12 February 2008

What the Hell is This?

Please reply if you know, or even have a guess
that sounds plauseable.

1 comment:

David said...

That is for the Spikes Spiders snow "chain" system. The system is designed on that special hub to snap on and off in under 30 seconds while providing amazing traction. They come in two flavors, a standard so to speak and then an "alpine" version that have meatier studs.

Basically the "chain" looks like a black plastic five legged spider. The "legs" can rotate slighly allowing application without lifting the vehicle (or tensioning, or routing) and then lock into place. A gentle start locks the legs evenly on the tire.

Advantages? If a "leg" breaks the chain system isn't useless, you can keep going. If a "leg" breaks it doesn't beat your car senseless like a tire chain would. Generally speaking offers really good traction and some more bite for stopping and turning. Can be removed on and off in under 30 seconds. If a "leg" breaks the whole system is not useless, a leg can be replaced. Way lighter than a set of chains. Can be used on vehicles that are rated as not being able to use chains on because they have a lower tolerance for required clearance in the wheelwells.

Downside? Freakin' expensive. Can't move at higher speeds due to vibration caused by the system (not that you should be rolling over 30 MPH if you're running with chains anyway). In dense/heavy snow it can work its way between the "leg" and the tire and bend up the "leg" until it snaps off. Take up more room in your trunk because they don't compact like chains.

I had these almost 20 years ago (1989 to 1991) and loved them, truly amazing, I believe they were invented in Sweden. What the picture shows is the special lugs and "hub" that the "spider" attaches too. For the Grand Prix the price range is $350 to $425 for a set (depending on which flavor I get). I went with plain old tire chains instead because of my limited use. When I had them back in the day I was doing extensive long distance winter driving at times in extreme conditions. That damn Ford Probe would go ANYWHERE with these suckers on.