Winter Cycling - anyone riding a fixed? or thin tires?
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02-06-07, 12:30 PM
i've been a winter cyclist for years and a fixed gear rider for a year and a half....
i have a question: i see pics and people on the street riding there fixed (or possibly singlespeed) on the frozen streets.... i'm used to riding my MTB with studded tires, but would like to try riding the thin tires...
anyways, my fixed is geared at 52x19... is that too high for winter cycling?
any recommendations or comments? comparing MTB to road tires?
i'll post this in the fixed forum too....
02-06-07, 12:43 PM
How much ice and chop do you have to deal with? A lot of ice ridges, furrows, ruts and uneven frozen ground are going to make thinner tires more dangerous. But mostly ice-free surfaces that get brief blankets of snow should not be a problem.
02-06-07, 12:46 PM
i have lots of ruts for part of it.... and it's been terribly cold lately so the pavement has been a little slick too.... maybe i'll wait....
i think i'll make another older 10speed into a winter single speed..... i can get some knobby tires from MEC...
Try it out. I ride fixed at either 46/16 or 46/18 depending on the wind and snow. My tires are 23mm slicks. So far, after two full years, I haven't fallen from ice or snow. I only remember one time when I had to get off and walk home after getting about ten inches of snow. Lumpy ice and ruts can be trouble though. Slow down and be careful when riding through that.
If you're on flats 52:19 will be fine. I'm in the Adirondack foothills though and sometimes 53:22 still kicks my ass when I'm rolling Hakkas.
Ride fixed on 27" front touring tire, rear 700c with slick center/knobby sides. 42x17 right now, gunna drop that ratio down to 40x17 because the hills and wind are getting to me. Haven't really had much snow this year, so the roads have been pretty good, I have a mtb with knobbies for the bad days, but it hasn't seen any action this season.
02-07-07, 01:39 PM
I'm riding a 48X18 with 28mm tires. There have been a few times when I've wished for a smaller gear. And a few when I've wished for studded tires. But I've been fine 98% of the time. And I've mangaged to not fall off my bike because of ice or snow or slush.
52x19 will likely be a bit high, especially if you use 700x38c or so tires. I'm running 46x18 now and even that's a bit high when it gets really cold out. I'd probably go for something around 65 inches if I were you. So a 21 or 22 cog. The Schwalbe studded tires at MEC are very good, that's what I'm using.
02-07-07, 05:21 PM
48x15 FG on 700x23s. It's about as bad a combination as you can get, and still not bad.
I'm riding 48 x 20 fixed (26" mtn w/studded tires) and wish I had a lower gear. Riding through hardpack snow and slushy ice that had heavy foot traffic in urban areas totally sucks. Its the worst part of winter riding, worse than extreme cold.
Having said that, I think fixed is the only way to go for snow/ice riding. I wouldn't even consider anything else.
02-11-07, 12:39 PM
I should get a chance to take my first ride on studded tires and second ride on a fixed gear bike on Wednesday morning and I'm running 38x16 with 700cx40mm tires.
I guess it all depends on the condition of the roads you are on. My town doesn't really do too much plowing, so whatever sticks usually stays on all but the most major roads. I'm pretty sure that I'll be pushing through 5-6" snow and car tracks.
02-13-07, 10:49 AM
Both of my commuter bikes are fixed. The snow bike is a Fuji MTB with homemade 1.95 studs and 22x13 gearing. It doesn't go very fast, but it goes through pretty much anything.
02-13-07, 01:07 PM
I'm riding 27x7/8" fixed 48-14 and it's not all that comfortable in a BLIZZARD. It's not particularly practical but it really ain't bad. If I had a beater MTB, I would go for it. Money? Oh well.
I rode my skinny slicks 3.5 miles through 4 inches of fresh snow early this morning before traffic or the city could make much of a dent. I was geared down to 46/18. No real trouble to report other than being 5 minutes late to work.
02-13-07, 05:23 PM
44/16 fixed on slick 23s. I actually think it's kind of fun. The skinny tires can cut through a lot of fresh snow, but can also throw you around a bit if you hit a bump or parallel crack or something that you can't see due to the snow cover. The only problem I've had was when I was riding slowly between academic buildings and slipped off the path without knowing it, got caught in the little rut between cement and grass, and got thrown shoulder-first into a large snowbank. Laughter ensued.
I'd say fixed/thin is definitely worth trying.
02-14-07, 04:44 AM
I was using cyclocross tires until this week, but I had to finally give in. Not fun at all. I live in central NY, and the rutted ice is almost always present, sometimes obscured by newer snow. When all that's on the road is fresh snow, skinny tires are fine. They cut straight through it and there's no problem at all. But the more it gets packed down, the more difficult it gets. I've now switched to 26x2.35" slicks. Sosososososo much easier.
02-14-07, 01:42 PM
52 x 19 is tough for control in the snow. I would gear down.
I ride 700x23 slick tires all year round on my commuter (cross bike) and as long as you stay in the ruts its not to bad. They cut through the slop pretty good and are no more slippery than Knobbies. You have to be careful on the corners and in the soft flour like snow but if you throw your bike into a corner in winter your asking for trouble regardless of the tires you have. Oh and off camber bends are a little nerve racking.
02-15-07, 09:43 AM
Yesterday I commuted 15 miles round trip on a fixie with 45x16 (76 inches) and 27 x 1 1/8 tires. The forecast said mostly rain with temps just above freezing, but we got frozen rain most of the day with temps well below freezing. It sucked ass, especially pulling my kid home from daycare through the freezing slush in the dark. I can't believe I didn't crash. I rode my singlespeeed mtb with 34x15 this morning...much more fun with fewer near death experiences!
The address the comments of the poster above..narrow tires work OK in shallow fresh snow and soft slush. But it you freeze that slush, or pack the snow, or put a rough debree laden road below it with lots of invisible lengthwise seams and cracks greater than the width of your tire, and add ruts from cars crisscrossing everywhere, narrow high pressure tires are no good. Unfortunately this is usually what the conditions become like shortly after it snows or sleets.
02-18-07, 08:31 PM
I used a ten to five speed (52 X 14-28) turned road bike all year this year with slick 27 x 1 1/8 tires so far, didn't think it would be possible but never had any problems. Riding on lesser used streets is like riding the paris roubaix cobbles I imagine, I tend to stick to the busier streets where all the cars rid of all the snow, so really its just like riding in the rain.. only much, much colder, and when it gets *really* cold the pavement dries up!
James H Haury
03-19-07, 08:17 PM
Fixed is all I ride in the winter. Either 20 inch tires(20 x 1.50" knobbies) with a 52 X17 setup or 16x 1.75 inch knobbies with a 52 x13 setup.
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