Has anyone ever made a set of studded tires? What did you use? I read about a method somewhere but I cannot recall where. I heard that you can:

  1. Drill/make a small hole through the tire
  2. Screw a screw through the hole
  3. Cover the screw in part of the screw with duct tape

I am somewhat skeptical if this would work or not. Anyone have any suggestions? I was thinking rivets might work better.

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Picture source.

  • 1
    See also bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/695/…
    – kevins
    Sep 29, 2010 at 3:35
  • I'm not good with complex and delicate interventions:) So I am thinking of using super glue or that glue that becomes solid rock (the one house builders use for external fixtures), to glue circular pieces of metalic knobs on each protruding part of my mountain bike tyre... What do you think?
    – tempot
    Jun 26, 2012 at 18:29
  • 1
    I would think that if one had a heavily-lugged tire, one could drive screws through from the outside, using short screws that wouldn't penetrate the tire. Probably ideal would be to pre-drill pilot holes and then grind the tips off the screws (small "wood" screws or "sheet-metal" screws) to minimize the chance of a puncture. Jul 4, 2012 at 1:26

5 Answers 5


ICEBIKE has a good page describing studded tires, including how to make your own. The basic process is as you describe: drive screws from the inside of the tire and cover them with something to protect the tube.

Studded tire cross section

  1. Count the knobs and evenly spread out the 25 screws for each side.
  2. Punch holes, from the outside of the tire, into the designated knobs.
  3. Use Robertson bit in the drill to drive the screws in the tire from the inside.
  4. Put liner inside tire and make sure it covers the screw heads
  5. Put a generous dusting of baby powder between the liner and the tube.
  6. Mount tire on the rim (ouch! watch out for the points!)
  7. Inflate to maximum pressure. Put the wheel on the bike (mind the points). Spin the wheel to make sure that the studs don't catch on anything.

I think the takeaways here are that you don't need screws in every tread block and that the screws shouldn't be in the center. Screws placed in the center of the tread will simply wear down quickly; you really just want them on the outer tread blocks, positioned such that they barely touch the ground when the bike is upright.

  • 1
    when I've made them the screws are setup to fold over and grab with the threads not the points. Sep 29, 2010 at 2:21
  • Just had the snowiest day in our city's history, going to try my hand at this tonight. Hopefully, come tomorrow morning, I'll have a functional bike and not two ruined tires :)
    – user229044
    Dec 6, 2010 at 20:40

You can also create semi-studded tires by wrapping zip-ties around the tire, with the lock in the same position the screws are shown in the illustrated answer.

You'd need a bike with disk brakes for this to work. So for a road bike it would probably be slightly less than practical.

  • 1
    Interesting idea, but zip ties break pretty quickly when stressed in cold temperatures. I've used some to quick-fix snow shoes and they barely lasted 10 minutes.
    – dee-see
    Nov 30, 2010 at 19:02
  • Yeah I probably wouldn't try it, but I thought I'd post an alternative to poking holes in a set of tires.
    – alesplin
    Dec 1, 2010 at 19:30
  • maybe it depends on the type of plastic? +1 for an innovative and relatively simple idea. Dec 3, 2010 at 6:30

I built a set from baldies by driving screws through the knobs--advice on this is very common and I won't dwell on it here. I used mine all winter in the UP of Michigan (we get as much snow as Duluth and upstate NY). A few tips:

  • Use hockey stick tape (NOT DUCT TAPE) as the first line of defense on top of screw heads inside the tire. The easiest way to do this is to stretch it out 2 feet at a time and wear jeans to avoid annoying scratches while stuffing it inside. You will likely need to use multiple strips depending on the size of your tire (I recommend lefty, righty and a center strip).
  • Use a blown-out tube as the second layer of protection. Don't have any dead tubes? Don't worry, you will... My usual strategy for changing tires has me putting a few PSI in the tube and stuffing it into the tire while it is partially inflated and holds its shape--do this but tape the dead tube around the good tube with more hockey stick tape (I have found that every other method I've attempted was awkward).
  • Give the bike a good test ride after it has chilled to eliminate simple problems. Realize you will most likely have two flats after your first 4 mile ride (unless you're stupidly lucky, in which case just buy lottery tickets and real snow tires with the winnings). In all seriousness though, bring at least one spare tube and at least one spare tire on your first ride in addition to a bike pump and something that can artificially reduce your frustration level (chocolate has worked in the past for me).

I have found the process of making winter tires to be quite iterative. Keep this in mind as you tread forward (pardon the pun).


Zap straps/cable ties are useless. Try using bike chain.

Deflate tire, put chain around tire and rim. Do the same around tire. Reinflate tire with air, and ride.

  • Interesting idea - do you have a photo of a wheel with a chain on it ? Do you put short lengths of chain around the tyre, rim, through the spokes and then join them? OR do you have one long length of chain spiraled around the whole rim? How do you secure it? How do you deal with rim brakes or are your bikes disk brakes? This is an interesting idea, but needs more info, which you can add with edit
    – Criggie
    Jan 18, 2020 at 20:58
  • 1
    I think the chains are usually laterally mounted between two steel hoops of a bit more than rim diameter. Thus you have to deflate before putting bike chains on. See here !bike-magazin.de/uploads/tx_saltnews/da/…
    – gschenk
    Jan 18, 2020 at 21:32

A local pittsburgh bike shop, Thick Bikes, put up instructions on how to DIY some cheap studded mountain bike tires and I thought it was really useful. These are geared more for off-road mountain bike riding than on-road riding (with studs in the center of the tire), but you could easily just leave out the center screws. They line tire with an old road tire to protect your tube from the butts of the screws/studs.

Just check out their blog here for the details: http://thickbikes.com/blog/?tag=stud


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