Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Get a Grip - GripStuds Install

For those that follow my blog, you might remember an installment last winter where I showed you how to make your own studded tires.  Labeled the "poor man's studded tires," I used sheet metal screws and a spare tube to complete the system.

This time around I'm using a new product at the shop made by GripStuds.  They make individual studs that you can install into almost any bike tire.  Their studs are made from Tungsten Carbide (same stuff they make drill bits out of) and are very durable.  So, if you have a certain tire tread pattern that you like or an extra set of tires laying around, these studs would be a good choice to get your winter riding on.  For my project, I used a set of tires off a Surly Pugsley since no one seems to make a set of studded tires for it.

As with most projects, planning is key.  GripStuds recommends at least 50 studs per tire.  They also recommend that you use a scattered pattern and not just install studs in a straight line.  One last note, studs are best suited on the cross section of the tire (the knobs in between the center of the tire and the very outside or shoulder knobs.  You want your studs to make contact with the ground from several different angles.  With these thoughts in mind, I grabbed a silver marker and started putting a dot on every other cross sectional knob.  My pattern gave me 100 studs per tire...fitting number since the Pug tires are 3.8" wide!
basic tools needed...along with patience

After my knobs were marked, I took a punch and stared a hole for each stud.  Now GripStuds says that pre-holes and drilling are not necessary.  However, with the small size of the knobs on my tire it was imperative that the stud start right in the middle of the knob and not stray off to the side and tear the rubber.

With holes all punched it was time to start installing the studs.  GripStuds makes a handy little installation bit for your drill.  Sweet.  And each little stud has two slots on its shoulder, think slotted screw driver system.  I found the engagement of the stud and tool very positive and easy to use.
stud with installation slots on one side, threads on the other

Patience!!  I cannot stress enough that you must take it slow.  Set your drill on a slow speed and use alternating power to ease the studs in.  I always had to keep an eye on the stud to ensure that it was going down the center of the knob and not veering off course.  Once the stud was set down to its shoulder, I moved on to the next one.

It was super slow, but the finished product looked great!

Note that as opposed to the sheet metal screw install, there is nothing protruding inside the tire casing.  Long wear life, ability to remove/replace studs and shallow penetration make these studs a great choice for your winter tires.  Wanna know more about GripStuds?  Check out their site or hit me up.
no need for a tire liner

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 2012

I often reflect on my time in the Marine Corps and Veteran's Day is no different.  I served during Desert Storm and was able to see a lot of the world.  Currently my unit is in Iwakuni, Japan, a place I spent I lot of time during my service.  My time in the Marines with the "Bats" helped shape me into what I am today and for that I will always be thankful.  But what does this have to do with biking?

The Surly Black Ops Pug (yeah bear with me).  How can you make the original Pugsley any better, it is already one bad ass, all-terrain rig?  Well, first you black it all out to make it covert.  Then you add even wider rims (82mm) to create a wider tire footprint.  Lastly, you call it "Black Ops," what could be cooler?
Now, I got to play with some cool stuff in the Marines, but we never got to ride around on Surly Black Ops bikes.  Coming to Greasy Fingers December 1st!