Took the afternoon to do something I've been meaning to do for a while now. It's been below 40f in the city for about two weeks now, less in the mountains, and less-so in the shade. I saw Cam McCaul do this a few years back, and had some lath screws and miscellaneous supplies around myself.
Song: What is Time, by Elephant Revival (conveniently the same duration as the video).
So I gathered up the supplies:
- 2 pounds (roughly 450-500 with some to spare) #8x1/2" lath screws - they have a nice large panhead to spread the stress out across the casing of the tire.
- fresh paint pen(s)
- center punch sharpened to a nice, fine, point (sharp enough to easily pierce tread and casing plies)
- hammer (16oz is my preferred weight, one whack and it's done, not too heavy either)
- small drill/electric screwdriver - you don't need a lot of power, just something with a motor.
- 3" wide Gorilla Tape
- time, and patience.
- tires that you're willing to void any hope of warranty support on (the stiffer the casing the better, I chose single-ply WTB Dissent FR 2.5's because I had 'em, and I was going to add about a pound, they weighed in initially at around 800g.)
This is simply a walk-through of what I did, you and you alone are accountable for any alterations and failures (no matter how catastrophic) you may encounter as a result of your undergoing this process. WTB, Vimeo, myself, your tire company of choice, your bike shop, your hardware store, are all in no way responsible for this potentially failure-prone endeavor. Attempt at your own risk. That is all.
I chose the Dissent's because they had a simple, robust tread pattern that offered extra-wide triple-siped tread blocks that I felt would allow for greater support of the screws when placed centered in the wide blocks. They also weigh 800g+/- vs. the 1300g+/- that the Der Kaiser's that are sitting in the garage.
Basically you'll have to figure out where to place your screws, take your center-punch and tap it through the tread block, and locate where it protrudes on the inside of the casing, and mark a circle around the punch with your paint pen - this will show you where to drive your screws through from the inside-out when the time comes. Go around and repeat this process on every block you wish to put a screw in. It sucks. But you know what sucks more? Sliding on ice.
Once you've punched all of your holes, go through and drive your screws in. Follow that up by wrapping the interior of the tire with the Gorilla tape, to protect your tube from any unpleasant encounters with screw heads.
Mount your tires (carefully!) and have fun riding on the ice! Caution: these are awful on anything that's not ice or deep snow - you could cut the screws shorter to alleviate that if you wanted, though.
On the first episode of GBS T.V., Matt H. and the team find success in setting up a fatbike wheel tubeless! Matt H. uses his Surly Pugsley for everything from commuting, skate parks, dirt jumps, mountain biking, and of course -- snow biking!
A few times a year I like to do some maintenance and service to the mechanism in my Thule T2 rack to keep it easy to use. The process is really quite simple, but if you wish to do this to your own rack, be sure to stay organized, and remember how it came apart!
- Grease: Slick Honey works, I would recommend Mobil 1 synthetic the most for this application - it's not too heavy and won't wash away quickly.
- Friction paste - stop by the shop and we'll get you a little tube for a few bucks - this will help the ratcheting mechanism obtain a more secure bite and help prevent the mechanism from releasing with bumps in the road, turns, and vibrations.
- Degreaser and/or isopropyl/denatured alcohol.
- Basic tools, #2 phillips screwdriver, 5mm allen wrench (long enough to get some solid leverage on, or an impact driver), flathead screwdriver.
- Red (or blue, red is preferred) threadlocker.
The idea with this process is to not only keep everything moving easily, but to reestablish security with every bolt on the rack, as well as to inspect any parts for cracking that may lead to potential failure. My rack in particular has seen a fair amount of abuse - with and without bikes. It's shuttled on washboard and even 4x4 roads, it's driven hundreds of miles with several bikes on it through rough and windy roads, been bumped/smashed into trees, supported the weight of the Jeep on some rocks, and even through a radiator! I want to make sure the brackets that hold the trays to the hitch portion are still in decent shape with no potentially failure-prone cracks or otherwise.
It's quite simply once you get the trays off, as with anything make sure you keep track of all of the little nuts and bolts and tiny springs. Fortunately there is only one spring in the mechanism, and if you're working on a bench, chances are slim that you'll lose it. Apply a small drop or two of red threadlocker to each bolt during reassembly to ensure that the components will not work themselves loose, and tighten everything down securely!
I recommend using a framing square to square up the lowest (and first-to-be-installed) tray, and then a tape measure to ensure all subsequent trays are paralel for the best performance. Center the trays as best suited for your style and size of bikes you'll be transporting and for best setup on your vehicle. My bikes have fairly long wheelbases, and my Jeep is pretty narrow - so I set the trays up to have the longest bike centered in respect to the vehicle (subsequently, the trays are offset to one side of the centerline marking guide doohickey for me).
This project can be accomplished in as little as half an hour. As always, take caution, and myself, Golden Bike Shop, Thule, Vimeo, nor the interwebs will be liable for your mishaps by undergoing this process. That's why I say attempt at your own risk. Have fun! Ride safe! And always remember to utilize your built-in cable lock on the rack when transporting a bicycle as an additional security should anything go wrong. I also strongly recommend arranging your trays in such a way that the arm of the tray is facing away from the vehicle when a bike is mounted (additional security factor, the bike can then lean on the arm if the ratchet releases).