was due to the types of ice used for testing. For traction and braking testing, smooth ice was used as it replicated ice found at junctions, but for ice handling, uneven ice was used which is closer to the icy surfaces you find on the open roads. 

The testers did note one extra important point. When you lose grip on the studless tyre, it takes much longer to recover the grip, which means they still recommend studded tyres overall, as they will provide higher manoeuvrability and safety reserves in real life useage.

Results

1st: Continental IceContact 3

Continental IceContact 3
Dry Braking2nd+1.9 M
Subj. Dry Handling6th-3 Points
Wet Braking1st
Wet Handling6th+0.94 s
Straight Aqua3rd-1.9 Km/H
Snow Braking2nd+0.2 M
Snow Traction2nd+0.01 s
Snow Handling1st
Ice Braking1st
Ice Traction1st
Ice Handling2nd+1.29 s
Positive: High grip on snow and ice, low noise.
Negative: Weak subjective dry handling.
Overall: The new rubberised studs in the IceContact 3 really work. Excellent grip in all conditions.

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2nd: Michelin X Ice North 4

Michelin X Ice North 4
Dry Braking4th+3.7 M
Subj. Dry Handling1st
Wet Braking5th+2.2 M
Wet Handling7th+1.19 s
Straight Aqua6th-4.1 Km/H
Snow Braking3rd+1.2 M
Snow Traction3rd+0.12 s
Snow Handling3rd+2.74 s
Ice Braking2nd+0.75 M
Ice Traction3rd+0.37 s
Ice Handling3rd+1.54 s
Positive: High grip on snow and ice, good handling, low noise.
Negative: Weak aquaplaning resistance.
Overall: Quietest studded tyres on test, even with 257 spikes, with the lowest signs of wear.

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3rd: Continental VikingContact 7

Continental VikingContact 7
Dry Braking1st
Subj. Dry Handling6th-3 Points
Wet Braking5th+2.2 M
Wet Handling8th+2.47 s
Straight Aqua8th-5.2 Km/H
Snow Braking1st
Snow Traction1st
Snow Handling2nd+1.84 s
Ice Braking4th+1.97 M
Ice Traction7th+1.02 s
Ice Handling1st
Positive: High grip in the snow, good handling on uneven ice, low noise.
Negative: Relatively poor in dry and wet, weak aquaplaning resistance.
Overall: As the only non-studded tyre on test, the Viking Contact 7 had an impressive all round ability.

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4th: Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9

Nokian Hakkapeliitta 9
Dry Braking5th+4.1 M
Subj. Dry Handling4th-2 Points
Wet Braking3rd+1.1 M
Wet Handling1st
Straight Aqua7th-4.7 Km/H
Snow Braking4th+1.3 M
Snow Traction5th+0.18 s
Snow Handling4th+3.79 s
Ice Braking3rd+1.01 M
Ice Traction2nd+0.13 s
Ice Handling4th+2.57 s
Positive: Good handling and high grip on snow and ice.
Negative: Weak aquaplaning resistance, moderate Noise.
Overall: One of the most stable tyres on test, with great handling.

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5th: Hankook Winter i pike RS2

Hankook Winter i pike RS2
Dry Braking6th+4.8 M
Subj. Dry Handling4th-2 Points
Wet Braking8th+2.6 M
Wet Handling4th+0.53 s
Straight Aqua1st
Snow Braking6th+1.4 M
Snow Traction6th+0.22 s
Snow Handling5th+4.18 s
Ice Braking7th+2.3 M
Ice Traction5th+0.8 s
Ice Handling5th+4.17 s
Positive: High resistance to aquaplaning.
Negative: High noise levels, long wet braking.
Overall: Excellent aquaplaning results, but the smallest spike protrusion hampered its results on ice.

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6th: Goodyear UltraGrip Ice Arctic

Goodyear UltraGrip Ice Arctic
Dry Braking3rd+3.2 M
Subj. Dry Handling2nd-1 Points
Wet Braking2nd+1 M
Wet Handling2nd+0.41 s
Straight Aqua2nd-1.3 Km/H
Snow Braking4th+1.3 M
Snow Traction4th+0.15 s
Snow Handling7th+5.4 s
Ice Braking5th+2.2 M
Ice Traction6th+0.89 s
Ice Handling7th+5.28 s
Positive: Good driving performance in the dry, good traction and braking in the snow.
Negative: Weak lateral stability on snow and ice, high rolling resistance.
Overall: Smallest number of spikes on test at 130, which was an issue on ice. Good in the wet and dry.

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7th: Bridgestone Noranza 001

Bridgestone Noranza 001
Dry Braking7th+5 M
Subj. Dry Handling2nd-1 Points
Wet Braking4th+2 M
Wet Handling3rd+0.46 s
Straight Aqua5th-4 Km/H
Snow Braking7th+1.7 M
Snow Traction7th+0.35 s
Snow Handling6th+4.32 s
Ice Braking6th+2.21 M
Ice Traction4th+0.74 s
Ice Handling6th+4.59 s
Positive: Low rolling resistance.
Negative: Long dry braking.
Overall: Acceptable grip on ice, but poor in the snow and long dry braking.

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8th: Sailun Ice Blazer WST3

Sailun Ice Blazer WST3
Dry Braking8th+5.2 M
Subj. Dry Handling6th-3 Points
Wet Braking7th+2.5 M
Wet Handling5th+0.82 s
Straight Aqua4th-3.6 Km/H
Snow Braking8th+2.5 M
Snow Traction8th+0.52 s
Snow Handling8th+9.88 s
Ice Braking8th+5.3 M
Ice Traction8th+2.44 s
Ice Handling8th+8.76 s
Positive: Non mentioned.
Negative: Very poor grip on snow and ice, poor handling in the dry and wet.
Overall: Not recommended. Not only poor grip, but the tyres started to lose spikes in the first 80 km.

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