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  1. #1
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    winter commuting bike setup

    Ok, quick background...moved from San Diego to Minneapolis, and I commute and have a considerable amount of experience with it, in perfect weather with a little rain here and there. I want to commute this winter, it's 20 miles round trip and hilly, hilly as in compared to the pacific coastline. There are 2 monsters and easy inclines after that. My question is do you just outfit your current rig with studs or do you have a dedicated winter commuter? I currently commute on my trek 520 with 32s and find it a perfect fit for me as well as the commute. I have never ridden bikes in the winter(i am from Wisconsin so i have some sort of an idea what I'm getting into) and am concerned with 2 things;

    1. Road bike/touring bike stability. I love the efficiency of them but am worried about the obstacles I would face on it. Is it a pita to deal with the snow/ice on them compared to a mtb?

    2. Energy output, efficiency on the somewhat already challenging commute. I have an old 90s trek 800 that I can outfit as the winter commuter but commuting on it kind of makes me cringe. It can handle anything but I assume its going to take a lot more time and energy to get anywhere of a considerable distance. Again this is an assumption based on differences in commuting during perfect weather. Is the speed/efficiency still drastically different once more aggressive tires and old man winter get thrown into the mix? And yes, my good weather comparisons are based on the mtb in question having quality high pressure slicks installed. I had a trek 8000 as a b bike in Cali, and the differences in efficiency were very noticeable on the 25 mile round trip commute I had there. Thanks in advance for any suggestions and how you personally tackle this. Anyone who commutes on a bike I salute you. Those who do it in the winter as well, you are my heroes

  2. #2
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    My first 9 years of commuting I had a $300 Giant Hybrid. I just tossed studs and lights on it. This year I finally bought a road bike, and combined with the fact that a $300 bike with 30,000 miles on it is about to have everything on it that I haven't already replaced at least once break, I'm thinking about another bike.

    You can certainly go with just tossing studs on. Here's what my thoughts are on a winter commuter:

    Brakes - rims are totally fine in the summer but they kind of stink in the winter. After 4 years of riding rim brakes in the winter, I took advantage of the disc tabs on the front fork and put BB5s there. I now wouldn't buy a winter bike without discs. Rims work a lot of the time but they're degraded some of the time as well, and in really extreme conditions (freezing rain) they're almost not there.

    Pedals - If you are riding in snow or ice that may be very deep, hiding hazards, or have ruts, you may need to put a foot down in a split second. In the worst conditions, I swap out clipless for pedals. This also lets me ride with boots instead of mountain bike shoes when it gets really cold (less than 10* F or so).

    Shifting - I actually don't have too much trouble with this, but occasionally my derailleur will freeze and I'll be stuck in one gear for 10 miles, until I get to work and park the bike under the stairs to thaw. My perfect winter bike would be IGH or NuVinci, probably with a belt drive, but the belt drive is a major issue since you must have a frame designed for belt drive. IGH with chain would be completely acceptable as well. With conventional gearing, I think less is more if you have derailleurs in the winter - a cheap 7/8 speed setup will use thicker chain and be less picky about shifting than 9/10 speed, so a little ice in the derailleur will cause less trouble.

    Efficiency - yeah, forget efficiency in the winter. You're going to be losing power in a dozen different ways. Think of it as training for next year, that's what gets me through it. You're wearing winter gear which both hinders your movement and catches more wind. The air is denser. Your tires are fat, low pressure and slow. The lubricants are thick. The winds are more fierce. My 11 mile route in the summer is between 34 and 38 minutes depending on conditions. The same route in the winter is between 44 and 58 minutes. Winter completely changes the commute. I find I just have to downshift, slow down, swear out loud at the headwinds and the ice pellets sandblasting my face, HTFU and get through it.

    Be sure to hit the after hunting season sales at the supermarkets - you can pick up good winter boots and gloves and such for very cheap.

    Oh, lights. You're getting in at a great time. 10 years ago we had weak LEDs or halogens and big heavy batteries, or $500+ headlights. You can get fabulous lights for < $100 these days. If money is no object go for L&M, Niterider, Cygolite and the like. Personally I've found the cheap chinese stuff on eBay to be really quite usable for years if you keep in mind that they are NOT built to be bulletproof and the batteries aren't waterproof. Be gentle to them and put the batteries in a plastic bag. A $35 "1600 lumen" (actually more like 800 but still...) headlight from eBay with a wide angle lens added for < $10, plus a taillight (Cygolite hotshot, or a MagicShine with a Y adapter to run off the same battery as your headlight, are both good) and you're in great shape for < $100
    Last edited by ItsJustMe; 08-31-13 at 09:18 AM.
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  3. #3
    tsl
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    In the three-seasons, I run 28mm Continental GrandPrix 4-Season tires. In winter I run 35mm Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 studded snow tires. I instantly drop about two MPH average when the snows go on, and gain it back with the Contis in the spring. And that's on dry pavement.

    As for which bike, it comes down to personal preference and your road conditions.

    I prefer roadies. No logic, rhyme or reason to it. It's just what makes me happy. I don't even own an MTB. My four-seasons all-conditions commuter is a Trek Portland, which is part cyclocross, part touring bike.

    It works for me in winter mainly because the DPW does such a great job with snow and ice removal. In snow and slush, my relatively narrow tires sink through to the pavement. On ice I'm fine too. Hardpack is touch and go since it varies so much. If I can stay on top of it, I'm fine. If it gets too variable, it can be a problem.

    What I can't ride is the MUP. The MUP isn't plowed here, so it requires float, which I ain't got. MTBers can use it just fine with studded snows, and in some cases, just plain knobbies, but those are just about useless on ice.

    There are a few riders here from The Cities, so hopefully you'll get some local knowledge.
    Last edited by tsl; 08-31-13 at 11:03 AM.
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  4. #4
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    decide 26" MTB type or 700c 35 wide wheel-tire type QBP now offers a studded tire for the Pugsly bikes too..


    hub brakes work well, in foul weather.. drum or disc you choose..



    I built up a Drum brake wheel-set 28 years ago. now discs are the more common ..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-31-13 at 11:57 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    What I can't ride is the MUP. The MUP isn't plowed here, so it requires float, which I ain't got. MTBers can use it just fine with studded snows, and in some cases, just plain knobbies, but those are just about useless on ice.
    Maybe it's time to invest in a MTB .. Frozen and snowcovered MUPS are a lot of fun. They can even be a lifesaver. When certain roads become a little too dangerous I hop on an MUP. That's why I have a SS rigid fork MTB... With a mountain bike I can take short cuts through places that I could never do on my other bike.

  6. #6
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    winter commuting bike setup

    Starting to think about installing the following for the setup...purchase chromoly fork w/disc mount, installed on the trek 520, new front wheel as well. No need to try to salvage the rim, original botranger past the lifespan of worth saving...disc setup for the front and keep the rim brake in the back. 700x??? Studded tires, a good platform/Spd pedal, upgrade on the lights, and bundle up. I think i will keep the deurailler setup and risk it freezing up into a single speed. If I was going igh, is be at the tipping point of $ where I'd be looking at just getting a new bike.
    I have no clue on the road conditions or the mup(part of it is on the MRT) I am in one of the areas in Minneapolis that cyclists don't get much thought(commute is from south St. Paul to woodbury). Most of it, if there's a "bike trail", which blows, there is no shoulder on the road. The cars coming out of the side streets do not look for bikes on the trail because there are never any on it, so I doubt it will be plowed/salted regularly. Another part goes over the Mississippi River freeway bridge overpass, I'm in the bike/walk portion obviously. They don't sweep it ever, so again will they plow it? We will find out! If they don't ill have to be able to float over it or I'm hoofing it across the bridge.

    Oh, another question, eyeballs. On my harley, anything under 40 f my eyes are watering like crazy, even at 25 mph. Ski goggles? Seems excessive, but I guess so isn't commuting in Minneapolis in the winter. Also I wear glasses so that limits my options

  7. #7
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    I use an internally geared hybrid with disc brakes. It shifts well even in cold weather (-28ºC) and works well enough on firm packed snow with the occasional bit of drifting. I use a mup that I don't normally bother with, because when they plow the roads the snow gets piled up right where I'd normally be riding. Last winter we got so much snow it wasn't possible to ride some days, so I'm seriously thinking of getting a fat bike with an Alfine 11. Probably a pipe dream for now, though.
    I tried ski goggles but they didn't fit well under my helmet, so I'll be going to Acklands Grainger some time this fall to get some safety glasses with dust-proof gaskets all around the lens. A double layer of defogging liquid keeps them from turning completely opaque at stops on very cold days.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    If you don't already have full fenders, then get some. Winters are very messy.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    If you don't already have full fenders, then get some. Winters are very messy.
    Yes, I plan on it. Just haven't had to yet. I think I rode a total of 6 times in the rain in California, in about 2 to 3 years. It's one of those things you don't prepare for there, and when it rains, well, you get wet! Fenders in the winter get constant use I presume from the crap on the road, ice, salt, slush, etc.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Starting to think about installing the following for the setup...purchase chromoly fork w/disc mount, installed on the trek 520, new front wheel as well. No need to try to salvage the rim, original botranger past the lifespan of worth saving...disc setup for the front and keep the rim brake in the back. 700x??? Studded tires, a good platform/Spd pedal, upgrade on the lights, and bundle up. I think i will keep the deurailler setup and risk it freezing up into a single speed. If I was going igh, is be at the tipping point of $ where I'd be looking at just getting a new bike.
    I have no clue on the road conditions or the mup(part of it is on the MRT) I am in one of the areas in Minneapolis that cyclists don't get much thought(commute is from south St. Paul to woodbury). Most of it, if there's a "bike trail", which blows, there is no shoulder on the road. The cars coming out of the side streets do not look for bikes on the trail because there are never any on it, so I doubt it will be plowed/salted regularly. Another part goes over the Mississippi River freeway bridge overpass, I'm in the bike/walk portion obviously. They don't sweep it ever, so again will they plow it? We will find out! If they don't ill have to be able to float over it or I'm hoofing it across the bridge.

    Oh, another question, eyeballs. On my harley, anything under 40 f my eyes are watering like crazy, even at 25 mph. Ski goggles? Seems excessive, but I guess so isn't commuting in Minneapolis in the winter. Also I wear glasses so that limits my options
    I don't have much experience with riding East of Minneapolis in the winter (except for one brutal 70 mile ride) but most bike trails are plowed in this part of town. Ski goggles are common winter attire for cyclists so you won't feel out of place (at least around other winter cyclists).

    Just a friendly warning from somebody that lives in Minneapolis but knows a few people from St. Paul, - be careful about referring to anything around St. Paul as being part of Minneapolis, the St. Paulites can get a little touchy about that

    You can use your current bike for winter but just be wary that salt will take its toll on your components. Some people like to put a thin coating of oil on them. If you're able to rinse them off now and then that would help a lot. Single speeds are popular in the winter because there's not as much to worry about rusting or freezing.

    As "ItsJustMe" said, expect your winter commute to take a lot longer. There's a lot conspiring to slow you down.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Starting to think about installing the following for the setup...purchase chromoly fork w/disc mount, installed on the trek 520, new front wheel as well. No need to try to salvage the rim, original botranger past the lifespan of worth saving...disc setup for the front and keep the rim brake in the back. 700x??? Studded tires, a good platform/Spd pedal, upgrade on the lights, and bundle up. I think i will keep the deurailler setup and risk it freezing up into a single speed. If I was going igh, is be at the tipping point of $ where I'd be looking at just getting a new bike.
    I have no clue on the road conditions or the mup(part of it is on the MRT) I am in one of the areas in Minneapolis that cyclists don't get much thought(commute is from south St. Paul to woodbury). Most of it, if there's a "bike trail", which blows, there is no shoulder on the road. The cars coming out of the side streets do not look for bikes on the trail because there are never any on it, so I doubt it will be plowed/salted regularly. Another part goes over the Mississippi River freeway bridge overpass, I'm in the bike/walk portion obviously. They don't sweep it ever, so again will they plow it? We will find out! If they don't ill have to be able to float over it or I'm hoofing it across the bridge.

    Oh, another question, eyeballs. On my harley, anything under 40 f my eyes are watering like crazy, even at 25 mph. Ski goggles? Seems excessive, but I guess so isn't commuting in Minneapolis in the winter. Also I wear glasses so that limits my options
    I don't have much experience with riding East of Minneapolis in the winter (except for one brutal 70 mile ride) but most bike trails are plowed in this part of town. Ski goggles are common winter attire for cyclists so you won't feel out of place (at least around other winter cyclists).

    Just a friendly warning from somebody that lives in Minneapolis but knows a few people from St. Paul, - be careful about referring to anything around St. Paul as being part of Minneapolis, the St. Paulites can get a little touchy about that

    You can use your current bike for winter but just be wary that salt will take its toll on your components. Some people like to put a thin coating of oil on them. If you're able to rinse them off now and then that would help a lot. Single speeds are popular in the winter because there's not as much to worry about rusting or freezing.

    As "ItsJustMe" said, expect your winter commute to take a lot longer. There's a lot conspiring to slow you down.
    Thanks for the tips, especially saying in from the "Minneapolis area" haha! I see zero bike commuters on my route! I go across the 494 Wacota bridge and up into woodbury, 10 miles, not one!!!

  12. #12
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
    Maybe it's time to invest in a MTB .. Frozen and snowcovered MUPS are a lot of fun. They can even be a lifesaver. When certain roads become a little too dangerous I hop on an MUP. That's why I have a SS rigid fork MTB... With a mountain bike I can take short cuts through places that I could never do on my other bike.
    Thanks for the suggestion, just not my style. Besides, the MUP is miles out of my way--which is why I like it for my long loop in the three seasons. But buying a special bike just so I can fight through the MUP in winter? Not a likely prospect.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  13. #13
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Starting to think about installing the following for the setup...purchase chromoly fork w/disc mount, installed on the trek 520, new front wheel as well. No need to try to salvage the rim, original botranger past the lifespan of worth saving...disc setup for the front and keep the rim brake in the back. 700x??? Studded tires, a good platform/Spd pedal, upgrade on the lights, and bundle up. I think i will keep the deurailler setup and risk it freezing up into a single speed.
    Sounds reasonable. Nothing that hits me as out of line.

    I've found there are very specific conditions where I have drivetrain trouble. I've never had anything actually freeze up, but if I don't shift often enough, the cassette will get coked up and frozen over. But again, IME, that's only under very specific circumstances.

    While I accept that other folks have such troubles, the causes mystify me. I'm slightly suspicious that it's conversion propaganda from single-speed and fixie enthusiasts.

    Much the same way MTB enthusiasts say you can't ride a roadie in the snow. [hides from wolfie]
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


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  14. #14
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    I've commuted the last two winters here (Downtown Minneapols to Burnsville). I would not subject my 520 to those conditions, but it would certainly work. Personally, I prefer a mountain bike - just feels safer to me. Road salt does a number on your components, which is primarily why I wouldn't ride your 520.

    I'm using the perfomance pedals that are SPD on one side, standard cage on the other. I can't keep my feet warm below 30 using spds, and I'd rather not be clipped in, especially later in the season when you might be riding on snow that is hiding ice underneath.

    It takes me an hour and a half to do 22 miles on my Mt Bike running 1.25" Nashbar slicks. For winter I have the Nokian Mount and Ground studs, which have 160 studs I believe. It adds half an hour to my commute - in other words, it increases my commuting time by 1/3rd.

    How well the paths are plowed really varies by municipality - Minneapolis and Burnsville are good, Eagan not so much. And it is almost impossible to get information on this, other than going out and trying to ride it.

    I'd roast in googles, unless there was a killer wind and temps below 10F - but I see others with them on in all kinds of conditions, so this is likely a personal preference. Good luck - report back on the conditions! A friend of mine lives in Woodbury, so I sometimes ride over there, but I ride through downtown St Paul. I've only ridden the Wakota bridge in the summer.

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    What is this winter commuting that you speak of?

  16. #16
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    As I only have one commuter bike, in the winter with ice and snow, I simply change my tires to studded Schwalbe marathon winter. But I found that even with fenders, when it's really slippery (ice) the salt can really cause the chain to go rusty really quickly. Haven't found a way to prevent that unfortunately.

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    I've never had a problem with plain 28Cs in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Just keep track of what's plowed first and adjust your route accordingly. I've never had problems in fresh snow, it's packed and rutted snow that will pull a narrow tire out from under you.

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Thanks for the tips, especially saying in from the "Minneapolis area" haha! I see zero bike commuters on my route! I go across the 494 Wacota bridge and up into woodbury, 10 miles, not one!!!
    Once you get away from Minneapolis and St. Paul proper the number of bike commuters drops significantly. There are some exceptions where there's good trail access but that's my understanding. The good news is that the suburbs usually plow their streets better than St. Paul and much better than Minneapolis. In Minneapolis they plow their "Snow Emergency Routes" quickly and take care of the rest later figuring everyone can limp their way to an emergency route. Probably true but not fun and the streets can get progressively worse until a major thaw.

    You might want to check the forums on the Mplsbikelove.com web site. There's one specifically for people seeking help with routes. It doesn't matter that your route is outside of Minneapolis. People ask about destinations all over the area. Somebody should be able to tell you whether the Wacota bridge is plowed during the winter or not. Even though there may not be many commuters where you live and work, there are people doing recreational rides year round. I think the only time I've ever ridden in Woodbury was on a recreational ride during the winter.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Thanks for the tips, especially saying in from the "Minneapolis area" haha! I see zero bike commuters on my route! I go across the 494 Wacota bridge and up into woodbury, 10 miles, not one!!!
    Once you get away from Minneapolis and St. Paul proper the number of bike commuters drops significantly. There are some exceptions where there's good trail access but that's my understanding. The good news is that the suburbs usually plow their streets better than St. Paul and much better than Minneapolis. In Minneapolis they plow their "Snow Emergency Routes" quickly and take care of the rest later figuring everyone can limp their way to an emergency route. Probably true but not fun and the streets can get progressively worse until a major thaw.

    You might want to check the forums on the Mplsbikelove.com web site. There's one specifically for people seeking help with routes. It doesn't matter that your route is outside of Minneapolis. People ask about destinations all over the area. Somebody should be able to tell you whether the Wacota bridge is plowed during the winter or not. Even though there may not be many commuters where you live and work, there are people doing recreational rides year round. I think the only time I've ever ridden in Woodbury was on a recreational ride during the winter.
    Great advice and thank you for the link! I really don't want to go the long way if I can avoid it, into St. Paul proper and back to woodbury, think it would be quicker to walk the bike across Wacota than do that. But just finding out general riding conditions, specifically on the bridge an up bailey rd hill from the 494/10/61 corridor are my two places I am very concerned with.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Starting to think about installing the following for the setup...purchase chromoly fork w/disc mount, installed on the trek 520, new front wheel as well. No need to try to salvage the rim, original botranger past the lifespan of worth saving...disc setup for the front and keep the rim brake in the back. 700x??? Studded tires, a good platform/Spd pedal, upgrade on the lights, and bundle up. I think i will keep the deurailler setup and risk it freezing up into a single speed.
    Sounds reasonable. Nothing that hits me as out of line.

    I've found there are very specific conditions where I have drivetrain trouble. I've never had anything actually freeze up, but if I don't shift often enough, the cassette will get coked up and frozen over. But again, IME, that's only under very specific circumstances.

    While I accept that other folks have such troubles, the causes mystify me. I'm slightly suspicious that it's conversion propaganda from single-speed and fixie enthusiasts.

    Much the same way MTB enthusiasts say you can't ride a roadie in the snow. [hides from wolfie]
    Considering you are only 1.5 hours south of me and have been grinding it out for 7 years I feel much better about using my deuraillers! I may go mtb with trekking or drop bars, not totally sure yet...my inclines suck in good weather, and the mtb already has stupid low gearing, feel like I can climb vertically on it if I tried hard enough. It may not be this mtb though its an 800 sport, only rhe seat tube is chromoly, rest is hi-ten and is a flipping tank. I can pick up something for very cheap with a much lighter frame to build up. Kicking myself for flipping a bridgestone mb6 I found this summer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    I've commuted the last two winters here (Downtown Minneapols to Burnsville). I would not subject my 520 to those conditions, but it would certainly work. Personally, I prefer a mountain bike - just feels safer to me. Road salt does a number on your components, which is primarily why I wouldn't ride your 520.

    I'm using the perfomance pedals that are SPD on one side, standard cage on the other. I can't keep my feet warm below 30 using spds, and I'd rather not be clipped in, especially later in the season when you might be riding on snow that is hiding ice underneath.

    It takes me an hour and a half to do 22 miles on my Mt Bike running 1.25" Nashbar slicks. For winter I have the Nokian Mount and Ground studs, which have 160 studs I believe. It adds half an hour to my commute - in other words, it increases my commuting time by 1/3rd.

    How well the paths are plowed really varies by municipality - Minneapolis and Burnsville are good, Eagan not so much. And it is almost impossible to get information on this, other than going out and trying to ride it.

    I'd roast in googles, unless there was a killer wind and temps below 10F - but I see others with them on in all kinds of conditions, so this is likely a personal preference. Good luck - report back on the conditions! A friend of mine lives in Woodbury, so I sometimes ride over there, but I ride through downtown St Paul. I've only ridden the Wakota bridge in the summer.
    My 520 is in pretty rough shape actually. Safe but frame needs a little loving. Ex wife Locked it up in an open air garage half block from the Pacific Ocean while I was on a 6 month deployment. It also served as my commuter there and the joke goes your dog will rust on the coast if you are patient. That not the reason shes my ex btw. Needless to say, there is rust and am planning on giving it the powder coat treatment. So, would you still recommend beating up another lower end bike with that in mind? If its going to trash a frame, I'd rather it not be my 520 since it has become like another appendage of mine. I am going to have as good of a look on the inside as I can once the bb is removed to make sure there isn't obvious structural issues but I don't anticipate any.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by henkie327 View Post
    As I only have one commuter bike, in the winter with ice and snow, I simply change my tires to studded Schwalbe marathon winter. But I found that even with fenders, when it's really slippery (ice) the salt can really cause the chain to go rusty really quickly. Haven't found a way to prevent that unfortunately.
    I was thinking about a synthetic oil bath then re lube weekly, maybe clean and lube weekly, or bi weekly if I can get away with it. Right now I am using finish line wet, this stuff is super thick, been hearing thinner lubes dont freeze as easily or something like that. Ill have to do some research. I run SRAM chains. So if it only lasts one winter no biggie. Ill get another one for the spring.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by azgreg View Post
    What is this winter commuting that you speak of?
    I don't know but I'm going to find out. I might outfit my bike with a vw Jetta attached to it!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Considering you are only 1.5 hours south of me and have been grinding it out for 7 years I feel much better about using my deuraillers!
    Look again. I'm in ROC, not RCH, meaning there's a NY after my Rochester, not an MN.

    Here on the cloudy shores of Lake Ontario, my winters are a bit warmer than yours, but generally snowier.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

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    If you don't want to abuse the 520, don't use it for winter commuting. Lots of good advice here on how to do it. The 520 will work, but there are better tools for the job at hand. I speak for having used my touring bike (nashbar frame) for 2 winters before switching to a singlespeed disc brake 29er (though I don't have many hills; if I did it would be an igh for me).

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