Dutch designer Cesar van Rongen developed Sneeuwketting, or “snow chain,” to facilitate cycling in the snow.

The rubber accessories roll right onto a tire for easy installation (not pictured: snow).

The bike spikes add very little additional heft to the wheels.

A close-up of the clever Sneeuwketting.

These are just a prototype, designed as part of van Rongen’s graduation project from the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Just a PSA: Don’t forget to wear a helmet, kids.

Co.Design

Bike Spikes Allow For Urban Rides In The Snow

Dutch designer Cesar van Rongen developed two-wheeled grip for the winter cyclist.

Commuting is always more of a slog in the winter, whether you’re on public transport or driving yourself. But what if a bicycle is your preferred mode of transit from here to there? For his graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Dutch designer Cesar van Rongen developed an ingenious solution for the two-wheeled set to use during the oh-so- cold-and-slippery season.

"When I started looking at situations that didn’t work so well on a bike, snow was the biggest problem," van Rongen tells Co.Design. So he started a year-long process to develop Sneeuwketting, or "snow chain," a prototype that would give cyclists legitimate grip when rolling over urban terrain. Models were tested in everything from metal to fabric, but in the end it was a somewhat obvious material that worked the best. "I ended with rubber just like a normal tire, for the comfort of riding," he says.

Installation is incredibly easy—simply spin them onto the tire and secure the ends together—and once they’re in place, fresh powder in the city is easily conquered. The idea is still a concept, but van Rongen is hoping to put them into production next year.

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6 Comments

  • mn_muse

    I'll be interested to see what these cost once they're available.  They seem like they'll work well, like the cable fastening system will do well to keep them from slipping off and creating their own hazard.  It seems like they might best be installed on a tire with low air, snugged, then add additional air to the tire to ensure they're really snug.

  • all-weather biker

    In the '90s I kept a spare wheelset with spiked tires in the closet for ice riding.  They could be swapped onto the bike in 3 minutes.  They were great for riding down the middle of the Charles River when it froze over.  Sadly, we don't get solid freezes much in Boston anymore.   Nowadays it suffices to wrap some heavy-gauge zip ties around ordinary tires, with the zip-heads off-center so that they behave like side-knobbies.  That plus common sense work surprisingly well for mixed snow/ice riding.

  • Idiocy

    I think they're missing the mark a little bit.  Riding in fresh snow is easy.  I keep a set of Michelin Pilot Sport tires on my bike year-round, and northern Colorado gets plenty of snow.
    The real issue is snow that has been heavily tracked or partially thawed and re-frozen.  With that junk, the bike's front tire goes wherever the ice tracks lead it.  It's especially bad when you bike across a heavily-used parking lot entrance, where the tracks run perpendicular to your path.
    I'm not sure these tires will actually help with that problem.  At heart, these are still just studs.  Even the really extreme mud tires (which have much larger studs and a much more aggressive tread than anything like this) still have trouble riding through tracked and packed snow.  This is probably due to the fact that a bicycle is a rear-wheel drive vehicle with only two wheels.

  • Death Trap

    Great idea. Wait until it slips off the edge of your tire and catches up in your fork and spokes; recipe for disaster.

    Just buy dedicated studded tires for the winter, and switch back to your normal tires after the threat of ice in the spring.

  • arnon lesage

    I don't agree. This is designed with dutch people in mind, i assume. I don't have a place to store/work on my bike. And I wouldn't want to change my bike tires everytime it snows, especially not doing it outside in the cold season. (I change my tires on average once every few years)
    For a mountain bike or something stored inside, yeah offcourse change the tires. But in holland, when you wake up and discover it has snowed overnight, and you have 20 minutes before you have to be at work, this looks like a great solution.