Ice Tyres for a Mountain Bike




We have had some bad weather recently and all the cycle paths round my part of the world are covered in several inches of ice which makes cycling a pain. So I decided I needed a pair of ice tyres for the once a week trip into the office.
After researching how ice tyres worked, what a couple of the manufacturers offer and the DIY versions on here, I went down my workshop and found some self-drilling carbon tipped pan head screws used for fixing flat surfaced hardware to reinforced PVCU windows and a couple of spare tyres that came with a bike ages ago.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Parts List

The parts list for this project was really simple and whatever I had on the shelves:
2 Tyres (Tires)
200 Screws
Old inner tube
Bradawl (or other hole making device - yes I used a scribe)

Step 2: Add Some Spikes

After a little trial and error I found that using a sharp point to puncture the tyre (from the outside) in exactly the place I wanted the spike to come out, allowed me to just push the sharp end of the screw threw the tyre from the inside, the end result was a nice uniform double row of carbon steel zinc plated spikes, threaded into the chunky rubber part with no hope of being pulled out.
The screws stick through the rubber on these tyres about 10mm which if I am being honest is about 5 more than I really wanted but without buying chunkier tyres or shorter screws that's not going to change.... and I like the slightly excessive look.
At this point I started being paranoid about pushing a screw back into the tyre and shredding a perfectly good inner tube whilst riding.
So I coated every screw head with strong flexible glue and then glued an old inner tube over the glued screw heads. I can also guarantee that the good inner tube isn't stuck to the glue when it is time to change it again.
This whole process took just under two hours per tyre to fit two rows of 50 screws in each, this lined up with the tread pattern and as I am not heading anywhere remotely uneven I decided the outer edges of the tyre were best left un-spiked and if the grip wasn't good enough I could always spike the central row of tread too.

I decided to inflate the experimental tyres to 40psi as this was the lowest manufacturer recommended setting so if the spikes needed to flex a little they could without ripping the rubber blocks apart.

Step 3: Ride

After a nice little round trip of 5 miles in freezing conditions I can report that the riding experience on Ice is amazing, you have total control and complete confidence in applying the brakes. Acceleration has to be controlled as it's still possible to loose traction if you are powering up hill and the only problem I found was the groves left by other people can cause a little wobble if you aren’t concentrating, but you can comfortably climb out of them whenever you like.

Riding on cleared sections or crossing main roads is very noisy and a little slippery compared to the ice but completely controlled, I now understand the description of 'sounding like being chased by a pack of dogs', but I would also describe it like the first sound a flat tyre makes, it was enough to make me stop and check the pressure!
I love the look of the tyres although was very careful not to run into anything/anyone as the sharpened spikes would do some amazing damage. (If you build a set of these I am not responsible for what you do with them.)
Both tyres kept their pressure and although they feel double their original weight there is no other way to ride on ice.

Be the First to Share


    • Furniture Contest

      Furniture Contest
    • Reuse Contest

      Reuse Contest
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest

    27 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, thanks.
    I was doing a lot of night riding and decided that spots in front were inadequate for highlighting all the things that cause problems in bad weather.
    The top lights were standard cat eye dual power spot/flood and the two lower ones were spliced into the same power supply. they are cheap battery powered 'stick anywhere' LED units with a magnet and coat hook in the back.
    (disclaimer: the example site is nothing to do with me, just the right product :) )
    I hacked them apart, rewired, mounted them on handlebar clamps and then sealed with silicone to provide protection.
    You can adjust the angle anywhere but I found that having the 4 meters directly in front of you floodlit made riding in poor conditions so much easier.
    They also increase your presence when riding in heavy traffic :)
    Hope that helps.


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    thank you.

    I was doing a lot of night riding too ,maybe I should to installing the headlights of my bike.

    Tommi Potx

    6 years ago on Introduction

    I made some of these in 1998, using a recipe from our local outdoor store and they were absolutely awesome; I could brake to a standstill from 20kmh on sheer ice in 3 bike lengths.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice scribe you you have . I'm going to bend and grind one out of a nice carbon steel scrap bar right now. What about using modified golf shoes steel nails, quite expensive but really nice stuff. Not so easy to find.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    where i am studded tires arent legal for cars so are studded tires legal for bikes everywhere?

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, they are totally awesome as as you have the grip to ride in any conditions. This year they were used in anger for nearly three weeks and on compacted ice I could brake so hard the rear could endo, I have been asked to make sets for some of the guys at work but at the moment I am experimenting with different designs.
    The tires I used were those cheap disposable ones that puncture or wear out so quickly that no one wants them so I gave them a much better life :)

    The nerdlingimadeone

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    like my tires theyr'e the wors i rearly ride on hard surfaces i ride ussually grass and theyr'e nealy have no grip


    This is wonderful - thanks. A really helpful thing to be able to leave in the shed for the winter months when the car won't make it but you are beginning to die of starvation, lack of exercise, or boredom. Thank you very much :) for a 5 star instructable!

    1 reply

     You could also use the style of tube that is just a big foam ring. Forgive me, I don't know what it's actually called. No air involved but it's not a solid rubber tire either.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry so late a reply. I was just going through comments to my old post and found your question. I did a Google search and they seem to be called "Airless inner-tubes". I've seen them at Walmart. You are in the UK so I don't know if you have "Wally-World" there. It is a very firm almost solid inner-tube-like foam that goes inside of the tire (or as you say "tyre")


    9 years ago on Introduction

    One could put little and thin nut on the threads to help prevent the screw head from puncturing the inner tube. I would not tighten them vary tight as to dent the treed but snug to prevent it from working in word making a puncture. Perhaps giving the spike more of a base could make a better bite on those rutted paths.

    Dose look cool !