Tuesday, September 19, 2006

DIY studded bike tires

Winter roads are generally pretty well cleared in Ann Arbor, but if you are riding on trails or the morning after a big snow dump studded tires can help with acceleration, braking, and turning on snow and ice. The problem is that these tires are quite expensive (about $40/tire) and aren’t much use once the studs wear down. To save money, a friend has come up with an easy way to add studs to old or cheap tires to put on a winter beater bike. It works best with knobby mountain bike (26”) tires. It takes some time, but works like a charm.
a. Turn the tire inside-out
b. Using a tiny drill bit, drill a guide hole from the back of the tire through the large knobs on the side of the tire
c. Screw small (38th” length) screws through the guide holes until they are flush with the tire. Make sure they are coming out in the center of the knob to prevent tearing the tire.
d. Line the inside of the tire in a layer of duck tape to prevent the screw heads from poking or pinching the tube
e. Mount the tire and tube on the wheel as normal- just be careful not to poke yourself on the new studs.
f. The studs should be on the outside of the tire, adding traction for turns and reducing surface contact when riding in a straight line.
The new studs will be sharp at first. Obviously you have to be careful and riding on sidewalks and around pedestrians is a big no-no. But the points will wear down to dull bumps quickly. We can get two winters out of a set of these.
If you only have the patience for one tire, I recommend putting it on the front since front tire skids are the most dangerous.
We have also found that an extra-thick tube eliminates the need to line the tire with duck tape.

Contributed by: Scott TenBrink

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