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  1. #1
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    Options for bike in Montreal winter?

    What are some good options for touring bikes to use in Montreal during winter?
    I plan to get some winter tyres, don't need disc brakes but if it's a good price then I might get them.
    Budget anywhere from about $200 to $500

    I guess I could get a MTB instead but not sure what the pros and cons are...weight I imagine?

  2. #2
    Pozer
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post
    What are some good options for touring bikes to use in Montreal during winter?
    I plan to get some winter tyres, don't need disc brakes but if it's a good price then I might get them.
    Budget anywhere from about $200 to $500

    I guess I could get a MTB instead but not sure what the pros and cons are...weight I imagine?
    I have biked year-round in both Toronto and Ottawa, so I'm familiar with the environment/experience.

    I'd say avoid buying a new bike, and instead get a serviceable beater on craigslist or something. The salt from the roads is going to eat your bike alive, no point in making it eat something brand new. Also for 200-500 you won't get as quality a bike as you could get used anyway.

    Other things that I've learned in my years of commuting:

    * Going singlespeed or fixed gear is very beneficial. There is less hardware to rust/gum-up/fall apart. I find fixed to be the best myself, as it gives you a much better feel for the road.

    * If you will be biking primarily on ploughed/serviced roads, do not fall into the trap of going with very knobby wide tires. A nice thin tire with small tread will serve you better -- it cuts through the slush/snow, and gives you more surface contact than a knobby tire. Knobby tires will also collect snow/water and freeze, which can be very dangerous.

    * If you are encountering lots of ice, you'll slip whether you go with a knobby or a slick tire. All that in mind, if you ride on LOTS of ice, studded tires will help.. and they are also great if you ride through lots of packed snow or on trails.

    * Choice of brake isn't as important as you might think. Regular brakes or disc brakes, the problem in winter isn't with your braking surface any more than it is in rain it is with your tires sliding on slick surfaces.

    I have a billion other pieces of advice, that I can't remember off the top of my head but feel free to ask and I'll impart what info I have.

    Good luck!
    08 Surly Crosscheck (Misty Mountain Grey)
    83 Peugeot PBN10 Fixed (Pearl Orange)
    2010 Soma Saga (full touring custom build)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryth View Post
    I have biked year-round in both Toronto and Ottawa, so I'm familiar with the environment/experience.

    I'd say avoid buying a new bike, and instead get a serviceable beater on craigslist or something. The salt from the roads is going to eat your bike alive, no point in making it eat something brand new. Also for 200-500 you won't get as quality a bike as you could get used anyway.

    Other things that I've learned in my years of commuting:

    * Going singlespeed or fixed gear is very beneficial. There is less hardware to rust/gum-up/fall apart. I find fixed to be the best myself, as it gives you a much better feel for the road.

    * If you will be biking primarily on ploughed/serviced roads, do not fall into the trap of going with very knobby wide tires. A nice thin tire with small tread will serve you better -- it cuts through the slush/snow, and gives you more surface contact than a knobby tire. Knobby tires will also collect snow/water and freeze, which can be very dangerous.

    * If you are encountering lots of ice, you'll slip whether you go with a knobby or a slick tire. All that in mind, if you ride on LOTS of ice, studded tires will help.. and they are also great if you ride through lots of packed snow or on trails.

    * Choice of brake isn't as important as you might think. Regular brakes or disc brakes, the problem in winter isn't with your braking surface any more than it is in rain it is with your tires sliding on slick surfaces.

    I have a billion other pieces of advice, that I can't remember off the top of my head but feel free to ask and I'll impart what info I have.

    Good luck!
    I guess that even though the roads are ploughed, there can be heavy snow and freeze.thaw cycles sometimes so it's going to be a mixture of grit/tarmac in places, ince in others, snow in others, compacted snow in others.
    Is there any benefit in a MTB over a tourer? I imagine MTBs are cheaper. I would only be using it for commuting and if I really fancies going on the dirt tracks on a weekend I might but unlikely to do that that often.

  4. #4
    Pozer
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post
    I guess that even though the roads are ploughed, there can be heavy snow and freeze.thaw cycles sometimes so it's going to be a mixture of grit/tarmac in places, ince in others, snow in others, compacted snow in others.
    Is there any benefit in a MTB over a tourer? I imagine MTBs are cheaper. I would only be using it for commuting and if I really fancies going on the dirt tracks on a weekend I might but unlikely to do that that often.
    MTL winters are certainly more severe than Toronto, if I were out there I might go with the studded tyres myself.

    No real benefit one way or another for a MTB over a Tourer other than you would be able to find a nice used MTB much easier than a nice used tourer for the price range you mentioned.

    The one thing that could be benficial for the MTB is that the 26" wheels probably have more options when it comes to studs etc.
    08 Surly Crosscheck (Misty Mountain Grey)
    83 Peugeot PBN10 Fixed (Pearl Orange)
    2010 Soma Saga (full touring custom build)

  5. #5
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    You can expect the pads of rim brakes to wear out quite fast (don't know about disc-brake pads).
    Good tire clearance can be very handy in certain snow conditions (more so if your plan to run knobby tires).
    Things that you could expect to freeze (and stop working) when riding (and storing your bike) in below 0°F: Freewheels, shifter-cables and derailers.
    There is a lot of good info on the winter cycling forum.
    My advice is free of charge and of respective quality.
    1982 Miyata 912
    1998 Wheeler 5900 with front and rear air cushion suspension
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  6. #6
    Fred Hipstaire
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    I ride year round in Quebec City. My winter bike a basically an old mountain bike on which I fitted a coaster brake single speed hub. I use fairly skinny studded tires, Schwalbe I think. 100$ for the rear wheel with the hub and another 100$ for both tires will get you going. I didn't have to pay for the bike, someone I know was throwing it away.

    I also noticed on other bikes that road fenders tend to accumulate loads of sleet. I use a mtn bike fender attached to the seat post and pieces of crazy carpet. Sure my ride looks like sh*t and it's pretty slow, but really when the thermometer hits -30, I don't mind.

    The most important thing: watch out for those drivers who think you don't belong on the streets. They're a small but very dangerous minority.

    Have fun.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryth View Post
    MTL winters are certainly more severe than Toronto, if I were out there I might go with the studded tyres myself.

    No real benefit one way or another for a MTB over a Tourer other than you would be able to find a nice used MTB much easier than a nice used tourer for the price range you mentioned.

    The one thing that could be benficial for the MTB is that the 26" wheels probably have more options when it comes to studs etc.
    So...when a tyre says it is 700x35, how do you know if it fits a 26" MTB wheel?

  8. #8
    Pozer
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post
    So...when a tyre says it is 700x35, how do you know if it fits a 26" MTB wheel?
    There are different wheel sizes.

    700c is one size

    26" is another size

    and there are some other more eccentric ones as well (27", 24" etc).

    If you have 26" any tires made 700c won't fit and vice-versa.
    08 Surly Crosscheck (Misty Mountain Grey)
    83 Peugeot PBN10 Fixed (Pearl Orange)
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  9. #9
    tuz
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    Here is a pic of my snow bike in Toronto.

    Basic MTB frame, 2:1 fixed gear, 26" knobby front. Apart from surface rust, it has held up very well and it didn't cost much. I also use it all year long for grocery getting. It's a beater.

    MTB is probably better: knobbies, cheaply available used...

    So yeah I would not buy a new bike for the winter as it will degrade quickly. Keep it simple. I'm sure studs are good, but apart from that day I took the picture I never slid (and I doubt studs would have helped anyway... epic snow fall, not ice). Most of the time you're rolling on wet asphalt thanks to the cars.
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
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  10. #10
    probably has a flat rumblebelly's Avatar
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    And I thought my Michigan winters were bad lol.. thanks for all the advice, we may not get it as bad down here but the winters are very long, this advice will be helpful for me in the coming months.

  11. #11
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    I just noticed that you (Gordon Freeman) will be using the bike for commuting.
    In that case I suggest you spend most of your budget on tires and lights. Those two will keep you alive, frame, components, gearing, brakes, fenders etc. will only make the ride more enjoyable so keep that in mind when you decide where to put your money.

    btw. commuting in harsh winter conditions can be very difficut, but it is also very rewarding. I can't wait for winter!
    My advice is free of charge and of respective quality.
    1982 Miyata 912
    1998 Wheeler 5900 with front and rear air cushion suspension
    2006 Giant Reign

  12. #12
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    What about something like this?
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/NEW-2009-MONGOOSE...d=p3286.c0.m14
    I can get some cheaper 2nd hand too...

  13. #13
    Member lane's Avatar
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    http://www.konaworld.com/09_dew_c.cfm

    What about the Dew? Stout frame, upright riding position, lots of room for studs and fenders, cheap as hell so you won't cry too hard if it gets jacked.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by GordonFreeman View Post
    What about something like this?
    http://cgi.ebay.ca/NEW-2009-MONGOOSE...d=p3286.c0.m14
    I can get some cheaper 2nd hand too...
    Quote Originally Posted by lane View Post
    http://www.konaworld.com/09_dew_c.cfm

    What about the Dew? Stout frame, upright riding position, lots of room for studs and fenders, cheap as hell so you won't cry too hard if it gets jacked.
    $CAD 449 though vs those eBay beasts, which are around $350 to$400.
    Hmm
    some kind of what...mongoose?

  15. #15
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    Just whip out your gravity *** and levitate around! And don't forget to crowbar any honking cars on the hood.

  16. #16
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    My real advice:

    If you haven't rode through Montreal winters yet, try it out with a cheap mtb, clear all the useless parts off of it, and turn it into a singlespeed or (even better) a fixed gear. This should give you much less mechanical problems. Get to know the volunteer run co-ops such as Right To Move or The Flat. Get Schwalbe Snow Studs and full fenders, install them with loc-tite.

    Mtb's have much better clearance between the tires and the fenders, which in some conditions is very important. Thery are also cheaper, and much more compatible with common internally geared hubs which you can upgrade to in the future.

    Try to find a decent frame to start off, it's not hard to find a pretty good steel mtb frame and strip the parts for 200$. Then, if you like winter biking, what you could do is buy an internally geared hub with a drum brake for the rear, go to the local co-ops to learn how to lace your own wheel out of the hub and any decent 26" rim (easy to find used) and install all of that stuff.

    I have had good luck with a SRAM S-7 hub with drum brake.

    If you go for a touring bike, get a cheap one, and get small chainrings and a very compact cassette (very small range, small cage derailleur) it will have an easier time in the sludge and ice.

  17. #17
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    1 more thing, if you're thinking of trying fixed gear, try it out in the summer first and also, you'll need one of those old school mtb's with slanted drop-outs, and to get the right chainline, you might need 1 expensive part: a surly fixed gear 135mm hub, about 70$

  18. #18
    tuz
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    I'd stay away from those cheap, department-store type double boingers you show. You get what you pay for: they are poorly assembled and very heavy, cheap suspensions likely to seize, etc. If you want to go new the Kona is much better value.

    But like I/stomppow said. Keep it simple. Mine's a fixed gear with only a front brake, which was the only thing that required maintenance over the winter apart from oil on the chain. Derailleurs don't like snow and slush.

    The coops should have some quality MTBs in need of a new life. I guess a touring bike would be similar in terms of clearances (@700c) and adaptability, but MTBs are much more common. I don't really like mechanical disk brakes personally, and I've been fine with cantis. I don't go fast anyway. And yes good lights is a must!
    homebuilt commuter, mixte, road and track (+ Ryffranck road)
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  19. #19
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    I havent ridden in the winter for the past 10 years, but for the previous 25 years used either a cheap 3 sp folder or a MTB from the police auction. I would take the bus in the event of a big snowstorm, and start riding again after the streets had been cleared. My son rides a MTB with Nokian studded tires in the winter, which give more security in the thaw/freeze cycles.

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