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  1. #1
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    What would you do?

    I originally posted this in the winter cycling forum, but thought the SS/FG folks might have some tips.

    I've been starting to give some thought on which one of my bikes would be better suited for winter riding. This winter will be my first for commuting.

    first option: Surly Karate Monkey, Single speed, 44-16 now and will probably gear down to 38-16 for winter conditions. 700/32c cyclocross tires that i'll swap out for the 700c nokian studded tires.
    will add fenders. A little concerned about the parts getting jacked. Paul hubs and brakes, Race Face
    components, etc... Dropped a bit of coin on this one, so I'm abit wary about putting it through a winter
    but I know it will be a smoother ride than my other option.

    second option: Specialized P.2, 8 speed but will convert to 32-16 single speed. cheap crappy stock suspension fork will be swapped for steel rigid fork. has big 26x2.4" knobbies that i'll swap for
    26x2" studded tires, maybe just the front. Mechanical Disc brakes. Fenders/mudflap will be added.
    Keep in mind this bike has the geometry for jumping, I got this bike out of ignorance a few years ago
    wanted a good bike for intermediate single track and commuting, ended up with a tank.I feel this bike even with a low gear of 32/16 will be a pain to go any type of distance. I am not as concerned about this bike getting a bit trashed.

    Not really even considering my FG track bike with 25c slicks as an option, but i know some would
    maybe you can sway me.

    opinions on any of these set ups???

  2. #2
    Retrogrouch in Training bostontrevor's Avatar
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    How far are you going? I know the little apple doesn't get as much snow as we do here, so it's less of a concern, but around these parts, when you've got the bad weather rig, weight and geometry aren't really big concerns so long as the thing comes in under 40 pounds.

    Is fixed an option for either setup? I don't have discs and I know they're supposed to fare better in inclement conditions, but you can't beat a fixed setup for always being able to provide some ability to stop.

    Finally, whether you run slicks or knobbies is largely a personal preference. The slicks will usually cut through the snow and slush and let you get around. Fat knobbies will tend to float on top and provide you traction on the surface. In my own experience, I enjoy the knobbies more because even in the midst of a snow storm, I can go out and tear around with impunity.

  3. #3
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    I have two different commutes: 5mi to Downtown almost daily and a 15 mi commute on occasion (2x/week at most) to the burbs

  4. #4
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bostontrevor
    Is fixed an option for either setup? I don't have discs and I know they're supposed to fare better in inclement conditions, but you can't beat a fixed setup for always being able to provide some ability to stop.
    My only option for fixed is my track bike, unless i rebuild the wheel on the Surly (Paul WORD hub is only threaded on one side for a freewheel) the P2 could be fixed conversion.

  5. #5
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    You'll be fine with the 25s fixed. I ran 23s all last winter (also 5min from downtown) with only a few wrecks. Fixed is better for control on the ice, so that's the direction I'd go. It's also better not to use the brakes on ice.

    I think the studded tires are really only usefull for riding on the lakes - most of the roads here are plowed/salted so quick that the studs aren't really neccessary. I'd also worry about riding anything with suspension - what happens when it gets really cold and all those parts freeze?

    Couldn't you just take the fixed wheel off of your track bike, and put it on the Surly? Seems like that might be the best option. Then you could run the cyclocross tires, even though they do throw a lot more snow up, and create a lot more drag when you have to ride through any deep snow...

    I might think of other options, but that seems the best right now.

  6. #6
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HereNT
    Couldn't you just take the fixed wheel off of your track bike, and put it on the Surly? Seems like that might be the best option. Then you could run the cyclocross tires, even though they do throw a lot more snow up, and create a lot more drag when you have to ride through any deep snow...
    Can't do it- the Surly is spaced for 135 and my hub on my track bike is 120

  7. #7
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    IRO cycle sells a 135 spaced 26" wheel flip/flop for $90. A cheap option. Or you could buy a 700c rear wheel from iro and use that as a winter/bad weather wheel.

  8. #8
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimeZer0
    Can't do it- the Surly is spaced for 135 and my hub on my track bike is 120
    Go get a longer axle and some spacers. OneOnOne or FreeWheel could probably do it for you in a matter of minutes. Since it's a fixed wheel, it doesn't have any dish to deal with. You might even be able to just go get some washers from the hardware store if your axle is long enough....

    I've burned through a lot of the QBP/Wheelhouse Surly/Mavic MA3 wheels over the winters here. I think that you can get them in 135 for like $120 from most shops around town. Maybe less if you haggle...

    Man, this is reminding me that I need to find myself a winter beater soon. I'm certainly not riding my Bianchi with the Dura-Ace loose bearings through the winter

  9. #9
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    what parts have y'all experienced getting jacked first and/or worst due to all the salt and slop on the roads?

  10. #10
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    Brakes - they sieze up pretty bad. That's why I first went brakeless - tried to use my front brake and it just stuck shut.

    Chains if they're not stainless.

    Last year I had the bolt that you use to adjust forward/back up/down on your seat get filled with salt, to the point it was basically welded in place, and the seat loosened and wouldn't stay in place. That sucked.

    If you have the option, keeping the bike outside or somewhere below freezing is actually the best. The salt only really gets into stuff when the snow melts. And don't put the bike in your bathtub - your landlords will hate you, because it clogs up the drains really quick.

    Someday I'll invent an indoor bike-drippings stand to keep your bike from making huge puddles. As it is now, I just use an old blanket...

  11. #11
    無くなった HereNT's Avatar
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    Oh, and I've had hubs pit on me, but nothing really major.

  12. #12
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    glad i posted my question in this forum as well. The only suggestion I got in winter cycling was to keep the multiple gear set up.

  13. #13
    griffin_ griffin_'s Avatar
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    so i can imagine a fixed road bike is pretty ok for flat winter conditions but what about hills? i want to ride to and from work this winter but there is a bit of a hill to go down and then come back up

  14. #14
    Machine is not broken TimeZer0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin_
    so i can imagine a fixed road bike is pretty ok for flat winter conditions but what about hills? i want to ride to and from work this winter but there is a bit of a hill to go down and then come back up
    Well I'm pretty sure I will be going with a single speed/freewheel set up for winter. My Surly is currently at
    44/16 which is pretty good for me as far as hills go. I'm in Minneapolis and there are only a couple hills I can't climb and a few in St. Paul that I just try to avoid. But I will be gearing it down like 38/16 to compensate for the winter conditions. I still pretty new to riding fixed so I think I'll wait til spring to get that one out on the streets.

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