Can I glue circular pieces of some sort of uneven tiny metal heads, on every other knob of my mountain bike tyre, to bike in winter with snow and ice? If glue sounds too naive to some, there are some really professional hard to undo glues out there today, like those used in contruction work, that are super strong and anti-corrosion and sort of can be molded even and when dried they are like rock.

  • What's your motivation? Are you trying to save money or just try it out for the challenge? – Mac Jun 27 '12 at 6:51
  • Yes, ready made studded tyre is kind of pricey for me. Drilling them is not my thing, I am sure |i will just destroy them. Unless there is a video online showing exactly how its done(didnt find any). There are some website but I'm lost, can't follow written instructions that neat. Glueing is the only option I got really. If the metallic parts fall off the tyre, so be it, the tyre is not destroyed. Need to commute around my home in snowy winter, on snow but most importantly on slippery melting ice. – tempot Jun 27 '12 at 14:51
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    The problem isn't the glue; it's the tire, which flexes a lot. Even if the glue dried to 'like a rock' with the metal, the tire would flex away from the rock-like glue very quickly, if not the first time you sat on it and rode. Also, other walkers and bikers would really not appreciate metal spikey bits all over the road. – Ehryk Jun 27 '12 at 17:33
  • You could try a cheap tyre and screws to trade time for money. If you have a local bike recycling operation try them, or indeed your LBS may be willing to give you a suitable pair of tyres from their rubbish bin. For the experiment you could use a tyre with a rip or cut in the tread that makes it unsuitable for direct use, since you're using a second tyre inside it as a sleeve. – Kohi Jun 28 '12 at 3:28
  • One could, on a sufficiently knobby tire, somehow cut pits into the rubber that would lock in studs, similar to how car tires do it. But this would require significantly more skills and tooling than the screws-through-from-the-inside option. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 29 '12 at 17:21

If you have disc brakes you can use zip ties to create a cheap studded tire and can remove the zip ties when you're done. Get long enough zip ties to go around your tire and rim. Because of this, it will not work with rim based brakes.

  • Zip ties will probably wear fast on non-snow surfaces and may break easily in extreme cold. But they will work. – Kohi Jun 28 '12 at 0:34
  • Cheap and easily replaceable are helpful factors too. – Glenn Gervais Jun 28 '12 at 15:37
  • May work great for the rear tire but it will not help to keep your front tire from sliding out. Zip ties will provide some forward/backward bite but zero side to side bite. – sixtyfootersdude Dec 20 '12 at 18:29

I am nearly certain the answer is no. Any metal or hard plastic will flex very little compared to the rubber of the tire, which flexes more than you think. There is no glue I have ever heard of or used, including the Gorilla glues and epoxies, that would ever hold these two together - it'd essentially have to be so strong that the rubber won't flex under your weight as you ride, and unless it's top secret I'd just sum it up to be: that doesn't exist and probably never will.

I'd even go further and say even if you got them joined, it wouldn't be a very good or effective tire. If money's really that tight, look for used studded tires on craigslist or eBay - some will be half retail, at least, and may actually help your traction.

Drilling, however, is not hard. You select a screw that protrudes from the lug by the amount you want (1/8" or so for a bicycle would be appropriate), screw it in with a drill from the outside so there's a hole on the inside, then screw it through from the inside out. Then you need to line the inside with rim tape so that the screw heads don't pop your inner tube, but if you do this yourself, they probably will (there aren't enough tire/metal bands like a motorcycle/vehicle tire to keep the screws in place, they'll start pushing into the tube and eventually get through).

In my opinion, neither option is good, or would do anything for your traction besides waste your time.


The problem IMO will be that you need a glue that flexes with the rubber tyre. A rigid glue will just break off taking some of the rubber from the tyre with it. But given a flexible glue that bonds to the rubber and fills the space between tyre and metal object, I think it could work. I'm imagining something like the sealant glues that come in a sealant gun, rather than a cyanoacetate type super glue. The ones used to glue concrete together, for example, that have to fill gaps as well as adhere.

The metal bits will be more of a problem I think. You need a good area for the glue to stick to, but you also need sharp edges to grip the snow. So just attaching 10mm washers flat on the tyre probably won't help. I suspect you'll end up gluing screws across the tyre to more or less match the way the DIY screw tyres work. I suggest covering the screw with glue, then let the glue wear away from the outside when it hits the track. I'd be tempted to start by trying a few screws with each type of glue that I had available just to see whether any of them work at all. And whether you can ride the bike with this setup.

Usual caveats apply: I haven't done this, I doubt it will work, but this seems to be to be the approach least unlikely to fail.

  • I agree with the 'least unlikely to fail' part - nothing I can think of will really work for this. The problem I see is that the glue won't flex enough compared to the stiffness of the metal and the movement of the rubber, so it'd pull away anyway. The metal should be somewhat like a flat washer with no middle hole, and a 1/8" spike in the center for both surface area and traction. I can't think of something offhand that would be like this, and custom making them would likely cost more than the studded tires anyway. – Ehryk Jun 28 '12 at 4:42
  • Yeah, it seems like more of a "making a point" approach than a practical solution. Even if it works, those glues are not cheap so whether it's cheaper overall would depend a lot on longevity of the glue. Which I can't imagine being great. Also, if you do use screws and they come off the tyre, you're now dropping pointy metal things on a bike route. Which is pretty antisocial. – Kohi Jun 28 '12 at 5:05
  • Yeah. Screwing from the inside out would be the best, but it'd take a bit of time, lots of screws, and probably pop your inner tubes over time. Also, it'd increase the weight a bunch, and just all around not worth the time to do for a crappy, heavy tire. – Ehryk Jun 28 '12 at 5:12

When I was in Hokkaido, Japan (Very cold, almost no snow removal) I saw a few guys that screwed screws through their knobs. It seemed to work pretty well. They protected the tube by putting Mr.Tuffy's in there as well. It might work better and last longer than glue.

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    Yes, I know this tecnique. I am searching for something easier as I think I will end up destroying tyres one after the other. Some glues today are super strong, like those professionals use in constructions, as mentioned above. Thanks for the comment – tempot Jun 27 '12 at 14:48
  • Not this strong. The key to the construction glues is surface area - a luxury you don't have on a small tire lug/tread pattern. Also, the flex between wood and drywall (or most materials in the construction context) is very minor in comparison with thin rubber to metal. – Ehryk Jun 27 '12 at 17:28
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    The "old fashioned" way to make studded tires was to drive "sheet metal screws" through from the inside, then cover the screw heads with heavy tire liner. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 15 '12 at 20:13

There's a video here of a guy putting studs on ATV tires. They just screw into the tire knobs. I imagine this would be much harder on a bicycle (since the tread is much thinner and you have less room for error) but not impossible.

I would forget about adhesives - you need something that sticks to the tread with just mechanical friction.

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    Not only are the tread lugs smaller, but motorcycle/atv/passenger vehicle tires have woven metal bands underneath the rubber, which the screw's ridges can sink into. Bicycle tires do not, and the soft rubber compound won't be enough to hold the screws the same way. – Ehryk Jun 28 '12 at 5:16

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