DIY Studded tires for ICEBIKE

Andrew Musselman, local cycling fiend and a dedicated Ride Civilian, whipped up his own Studded Tires in preparation for this weeks icy commutes in Seattle. Here’s a tutorial that covers a similar approach. Andrew’s using flat headed screws, with the pointy side out which makes a bit more intuitive sense. A tire liner over the heads keeps your tubes from popping. At least that’s the theory, how’d it go, Andrew? Anybody else riding studs this late fall?


A couple more instructive photos inside…


Here are the very, very short screws Andrew used for his tires. Available from Tacoma Screw Products and other fine screw product retailers, but maybe not at your local hardware store.


Keeping the screw count low makes the tire assembly go faster I assume. Looks good for commuting, maybe not what you’d want for trail riding in the ice.


Just don’t puncture yourself on those studs!

This is certainly a cheaper solution than dropping ~$60 apiece on “real” studded tires.

Thanks for posting these, Dave!  They worked great yesterday for riding to the market and back.  We’ll see how they last.  The added cost to turn this bike into an ICEBIKE was $2.44.

I just put my Kenda Klondike studded tired on last night. They were about $40/each last year. I love them, but I also love the notion a DIY version. I will be trying something akin to these soon. I would love to hear any experience anyone has had with actually using the DIY ones, however. I worry about the screws pushing through the rubber and eventually tearing themselves out.

Actually I’d say it prolly the other way around. You want carbide studs so they can handle pavement well. Screws will get blunted pretty quickly by pavement.

This isn’t a bad idea, but if you live somewhere that gets a fair bit of snow, trust me, spend the money, get some Schwalbes or some Nokkians. They’ll work much much much better (and more consistantly), you won’t be constantly worried about flats, and you’ll be safer.

I’ve done both.  In my experience, for pure ice the homebrew tires are the way to go.  It is what I used to make up for our local January ice race series.  One time it was -16 when the race started at 11AM.  The entire course was either singletrack or lake surface.  More screws is better, but longer spikes are not really any better than just a bit of point sticking out. 
If you will be on any pavement, the factory tires are way better.  exposed screws ride horrible on pavement.  I’ve had the same Nokians for 8 years. 
Both are a chore to ride - 1100g per tire is a bunch to lug around but it totally beats falling down.  In the long run I think it is faster to drag heavy tires around than to creep around every corner and curve because you are worried about traction.

Being a transplanted New Englander, all I can say is “why?” We really don’t get the ice storms, black ice or freezing rain that makes these necessary around here.

Although the DIY part is intriguing. I wonder if they have carbide screws in that small size…

Yep, they work just lovely.  I have a set of this sort for each of my bikes, and just got to put 40 miles or so on the 700c version this weekend, with no wipeouts or close calls.  Over the years I have gotten better at choosing the proper lengths for various applications (not too much exposed screw, but slighlty longer on the sides than in the center). A higher screw count requires more effort, both to assemble and to ride, but gives better traction.  As mentioned, commercial carbide studs will last much longer on pavement (several seasons of several months each is what I have heard), and the screws do, indeed, get blunted when ridden on anything harder than ice.  Even when blunt, they do still work, but are not as agressive.  A few other reasons for doing your own: A. Studding a size that is not commercailly available (20” for recumbents [done it] or 26 X 2.35” for a heavy cargo bike [yeah, that, too]) B. getting the incomparable feel of studs for the week or two that we need it without spending the money on a tire that would last a lifetime.  C. Fine tuning the tire for the conditions you will actually encounter - if you are on hard packed snow and glare ice, knobs won’t help much, but more studs will.  If you are likely to find more fresh snow and slush, tread will help, and studs can enhance the tread.  Roll on!

Unfortunately, my own order for Nokians fell through due to an errant box cutter. I just realized last night I have a spare Pasela sitting around, and wondered about screwing it up and mounting to the front. Mine have ‘tour guard’ however, and I doubt this would work for me… Maybe my Nokians will show up soon.

@Matthew—check it outcheck it out 

last year I landed on my a** in front of hundreds of commuters thanks to the ice. It convinced me to plunk down the $$$ for some studds. 1 pair will last a life time, plus think how fast you’ll go after you take those mo-fo’s off.

Dave:  Have no fear, the screws will go right through the “Tour Guard” - you’ll never even notice it.  If you have much riding to do, and the Pasela is near the end of its life span, you won’t regret it.

Also of you run disc brakes or a fixie without brakes you take zip ties and go around the tire and rim every inch and a half to two inches and although it is not great its alot better than nothing.

I’ve thought about attempting a set of DIY studs, but found that lowering the pressure in the Big Apples/Hook Worms to 20psi and slowing down a bit is sufficient for the amount of snow/ice I typically see in a season.  During this storm, I found that my bottle dynamo (essentially a third brake that helps me see the ice) helped regulate my speed and kept me from locking up the wheels with the disc brakes on the descents.

Who wants more pictures?
Bring it on!

I started mountain biking in 1984 in Nebraska and we used to ride all winter long in the snow and ice. We resorted to this same method and it worked very well. It is amazing how easy it is to stay warm when it is 10 degrees out when you are in the woods. The road is a different matter in those temps, especially in NE where the wind never stops.

While I can’t fathom ever moving back to NE (I moved to OR in 1989), I do relish the days of mountain biking in the snow before many people even knew what mountain bikes were.

They worked great on my commute today; five miles of solid ice and packed snow from my home in Ballard to my office in Belltown.

I feel comfortable going about twelve to fifteen miles an hour, and I really have to slam on the brakes to make either the front or back slide.

This is a brilliant idea for manual WHEELCHAIRS!  I joke with friends that they don’t make chains for wheelchairs, but studding a set of tires is just brilliant!  I usually keep a spare pair or so, but a set of studs will definitely help.

Who’d have thought?  I get most of my wheelchair accessories at the bike shop (mirrors, drink holders, carry bags, etc.) since the mobility shops cost a lot more.

Thanks for the great idea…

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