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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow winter warriors (and vets) !

First snow just hit us this week, but many of you have been going trough the whity mitty powder already for a while now.

Which makes it the perfect time to start discussing about our DIY studded tires for commute and snow blasting duties. No matter if you ride 24" or 700c, 5km or 30 miles, 1.5 or 2.4 wide, slick or knobbies, we want to hear your thoughts, experiments and experiences/inventions in turning tires into ice spikers and getting the grip back to you !

No need to buy expensive "winter" tires when an handful of screws and a cheap rubber is all you need to turn something hard into an hardcore riding experience :thumbsup:

So show me your techniques, setups and user-tinkering on how to make the best DIY studded rubber in town. What tire, which screws, what patterns, etc.

Me, I started making my owns last winter, as doing a short 5km round-trip commute to college and the occasional winter warrior ride out in the wild. I used a bunch of screws I had laying around to do my first tire, a generic 26x1.95 front tire. Since then I got some #6x3/8 zinc plated self drilling screws and made a rear tire, a 26x2.3 Duro Maveric Demolition and that I also ran in rear on my big MTB and loved the extra grip on hard pack snow.

Now I just put back on my front one on my commuter, and I plan to use the rear one on my big bike as a season setup, along with a new front one, a CST Caballero 2.4 I just bought (will have it for Christmas) and using new screws to complete the rear one and do the new front. Last year I used about 85 self-drilling screws in the rear. They were Richelieu self-drilling zinc plated with pan head, square bit, in #6 by 3/8". They wear out decently, though I may only had put about not more than 200km on them.

This year, I found some H. Paulin self-drilling framing screws, in #6x7/16", with black phosphate coating and pan head Phillips bit. $20 for 500, decent price. They look quite good, as the additional 1/16" length will be great to have almost 3/16" of the self-drilling tip sticking out instead of the shy 1/8" from the 3/8 screws. All depends on the thickness of your tire/knobs though. I hope the black phosphate coating will do a better job at prevention surface corrosion as the zinc plating did, although it's not much of an issue, more esthetic than anything else.

See them here :

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1354424735.989667.jpg

The Richelieu zinc plated :

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1354424982.274088.jpg


The two tires I did last winter :

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1354425044.990287.jpg

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1354425147.805016.jpg


Now the few things I learned. First #6 screws are pretty much the best size. #8 are too big and would tend to split the rubber too badly. 3/8 to 1/2 is a good length range depending on your tire thickness. Drill pilot holes from the outside first and when choosing a tire, plan on which studding pattern you're gonna use. You can easily use 100 to 150 screws per tire, so a box of 100 might not be enough. Use a tire liner or some old big truck inner tube wide slice to protect your tube from the screw heads, very important because the screw heads will slowly work their way against your inner tube every time you ride and /brake. If you plan on running tubeless, a drop of silicone on the threads before putting in the screw might help sealing better and prevent the screw from backing in. The larger/flatter head the better, since it will give more support and less prone to tear up the rubber or get loose by wiggling around. Self-drilling tip are quite good, but I don't know if they are that much better than just a nice sharp framing screw tip to be worth the hassle finding them.

Also be careful not to wreck your nice wooden floor if you live in an apartment or have to carry your bike somewhere where it's not ceramic/concrete floor. Surface rust on the screws don't really matter since as soon as you're gonna ride again, it will get grind off right away. And I still wonder about an ideal tire pressure range for using DIY studded tires. Maybe something like 40psi for the usual 26x2" MTB tire ? You don't want to let the screws to be too loose when hitting the brakes.

So show us what you got !
 

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R.I.P. Pugsley.
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CheesyRider
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"a handful of screws and a cheap rubber is all you need"

Sounds risky to me! But ya I did this last winter with one tire for the front and will be doing the other to make a full set this winter. Just waiting around for more snow. There is a sticky on another forum with some good info on this subject here:

Making Your Own Studded Tyres

My concern is flatting from the screw heads. I used duct tape to line the one I used on the front and I'm considering using a thin foam pipe insulation around the tube for the rear or both...
 

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You might want to check the fatbike forum as well, a lot of DIY studding is being done over there.
Also you might want to take a look at these: Grip Studs™ Screw-In Tire Studs | Traction in Ice, Snow and Dirt | Bicycle Tire Studs
i have used Schwalbe Ice Spiker's on my 26er, and om going to get a set for my 29er as well.
But i really wish i had the dough for a set of 45Nrth's Dillinger's....
Flippin hell...for the price of those studs, you might as well buy a pair of Nokians and their stud replacing tool. And you'll still come out under half of what it would take to do two tires.
 

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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"a handful of screws and a cheap rubber is all you need"

Sounds risky to me! But ya I did this last winter with one tire for the front and will be doing the other to make a full set this winter. Just waiting around for more snow. There is a sticky on another forum with some good info on this subject here:

Making Your Own Studded Tyres

My concern is flatting from the screw heads. I used duct tape to line the one I used on the front and I'm considering using a thin foam pipe insulation around the tube for the rear or both...
Well again your mileage may vary :D

Like I said I'm doing a short 5km round trip commute and the occasional weekend warrior snow blast maybe once or twice a week when time and weather allows it. I like to run tires at least 2" wide and MTB style.

Idea of this thread is to post up new ideas and discuss about commuter and MTB dual setup for winter studs as many commuters here also like to MTB in the snow. And many lives in a urban area.

Regarding your tire liners, I tried duck tape at first, and put down 2 layers, thinking like you it would be enough to prevent the heads from puncturing your tube. Well on the front tire it took about 10-20 commutes max before one evening I was heading home, jump on my bike and it felt very soft in the front. Turns out I had finally punctured the tube on my ride in the morning and now I had to ride home on a flat. Lucky I had a wide rim and good tire casing which allowed me to just ride it home anyways instead of walking the 2.5km. When I took out the tube, I had about 30 or so holes to patch up to prevent possible future leaks and then about 2-3 real punctures. Then I had a big thick truck inner tube laying around, so I cut a wide 2" strip and used it to line the tire. Then it worked out good. I'm still running that tube in the same wheel and riding the bike everyday. And I also did the same thick rubber lining for my rear tire. I think it's mostly the fact that front tire studs have way more wiggling from braking, turning and hits than the rear tire that made the heads work their way trough the tape a lot faster. Ideal would be to simply use a regular tire liner already, but I didn't had any so I went the fastest way around. But otherwise the idea of using an inexpensive tire (in the way that you don't need to bust your $60 Ignitor for this purpose, just buy nice knobbies on sale) and screws with a tire liner is way more cost effective than buying dedicated studded tires already. I don't have the luxury to spend $150 on a set of studded tires just for winter duty and even if I did, I'd probably still find the DIY way more fun to do :p

And those Grip Studs are nice, but $100 for 100 studs isn't in my budget at all, considering I'd use a minimum of 150 studs for a set of tires. I think I'll stick to my 100 screws for $6. Thanks for the link though :)
 

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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
as for the tube to screw head interface,you might want to try these. their wider and flatter than panheads.

and cheaper:thumbsup:

Metra PWHT812 8 X .5 Phillips Wafer Head Tek Screws
You are right, Wafer heads are way better than Pan heads for this purpose. My only issue so far was not being able to find them in #6x3/8 with a nice tip or decent price yet locally. I saw some Richelieu #8x3/8 self-drilling with Wafer head, in $5 for 100 pack, but #8 is just too big not to shear the rubber unfortunately :(

If someone can get Wafer heads instead, that'd be even better. But I'd still use a good tire liner anyway.
 

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David, you saw my thread on this last year, but I'll post it here for reference:

https://forums.mtbr.com/wheels-tires/diy-studs-tubeless-747736.html

My experience - stud the outermost knobs, and tubeless worked great.

But I gave up on mine by Christmas because the screws were too worn down.


A new #6 3/8" screw on the left
A typical screw from the front tire in the middle
A typical screw from the rear tire on the right

Last year was also a freak year though, and I spent two months running those tires on basically bare pavement. If I'd tried it this year instead I think they would have held up a lot better, because the roads have been under snow&ice for a few weeks now.
 

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I buy nokian tires with tungsten carbide tips. $ 45.00 per for my commuter ride and will last at least 5 or 6 years. YRMV, works for me. You do the math.
 

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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I sure know about your thread :)

You get a lot more mileage than I do. So far my front tire hasn't been wearing down much at all. Rear one about 25% down the tip, using the same screws as you did, so maybe half the wear your front tire screw is showing on the picture. I'll be working on my rear one in the next days hopefully, and I'll take out a few screws and replace them with the longer black 7/16" ones and see how good they wear. I'll also track the mileage as it will be on my MTB and not my commuter, and will have about a 50-50 of urban and trails.

Do you plan on going DIY again this winter ?
 

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Bedwards Of The West
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$45 per tire?!?! Where are you shopping?!

I just got Nokians (finally) this year also, but I'm all about DIY options... from what I've seen though, the labor involved, maintenance, and longevity of DIY studs tipped me towards buying the real deal. $150 for the pair (29er) on a crazy ebay deal, and I'm hopefully set for several winters.

Curious to see what everyone is coming up with though...I'll go DIY when the technology meets my strict demands :lol: like I did with tubeless.
 

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Do you plan on going DIY again this winter ?
Last winter I found a good deal on the 29er ice spiker pros, so I'll be using them for hopfully the next bunch of winters.

Where'd you find the black screws?

I'm grabbing this from my old thread, since it's useful info:

Bolt Depot - Selecting Fastener Materials - Steel Grades, Brass, Bronze, Stainless Steel
Stainless Steel:

It is a common misconception that stainless steel is stronger than regular steel. In fact, due to the low carbon content, stainless steel cannot be hardened. Therefore when compared with regular steel it is slightly stronger than an un-hardened (grade 2) steel fastener but significantly weaker than hardened steel fasteners.

Steel:

Grade 2 is a standard hardware grade steel. This is the most common grade of steel fastener and is the least expensive.

Grade 5 bolts are hardened to increase strength

Alloy steel bolts are made from a high strength steel alloy and are further heat treated. Alloy steel bolts are typically not plated resulting in a dull black finish. Alloy steel bolts are extremely strong but very brittle.
If I ever do DIY again I'll have to hit up one of the speciality fastener places to try to find hardened screws.
 

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Bedwards Of The West
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I don't buy any bolts/hardware for my Jeep that isn't Grade 8, but I don't know if there is such a thing as grade 8 teeny tiny screws...
 

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^ yeah, ideally there'd be a middleground between the spendy screw-in studs, and the fast-wearing hardware grade screws. When I looked last year the local hardware stores weren't any help, and I didn't check the speciality fastener shops because none of them are open past 5.

But I know a bunch of people who swear by the standard ones and ride in conditions where I'm white-knuckling with my schwalbes or nokians.
 

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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I got the black screws at Home Depot. They are simply black phosphate coating and maybe not harder steel grade then the zinc plated ones. Although while checking out the manufacturer's products specs (they are made by H. Paulin), they said they were using harder and better steel for all of their self-drilling and self-taping screws, but however those exact self-drilling ones I got are not under the same category as all of their self-drill/taping screws, they are under the framing section, which doesn't state any info on the steel used. So they might or might not be of harder steel.

At least the black coating should help regarding corrosion and esthetic. And the extra 1/16" may make the difference between an early end of season tire life and riding till spring.

I know about the steel grades, and I browsed that Bolt Depot website quite often. They have very nice information and good selection. Also when I did DIY pin my flat pedals, I made sure to get the highest M4 bolt grade I could find locally, I think I got class 10.9 (could be grade 8 in imperial). Wish I could find some alloy steel hardened whatever self-drilling screws. I might have another big specialized hardware store to go look at next time I'm in that part of town.

And like another poster said, as long as it meets our requirement and is cost-effective, DIY all the way :)
 

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That $ 45 was for 26" x1.95 nokian mount and ground about 3 years ago. A company called Grip Studs makes studs that you just screw into the tire from the outside.
 

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Huckin' trails
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
A company called Grip Studs makes studs that you just screw into the tire from the outside.
Yup, link was already posted in the beginning and consensus they are just too damn expensive for the usual rider and even compared to studded tires. Though it's nice to have them around if someone ever wants to tinker much, well at least there is many options out there for all kind of budget :)
 

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conjoinicorned
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the Grip Studs are so expensive that you could've bought commercial studded tires (about $1/stud). i could see them being useful if you wanted to stud a special tire (like a 2.5 DH rubber or something)

i'm done with DIY studs, they worked great when i simply couldn't afford commercial tires, but they never, ever lasted very long (although you can just put new screws in the tire which is cheap enough) and they aren't very comfortable to ride unless they aren't sticking out very much (i've used a bolt cutter with good success) but then the mileage goes down again

my hakkas have probably 2500 miles on them over years and years, and the studs are still in good shape. considering the "smiles per miles" quotient they were actually waaaaaaay cheaper than my DIY studs, faster and more comfortable to ride

that said...i had best luck with the wafer head black screws with the sharp tip, they are dirt cheap. i also learned quickly to cut the heads down to have as little sticking out of the rubber as possible, otherwise dry pavement sucks bad. if i was using the tire offroad i'd probably leave the studs long...
 
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