The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DIY Grip stud install

Well it's that time again, to think about studding tires for the fatbike.  We here at Freewheel Bike have been using Grip Studs for this need.  They work in most of the fatbike tires that are on the market.  So here we go.
Tool and studs needed for install

The tires I picked for this project were a Surly Larry and a Surly Nate.  Both of these tires offer a great tread block to screw the stud into.

 The first step is picking a pattern for how your studs will look on the tire.  I use a silver Sharpie to mark the location of my studs.  After you have your pattern, you are now ready to screw some studs in the tires.  I like the hand tool over the tool that works in the electric drill.  I have more control installing the stud with the hand tool.  When working on 45nth Escalator tires that have the holes predrilled, that is when I would use the electric drill tool.  So you start by loading a stud into the tool of choice.  With the hand tool, press the stud firmly into the meat of the tread and start to screw the stud in.  The studs are self tapping and will bite into the tread to start themselves.  Screw the stud down to the shoulder of the stud so it is touching the top of the tread.  I will give it another 1/8 of a turn to make sure it's where I want it to be.  Continue in this manner till you have all your studs in place.  Some tires like the Larry that I studded, take a little more time to stud up.  With little area to get the stud started it makes it tougher and more time consuming.  But with some patience, you will end up with a great looking and working tire.

 As you can see, I have a few studs installed and we are on our way to having some studded tires.

 This is a view of the tire with the studs in place.

 It takes about an hour to install 100 studs.  This front Larry ended up having 125 studs installed and the Nate has 76 studs installed.  For the Nate, I installed the studs down the center tread for traction and the Larry has studs in the center and on the sides for cornering traction.  This seems to be a good balance for the types of terrain I'll be riding or racing.

 In this picture we have a fully studded tire going out for a test ride to the local ice rink near my house.  The tire hooked up well on the ice and I felt that the pattern I installed was just what I needed to help stay upright.

I got my chance to try these tires out at a local race that Freewheel Bike puts on and they were the ticket.  The course was very icy since we had rain prior to the event.  I made the call to use these and I'm sure glad I did.  The course looked more like a bobsled run than a bike trail and the tires and studs I had on the bike sure made all the difference in me making it out alive!  I had to get used to the drifting the tire would do on the ice, but once I got this feeling under control and trusted that it would find traction, I was riding like I do on a dry trail.  The drifting was not out of control, it's just the tire searching for it's traction so I can keep putting power to the pedals and moving forward.

So for those thinking that they want to try this at home for upcoming races like the Lake Minnetonka Ice Race or any race that will be on ice or trail that is icy, you should run out and pick up some Grip Studs and get busy with some tires.