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  1. #1
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    Anyone here use studded fat tires?

    I've had my 2013 Moonlander for about a month now, and even though I've been having a blast running it over mtn bike trails and sand beaches, my main reason to pick it up was to help keep my sanity during the cold winter months in SE Wisconsin. I have a winter commuter with 700x35c studded tires, but I also want to use the fat bike for snowy, icy conditions.

    I'm thinking of getting a Lou and a Bud and maybe setting some studs into them. I've seen a pic (on the Grip Studs website, I believe) that has them installed on a BFL. I'm concerned with the tread on that tire being deep enough to fully set the studs though. Anyone here have experience with that? Or would I just be best to get the Lou and Bud and install studs in them? I would rather not spend the extra dough on the new tires, but I'm also wondering how they (even without studs) would be better in snow than the BFLs. Any input would be appreciated!
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  2. #2
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    BFL's are not great to stud, it is possible but you will probably loose a few (half a dozen or so studs) during the season, but mostly they just don't sit nice due to the shallow tread depth. I only tried a studded front BFL. I don't even want to speculate how badly things would be on the rear. If you want to stud tires, Bud, Lou are great candidates in the mega fatty category.

  3. #3
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    If you're not careful, you can put a Grip Stud through a Nate lug. If you're careful, a Nate (and by extension, Bud and Lou) would work just fine. I'm thinking a Larry studded using Grip Studs would definitely have punctured casings.

    I have some old school Larry tires that I studded using automotive carbide studs, from inside the casing outward, then added a liner. Getting the liner to stick is an enormous pain in the ass, but does work. Getting the studs cheaply is also a pain in the ass. It can (possibly) be done through Tikka Spikes Oy in Finland, that was an interesting conversation with a banking rep. The folks in Finland weren't eager to do another shipment so YMMV. And even then they are really only good for pre-fab tires that are ready for standard bike tire studs, such as the 45NRTH Dillinger.

    I've been messing with studded fat tires for a handful of seasons.

    Your options are grim.

    A) Buy a Nate / Bud / Lou ($$$), and Grip Stud them ($$$). Expensive and some sweat equity but not too bad on the latter concern.
    B) Buy an On One Floater perhaps, and stud them with with something. Could potentially be cheap, potentially lots of sweat equity.
    C) Buy some studded Dillinger tires ($$$$$!). Expensive but zero hassle.

    Sorry for the gloom and doom, but I want you to know what to expect.
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  4. #4
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    Another thing is that studded fatbike tires don't grip as well as studded thin tires, at least not on ice. I commuted for about 8 years on studded thin tires and fell maybe twice. Now look at my profile picture. Yup those fat tires were studded and that wasn't the only time I fell with them on last winter. I think the problem is that there is still a lot of rubber in contact with the ice on a studded fat tire and rubber doesn't grip ice well. My recommendation is to just use the thin studded tires on very icy days and use the fat bike with non-studded tires on other days.
    Last edited by Lars_D; 10-17-2013 at 12:31 AM.
    --Peace

  5. #5
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    ...I really like how my NIB folding Dillingers smell...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  6. #6
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    I haven't done any fat tires, but I've made three sets of 29er tires. I use screws put in from the inside of the tire. Even on tires without big lugs this works, of course you have to hit the lug, which sometimes means you have to drill from the outside first (I use an old spoke as a drill so I don't remove too much material). Once I have the screws in I use a bolt cutter to cut the tips of the screws off as close to the rubber as possible, if you don't do that you end up picking up a lot of leaves on bare spots. I have never been completely successful with a liner, going tubeless is much easier.

    Interesting point by Lars above though, I was considering making some studded fat tires for this winter, maybe its not such a good idea. This past winter I had a memorable ride on a frozen stream, I love ice riding.
    Big Strings, Big Wheels, The Jisch Blog

  7. #7
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    Thanks, guys.

    I wonder how the studded 45NRTH Dillinger tires would work on 100mm Clown Shoe rims. Do you suppose that the narrower tire being used on this rim would allow more studs to contact the ice, since that tire/rim combination would flatten out the tire even more than a narrower rim?
    - Mark Ehlers
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  8. #8
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    Last winter I ran a studded Bud in the front of my Necro Pugsley and Studded Nate in the rear. Wicked traction but very noisy on pavement. Between the tires and screw in grip studs its about $300 a tire. I had a warranty replacement on my Nate for the interior starting to crumble off, so I need to stud up a Lou for the Moonlander I'm using this winter.

    The 120 tpi tire compound is very soft so you need to be careful installing the studs, using a power tool probably isn't an option. Although grip studs are removable, I don't think the lugs would survive repeated installations.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    Thanks, guys.

    I wonder how the studded 45NRTH Dillinger tires would work on 100mm Clown Shoe rims. Do you suppose that the narrower tire being used on this rim would allow more studs to contact the ice, since that tire/rim combination would flatten out the tire even more than a narrower rim?
    That's the combination I used last winter in the rear. It didn't do that well. Another problem with the Dillingers is that there are no studs down the center. So the studs don't kick in until you are already skidding. I am not saying they are a waste of money, they are not. I have a pair for my fat bike and for my daughter's fat bike and even one for my son's fat unicycle. Its just that they are a disappointment compared to 29er studded tires, which in my opinion grip like magic.
    --Peace

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lars_D View Post
    My recommendation is to just use the thin studded tires on very icy days and use the fat bike with non-studded tires on other days.
    My recommendation as well. Having both winter weapons makes a big difference in my winter commuting. I can usually tell which bike is better to use by the time I'm down my driveway. The added weight, cost, and rolling resistance of a studded fat tire on a day when it isn't needed would take some enjoyment out of winter riding for me.
    Jason
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by marathon marke View Post
    Thanks, guys.

    I wonder how the studded 45NRTH Dillinger tires would work on 100mm Clown Shoe rims. Do you suppose that the narrower tire being used on this rim would allow more studs to contact the ice, since that tire/rim combination would flatten out the tire even more than a narrower rim?
    Last winter I ran Marge Lites with 45NRTH Escalators partially studded.
    I quickly found out that the contact patch of the fat tire is too big for only a few studs to provide good traction on ice.
    I ended up studding majority of the tread and only leaving out the outer most stud rows.
    My old 26" rigid fork hardtail was still better on ice with Ice Spiker Pros and thus I will modify my fat setup. I figured it was due to more pressure towards the ground on a smaller surface area which is the complete opposite for fatbikes. So potentially you might need to run even larger amount of studs to get comparable traction on exposed ice.
    The riding conditions I face are so varied that my 26" rigid fork hardtail has to step aside and give room to the comfy fatbike during winter months. 26'er is great on pavement and rolls easier, but as soon as I hit anything softer or more uneven the fatbike is the king. I had higher average speeds during my commutes last winter when on the fatbike.


    For the upcoming winter I have built a second wheelset with Clown Shoe rims and still running the same Escalators, but this time completely studded as in 240 per tire.

    My reasoning for the change was to get the edges of the Escalator to hit the ground constantly to provide the much needed traction on ice.
    I have done preliminary pressure testing on gravel and it seems to be a success. All tread lugs are contacting the ground and it should bring more of the much needed traction on exposed ice.

    Winter is still possibly weeks away in Helsinki Finland so testing on ice has to wait.

    Tire profile changed dramatically when swapping from Marge Lites to Clown Shoes. About 10mm more in width and 20mm less height from rim edge to top of tread.
    That would not be a good combo for trails I reckon, but should work well if we end up getting loads of snow. Luckily I have my second wheelset ready to go if needed with Marge Lites and Husker Dus.

    My bike setup is aluminium Beargrease with XX1 drivetrain. Needed some wheelwork to clear all gears fully with the Clown Shoes, but in the end it worked. All fat tires I run are setup split tube tubeless.

    Can't wait for snow and the first proper test runs on the new wheels!

  12. #12
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    I've been reading this gentlemans blog. I noticed he posted about two methods of DIY studding.

    Here is a link.

    I ran studded tires on a normal 26er and it was better.

    - Fat Tire MN -: DIY Studded Tires
    Where there is a hill, there's a way!

  13. #13
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    Has anyone trying cutting a myriad of little sipes into their tyres?

    I'm thinking of trying it this year.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lars_D View Post
    That's the combination I used last winter in the rear. It didn't do that well. Another problem with the Dillingers is that there are no studs down the center. So the studs don't kick in until you are already skidding. I am not saying they are a waste of money, they are not. I have a pair for my fat bike and for my daughter's fat bike and even one for my son's fat unicycle. Its just that they are a disappointment compared to 29er studded tires, which in my opinion grip like magic.
    I used 45Nrth Xerxes last year and they have the same basic concept of studs on the outside and none down the middle. I never crashed with em but they did slide a few times then catch which gave me a very strange pudding feeling in my pants.

    They weren't as grippy as my old Nokian Gazza Extremes but they did get the job done. Too bad there's no fat Gazzas because I'd be all over that.

  15. #15
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    Last year I ran Clown Shoes with studded Dillingers on my alum Beargrease all season as well as the ITI. I was very happy with the set up, nothing wrong with extra insurance.
    I will note I am not as comfortable ripping around town (glare, chunky city ice) on them as I am with skinny tire studded tires.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandzsteedt View Post
    My bike setup is aluminium Beargrease with XX1 drivetrain. Needed some wheelwork to clear all gears fully with the Clown Shoes, but in the end it worked. All fat tires I run are setup split tube tubeless.
    Do you mind elaborating on the "wheelwork" you did?
    Last edited by FrY10cK; 10-18-2013 at 03:48 AM.

  17. #17
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    I'm with Lars on this.

    I set up an Escalator with studs last year, and found that in my conditions (MTB style riding on icy trails, up and down, not commuting or lake riding) they slipped like mad. Too little pressure to drive the studs home.

    Me? This winter? 29er FS with Schwalbe Ice Spikers as I have in the past, works MUCH better, for my conditions and riding environs.....
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

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  18. #18
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    Yes, I rode Dillingers last winter, 6 mile 1-way commute (4 trail, 2 road) most days, and some rec-rides on snowmos, and at KT and Millstone. A decent compromise for mixed conditions (when you need a fatbike for part of the ride, but have some sketchy icy sections). Nowhere near the traction of the skinnier MTB tires I have run (homemade with car-studs, ice-spikers or hakkepelittas), but then Dillingers are light enough to leave on for rides or miles where you don't need studs. And no danger of flatting like my homemade studded tires, which is a real plus in winter conditions.

  19. #19
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    I agree with most of the comments about the traction of the Dillingers. It is not even close to the traction of a 26" Nokian Extreme 294.
    I think another part of the problem is... The studs are not long enough to get a good grip.
    I thought I heard a rumor that the 2014 45NRTH versions might have longer studs. That would help.
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  20. #20
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    Thanks, guys. I have a hybrid with 700x35c studded tires I've been using for the past 3 years, and I think I'll stick with that bike for the icy days. Sounds like most of you feel that the skinny studded approach is the better way to go, especially for a commuter ice-bike.
    - Mark Ehlers
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  21. #21
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    I used 100 grip studs total in my bud and lou's last winter with great success. My main goal was to not go down with a patch of overflow like ice on rides and to be able to enjoy open ice on lake's. Side benefit is you have crazy grip crawling over logs.
    Lao Tzu Cycles: Grip Studs in Bud and Lou
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaredbe View Post
    I used 100 grip studs total in my bud and lou's last winter with great success. My main goal was to not go down with a patch of overflow like ice on rides and to be able to enjoy open ice on lake's. Side benefit is you have crazy grip crawling over logs.
    Lao Tzu Cycles: Grip Studs in Bud and Lou
    Thanks for that link. It seems that you may have found just the right pattern and placement to make them work with these tires!
    - Mark Ehlers
    The Prodigal Cyclist

  23. #23
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    We used to have a DIY stud thread on here... it's quite a ways back.

    Here's some pic's of my studded Endo's. We get quite a bit of ice around here. And even when we've got some good snow, often there's also patch's of ice that will take you out. Sheet metal screws work dang good. They're very sharp (unless you ride them on the pavement), and you get grip from the threads as well as the points. I use individual "squares" of Gorilla Tape to cover the heads. Individual pieces let the tire flex, expand & contract. Cool thing is, there easily re-studded and you can remove them for summer (I re-tape the holes to help keep water out). I have re-studded these endo's twice and have never had a flat via the studs. On my 100mm rims I stud the outside row(s) and the next row(s) in because of the "flatter top". On my 65's I only stud the 1st row's in from the outside... the rounder profile makes the inside row bite fine and the outside row's point to much to the side. I've ridden these several times on wet, slick ice that you could hardly walk on...

    S1040007

    S1040003

    Here's a video from last winter. It's my friend's (on the Fatback) 1st fat bike ride. Plenty of sections would have been ridable w/o studs, others stuff not so much. towards the end, the low sun really shows the sheen on a couple really slick sections.


  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FrY10cK View Post
    Do you mind elaborating on this "wheelwork"? I'm putting together an aluminum Beargrease right now.
    I'm running Middleburn X-type cranks with chainring in the inner most position. That leaves the chainline a bit too close to the tire so I worked around the issue by dishing the rear wheel slightly to the left side.
    So basically I took a few millimeters out of the tire clearance on the left side to provide chain clearance for the tire on the right. Wheel is laced symmetrically, but just dished slightly to the left to clear the XX1 lowest gear.

    You only need to do this with my setup however. If you have better chainline with the cranks you might be able to clear 100mm rims and 4" tires with XX1 without tinkering.

    I'm probably going to modify the spider to put the chainring a little further out and bring the wheel dish more to the center, but I will leave the decision for later when I have put some good testing time on the current setup.

    Or if I'm feeling rich I might grab the new Raceface cranks with a better chainline.

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