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Thread: Winter chains

  1. #1
    Senior Member cactuss's Avatar
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    Winter chains

    Have a pair of 26 inch chains on order from Western Bikes in Portland, OR. I'm 3 miles to work on mostly country low traffic roads. How far can you travel with chains with snow under 5" and without doing damage to the chains on pavement?ulbts2-2.jpg
    Last edited by cactuss; 07-01-13 at 05:00 PM.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Asking is easier than gathering the data you seek so, ...

    Get back to the forum when you have Data .. say what tire and where you ride the bike.
    are thise cross chains plain steel or hardened , like for cars and trucks?

    I have 20 year old Nokian Studded tires, that still works , Though ..
    it ices the road once a winter ,maybe a week.. occasionally, not annually on the PNW coast.

    Even less on parts that do not have the Columbia Gorge through the mountains,
    to bring the cold air west from behind the Cascades.

    But I'm not breaking through fresh fallen snow, every winter , or climbing hills where the extra traction
    of a tire chain is a bit better than a Lugged tire..

    they make those in sizes for Super wide tires of Like QBP Surly, Pugsly Bikes?

    How does the use of chains effect Car and truck tires , same question, more possibility to find that on the web,
    since Its been an Option For the motoring public foe a very long time.

    then you 'extrapolate' that data to answer your own question

  3. #3
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Having done quite a bit of driving motor cars with chains, I think . . . About 100' before you turn around and go home. If the snow is fresh and soft and more than a couple inches deep and you're riding on the shoulder, not so bad, but the effort will be terrific. Basically, I think the vibration will be quite shocking 99% of the time. I've never seen a photo of a bike with chains, including Iditabike and other winter bike events.

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    Studded tires should be your first go to, or a fat low pressure knobby tire.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    I don't know how much it costs you for your winter chains but DIYing some cost less than 20$ from the local hardware store
    stainless steel 316L type chains 16$
    zip tie 1.20$
    galvanized wire steel 1.79$

    http://www.mtnbikeriders.com/2007/02...y-tire-chains/

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    Be a stud and run studded tires.
    Chains you can have 'em

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    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    ^^^ Why would one use winter chains when there are excellent studded tyres available?

    Good studded tyres are expensive but they also last a looong time. There's a notable increase in effort when riding with studded tyres in snow (compared to non studded tyres) already, how much are chains going to add to that? Vibration must be a killer plus it will guarantee you'll only be riding in "safe" speeds, to put it nicely. Cornering, noise, problems with fenders, problems with snow and ice build up... Also, what kind of wear do chains cause to the tyre surface? Those would be my first questions before even considering switching from studded tyres to chains.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  9. #9
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    One more thing, about chains and automobiles: it's in many ways not a valid comparison. Additionally it seems to me car winter chains are being used if a) studded tyres are not street legal (most of Central Europe) and/or b) winter season doesn't warrant changing the whole set of tyres (it's either too short or too spotty) and/or c) you only need them for a short distance in low speeds. Around here, it's far easier just to swap the tyres and be done with it for the winter months.

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    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    ^^^ Why would one use winter chains when there are excellent studded tyres available?

    Good studded tyres are expensive but they also last a looong time. There's a notable increase in effort when riding with studded tyres in snow (compared to non studded tyres) already, how much are chains going to add to that? Vibration must be a killer plus it will guarantee you'll only be riding in "safe" speeds, to put it nicely. Cornering, noise, problems with fenders, problems with snow and ice build up... Also, what kind of wear do chains cause to the tyre surface? Those would be my first questions before even considering switching from studded tyres to chains.

    --J
    That's your opinion

    Studded tyres
    I won't be using studded tires any time soon again after a bad experience with them.
    Lasted only 2 years, after most of the studs fell the first year my inner tubes punctured.
    Very expensive. Noisy.

    chains
    Vibrations: i don't see where the problem is if you decrease the tire pressure a little bit
    wear on the tyre surface: what about wear on the studded tyres?
    problem with fenders: it is or it isn't
    snow and ice build up: not different than with some studded tires
    No need to remove my current tires which save me some money and hassle as my tires are pretty hard to remove on my IGH bike (antitheft system added)

  11. #11
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    That's your opinion
    Fair enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    Studded tyres
    I won't be using studded tires any time soon again after a bad experience with them.
    Lasted only 2 years, after most of the studs fell the first year my inner tubes punctured.
    Very expensive. Noisy.
    Mine (Nokian W106 Hakkapeliittas) are on their 7th or 8th season next winter, if not more. They're worn but still useful. I haven't checked every single stud, but I haven't noticed any missing. Last winter I swapped them to my new IGH equipped winter bike. You're right, it's a hassle, which is why I have a dedicated winter bike with studded tyres permanently installed.

    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    chains
    Vibrations: i don't see where the problem is if you decrease the tire pressure a little bit
    I doubt "a little bit" is enough. The more you lower the pressure, the harder workout you're going to have when riding. This may or may not be a good thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    wear on the tyre surface: what about wear on the studded tyres?
    Good studded tyres are designed to have studs on the surface. They have carbide studs, properly seated. They wear no different than normal tyres. Compare that to the metal or plastic piece of chain rubbing into tyre surface.
    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    problem with fenders: it is or it isn't
    True, it depends on the kind of fenders you have. I have long SKS fenders which I prefer on foul weather bike anyway. I don't see how I could squeeze chains in there.
    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    snow and ice build up: not different than with some studded tires
    Again, not a particular problem with W106s + aforementioned long SKS fenders. Don't have personal experience on other studded tyres.
    Quote Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
    No need to remove my current tires which save me some money and hassle as my tires are pretty hard to remove on my IGH bike (antitheft system added)
    We agree on the hassle part. I also have a drum brake and dynohub in front, so changing tyres is not an exercise I'm looking forward to repeat anytime soon. Then again, I don't expect to do that anytime soon either. (I am aware I just jinxed myself here.)

    One thing though, studded tyres can be extremely slippery on bare metal or cobblestone surface. That may be one area where chains with sufficiently low tyre pressure fare better. In any other conditions, meh. But to each their own.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  12. #12
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    STUDDED TIRES ONLY...the winter cycling gods have spoken...lol

    I just run studs if there is any chance of ice.
    They sound like rice krispies on bare pavement.

  13. #13
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLACK RIDER View Post
    Well I certainly can't ride around on studded tires waiting for the next snow fall. Where I live snow can be tricky to predict. Many a morning (or evening as the case may be) I have awoken to a foot of snow on the ground. Last thing I want to have to deal with is taking wheel & tires off. My slipnots can be put on and off in about 10 minutes.
    It's not the snow I'm worried about, it's the black ice. Typically we get that a lot before first snow arrives. Trying to guess when freeze-thaw cycles are severe enough to warrant studded tyres gets old pretty quickly, which is why I set up the dedicated winter bike. Takes less than a minute to choose which bike I'll ride today.
    Quote Originally Posted by BLACK RIDER View Post
    Plus what do you do when after being at work all day and now the streets are now plowed. ...just ride on studded tires without care of what the pavement is doing to the tires?
    You know, that's exactly what I do. With good quality studded tyres it's not an issue, they're not going to catastrophically implode or anything on sight of bare pavement. Nokian actually recommends an initial break-in period on road surface to get the studs properly seated.
    Quote Originally Posted by BLACK RIDER View Post
    As for noise. ...frankly I don't care. Its bloody snow storm.
    If my main concern was the occasional heavy snow that will be cleared by the time I ride home, I'd give a shot to fat knobby tyres, or a Pugsley even. Studs do nothing in loose snow, it's all about tyre thread and width then, but nothing beats studded tyre on ice and hard packed snow. After a couple of winter days it's impossible to tell if it's ice or pavement beneath a fresh layer of snow, so I like to err on the safe side.

    I don't know what kind of contraptions pass as studded bike tyres in the US, but there's a lot of misinformation in this thread. I'm not referring to anyone's personal choices (I did say to each their own), I couldn't care less if people rode on bare rims. But some of the "facts" presented are just plain wrong. /rant

    --J
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  14. #14
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    I run a dedicated winter bike with a very simple set-up.
    Rigid mountain bike with nokian studded tires and to make it even more simple it is a single speed coaster brake.
    I don't have to worry about brake lines, pads freezing or gear issues, lines freezing etc.
    In the Dakota's it can get sub zero temps with black ice, snow storms, hail you name it...
    I also have a rack trunk with extra clothes, etc and run plenty of lights.

    With my simple set-up I actually enjoy winter cycling. I am pedaling along while cars won't start, getting stuck and having trouble getting up hills.

    Chains may work for you but I would not even consider it..

  15. #15
    Senior Member LesMcLuffLots's Avatar
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    I had a set of chains one winter. They worked great in hard-packed snow and ice. They were mildly dangerous on frozen, exposed pavement.

  16. #16
    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Juha:

    "Studs do nothing in loose snow, it's all about tyre thread and width then, but nothing beats studded tyre on ice and hard packed snow."

    +1

    I wouldn't even consider chains on my tires, I just can't see that as a good thing.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    Yuk. Nokia 294. I'm on my 4th season with this set and they look brand new. I ride on glare ice all the time and I'm 60 with bad shoulders and a plate pinned to my collar bone so falling is not an option for me but those studded tires are entirely reliable on ice, even when I have to brake reasonably hard (for ice). I doubt very much that a chain would be nearly as safe. If the chain were on the ice and you had to hit the brakes I doubt it would be a good thing.
    Alaskans for global warming.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Nokian studded bike tires http://www.rei.com/product/780258/no...e-tire-26-x-19

    Im still using these same tires I got in 1991.. Though ice is episodic not seasonal.

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    Member babo's Avatar
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    20 years + for Nokians? I'm impressed. I've gone through two sets in fifteen years, having to replace the first set at ten years, and the second used set at five years because while the treads and studs are "like new" the sidewalls decomposed on me. I was unable to replace the Mount & Ground W160s I've riden years previous, so I'm putting all of my eggs in one basket with Schwalbe Snow Stud HS 264 tires this winter.
    I'll stop when you do.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Like I said, episodic, Columbia River Gorge when the weather systems pull the cold air mass
    from East of the Cascades through the Gorge ,
    down the river , to the Coast and Portland , them before Us,
    then we see Snow at sealevel at the mouth of the river.

    so Unlike Canada we get to skip the Icy roads many years .. right here.
    (though people buy studded tires for their cars , 'just in case' & trash the roads)

    deal more with Mudslides when the winter rains saturate hills .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-12-13 at 12:12 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    wonder if the OP canceled his order after all these replies, or if he's got them and using them. I've heard of stranger things so I hope he at least gave them a shot!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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