Grip Studs Customer
I wanted to try winter
riding after having done it only once, 30 years ago. Since I wanted one set of tires to “play race”
on lakes as well as ride trails and frozen dirt roads I did not want to go the route of screws. I also
thought carbide studs would stand up better to the frozen sand and ice combo on dirt roads as well as the rocks
and frozen bare ground I’d be hitting on some trails.
When I went to the sites selling
studded tires the prominent warnings about not using them on frozen ground and rocks scared me a bit. I
knew I’d be hitting plenty of frozen ground areas, rocks, frozen gravel, frozen sand/water mix, etc.
Meanwhile, the company that did my suspension, Drew Smith’s Works Enduro Rider (www.werproducts.net), had some
information on their site about screw-in studs. After almost buying pre-studded tires elsewhere (due to
the ease) I decided to try the WER system. I kept having visions of glue letting go on the other
system, my engineering mind stuck on gluing rigid metal into flexible rubber that is constantly being flexed
I bought 200 studs for the
rear tire, a Mitas cold weather tire I bought from WER, and 250 smaller studs into the stock Bridgestone MX
front that came stock on the KTM 250 XCFW. I knew that if the front did not work well I could always
remove the studs and try another tire, something I like about this system.
I’m guessing that it took me
4 hours total to stud both tires. There is definitely a knack to getting the studs to stay centered and
straight on small knobs like the front Bridgestone has. I’d love to take a video of this to help anyone
doing the installation. I think my take on the technique is a bit different than the installation video
My first 2 rides were on
frozen lakes with temps in the low 20’s F. I was extremely timid at first, not having ridden on ice for
so long, and wondering if the non-ideal front tire I was using would skate all over the place, but I was able
to keep pushing it harder and harder until, by the second ride, I was able to repeat wide, long, predictable
slides out of the turns on the ovals I was riding. Traction is predictable and easy to feel on both
ends. I was very happy with the ice performance. Certainly, for use only ice-racing there are
specialized systems that have evolved just for that use and I’m not presenting these studs as competitive
against full out ice racing screw or spike systems. My goal is to have a durable, all around system with
which I can have fun on the ice, and I don’t plan on ice racing other than some informal dicing with guys I
find out there.
The next ride was on packed
and frozen snowmobile trails and crunchy, rain-soaked-then-frozen snow. I was climbing hills that had
bare spots of frozen gravel, exposed ledge, and frozen dirt. Since I really want to see what I can get
away with I made sure whack the throttle every time I hit the bare areas. I don’t want a system I have to
be careful with.
The entire trail ride was an
absolute blast. Anyone who has not ridden frozen snowmobile trails has to give it a try. I was
riding faster through the turns and whoops than I normally do on bare ground on the same trails.
From smooth trails to whoops to glare ice in the low areas the traction was high and predictable. It
feels great to get out in the middle of a New England winter and have an aggressive ride without slipping and
sliding around. This ride was at 33 degrees F, and I was sweating. On all 3 rides I have been warm
without wearing extreme gear…..just a polypropylene long sleeve base layer, a heavier polypro layer, a fleece
jacket, and a light shell on top. On bottom just long polypro underwear, knee/shin guards, mx pants, and
my trials boots. If you are working it, at these temps cold is just not a factor. I had so much fun
on the 3 rides that I told myself after the last ride “If I don’t use them ever again the system has paid for
itself in fun”. But I’ll get much more use of course, this weekend I’ll be going out Saturday and Sunday,
hitting the trails and lakes.
Instead of saying “Come on
Spring, get here…….” I’m now saying “I hope cold weather hangs around a bit so I can try more trails and
lakes”. That’s a huge difference, instead of wishing part my life away I’m enjoying the here and
now. All in cold climates who have their bikes laid up for the winter, just dying for spring, should try
this, including snowmobilers. I just bought a sled (part of my winter enjoyment program) but the
conditions are terrible right now for sledding. But they are perfect for winter dirt bike