Sunday, November 06, 2011

Studded Snow Tires

With La Nina coming back our chances are even greater of getting snow, again, this year.  I've been debating the idea of investing in some studded snow tires but always tossed it out because there only about 2 weeks of the year that I would actually use them.  This year I even went so far as to ask a LBS about some.  I'm running 32's right now with a nice comfortable amount of space between them and the fenders.  Almost all 700 size tires with snow studs are 35 and larger.  That's when the shop owner mentioned making my own.  Hmmmmmmmm.  I was running a 700x25 up front and a 28 in the back.  I still have thoooooose.  The smaller size would leave just enough space for the studs.

So I googled it.  Now the first thing I come across is the zip tie method.  http://www.dutchbikeco.com/_blog/Dutch_Bike_Co_Weblog/post/Seattle_Snowpocalypse/  OK this may be all fine and dandy if you have a fixed gear or a bike with disc brakes but I do not and my cantilevers are not going to work with those.

Second method uses sheet metal screws and I've seen two versions of this.  Version "A" involves inserting the screws from the inside of the tire so the sharp points are sticking out.  http://www.singlespeedoutlaw.com/main/articles/homemadestuddedtires.shtml.  In version "B" the screws are hex head and installed from the outside.  This appears to work best if you have knobby tires.  The screws are driven into the knobs.  I rejected this because any piercing the inside of the tire had to be ground off.

The third method uses pop rivets.  http://www.instructables.com/id/Pop-Rivet-Ice-Tires-for-Your-Road-Bike/  I liked this method because the pop rivets look most like studs on commercially sold bicycle snow tires.  Holes  are drilled (<--What?!) and the rivets are inserted from the inside with a washer on the outside.  (Actually it is probably best to use an awl and pierce the tire between the cords as opposed to drilling through them.)  Something is still needed to prevent the rivets from wearing on the tube such as another tube or a tire liner.  I used the Mr Tuffy strips that I already own. 

I'm not riding with knobby tires and my tires worked fine for the amount of snow we get here.  It's the ice that gave me the most problems.  We'll see this winter if this works or not.  If it does, I just saved about $65.