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  1. #1
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    Spring has sprung and one's thoughts turn to - A rain bike ?

    I'm sure that this question has been asked many times before and I might have asked this myself.

    A fellow skier and I were talking about keeping around a bike for riding in the rain and I've been thinking about a rain bike for N+1.

    He uses a hybrid with fenders but I'm adverse to riding a flatbar bike again because I can't stand feeling like a billboard in the wind when riding into a headwind. The hybrid I have is fine for running to the corner store but not for anything serious.

    I was thinking about getting a used entry level road bike with an alloy frame that would let me mount fenders. The other option would be a cyclocross bike. The cheapest alternative would be for me to buy a beater (free would be better but we can't have everything) and add some fenders. I like to use clipless pedals since I own a pair of SPD MTB shoes and a pair of SPD road shoes it really doesn't matter which type of pedal I put on.

    Any ideas ?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I think you can pretty much turn any bike into a rain bike. My current rain bike is a Specialized S-Work Roubaix with Race Blade Long fenders. It's the rain bike, because it's the one I'm least concerned with its appearance. Prior to this, I was using an 80s steel Specialized Sirrus as my rain bike. Personally, I like a rain bike that performs as closely as possible to my normal ride. I do have a cross bike with full fenders and rear rack, but I use this as my commuter. I don't expect it to go fast, accelerate quickly, or corner like it's on rails. I just expect it to get me back and forth to work with no hassles. I must say, however, that I wouldn't want to use it as my rain bike. It's too heavy and too slow.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  3. #3
    Bike Junkie roccobike's Avatar
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    I have a 1996 Cannondale SR500 that I use for a rain bike. However, just becaue I have a rain bike doesn't mean I like riding in the rain. BTW it's raining today, and I didn't ride the bike.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Durockrolly's Avatar
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    When it rains, I mix two parts water and one part dirt and take one of these!

    Been chatting to a 14 year old girl online. She's funny, sexy and flirty. Now she tells me she is an undercover cop! How cool is that at her age!?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Personally, I like a rain bike that performs as closely as possible to my normal ride.
    Good point. Since my normal ride is full carbon, I'm not crazy about going back to an alloy frame but I was thinking about an alloy frame with a carbon fork, hence the entry level road bike. Something that could take a bit of abuse.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    I think you can pretty much turn any bike into a rain bike. My current rain bike is a Specialized S-Work Roubaix with Race Blade Long fenders. It's the rain bike, because it's the one I'm least concerned with its appearance. Prior to this, I was using an 80s steel Specialized Sirrus as my rain bike. Personally, I like a rain bike that performs as closely as possible to my normal ride. I do have a cross bike with full fenders and rear rack, but I use this as my commuter. I don't expect it to go fast, accelerate quickly, or corner like it's on rails. I just expect it to get me back and forth to work with no hassles. I must say, however, that I wouldn't want to use it as my rain bike. It's too heavy and too slow.
    Keeping performance in mind, any suggestions as to tires ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    Keeping performance in mind, any suggestions as to tires ?
    On my rain bike I run Continental Gran Prix 4000. I think they have a bit more grip in the wet than the Michelin Krylion Carbon I run on the other bikes.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  8. #8
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    hmm... Good to know. That's what I run with already.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
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  9. #9
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    Every bike I own has become into an impromptu "rain bike" at one time or another!

    Moral of the story.....Pick up a bike you like a lot and set it up for foul (or fowl) weather. Good tires are probably a plus but I have found that I generally slow down quite a bit on wet pavement anyway. It's hard to determine the depth of road puddles (some of ours seem bottomless), and the pavement markings can be as slick as grease when they're wet. Our dry spells don't often last long enough to create much of a slipage hazard on the blacktop surface at first wetting as the surface is usually pretty clean. I'm running an old pair of GEAX Street Runners on my commuter that are almost bald and I haven't been noticing any traction problems. The recumbents are shod with Schwalbe Marathon Plus and when caught in the rain they handle quite well, though they're probably heavier than you want for a road bike.

    Beyond fenders and good bright strobes front and rear I think all you'll need is a stepped-up maintainance program to keep things nice and lubricated and rust free.

    I like your idea of using a road bike, as your riding position should cause most precipitation to strike your back. I've been caught in heavy downpours on my recumbents more times than I care to recall. What I remember most is how those wind driven giant rain drops sting the thighs and face.
    Last edited by cranky old dude; 03-25-12 at 12:09 AM.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I do not commute where a ride has to be done in the rain. Still ride in the stuff and I get wet and that is it. After I bought my Boreas in June 2007- I decided to keep the OCR as a foul/wet weather bike and the next time it was used was on an atrocious day in December in 30mph winds and rain. Got to the LBS and I decided that the OCR had to go. It was not up to the ride quality of Boreas and it would never be ridden again. So I got a Giant TCR-C. Once sorted it rode as good as Boreas and was almost the same quality so was going to be the "Winter" bike.

    So bikes of similar quality and I would take either bike out on rides whether it be rain or shine. Just got the Pinarello and that is definitely a fair weather bike. No other reason than it is white and it is newer.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I faced this delima last spring after cleaning the drivetrain of my road bike every day for two weeks because of grit and other debris getting into it from wet road riding.

    I am used to fenders and disc brakes on my commuter bike and wanted a real roadie with those options as they make going and stopping tolerable in the wet stuff.

    I bought a Volagi, it comes with discs so stopping is great even if the wheels are wet and I added fenders (real ones not clip ons) as the bike is made to accept fenders. The bonus is that the bike is a very comfy and fun to ride. So much so that occasionally I take it to work so I can go for a long ride right from work.

    My advice is that you try riding a Volagi.
    Last edited by gear; 03-26-12 at 06:53 AM. Reason: addition of link

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    . No other reason than it is white and it is newer.
    Another reason why I'd like a rain bike. The Roubaix is mostly white.

  13. #13
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    When I was racing, I always had a rain bike. It was my winter fixed gear bike. It had fenders mounted, and mechanically it was stripped down to the pure essentials, so I didn't need to worry about derailleur maintenance. It also forced me to back off on rainy days and get back to the discipline of riding the fixed gear. Or it would force me to do a strength session, a hilly course in the rain. It also acted as a repository for all the non-derailleur components replaced on my A bike, plus saved my A bike from a lot of useless wear and tear.

    Today the fixie IS the A bike and gets used for everything. When it doesn't rain, I just take off the race blades.

    As far as setup, the rain bike was set up IDENTICALLY to the A bike, except the cranks were 165 or 170 instead of 175.

    Luis

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky old dude View Post
    Every bike I own has become into an impromptu "rain bike" at one time or another!

    Moral of the story.....Pick up a bike you like a lot and set it up for foul (or fowl) weather. Good tires are probably a plus but I have found that I generally slow down quite a bit on wet pavement anyway. It's hard to determine the depth of road puddles (some of ours seem bottomless), and the pavement markings can be as slick as grease when they're wet. Our dry spells don't often last long enough to create much of a slipage hazard on the blacktop surface at first wetting as the surface is usually pretty clean. I'm running an old pair of GEAX Street Runners on my commuter that are almost bald and I haven't been noticing any traction problems. The recumbents are shod with Schwalbe Marathon Plus and when caught in the rain they handle quite well, though they're probably heavier than you want for a road bike.

    Beyond fenders and good bright strobes front and rear I think all you'll need is a stepped-up maintainance program to keep things nice and lubricated and rust free.

    I like your idea of using a road bike, as your riding position should cause most precipitation to strike your back. I've been caught in heavy downpours on my recumbents more times than I care to recall. What I remember most is how those wind driven giant rain drops sting the thighs and face.
    Since I work out of my house, I don't need a commuter bike so a road bike, even if doesn't perform like the Roubaix would at least let me maintain some continuity. Like you said, I'll be riding at a slower pace anyway (besides, since when do we have rain without wind on the Great Lakes ?).

    Potholes and endless puddles are another reason why I'd rather not ride a newer bike in the wet. As much as I dislike aluminium framed bikes I think as a compromise something with an alloy frame and a carbon front fork could work for me. The other thing I'd be inclined to do is to put on some bulletproof wheels like Mavic CXP 22's.

    The other upside is that I could use a bike like that for touring. You can't carry stuff on a carbon bike.

    Now if I can just solve my eyewear problem... Bifocals with a custom prism on the left side (sort of looks like a trifocal).. The only suggestion I had from an optician was to a get custom made set for cycling that would set me back about $600.

    I could ride without my glasses if I had to but since my vision in my left eye is so lousy, I'd rather not.

  15. #15
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    As much as I dislike aluminium framed bikes I think as a compromise something with an alloy frame and a carbon front fork could work for me. The other thing I'd be inclined to do is to put on some bulletproof wheels like Mavic CXP 22's.

    The other upside is that I could use a bike like that for touring. You can't carry stuff on a carbon bike.
    Have you considered steel?

    I've only test ridden a few aluminum bikes and didn't like the ride; to much vibration and jarring, you feel every bump. The Cannondale Synapse aluminum was an exception, the ride was closer to steel, but it doesn't have fender or rack mounts.

    Have no idea what your budget is, but if you're also considering touring, perhaps this bike will fit your needs.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by GFish View Post
    Have you considered steel?

    I've only test ridden a few aluminum bikes and didn't like the ride; to much vibration and jarring, you feel every bump. The Cannondale Synapse aluminum was an exception, the ride was closer to steel, but it doesn't have fender or rack mounts.

    Have no idea what your budget is, but if you're also considering touring, perhaps this bike will fit your needs.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm
    One of the reasons I've considered getting an older beater is that fact that they are steel but I'm of two minds about that. As for a fixie. Somebody at my LBS mentioned that to me and it's something that I haven't tried. The idea of a lot less maintenance is appealing though.

    The Synapse has a carbon front fork plus Cannondale has done a lot of work to improve the ride quality on some of their alloy bikes. I've been considering something like a Specialized Allez but something like a Synapse could work. The more aggressive geometry shouldn't be too much of an issue since I'd probably be doing shorter distances in the rain that I would normally consider with the full carbon Roubaix. Ah well, decisions, decisions...

  17. #17
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    I put mudguards and an S3X hub on my Viscount for the winter and plan on leaving it that way as a "rain bike:"


  18. #18
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    I've been thinking about a rain bike for N+1.
    Traditionally when you get a new race bike the old race bike becomes the rain/backup bike. When I got my race bike I was coming off a frame that was too long so I bought a cheap chinese carbon frame the correct size and put the old bike's parts on it. It's been a great rain bike, in fact I rode it this morning. It'd be nice if it had enough clearance to accept fenders larger than SKS race blades but I'd probably use them anyhow because I usually need to take the front off to put the bike in the car.

    I don't let rain keep me out of the mountains so a single speed rain bike wouldn't work for me. But you should get whatever works for you.

  19. #19
    Cyclist storckm's Avatar
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    You may have a hard time fitting fenders on a new road bike, although I'm sure there are some that can take them. You can always get a hybrid and put drops on it.

  20. #20
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Get an older Sports-Touring bike from the seventies. These have long-reach caliper brakes and can fit fenders easily.



    ...A Cyclocross bike will work well also and is you best bet if you want to run 700x35 tires and fenders.

    Last edited by Barrettscv; 03-25-12 at 05:39 PM.
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  21. #21
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    I've been reading Cycling Plus, a UK bicycling magazine. In almost every advertisement for a bicycle shop there are "Winter Models" listed. With their high amount of rainfall, pretty much daily, it seems (step in here Stapfam.) they have at least the eyelets on the drops, for fenders and usually a 25 or 28 width tire. Lower level components (to some, to me they are everyday) that you don't have to stress about getting gritty or muddy, and rudimentary fenders.

    For all the dreaming about an ultra bicycle as N+1, this type of bicycle makes more sense for my needs. I am used to and love aluminum frames, they won't rust, just a light oxidation layer if the paint is scraped off. I am seriously thinking about finding a nice aluminum frame that will take 28 width tires, has fender eyelets and in fair shape. Add a Sora or Tiagra level grouppo, some 32h wheels and a pair of Blummels fenders with appropriate front and rear lighting and I am good to go in the wet.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Drum and disc brakes stop in foul weather ,
    Hub-Dynamo powered lights are always there.

    enclosing the chain and an IGH
    will make servicing the drive train less common.


    I get 9 months of use out of my Rain bike .. per year.

  23. #23
    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    The Synapse has a carbon front fork plus Cannondale has done a lot of work to improve the ride quality on some of their alloy bikes. I've been considering something like a Specialized Allez but something like a Synapse could work. The more aggressive geometry shouldn't be too much of an issue since I'd probably be doing shorter distances in the rain that I would normally consider with the full carbon Roubaix. Ah well, decisions, decisions...
    I test rode both an Allez and Synapse aluminum bike. There was no comparison, the Synapse was more comfortable. The Allez is a bone jarring ride, it was this bike that convinced me to buy steel. And if you're thinking on making either of these a rain bike, tire clearance makes full fenders a problem, not to mention that lack of eyelets.

    I know I posted a link to this bike before, but this is what I purchased as an entry level all-weather fitness/performance bike. http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._legacy_xi.htm

    Currently, I have the bike setup with full fenders and running 28mm Gatorskins, which is the largest size tire I can run with fenders. I've been extremely impressed with this bike and ride quality over chip seal and rough roads is good.

    Eventually, I'd like to make this bike my commuter and purchase a lighter bike for everyday rides. At least that's my N+1 plans.

  24. #24
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    I was thinking a bit about how much I'd be willing to spend and it occurred to me that since I'd already spent about $3000+ on bike stuff last year plus the $2000 I spent on a new sea kayak that I'd probably be inclined to go cheap this time, say under $1000. I'll leave out how much my family has spent on ski equipment over the last couple of years.

    I don't need or want full fenders. Race Blades or Cruds are good enough for me.

    The Synapse is Cannondale's equivalent to a Specialized Roubaix so no great surprises there when it comes to the ride. Similar geometry, similar vibration damping scheme as Specialized. Something a little heavier and a little slower isn't going to hurt since I'm not about to go tearing up the roads in the rain.

    The reason why I thought about something like an Allez or a Caad is that it has a more aggressive geometry and is more for bombing around the neighbourhood than for going on long rides. I won't be going on long rides in the rain anyway and it would be something that I could use for working on hills and other stuff. I was thinking about something like that as an alternate ride anyway so it lets me kill two birds with one stone plus like NOS88 says, it makes sense to have a rain bike that performs about the same as my regular ride. I'm pretty sure that if it didn't I probably won't ride it. There also seem to be more of them around for sale from people who wanted to try a road bike and didn't like it or wanted to upgrade.


    An old 70's sport touring bike like Barrettscv was talking about could fit the bill too. There seem to be plenty of old Peugeots and Bianchis around here for sale that could be resurrected but I'd rather have something newer. The other thing is that most of the ones that are still kicking around are way too big for me. I'd be looking for a 21' frame ( I take a 52cm frame) and there doesn't seem to be too many of those around that are in decent shape.

    I've pretty much ruled out hybrids because a) I already have one, b) It's got MTB type gearing and c) It's not worth converting because it's a cheap bike and it would cost me more than it's worth. I was out on it yesterday because my wife wanted to go out for a ride on hers since it was far easier for me to ride with her on that instead of the Roubaix. I found that my hands were going numb even with my good gloves on.

    I've already got a spare mountain bike sitting in the garage that belonged to one of my sons (who is now about a head taller than me) that happens to be my size but it's a steel framed hardtail that weighs as much as an M1 tank. That one will probably wind up at the cottage at some point.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Wildwood's Avatar
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    2nd the idea of getting an inexpensive vintage steel ride.

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