I've taken a couple rides on the modified Arcwelder tires, and it looks like my hopes of finding a cheaper, longer stud to install into the tire haven't panned out... at least for the rear tire. The first ride was on pavement and some sheer ice and I only lost 1 or 2 of the screw studs I installed, which is acceptable. But on today's ride I lost almost 70% of the 66 screw studs in the rear tire. Much of today's ride was over inconsistent, crunchy creek ice; the type that as you ride over it, your tire breaks through to the more solid layers below. I suspect that I lost the most studs while struggling through these crusty ice sections.
The front tire fared much better... it only lost 4 out of 134 screw studs. Earlier this weekend I installed screw studs to all the knobs in the outer rows (not alternating knobs like the rear). If losing studs becomes an issue with the front tire I may try incorporating a bit of glue to the knob/stud to help keep them in place.
The front tire felt good the entire ride, so I'll probably keep using it the way it is. The rear tire would occasionally slide out when the sheer ice wasn't smooth and flat, and while I never went down, I want more bite on the ice. The purpose of this bike in the winter is to ride the sheer ice of the local creek and lakes, so it's time for a new approach to get an aggressively studded rear tire.
I should have front and rear DIY studded tires ready to test next weekend (screws installed in a regular mtb tire, as mentioned in last week's post). I have higher hopes for the DIY tires' level of traction on ice, but I'm skeptical of how they'll hold up to the pavement I ride to and from the creek/lakes. I'll have more info on the DIYs next week.
The crusty ice made for some tough riding today, but where the conditions were good, it was a lot of fun. Lake Harriet was particularly fun with the lack of snow and the thick, clear ice. Here's a video of me and a riding buddy cutting across the lake today...