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  1. #1
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    Transitioning to winter cycling

    This is my 2nd year commuting to work by bike and I love it. Unfortunately I am having a hard time calling it quits for the year because of the onset of winter. I currently ride a Fuji Touring and the bike has done very well for me. My commute is about 20 miles roundtrip. The avg temperature in the winter is 25F and usually we get 4-6 inch snowfalls that melt within a day or two. Lots of sand, leaves, and sticks along the road. My questions are:
    1. When do you know to start transitioning to your winter bike? (I would hate to find out the hard way by wiping out)
    2. Would anyone stick with the Touring bike? If so, how would you equip it? If not what type of mt bike should I get? (I am roadie and know nothing about mt bikes)

  2. #2
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    If you road is free from deep snow then the touring bike is fine.
    Tourers can handle light snow although it can accumulate between the wheel and fender. If you have to lose the fenders, you can fit clip-on ones with greater clearance.
    To winterize your bike, clean and wax the frame, ensure all thread and metal-metal contacts are greased (or use anti-sieze). Wax your exposed cables and pack the enclosed cables with grease.
    Pack your hubs with grease.
    You may want to fit a winter tyre, either an aggressively treaded touring tyre or a studded one.


    Non suspension MTB/commuter bikes are making a small comeback. These are ideal for winter commuting although they have very little advantage over your Fuji tourer.
    Just keep riding and see how you cope.

  3. #3
    Keys are in the ignition Mphetameme's Avatar
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    The transition period really depends on your climate. We just went from no snow and mild temps to a blizzard and -15C (5F) in a space of two days. I'm very glad I have my Nokian Extreme 296s.

    Personally I don't think I would use a road bike in the winter, but it probably depends on your level of skill and conditions. I use a non-suspension mtb for my winter bike and touring bike for the summer. To transition to winter, I do everything MichaelW said with the addition of lowering my seat. It burns the legs a bit more and isn't as efficient for power transfer, but I like to be able to hop off the seat in a hurry if I hit a rough patch.

    My experience last winter was that even if the rolling resistance kills you, studded winter tires are worth every penny and inconvenience. I hit a patch of black on an other wise clear road in traffic (plus I was going the wrong way down a one-way street ) that would have been extremely dangerous without my studded tires. As it was I was able to recover from the near-fall. Again, though, it all depends on your local weather conditions.

  4. #4
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    1. When do you know to start transitioning to your winter bike? (I would hate to find out the hard way by wiping out)

    I don't really have a winter bike. I have a road bike that will likely spend most of the winter hanging in the garage. My mountain bikes are preparing to haul my butt through another winter. I don't really do much of anything to the mountain bikes.

    The only thing i do is put the studded tires on when there is ice/snow. Other than that I ride the same bikes i ride in the summer.

    I also put on a trunk bag to give me room to store additional clothing. THis is usually stuff that i take off during the ride, as i warm up. I also have some hand and feet warmers in there just in case. (hardly ever use them though)




    2. Would anyone stick with the Touring bike? If so, how would you equip it? If not what type of mt bike should I get? (I am roadie and know nothing about mt bikes)

    I think a touring bike would be ok if you put the right tires on it. Go as wide as you can and get some studded tires for the other days. I just prefer more stability in the winter, so i like a wider tire. That is just me.

    IF you want a mountain bike for winter commuting, just about anything will do. I think you will notice that it really isn't the bikes that need the attention in the winter. It is you, or actually your body. It is a much better idea to spend money on cold weather gear than on a winter bike.

    The right clothing, etc. makes all of the difference in the world. Of course you should check your bike over and make sure it is sound, but like i said, any bike will basically work. Just put the right tires on it. Then start figuring out how to make yourself comfortable while you are on it. THis is a MUCH larger issue.

    I strongly suggest getting a rear rack with at least a trunk bag and/or panniers. It is good to bring along some extra stuff. I just started packing my trunk bag today. I even put a little piece of one of those fire starter logs in a plastic bag and stuck it in there. I will stick a lighter in the bag as well, in the rare case i get so cold that i need a fire. (Don't laugh! Sometimes i ride in very rural areas, with no people around.)

  5. #5
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    MichaelW covered most bases. I find knobbies sufficient for most Winter weather, but we rarely have glare ice. One studded tire (in the front) increases safety and doesn't add too much of a drag penalty; with two, ice feels almost like asphalt.

    To that, I would add a long mudflap under your front fender. It will keep your bottom bracket and drivetrain in much better shape.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I think a more upright position from a rigid mountain bike or hybrid? will provide superior front end handling in winter conditions. A bike with drops is slightly more dangerous. Give it a go.

    And don't be suprised when black ice takes you down. You will go down. Studded tires are one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself, but learning how to do skid turns on ice and snow is a valuable skill. I think this is my most valuable winter biking technique and one worth teaching yourself.

    Much easier on an upright bike with a little lower seat than your drop bar bikes usually provide.

  8. #8
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    I have actually been looking for a touring bike for winter commuting. A tourer should work well. If you are running narrow tires going with wider ones will help the traction and stability in poor conditions. If you are going to ride in the snow or in icy conditions then an extra wheel set with studded tires is safer but not absolutely necessary if the roads are plowed and salted. The only reason for getting a different bike would be so you do not expose you good bike to the salt and other road grime in winter weather. Unless I can score a cheap used tourer in my size I will be riding a fixed gear road bike with 25mm tires. A tourer would be much better suited but this one will do.
    Craig

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    Based on everyone's advice I am going to "winterize" my touring bike now and probably end up getting a 2nd wheel set with studded tires. Some of you hinting on getting a non-suspension MTB as a winter bike. Could someone give me an example?
    I have looked at some bike dealer web sites and you seem to be describing hardtails.
    Thanks.

  10. #10
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Kona Smoke.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by keneeti
    Based on everyone's advice I am going to "winterize" my touring bike now and probably end up getting a 2nd wheel set with studded tires. Some of you hinting on getting a non-suspension MTB as a winter bike. Could someone give me an example?
    I have looked at some bike dealer web sites and you seem to be describing hardtails.
    Thanks.
    http://listings.ebay.com/_W0QQsocmdZ...6&alist=a30300

    Any of those. They should all be suspensionLESS. Personally i like front suspension for winter as well. Where i ride there are a lot of frozen ruts, bumps, etc. It is nice to have the extra suspension.

  12. #12
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    I get the studded tires out and mount them, then dust off the winter beater that has been sitting for the summer.
    "I will remain the stranger who came from a faraway land." Lance Armstrong

    "The more you drive, the less intelligent you become." Miller "Repo Man"

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