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My experience with slipnot snow chains.

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My experience with slipnot snow chains.

Old 01-29-16, 01:59 AM
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My experience with slipnot snow chains.

Earlier this winter I figured I'd give the slipnot snow chains a try and ordered a pair. I haven't seen many reviews on their use, let alone videos. This past weekend here in Staten Island we got around 26 inches of snow in my area from winter storm Jonas.

The install is very simple. The chains come with extenders for the barrel adjusters to compensate for taller, shorter, wider, or narrower 26inch tires, (I got the 26 inch small size for 1.95-2.25 inch tires. The tire's I am running are continental mountain king 2.2. The barrel adjusters are attached to a cable. The chains span both cables, and you attach the barrels together once wrapped around your tire. Get a tight enough fit so they do not shift around too much while riding. I find it easier to get the chains around far enough to connect, by releasing some air from the tire and re-inflating afterwards.

Chain stay and seat stay clearance is also a consideration. Slipnot recommends a quarter inch of clearance between either and the tire, as well as any brake bridges and kickstand plates. With the chains tight on the tire, I did find that they still move a slight bit over time. This could vary with how the chains mate with your tire depending on how knobby or smooth your choice of tire may be.

On the snow I found that they did help quite a bit on harder packed/compacted sections where cars have ran over, or on a freshly plowed section of road with a good layer of snow. The chains added a cross section to the tread like a paddle might and aided in forward and braking traction. I found it pretty difficult to skid the front tire on these packed down sections. On looser sections of deep snow they didn't seem to have much of an effect, given I bogged down in it most of the time instead of riding through or on top of it. In powder and fresh snow I found that they handled well. Not much different than a non-chained mountain tire but they aided in turning where the chains would bite to the hard surface below. I also noticed the chains sat above the tread of the tire as well. When snow would cake onto my tire, the chains would be the first thing to shed the snow, or continue to add bite even with snow attached to them since being raised above the rest of the tread surface. I the street, the brown semi slush cars tend to create, along with the large ruts they create when they drive through it, these chains dig through and help bite through to the asphalt below.

On bare surfaces the chains have a wide enough spacing between each row to not have an effect on traction. I didn't experience any sideways sliding when turning on bare surfaces like asphalt of concrete. They do however add vibration while riding and a bit of bounce when walking the bike. The noise they create isn't all that loud, I'm sure anyone using these would expect noise from them. I would take extra caution on slicker metal surfaces like manhole covers and steel road plates because of the wet metal on metal contact these will create. I did ride over these in an urban environment at a decent speed and I did not notice any slippage but I always kept a straight line when riding over these, I imagine turning or hard braking while on one would be rather dicey. Bare surfaces with grit or salt were't any different to me than without chains.

On ice they managed fine. I didn't get enough ice in my area to really do much experimenting. From what little ice we had, riding over it in a straight line braking was much more controlled than a tire with just rubber alone. If a rear chain grabbed the ice and skidded, it still kept my bike relatively straight enough to correct, rather than sliding out from under me.

There is slight wear to them after two days of use, mostly on the rear there are flat sections on the center links. The first day was about 13 miles (10 on Staten Island and 3 on Manhattan) on mixed surfaces of asphalt and hard plowed snow going to work. 6 miles in the evening (3 in Manhattan, 3 on Staten Island). The second day of usage was was 12 miles in total, but with less fresh snow and more slush and compacted snow. I'm sure if a link were to break, any small hardware store jack chain could be used to replace it or even a while section at a time.

Overall, I found them to be worth the money if you don't want to get dedicated snow/studded tires which may be more costly than this option (the set I bought retails for $95). They can be removed and added when needed in a short amount of time, and mid-ride if conditions change to save on wear to the chains. I didn't find there to be much loss in speed or a big increase in rolling resistance. I'm sure this will vary by rider style and your own bikes setup.


The video will show various scenes and conditions along my ride from my neighborhood to the Staten Island ferry.
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Last edited by smokeysurvival; 01-29-16 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 01-29-16, 07:40 AM
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attachment are broken, but the video works, Thanks for sharing !
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Old 01-29-16, 08:10 AM
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Ditto attachments, but very cool video.
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Old 01-29-16, 01:47 PM
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Weight? Seems like they would be hefty.
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Old 01-29-16, 07:36 PM
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Think that was when the video was still uploading, because I see it now.
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Old 01-31-16, 07:34 PM
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Neat, but seems like you could build your own for that high a price. I got a good pair of studded 26" tires last year for about half what you paid for the chains, and plenty of people have guides on making your own studded tires out of some old knobbies you already have for less than that, so it doesn't seem like a valid budget option to me.
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Old 07-12-16, 05:42 PM
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I generally use studded tires.
I have been in conditions (snow packing into the spaces between the blocks/studs,) where the studded tires were next to useless.
If the studs can't get to the road, they can't help with traction.

I think in that particular situation, chains would be nice. I think that the movement of the chain would help keep snow from packing between the blocks. I could be wrong.
I probably would only use them on an as needed basis, so not really worth the money to me.

Edited to add:
The aforementioned studded tires are Nokian Mount and Ground W160's. I am very happy with them.
I only use two brands of tires, my Nokians for winter, and Schwalbe Marathon Plus the rest of the year.

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Old 07-12-16, 05:50 PM
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I didn't know they existed , thanks.
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Old 08-05-16, 07:00 PM
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I was also considering chains for my fat bike. Ended up getting studded Dillenger 4s. Not disappointed, except for paying so much.
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Old 08-08-16, 11:08 PM
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Never had chains or studs. Ride slow and steady...MTB type treads or the oval knobbed tires that were OEM on my 1995 Schwinn Cruiser SS, I just rode it and kept going, was always ready to plant my feet. It was the same for any bike I've ever owned, over the 41 years I've done so.

The two times I fell I was walking it down my own block where it was too slick. C'est la vie.
I don't know nothing, and I memorized it in school and got this here paper I'm proud of to show it.
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