Instructables
Picture of Homemade bicycle slick tires.
This Instructable will explain how I made some slicks for one of my bikes. You can do the same, just remember to wear appropriate safety gear, (A glove and a breathing mask as a minimum, a plastic raincoat would also be recommended.)

 
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Step 1: Tools and equipment.

Picture of Tools and equipment.
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To do this you will need some type of directional sanding tool, by which I mean either a belt sander or an angle grinder with a sanding pad like I used. You will also need a straight and true front wheel that matches the tires you want to sand and a bike flipped upside down so you can use the forks as the wheel mount. Probably best to use a bike you don't care as much about as it will get messy as shown in the photo, the rubber does however easily hose off.

Step 2:

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With the tire you want to sand mounted on the wheel and inflated to around 5psi below it's recommended maximum, (The air will expand and increase pressure as some heat is transferred to the air inside while sanding.)  and also mounted on the bike fork, check it spins easily and true, if it doesn't you will end up with flat spots on your tire which will more than likely lead to sanding too much off and exposing the canvas in places.

Hold your sander in your dominant hand and with your other hand in a glove hold the wheel from spinning, start sanding each knob down to where it is almost even with the rest of the tire, working your way around the tire on one side. Once you have them all evenly close to the smooth portion, release a bit of pressure with your glove hand and allow the wheel to spin as you are sanding, you will find you can adjust the speed of the spin by varying the angle of the sanding disc and what portion of the disc touches the tire, with a bit of practice you will end up with something like the tires pictured here.
nireves19 months ago

Thanks for your instructable! whats the deal with the GIANT sprocket on the tallbike?

did you make it yourself?

LukeTheJoker (author)  nireves19 months ago

nireves1, agallagher4 and andrea biffi,

The sprocket on the minivelo is 120 tooth and was made for me by a guy in the U.S.A. he unfortunately does not make sprockets anymore though. The bike will end up with a 20 tooth BMX freewheel on the rear which will give it a 120 gear-inch ratio with the 20" slicks, that is a bit higher than most race bikes top out at, they tend to run 105-110 gear"

Anymore details you might want can be found here on the build thread:

http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/winter-build-off-mini-velo-episode-13-aerobars-video.81029/

LTJ.

I have a 125 tooth aluminium sprocket on my 20" recumbent - made in Holland ;-)

LukeTheJoker (author)  sekitori9 months ago

125! Well you got me beat! That bike must fly!

It's 125 frontsprocket, 13/14/15/16/17/19/21 on the wheel.

So it really depends on which gear I choose. I have pedalled it close to 50 KM/h. Could go faster, but got a little scared......

LukeTheJoker (author)  sekitori9 months ago

Have you got any photos of it?

This is the model bike I have - It's a Flevobike.

Mine's a little more worn down, though. I use it every day to commute.

bike.jpg
LukeTheJoker (author)  sekitori9 months ago

Cool bike!

And it rides pretty good too - you could build it yourself (a lot of people already have)

http://www.myvoice.nl/ligfiets/tekeningen.php

Takes some effort to learn to ride it (leaning to stear, use no hands) but after that it's really comfortable...

skubaduk9 months ago

As an " old guy " with not much money in my early bike days, " we " improvised, invented and manufactured knock - off cool stuff for our bikes. Didn't have credit cards, a paper route didn't pay much, etc. but it was fun seeing who could come up with a new, cool idea for a bike.

agallagher49 months ago
Forget the slicks what's the story on that bike?
LukeTheJoker (author)  agallagher49 months ago

Which one?

The big one with the orange wheels, the white one with the fat Harley tire or to 20" minivelo with the monster front sprocket?

LukeTheJoker (author)  LukeTheJoker9 months ago

nireves1, agallagher4 and andrea biffi,

The sprocket on the minivelo is 120 tooth and was made for me by a guy in the U.S.A. he unfortunately does not make sprockets anymore though. The bike will end up with a 20 tooth BMX freewheel on the rear which will give it a 120 gear-inch ratio with the 20" slicks, that is a bit higher than most race bikes top out at, they tend to run 105-110 gear"

Anymore details you might want can be found here on the build thread:

http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/winter-build-off-mini-velo-episode-13-aerobars-video.81029/

LTJ.

the 20" minivelo with the monster front sprocket!! ;-)

LukeTheJoker (author)  andrea biffi9 months ago

nireves1, agallagher4 and andrea biffi,

The sprocket on the minivelo is 120 tooth and was made for me by a guy in the U.S.A. he unfortunately does not make sprockets anymore though. The bike will end up with a 20 tooth BMX freewheel on the rear which will give it a 120 gear-inch ratio with the 20" slicks, that is a bit higher than most race bikes top out at, they tend to run 105-110 gear"

Anymore details you might want can be found here on the build thread:

http://www.ratrodbikes.com/forum/index.php?threads/winter-build-off-mini-velo-episode-13-aerobars-video.81029/

LTJ.

LukeTheJoker (author) 9 months ago

Thanks jkristensen1 exactly right, they roll faster on dry pavement and grip well, they won't last as long as a bought slick but making them for free is the idea...

Plus, they look awesome!

rickharris9 months ago

why not buy a smoother tire?

Well if you have spare tires around you can do this instead of spending money on the new tires! Granted, they will wear out a lot quicker than if you bought new tires, but they sure do look better!

dbergen29 months ago
i like
joshr1236 months ago
you could probably make some pretty beast slick tires by use rubber matting, a strong adhesive and layering it till you get the height then grind it round.
jolshefsky9 months ago

For what it's worth, never use a grinder with one hand unlike what it says in Step 2. Install the screw-in handle on whichever side is more comfortable or practical to use, and keep one hand on the thread-in handle and the other on the main body of the grinder and switch.

LukeTheJoker (author)  jolshefsky9 months ago

Fair enough comment Jolshefsky, please only do what you are comfortable with, if you feel better with two hands on your grinder, get someone else to hold the wheel with a glove.

bintoyt9 months ago

What is the purpose of having slick tires? Won't these wear through much faster than treaded ones?

neo71665 bintoyt9 months ago

Grip on pavement just like racing cars use slicks. Yes these wear faster and no they won't work on wet or loose surfaces. If wear is your concern then they do sell racing slicks for bikes. If you have a big pile of tires that are free and time to waste why not make them.

bintoyt neo716659 months ago

But is wheelspin really an issue with bicycles?

LukeTheJoker (author)  bintoyt9 months ago

Not wheelspin but cornering ability is very important on a racing bike, the more speed you can sustain through the corners without fear of the bike slipping out from under you is the less acceleration that is needed after the corner and the less time lost at lower speeds through the corner.

These will because you have to sand them down in order to achieve the smoothness. If you bought regular smooth tires (Though they wouldn't be this smooth!) then you would basically get the same result but with a longer lifespan.

LukeTheJoker (author)  jkristensen19 months ago

Exactly right again jkristensen1, but there is one tire you can buy that is this smooth, the Schwalbe Kojak, a full slick tire, high psi rated and very cool, only problem is price!

jproffer9 months ago

be aware, that sanding down the tire treads, will reduce the life of the tire itself. The wear and tear goes on the treads - once it hits the tire base, its life is very short. manufactured slick tires are thicker.

spark master9 months ago

what is the point of slicks on a bicycle?

LukeTheJoker (author)  spark master9 months ago

Grip on dry pavement, less rolling resistance, less air resistance and most of all clean looks.

AHA, I was just wondering, I know dragsters use them, but on a bike, (to me), it just sounds weird and I had to ask. I had a slick on my bike as a kid and the diff is they are FLAT that is they were like a huge washer, these are pointy sorta. So to me these are just for looks, which , if it floats your boat and it doesn't hurt, enjoy!

you could make a funnel and put on end of a shop vac hose to place in front of where you are grinding to help with the rubber bits.
Thanks for responding

sparkie
oakback9 months ago

What is the purpose of slick tires?

ac-dc oakback9 months ago

Less rolling resistance, less noise, less weight. The only negative is the obvious, poor traction on anything but ideal, dry and clean roads.

For most people riding on public roads you are better off avoiding slicks, only using them on a controlled environment like a track that is kept swept clean, but that doesn't mean you need knobbies like those tires started out as.

booga007 ac-dc9 months ago

But isn't a slick tyre built up and not ground down? Ie, you will have less mileage with this method, right?

Nicely written and photographed 'ible BTW :)

LukeTheJoker (author)  booga0079 months ago

It will not last as long as a bought slick, but getting the performance and looks even if it is for only a short time for basically free is my kind of thinking...

Thanks for the prasie on the Instructable!

LukeTheJoker (author)  ac-dc9 months ago

Thanks AC-DC, exactly right!

Just for show. Smooth tires also are better for on road use.