Winter Cycling - Thinking about some stuff...
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06-10-07, 10:36 AM
Basically, if I'm going to go car-free, I'll need a way to ride in the winter.
Obviously, that brings me to this forum.
Needless to say, a 20 year old road bike isn't exactly ideal for winter biking in central Ohio. So, I'll need something more suited to the task.
If I go car-free soon, I might have enough money to buy a NEW bike for this by the time it's necessary.
So, here's a list of questions...
Steel or aluminum? Each has it's advantages, I know... I will be riding this in salt, so aluminum has a HUGE advantage there. I'm a bit of a clyde, though, so steel has an advantage.
Internal gearing? How well does it work in winter?
What about shaft drives? Of course, I think only Dynamic makes those, so that restricts my selection to their Switchback (I know better than to get full suspension.)
Speaking of the Switchback, how well does the rest of the bike handle winterization, and wide wheels and such, if anyone has it?
My winter bicycle is an inexpensive Walmart mtn bike. I haven't ridden it this past year, but I commuted year round on it, 4-5 days a week most weeks for 6 years, and then sporadically over the next 2 years (not because of the bike, but because of a change in my life situation). I've also done some longer rides on it, like most of my winter centuries.
Those first 6 years took place in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba so I've ridden through a lot of very wintery conditions!!
And that bike has more than paid for itself ... in one year the amount I would have spent on bus tickets approx. equalled the amount I spent on the bicycle. And then I rode it for another 5 years. Essentially, I made money with that bicycle!!
My suggestion would be to think "inexpensive" ... maybe a department store bicycle, maybe a thrift shop bicycle ... something that would pay for itself in a year or so. If it falls apart after a year, well, it's paid for. If it last several more years ... great!!
06-10-07, 12:58 PM
Agreed with Machka, my winter bike is a Royce Union Gibraltar, basically a notch above the Walmart bike, but still a cheap bike. I suggest used as well, you can pick bikes like this up off of Craigs List for $15-$20 all day! Put a set of studded tires on it for ice and you are good to go! Throw a $10.00 set of Planet Bike clip on fenders and a cheap rear rack and voila! A cheap urban winter commuter that if it gets trashed or stolen.....who cares!
06-10-07, 09:25 PM
As long as the bike works (basic maintenance), you can be seen (lighting), and don't wipe out on ice (studded tires), there's nothing really special about a winter bike other than the salt you'll accumulate. For salt, there are three basic ways I can think of to deal with this:
1) Go the used/beater route and just ride.
2) Clean your bike of choice religiously through the winter.
3) Protect as much as possible.
I had a lot of similar questions (http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=197851&highlight=trek+l200) starting out, and went route 3 by using a Trek L200 (http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=212568&highlight=trek+l200) with full chainguard, internal hub gearing, full fenders, and lights. I put studded tires on it and just rode. The dynamo that powered the stock front light was ruined January or so, and I replaced it with a high-end battery powered light. I didn't clean the bike all winter, and wiped/lubed the chain every 2 weeks or so. This past spring, I cleaned it up and inspected. The screws that hold the cable routing to the bottom bracket were very rusty, the hex heads on the stem had some surface rust, and the spokes all had a hint of rust where they cross, which rubbed out.
My experience for one winter in similar road conditions to yours is that keeping the drivetrain sealed up on a mostly aluminum bike made for pretty worry free riding. I wouldn't recommend spending any more than you need to, and certainly wouldn't use a bike that you would like to keep pretty.
06-10-07, 09:40 PM
FWIW, theft is not a concern - there will be secure indoor storage for my bike. In areas where it doesn't matter if it drips, even.
The Wal-Mart bike idea certainly is interesting, if scary, lol. But, $50 for a Mt. Fury, ride it for a winter... could work.
People ride all sorts of different bikes in the winter. Your choice largely depends on the amount of money you have to spend. I ride a Trek 4300 mountain bike in the winter. It's fairly entry level and works fine. Your biggest expense should be on proper clothing and studded tires. A decent bike is required in my opinion as well.
After all, I don't ride a Walmart bike in the other seasons, so why would i want to sit on one for 4 months? But that is just me, again it depends on your $ situation and how you see things.
If I were you I would check out CL in you area and but a MTN bike. Here's a link for you http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/oh enjoy.
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