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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-30-15, 02:32 AM   #1
gatto karma
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Studded tires on bike child trailer?

Hi!

I have been commuting several winters and I know my way around studded tires vs. normal tires and different combinations thereof

This is however the first winter I need to shuttle my son to daycare, hence the question:

Do you think it is necessary having studded tires on the bike trailer, beside on the bike? I usually use a child bike seat (those you attach to the seat tube) in normal weather conditions, but I thought with icy conditions a trailer would be safer. If I fall, the trailer is already on the ground and it's not going to fall.

However, is there a risk the trailer with normal tires may "slide away" (e.g. when I brake or coast) thus taking me down with it? Or that when I brake I loose control over the trailer? The trailer's tires don't lean in corners, so in a way they do not need the same grip as bike's tires but that does not mean they cant skid... Should I not use the trailer (especially with a kid in it) at all during the winter? It is a short 1.1 km (0.7 miles) ride, but with a couple of 90 degrees turns which in icy conditions are not nice at all...

Appreciate your thoughts on this!
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Old 11-30-15, 07:34 AM   #2
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When you consider the fun you've had in a tube behind a boat, you won't put studs on the trailer's tires. LOL

Honestly, as much as we talk about our tires skidding out from under us, they probably don't skid much before gravity takes over and down we go, skidding/sliding the tires even more. Therefore, although skidding might occur with a trailer too, in my estimation it will be very limited and it certainly won't result in a spill.

All that being said, this is your child, I'm sure I speak for everyone in saying that you need to do what makes you most comfortable.
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Old 11-30-15, 08:43 AM   #3
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That's certainly an interesting question! Other than braking causing jack-knifing, your other scenario of going around a curve and have it slide out and pull you over seems valid to me. Ideally you could fit brakes on the trailer wheels and use it to do all the braking. (Check out tandem hardware for cable connections, as some tandems have frame connectors to break them down for travel.)

Your best bet might be to just make a trial run with a kid-equivalent weight and see how it handles.
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Old 11-30-15, 09:35 AM   #4
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IMHO, I don't think you'd need studded tires on the trailer. You're not relying on the trailer wheels for traction, and at the slower speeds you'd be riding at in icy conditions I don't think there'd be enough lateral motion to make the trailer come around on you. It might slide a bit but I'd be surprised if it was enough to cause you issues.

But +1 on the recommendation to load up the trailer with some weight and take it on a test run just to be sure.
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Old 11-30-15, 09:40 AM   #5
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I have used a two-wheeld trailer in all conditions in Eastern Ontario Canada and have never had an incident where the trailer felt like it was sliding.
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Old 12-01-15, 11:10 AM   #6
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Unless you're consistently riding on glare ice (doubtful), you don't have to worry about the trailer sliding out from behind you. Besides, you won't be going fast enough to make it slide out anyway (squirmy kids are hard to go fast with.)
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Old 12-01-15, 08:08 PM   #7
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I use a two-wheeled trailer, hooked up to a mountain bike with studded tires, for hauling groceries and other large items all winter. I considered studded tires, but after finding that the slicks it came with sailed nicely through snow, decided against it. I've had no issues with cornering or having the trailer slide out.

That said, the only spill I took last winter was *with* the trailer attached. I had loaded up about 65 pounds and was riding a bit too close to the curb - one of the tires got stuck in an ice rut, and down I went.

The good news (from the perspective of child safety) is that the trailer stayed upright. Lesson learned!
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Old 12-02-15, 02:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for all replies! I think the trail run is a valid idea. Also good to know others' experience with trailers on ice

Installing tandem-like brakes is not an option as I would need to disconnect them each morning when I leave the trailer at daycare and ride on to the office... believe me it is enough of a PITA already to attach and unattach the trailer each time.

I once had my own bike jack-knifing on me when I was riding with studded tire on front wheel and MTB tire on back wheel on a large patch of ice offroad - not a likely scenario with the trailer
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Old 12-02-15, 12:21 PM   #9
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surge braking is mechanically pretty simple [to a mechanic] the bike stopping, the trailer catching up

the closing speed difference operates the brakes on the trailer , with a linkage lever..
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Old 12-02-15, 09:43 PM   #10
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My question would be whether studded tires for a bike trailer would even be available - I've never heard of them making them. No point investing a lot of time into figure out whether you need something you cannot actually get.

Rather than studded tires, I suggest a 5 point safety harness for your kid, a rollbar on the trailer, and a automatic quick release for the trailer if it starts to slide. Add some excitement for your kid for the morning commute. ;-)

(Obviously I'm kidding on that last part but it was amusing mental picture).
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Old 12-04-15, 12:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
My question would be whether studded tires for a bike trailer would even be available - I've never heard of them making them. No point investing a lot of time into figure out whether you need something you cannot actually get.
My kid hauling trailer has 20" wheels and Schwalbe makes their studded Winter Marathons in that size - I've seen them used locally on folding bikes. I don't think they'd actually be necessary for winter trailer usage, but they are available.
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