DIY bike tire chains

This is cool: Homebrew tire chains for your mountain bike involves less than $20 in chain, cabling, and ferrules, not counting the tools you might need to get if you don’t already own them. Via.

That reminds me of this tip in which you can use zip ties to improve traction a little. Both the chain and zip ties go across the rims so you’ll either need a disc brakes, hub brakes or go brakeless (like on a fixed gear bike) for these to work.

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0 thoughts on “DIY bike tire chains”

  1. jamesmallon says:

    Yeah, but with studded tires I can change a flat in less than the half-day this system would require.

  2. Fritz says:

    *laugh* yeah good point about flats!

  3. geoffrey says:

    studs won’t help you in brown snot. chains in loose snow is the way to go.

  4. Javier says:

    Man this must be hell to ride on pavement too.

  5. Ghost Rider says:

    This may be a touch “off topic”, but how do studded tires (Nokian and the like) handle on dry pavement when there is no ice? I mean, the streets aren’t icy ALL winter long, are they? I would imagine that dry pavement use would accelerate wear on the individual studs, but we can’t be expected to swap tires every few days, right?

    Living in Florida, I’ve never had the joy of experiencing studded tires, but I have ridden in snow and ice as a teenager. That was a l-o-n-g time ago…

  6. Fritz says:

    Ghost — they just kind of go “bzzzz.” High quality carbide studs don’t wear as quickly on pavement as low quality studded tires. On my studded tire the studs are offset to the side so they grip more when you’re turning and when the tire is sunk into a soft surface (like snow and softer ice or when the tire pressure is down).

  7. jamesmallon says:

    Where I live (Toronto) winter conditions are not consistent year to year, or day to day: anything from hardpack to slush to wet to dry pavement. Excess use of salt is consistent.

    Here you want a studded-tire bike and a slick-tire bike; or you want one bike and two wheelsets: studs and slicks. Fritz is right about riding the studs on pavement, but they grip well on ice! They are slow and noisy enough that you’ll avoid riding them when you don’t have to.

    This year I have a gearless fendered touring bike for winter: studs on a singlespeed wheelset, and slicks on a fixed wheelset. My wife won’t let me buy the fourth bike that would help me avoid switching wheels.

  8. Ghost Rider says:

    Fritz, thanks…I forgot about the offset nature of the studs, which probably helps keep wear to a minimum.

    I’ll have to keep all this in mind if I ever move to more icy climes…having a spare wheelset (or even a spare bike) is never a problem for me!!!

  9. jeff says:

    Disc brakes required.

  10. knochgoon24 says:

    I actually use a set of tire chains very similar to this. Dry pavement riding isn’t the greatest but it’s doable. I can live with it for the day or two the sidewalks are clear in the winter. It’s night and day with the chains.

    I modified his plan a bit and I can get mine on and off in 10 min.

  11. ted says:

    I liked that how-to, too! He had a very creative answer to stock tire chains which is cool. How do tire studs work- how do they not hurt the tire and leak pressure?

  12. Rik says:

    Looks us up at: for great tire studs. You’ll be amazed how easy to install and are great they are!

  13. Joe says:

    Schwalbe has a studded tire line that is used at lowered pressure when studs are needed, and then pumped to maximum pressure when they are not.

    I am testing them soon, and a testimonial reported that they run quieter than expected on pavement.

  14. Johann says:

    I was inspired to manufacture bicycle tire chains after purchasing a Catrike Expedition (tricycle). They are low to the ground and offer amazing stability. Riding in the snow was an obvious thing to look forward to doing this Winter. Choosing how one would like to be inconvenienced is a personal thing and for me it was easier to install chains than a set of studded tires or the expense of owning two sets of wheels.

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