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Instead of chains or changing out tires, how about changing
the tire's pressure, and then spikes appear or are engaged.
1) Increase pressure, spikes come out
In this version, normal inflation doesn't reveal tire spikes.
"Over-inflating" tires causes spikes to pop out because of
tire pressure. Only downside is that usually
under-inflated tires have better natural traction and
reduce chance of tires digging into snow due to increased
surface of tire patch.
2) Decrease pressure, spikes engage
This seems a hard technology to implement, but normal
inflation doesn't engage tire spikes, but when the tire is
under-inflated, spikes emerge or engage. I think the only
way to do this would be to have the spikes on the
sidewalls, then when under inflated, the sidewalls are now
in contact with the road surface, and the spikes now make
Studs without spikes [whatrock, Oct 21 2018]
Snow tire with retractable studs
Patented [Klaatu, Oct 21 2018]
||I like the pressure increase idea better, perhaps the
spikes residing within the tread have their own
controllable air supply, an increase of which forces
the spikes out.
||// I think the only way to do this would be to have the spikes on the
sidewalls, then when under inflated, the sidewalls are now in contact
with the road surface, and the spikes now make contact. //
||My bike winter tires (Schwalbe Snow Stud) are like that, so I'll say that
version (which is the better of your two) is baked.
||However, another way to do it would be to put the studs on hoops, with
rubber blocks between them that are sprung by the rubber to retract,
but get pushed outward by the air pressure. Then, with low pressure,
the blocks would move radially inward, reducing their radius to less
than that of the studs; with high pressure, they'd move outward,
increasing their radius to greater than that of the studs.
||Anybody have an idea how those Nokian retractable studs work? Their own
website doesn't say, just that they exist.