studding a set of tires for winter.

19 replies to this topic
  • tool

Posted November 03, 2004 - 04:34 PM


so, im thinking i want to give snow riding a whirl. ive got a set of old tires, i just need to know the best way to stud them. im thinking maybe i could just use some type of machine screws sticking out of the tire, then locknut the part on the outside of the tire.
like, drill a hole in each knob then bolt a screw to it, leaving a little bit of thread sticking out.
i know theres probably some titanium studs i could buy for $130 a tire, but i just want to try the "studded tire" thing. and i wont be riding on frozen lakes, so maybe i dont need spikes, just something to chew the packed snow?
whats the most affordable way? :cry:

  • ncmountainman

Posted November 03, 2004 - 05:20 PM


sheet metal screws,used to do it up north all the time. just make sure they're not longer than your knob is tall. after a days ride about a third come out but you can replace them a couple times. it'll give you an idea of it to see if you want to spend the $$$ on some studded trellborgs! :cry: use a clutch drive drill so you don't strip out the hole. p.s. be careful not to use the drill with the tc balls in its clutch,it may cause premature failure :cry:

  • Indy_WR450

Posted November 03, 2004 - 08:55 PM


Got to love those TC balls! :cry: :cry: :cry:

  • unabiker

Posted November 04, 2004 - 07:04 AM


Check out this thread on the DRZ side:

  • tool

Posted November 04, 2004 - 01:14 PM


thanx for the link unabiker. :cry: i guess im leaning toward the one poster that was talking about having "nuts and bolts sticking out of the tire"...
im thinking i should drill a hole clean through the knob, then put a flathead screw through the knob (from the inside to the outside), then put a locknut on the outside of the knob. then maybe line the inside of the tire with duct tape. bolt the "stud" through the tire, instead of screwing them into the knob.
does this sound like a good plan? i dont mind taking the time to make sure the studs wont constantly come out, but i dont want to waste my time if it wont work in the end. :cry:

nc, are you saying to screw the sheet metal screws into the top of the knob? so the screw heads would be what grips the snow? i may try that first because it sounds easy enough, but i wouldnt mind having some really aggressive traction.
p.s. the TC balls in the drill clutch would only cause premature failure if used on a WR. let alone a WZ. :cry: :cry:

  • ncmountainman

Posted November 04, 2004 - 01:41 PM


nc, are you saying to screw the sheet metal screws into the top of the knob?

ya,get a couple lbs regular sheet metal screws 3/8-1/2(very cheap) just make sure you got enough knob! i believe they are 5/16 hex head so they drive in very easily. this will give you a feel for it to see if you want to pursue a more permanent solution. :cry: you can put two in if you want just like the ice studs.

  • tool

Posted November 04, 2004 - 01:48 PM


yea, i will try that first. i love snow roost! :cry:

  • Jason_Roland

Posted November 04, 2004 - 04:32 PM


The best way to do this would be to go down to your local shop and look at their Parts Unlimited catalog. You will be quite suprised to find that there is quite a selection of special screws already made for this. Some are quite expensive though. The screws made for studding tires have deaper threads and are cupped on the head of the screw, they can actually cut your fingers if your not careful. I have been riding in the winter for about ten years now and have tried many different set ups, but the best way to go for the money are the Gold Screws they aren't the most expensive either. you will need almost 500 for the front and close to 1000 for the back. One screw per knob up front and 3-5 in the front, 3/8-1/2 in the front and 1/2-3/4 in the back depending on the condition of the tires you are using. the traction you will get with this set-up will be pretty amazing. I rode a bike last year with a set of $500 ice racing tires on it and I could drag the left side handlebar on the ice. I hope I didn't overwhelm you with to much info but this will make a big difference over just using sheet metal screws, ice screws are hardened to last a lot longer

  • Frostbite

Posted November 04, 2004 - 06:50 PM


Using an old tire and cheap studs is like going skating with dull skates, it's probably not going to be much fun. A properly studded set of tires will give you plenty of traction but you'll have to spend a few bucks. I've ridden a lot of snowmobile trails with no studs. The studs really come into play on hard packed trails and icy spots. Sheet metal type studs will give you the best traction on clear ice but not much good in snow and they dull the instant you run over some dirt.
I use carbide tipped snowmobile studs in my tires. They don't have nearly the traction as sheet metal studs on clean ice, but they are great for all around riding, don't get dull and I've ridden through quite a bit of dirt with them with no problems. They're great for cleaning up the trails too. The front tire is great for picking up pop bottles and metal cans. :cry: Every now and then I have to stop and peel one off of the tire.

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  • WR450F_RDR

Posted November 04, 2004 - 07:08 PM


Frostbite could you go into some detail on how you set up your tires, stud type,size,length,and so forth. I seen other posts by you and you seem to be the king of snow :cry:

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  • jwriott

Posted November 04, 2004 - 08:01 PM


Specific details on what brand and where to get those would help.

A guy in the Springs used to use car studs and would stud a tire for $75. He has since sold his gun but he rode for 3 winter seasons on the studs and they worked great. I did the Gold screws and the New Years day ride out of the Cheyenne mountain Zoo and the screws get dulled quick if you aren't on all snow and ice. They do hold up way better than the cheap sheet metal screws though.

  • ncmountainman

Posted November 04, 2004 - 08:55 PM


ya we did most of our sheet metal screw ridin on the lakes,but that was where it was the most fun! blowin by the snowmobiles on an xr 600 doin 100 was quite a shock to their system!them square things look like they could do some damage! you might wanna keep some distance from your buddy if your both using them! :cry:

  • Frostbite

Posted November 05, 2004 - 11:38 AM


My best advice to anyone who is planning on riding snow is - get a ski, get a ski, get a ski! If I had to choose between a ski and studded tires I would take the ski. I've taken some hard fast unexpected trips over the bars and it's even less fun when you know a spinning studded tire is coming in for touchdown. I haven't made one trip over the bars since I installed the ski.
In this pic I was cruising along in 3rd gear when I hit a soft spot and stopped me dead. The ski floated the front right over and it's no big deal when the rear sinks. If it wasn't for the ski the front would've gone under and I'd be racking up frequent flyer miles.
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I used to ice race a Honda 600 Hurricane so I've done a lot of experimenting with studs and tires. Once I got it dialed in it stuck like glue, was almost easy to ride, and I usually got the holeshot and even won a few races.

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The sheet metal type studs are great for clean ice but if there's a bit of snow buildup and they can't reach the ice they're useless and when they get dull they're useless.

The best setup I've come up with for hassle free snow trail riding is to
1 - use the widest tires that will fit on the bike - so you get the best floatation

2 - use tires with a hard rubber compound. If the knobs flex the studs bend over and you loose traction.

3 - use tires with a deep, fairly agressive knob pattern. I tried a paddle tire but it was too agressive and just tended to dig holes. Snow is not as dense as sand so you don't get the same propulsion effect. I also tried the other end of the scale, a street legal knobby. It floated on top of the snow but felt like a bald tire in mud.

4 - use the longest studs you can get away with. You have to penetrate the grainy snow that builds up on sled trails and get down to the frim base. Otherwise it's like riding in loose gravel. I put a 2 tooth smaller sprocket on the rear to let the tire sit farther back in the swingarm for maximum clearance. The longest stud I could get in the rear without chewing into the swingarm at the shock protector was a 1 1/2 inch. I also [@#$%&*!] the tire slightly with the chain adjusters to keep the chain form hooking the studs.
I have 1 3/4 studs in the center third of my front tire, but had to put 1 1/2 studs in the second outermost row of knobs so they wouldn't scrape the fork legs and sheet metal studs in the outside row of knobs. Initially I had all 1 3/4 studs in the front and the clearance seemed fine, but the fork legs were scratched up after a short test ride. The tire squats and flexes enough to let the longer studs hit the legs.

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I find the long front studs give much better tracking and let you climb out of ruts easily. They feel kind of spidery going slow on hard surfaces like clean ice though, but most of my riding is on snow or snow covered ice.
I installed aluminum backing plates (from stud manufacturer) on the rear tire for extra support so the studs wouldn't tear the knobs under acceleration. The front knobs are too small for the backing plates so I just installed the nyloc nuts and have had no problem. I was planning to try metal washers about the same size as the knob for extra support but so far I haven't needed them.

The carbide sled studs usually come with a hollow drill bit for coring through the snowmobile track. I used the bit to drill holes right through the tire at the center of the knobs and pop them through from the inside. You can't set them too close together because the heads of the studs are almost an inch around and you won't have clearance between the heads inside the tire. I had to grind the heads of some of the studs in my front tire to keep them from overlapping.
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To help protect the rear tube I put a hex key in a drill and ran 1 stud into the tire carcass from the inside to countersink it flush with the inside of the tire. The stud gets smokin' hot after a few seconds spinning against the rubber and basically burns itself into the tire. I used the same stud to countersink all the holes since it was already hot and drilled faster.
The carcass of the front tire is too thin to countersink into. I wrapped 3 old inner tubes around the good front tube to protect it from pinching and chafing and it lasted all winter, which is about 11 1/2 months up here. :cry:
I also wrapped the rear tube but only used 1. I just bought a set of heavy duty tubes and I'm going to install them for extra peace of mind on long rides.
Once the tires were built they were absolutely maintenance free. I put hundreds of miles on them riding on snow and ice with plenty of dirt and rocky crossings with no problems. The only trouble I had was a pinched front tube late in the spring. The snow melted and I switched back to knobs and they felt terrible. I had gotten used to the extra bite of the studs so I popped them back on and kept riding. After a few days the front pinched and went flat. There's lots of rock up here and I guess there was too much pressure on the long studs.
You can also buy a sharpener to put a new edge on the carbide studs if they get dull. The sled studs may seem expensive but I've spent a lot more money on tires that didn't work or wore out a lot faster.
Spend the money to build a good set of tires, get a ski and give the sleds a run for their money. Remember to be a courteous rider though, and help them out if they need a push. :cry:
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And, of course, the ski isn't limited to winter use only. :cry:
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  • R_Little

Posted November 05, 2004 - 12:23 PM


Man, those are some scary looking tires.

The lengths some people have to go to to ride..

Man, you are motivated and an inspiration.

  • Frostbite

Posted November 05, 2004 - 12:44 PM


One more thing I almost forgot - line up the studs carefully, especially on the front tire and don't count on the knobs being perfectly in line. I mounted the tires on the bike, spun them by hand and touched a marker to the knobs to get straight lines around the tire. Then I popped the tires off of the rims and stuck the core bit in a drill press ot try to keep the angle of the holes as uniform as possible and centered the bit over the marker line.
If the studs are out of line on the front tire you'll get a wobble that gets worse as speed increases. I discovered this during my first high speed run on the studded 600 Hurricane. :cry:

  • Sam3G

Posted December 04, 2006 - 12:24 PM


Anyone know about tire chains for dirtbikes? I saw them use them on 50 nuts... :worthy:

  • farkawi

Posted December 04, 2006 - 06:45 PM


The carbide sled studs look like the real deal for traction and longevity; if you want to build your own tires. You might consider chucking the inner tube liners though and use an old streetbike tire carcass with the bead and most of the sidewall removed. Your tubes will last for sure then.

  • J_DOGG

Posted December 05, 2006 - 10:00 AM


Correction to an earlier post about screws:::you will need more screws for the front tire not the back....
Even if you double up two per knob..the front will require more screws...

I use the gold screws on the wifes DRZ125L and they stay in good.
The WR450 gets full on hot glued spiked tires.... too much power for the screws IMO...


  • Old_Yeller

Posted March 04, 2007 - 09:47 AM


I bought a pair of new mud tires and took them to the local car tire dealer. He studded both tires for $80. They work great on everything even slippery clay soil too! Snotty roots are actually fun now, the tire really digs in to the wood.
But if you really want to party in the snow get one of these:
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  • 89TRX350RX

Posted March 05, 2007 - 04:39 PM


I've got a professionally studded 18" rear (left hand turns only, made with Canadian Holiday Ice screws - not AMA legal - really tall heads) for sale... make me an offer and it is yours... I was going to race my WR on ice, but Wifey reminded me about my 2 young children and how they really like having their father around... So now I race her Quad (500 Predator), apparantly that is safer?!?!? If I can figure out how to insert a pic, I will.

Well here it goes... Posted Image

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it has 2 liners (street bike tires).


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