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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm still a noob at studded tires but I learned quite a bit over the past couple of weeks. First I learned that tires with just studs on the outter knobs don't do sh!t on ice. Fortunately, my tires (conti claw 120s) already had the holes in the center knobs, so I was able to transfer the 120 studs from one tire to the other to get a single working 240 stud tire. I then got a Nokian extreme 294 for the front.
So since I had to remove 120 studs from one tire and place them in another, I'm now rather experienced at replacing studs (I also pulled one Nokian stud and replaced it just to see if they were the same).

First tip - Buy the Nokian tool (see pic below). It's cheap and I have no idea how you would do this without it. I got mine at Milwaukee Bicycle

Second tip - you can use a bent paperclip to clear mud or debri out of the holes.

Third tip - Bring the tires up to room temperature.

Fourth tip- Use lube (OK Beavis, you can stop snickering now). Mix up some soapy water (dish soap) and put a couple of drops on the stud/hole area on the tire.

Fifth tip - I found that leaving the tire on the rim (and on the bike) and inflating to about 30 psi worked best for puttiing the studs in. You could also remove them pretty easily like this, but since i had to remove 120 studs, I found it was a little easier to remove them with the tire removed.

Technique - actually it's pretty easy with the proper tool and the hole lubed.
  • Putting the studs in - Start with the stud at a bit of an angle, start to push down as you straighten out the stud then push hard. A little twisting is sometimes needed, but most of them popped in really nice by just pushing them in.
  • Removing the studs- push the stud tool straight in hard over the stud, then tilt (pry) until the stud pops out. Again, this is actually really easy with the proper tool and some soapy water.

One more tip - after replacing the studs, look them over to see if they look like they are properly set (straight in the hole, with no hole distortion). I've also read some posts on another site about it being recommended to ride on hard pavement for like 10 miles to properly set the before hitting the trails. I did about a half mile on the pavement and figured that should be enough (10 miles seems like a lot). I then did over 5 miles on some frozen singletrack with a mix of ice, snow, dirt, roots, logs, and some rocks, and didn't lose any studs.

The studs - Though the studs aren't exactly the same (in the 2nd pic, the pointed Nokian stud is on the left, the Conti is on the right), they are close enough to use as replacements. You can find Nokian replacement studs online. I don't know if these would also fit other studded tires (schwalbes). They are pricey if you need a lot, so in the case of my conti 120s, it was cheaper to use the studs from one tire and then buy a new fully studded tire than it would have been to buy 120 studs for each tire.
 

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Hey trailville,
I know this is an old post, but I just ran across it and wanted to thank you for the great info. Hopefully you will get an email notification. I did not know there was a tool. I just cursed and used needle-nosed vice grips and I did not think of lubing them. Also, I read a 30 mile break-in procedure which I executed the day before a forcasted ice storm. If it were not for the "Oh my god, I can ride but I cannot walk! " elation, I would have been to tired to ride. By the way, mine are both Gazza Extreme 29ers and they just went ghetto tubeless. We freeze and thaw a lot and I was getting thorn flats on the dry sections of trail.
 

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trailville, watch your studs

A few years ago Nokian came out with a new folding bead studded tire, the Hakka. A couple of us here in Anchorage that rode with studs a lot were stoked that a lighter version tire was available. It had more studs, a new design of stud with the pencil point tip, and was lighter overall.

First ride was right after some freezing rain. The entire town was coated with a layer of ice. People could hardly walk, cars sliding into each other at intersections....you get the picture. But the tire traction was awesome. We even caught ourselves bunnyhopping with plenty of confidence on these new tires.

After a couple hours of trail riding that included maybe fifteen hundred feet of climbing, we noticed missing studs in our rear tires. The torque of climbing, mixed with the awesome grip the studs have, tended to tear them right out of their lugs. It became a common theme. We swung by the LBS where we purchased the tires, and after a phone call were asked to return them to receive new tires in the future.

Turns out, the first batch omitted a crucial step in their manufacture. Nokian was in the habit of using a drop of glue at each stud/lug to help keep them in place. The first batch skipped this step, and was immediately problematic. New tires arrived, and no problems after years. Oh sure, you'll lose one occassionally, but not like the originals, losing 15 or so each ride.

So something for you to consider. The dish soap lube you used may help for insertion, but may also act to more easily allow them to be ripped out of the lugs. Some glue could have also aided eith the insertion process, yet given some time to set, would help to keep them in place.

I've used some liquid rubber on older Extremes during the replacement process after losing one here and there. It helps to fill the contours in the lug and vulcanize the stud in place. So far, so good. Just keep an eye on yours. If you're not torquing up hills on hard icy surfaces that tend to tear studs out, you may be okay. If you do lose some now and then, give it some consideration.

Oh yeah, a couple of years ago I picked up a couple of kits from Cabela's catalog for my tires. The studs were for the soles of wading boots, but included the tool and studs were really similar. Worked great for occassional replacements.

Nice job on your tips and write-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
EndoRando: I opted to use the soap as a lube specifically because I figured it would break down pretty quick and would therefore not continue to lube the studs. My other option was going to be using rubbing alcohol since I know it works amazingly for removing and replacing grips without leaving them loose. My guess is a little rubber cement would also provide the slickness you need to install the studs and may (I'm not too sure on this) help to lock them in. You can see on your Nokian Stud package that they specifically show the use of soap, so I'm cool with that.
I only got a few rides in on mine before we got hit with heavy snow, but I was happy to see I didn't lose any studs. I rode a bit of everything, hard ice, icy crusty snow, icy frozen dirt, frozen dry dirt, roots, logs, and some pavement. There really aren't many rocks on the local trails I rode them on, so I don't know how they would have reacted to a rocky trail.
There's no way I have the confidence on these things yet to try bunnyhopping on ice. I'm sticking with the "no sudden movements" approach to riding ice.

Furrybike: As to the "break-in" period, I just highly doubt you need 10-30+ miles of riding just to set the studs. Sure it doesn't hurt to do it, but I gotta think that if you do a couple of miles on a hard surface and do a fair amount of turning, leaning, torquing, and breaking, they should be good to go.

And just to complete my setup, I took a pair of winter hiking shoes I had for a few years but never really liked for hiking, and drove a bunch of sheet metal screws into them. They actually perform pretty decent on my platform pedals (I don't like clipless in winter) and the tread design was just perfect for adding screws. It's nice to know if you do have to put a foot down on the ice, you will actually be able to use it.
 

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