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  1. #1
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    For snow, mountain bike or city bike with fenders?

    I need to get a cheap bike for commuting in Montreal during the winter. It snows a lot, but streets also get cleaned quite quickly, and this lasts from December up until April at least. I’m between getting 1) a cheap used city bike, thin tires with fenders, or 2) going with a mountain bike, probably without fenders. What is most recommended?

    I’m afraid the snow might get stuck on the fenders on the city bike. But that I might get extremely dirty with the mountain. I have descent astronaut clothing (plastic jacket/trousers), so in theory it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Also, I’m quite big (1,88m, 6,16”), should I get a big bike as well? Or that makes it easier to fall from slippery roads and a smaller frame might be more appropriate for snowy roads?


    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Snow will definitely pack up in the fenders, but it won't make a difference because the moving wheel always clears it's own path.

    My dry commute is on slick 2" tires, but for snow I change to treaded 1.25" tires because I've found that fat tires can climb up on hard packed snow, but the narrower ones always cut through to pavement (or the ice layer at the bottom).
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  3. #3
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    Get fenders. You don't want salty sludge on your back & bike. And read Peter White's info on studded tires, as they make riding through the sludge much less tense.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    just get the right sized bike for your physique - you might prefer straight bars / hybrid type setup rather than a slammed road bike for winter commuting
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  5. #5
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    I've got 2 sets of 1.95" studded tires that just fit under the Planet Bike ATB fenders on my Safari(I've since swapped the front fender);never had an issue with snow packing up. As long as you mount fenders,the MTB will be fine. You always want a proper size bike;MTBers don't go a size small when they go off-road.

    PICT0396.jpg
    Last edited by dynaryder; 11-20-13 at 04:23 PM.

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  6. #6
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    Thanks for all the answers!

    I will get the mountain bike and try to get some fenders on it.

    Is there any paint or similar I can use on it to prevent rust?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekso View Post
    Thanks for all the answers!

    I will get the mountain bike and try to get some fenders on it.

    Is there any paint or similar I can use on it to prevent rust?
    It sounds like you're worried about frame rust. Don't. At least not external frame rust -- many folks here will tell you that a steel bike should have the insides of its tubes sprayed with something like Weigle framesaver. And periodically clean and re-grease your seat tube.

    Do worry bout component rust. I haven't tested this rigorously (I no longer live in a very snowy city), but I would suggest using something like Boeshield T-9 on all the exposed steel hardware, as the only place I noticed rust back when I regularly road through salty slush was on exposed steel hardware like "stainless" brake mounting bolts.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Slaninar's Avatar
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    Aluminium won't rust.


    Get a rigid frame - no suspension - ice cold and salt are bad for suspension components.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I used a hybrid with studded snows and fenders and it was great. I pumped the tires to max most days. Sometimes I would let just a LB or two out. I rode in the road mostly in the right wheel track. Most days the roads were plowed so even right of the right wheel track was not dangerous. Thinking it would be fun to ride in during heavy snowstorms with deeper snow I set about getting a MTB and setting it up with wide studded snows and it was going to be my tank. After some time, effort and expense, and after the one and only ride I quickly realized it was much harder work and took much longer than using my regular commuter. I still believe, for me, that the MTB has no place as a commuter, certainly not when I have other faster easier options. Again, for me, in my opinion. Anyway these are the two bikes I just mentioned cuz Bf is more fun with pics, right?
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  10. #10
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    This is what I use here and I'm not too far away from you. Studded tires are a must for winter, and the MTB supports that very well.CAM00049.jpg
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Snow will definitely pack up in the fenders, but it won't make a difference because the moving wheel always clears it's own path.
    While the tire will clear its own path, it will only do so to the surface of the tire. Then it just rubs on the tire and acts like a giant spoon brake.

    Quote Originally Posted by ekso View Post
    I need to get a cheap bike for commuting in Montreal during the winter. It snows a lot, but streets also get cleaned quite quickly, and this lasts from December up until April at least. I’m between getting 1) a cheap used city bike, thin tires with fenders, or 2) going with a mountain bike, probably without fenders. What is most recommended?

    I’m afraid the snow might get stuck on the fenders on the city bike. But that I might get extremely dirty with the mountain. I have descent astronaut clothing (plastic jacket/trousers), so in theory it shouldn’t be a problem.

    Also, I’m quite big (1,88m, 6,16”), should I get a big bike as well? Or that makes it easier to fall from slippery roads and a smaller frame might be more appropriate for snowy roads?


    Thanks in advance!
    Let's start with your height. You are 1.9m or 6.17' tall. Double quotes are inches...see "This is Spinal Tap" and the Little people of Stone 'Enge sketch

    If you are going to ride in snow, I'd suggest a mountain bike with a knobbed or studded tire. I would also suggest a fender system like this one



    The front fork is an SKS Blade and mounts under the fork. There is a splash shield on the downtube. The rear fender(s) are an SKS snap on fender on the upper part and the lower fender is a piece of a Planet Bike fender that has been cut to fit and is mounted on a Minoura waterbottle holder. This is a little more elaborate than just bolting on a set of regular fenders but I have far more snow clearance than a normal fender system would give me. Even in very deep snow, I don't have snow packing in the fenders
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  12. #12
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    I have not found a problem with snow getting under fenders on plowed roads. I might prefer the City BIke as it would have a lower bottom bracket -- lower to the ground in general on the packed snow and icy spots might be better. I have little experience with suspension bikes, but I would think that on ice, having a rigid fork and hardtail would help you have a better feel with the road. And since we're talking about winter weather on-road riding, an old Rigid MTB or a newer city bike would be my choice.

    I commute on a 26" folding mtb by Dahon.

    It's all about the tires. Nokian studded for snowy stuff, Schwalbe Marathon Winters (studded) for packed snow and ice. I use the Schwalbes.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    the snow buildup on the toes of your boots is gonna be more annoying especially when you reach 40+ minutes at 17 degrees ... not to mentioned your water turning to slush ...
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  14. #14
    I WILL BE YOUR LARRY arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    My dry commute is on slick 2" tires, but for snow I change to treaded 1.25" tires because I've found that fat tires can climb up on hard packed snow, but the narrower ones always cut through to pavement (or the ice layer at the bottom).
    ...that's why the old Volkswagens do so good in the snow.
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  15. #15
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    My dry tires are 2.1" Town and Country. 1.75" Marathon Winters for the slick stuff.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  16. #16
    Fat Guy on a Little Bike KonAaron Snake's Avatar
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    For me it depends on the type of snow and, more critically, potential ice under it. If we're talking hard packed snow where accumulation was pushed down by autos, I want a thicker tire with the lowest inflation I can get away with...and I ride SLOWLY. For lose, accumulated snow, I want a thicker tire, but a little more inflation...and I ride SLOWLY. For icy slush, or light snow, I want a narrow road bike tire - they cut right through it - and I ride SLOWLY. There's a common thread here

    I prefer titanium frames, no fenders, for snow/slush/salted roads.

  17. #17
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Don't concern too much about the fenders. I have never had any buildup under mine and they are full coverage. I ride in all kinds of snow. Wet, dry, granular and slush. It tends to just spray around a little then fall off.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

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