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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 12-08-12, 01:11 PM   #1
jsjsjs
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Studded tires on Fixed gear

I recently searched across the web to read about the experiences of other track-bikers who have tried to winterize their bikes, but I came across surprisingly few posts. I hope this post will prove useful to those of you seeking to do something similar. Riding a bike with no gears or brakes, and with feet fixed to the pedals is probably not the smartest thing to do in the Montreal winter. But if you've reconciled to persevere through those dangers, read on.

I wanted to put studded tires on my track bike for the winter. I have a cheap steel track frame and knew that I would need small studded tires - as small as they come.
Peter White Cycles deserves some praise here. His post on studded tires is fantastic: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp. Read it, and then you'll know what to look for and what you're up against.
Peter White says that there are no studded tires made for road bikes, and he seems to be right.

Among the smallest studded tires available are a Schwalbe (@700x35c) and a Nokian (@700x32c). I ended up buying an Innova tire 700x35c at my local shoppe. I bought only one because I wasn't sure if my experiment was going to work. I mounted the tire on the wheel and pumped it to full PSI to measure its fit in the frame. The innova didn't fit in the front or the back. Damn.

In the front, the radius from the hub to the fork was simply too short. So I used 2 files (a flat bastard and a Nicholson file) to file the 'genital' area of the front fork. It was a lot of work - about 3 hours of filing (with many breaks for beer and to relieve my tired filing arms). I'm not sure not sure which file was more effective - the flat bastard had a coarser grain, the Nicholson one was finer. I simply alternated files until I got the clearance I needed at the apex of the fork (which should be a good 5 mm to be safe). Voila! I fit a 700x35c studded tire on the front wheel of my track bike. Having studs on the front wheel is more important than having them on the back.

Now onto the back wheel. It was a no-go. The problem for my frame was width. The 700x35c was simply too wide, and was rubbing against the chainstay tubes close to the seat tube. The radius was OK in the back, but there is nothing I can do about the width (filing the chainstay tubes is probably a no-no since it makes up part of the structural integrity of the frame, whereas the extra metal I filed off of the front fork was just occupying space...) I suppose I could try the Nokian a10 which is 30 or 32c in size, but after reading reviews and checking out pics online, the a10 appears to be nearly treadless and has many poor reviews, and so I decided to not even try. I found a 700x28c tire with nice chuncky rubber, and will use that on the back instead.

So this is how I winterized my track bike. Would welcome comments, feedback, and suggestions.

Happy holiday riding.
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Old 12-08-12, 01:13 PM   #2
LesterOfPuppets
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No pics?
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Old 12-08-12, 01:25 PM   #3
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I have a pair of Innova 35c studded tires that occasionally get installed on this bike (with the rear hub flipped to the fixed side). However, unless you are riding on black ice I find a pair of cyclocross knobbies to be much more effective.
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Old 12-08-12, 01:31 PM   #4
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I just ride studded front on MTB in winter. Just throw the wheel on if snow/ice threatens. I like the studs for ice and packed snow conditions. Knobby in the back, of course.
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Old 12-08-12, 02:21 PM   #5
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I have an 08 schwinn madison and was able to fit the Nokian A10s without a problem. I think they're 32s, but google the specs if you want to be absolutely certain. The rear break arm sounds like its rubbing a little bit when actuated this year. I suspect this may be because my drive train is shot, so rather than replace chains constantly (and being a cheap skate who doesn't want to throw on a brand new cog and chainring at the beginning of the winter) I've just been taking out links as I reach the end of my drop outs--I can't imagine that helps anything.

Anyway the point is that you might not have to go so radical as filing your fork and things of that nature. Fixed is actually pretty awesome. I doubted all the people who purported its traction, but now that I've tried it I don't know if I'd go back. It is a bit of a drag not having foot retention with my winter boots, but I'm sure there are options if you really want it for the winter and are willing to drop some cash. I definitely recommend giving it a go if you're already used to it and want to ride in the winter.
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Old 12-08-12, 02:30 PM   #6
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I used to ride a fixed gear mtb in the winter with studded tyres and this was great for messenger work and winter riding... when the roads went to **** I had no problems at all and usually kept a second bike in the downtown lockup as a spare and if the conditions did not warrant the studded tyres on the mtb.
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Old 12-08-12, 03:26 PM   #7
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i put a bunch of short sheet metal screws through a set of 26" knobbies back in the day...weighed a ton, looked like something out of mad max, and worked very well (if you stayed off clean pavement, that is).
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Old 12-08-12, 03:33 PM   #8
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I had done the same thing. But this was specifically for an ice race. 340 screws up front, and 300 on the back. Heavy as all hell and really freaked people out when I was riding around an outdoor rink during a hockey game.
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Old 12-09-12, 05:15 AM   #9
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Schwalbe has also a 30mm studded tire, I think it's simply called Winter (Marathon Winter is 35mm and wider). The A10 is reportedly hard rolling even for studded tire, so I'd try the Schwalbe if available.
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Old 12-09-12, 11:44 AM   #10
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I did my first full winter with just cyclocross tires. It was OK for snow but it was still super easy to lose my front from under me on ice.
Last year I got a no name 32c studded tire and haven't looked back. The difference is night and day on ice.
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Old 12-10-12, 08:19 AM   #11
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I use Marathon Winters (700x35c) in my Bianchi San Jose frame, with fenders and front disc brake. I cannot imagine not wanting fenders for any situation that calls for studded tires, and the disc brake is a huge advantage in winter conditions. I would get a winter frame. Maybe a Motobecane Fantom Cross UNO (no disc tabs sadly) or a hardtail MTB?
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Old 12-10-12, 10:51 AM   #12
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Don't know much about studded tires, yahoo for sunny NM!
But I do know it's new fork time...you've filed it to the point it's no longer safe.
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Old 12-10-12, 03:21 PM   #13
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But I do know it's new fork time...you've filed it to the point it's no longer safe.
I agree. On a lot of forks, that section you filed is the only part that holds the fork crown/legs to the steering tube, and now it's gone. Go out and hold the front wheel between your knees while trying to turn the handle bars. They may already be separated.
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Old 12-10-12, 07:08 PM   #14
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I've filed forks for tire clearance before (and I will again!) I'm not as convinced as these guys that yours is toast -- unicrowns are pretty strong. Some thoughts:

1) Since the tire is round, you should have used a round file so you can just remove material where you need to.
2) If you didn't tape off the lower headset race, you may have gotten filings in it and need to clean it out and regrease. If it's a cartridge, you may not have a problem, but taping it off is good practice.
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Old 12-10-12, 07:32 PM   #15
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filings in the headset bearings. +1.
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Old 12-16-12, 08:08 PM   #16
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For people looking for skinnier studs, 45Nrth makes a 700x30c studded tire called the Xerxes, but they are a little pricey. From what I've heard they're great tires though.
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