So you want to head for the ice? You must be a brave northerner, for motorcycle ice racing is a sport that appeals to the hale and hearty. You will have to mod your bike and especially your tires. Taking street tires onto the ice is an exercise in foolishness. How are going to get the ice tires you need? You can buy a set of motorcycle tires online and mod them yourself, or you can take them to a pro who builds ice tires.
I Have to Do What to These Tires?
A good set of ice tires needs about 2,000 screws. That’s a lot of fussing if you try to do it yourself and very time consuming, too. Most ice racers recommend taking them to a pro or buy tires with screws already installed, such as Trelleborg tires. Front motorcycle tires take about 700 screws, for left- and right-turning tires. Rear motorcycle tires require about 2,000 screws and will weigh 35 pounds when fully studded. If you don’t want to wrestle with a 35-pound tire, call the pros.
Keeping it Safe
Ice tires can do a lot of damage if they come in contact with the wrong thing, which would be anything other than ice. You’ve got to cover your tires with heavy-duty wraps made of nylon when you’re transporting your bike. You should also consider installing full fenders on your bike. It makes sense to cover as much of the tire as possible, as it is now a registered deadly weapon. Almost. Some ice races require full-coverage fenders, so you might as well invest in a set.
The Anatomy of an Ice Racing Tire
Here’s a little breakdown for you, so you’ll know what’s going into your ice tires.
- Ice tires start with a regular dirt bike knobby tire.
- Add a special liner, either one from a cruiser tire or a liner made for ice tires. You need a tough one that can take screws.
- Screws are then screwed into the studs on the tire. Carbide screws are preferred.
- There are AMA approved screws and there are Canadian “cheaters” which have a bigger shank and therefore more bite into the ice.
With a cordless drill you can install all those screws into the studs yourself without too much effort. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time.
What’s So Great About Ice Racing, Anyway?
Well, it’s exciting, fun, and just the right amount of dangerous. It has a loyal following of friendly, helpful bikers. It also improves your street riding. Check out the benefits:
- Learn how to deal with variable traction
- Understand how throttle control affects traction
- Grasp the importance of proper body position in off-road riding
- Learn to relax when you’re on the edge of control
Ice, Ice, Baby!
You’d better baby yourself if you’re going to get on the ice. Body armor is a must. Ice is hard. Dress in layers. Ice is cold. Don’t forget basic prep like motorcycle tire repair kits, helmets, and gloves. Go online today and get the gear you need to have a great time.