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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 09-24-06, 02:24 PM   #1
notenspeed
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Giant Cypress DX suitable for winter commute?

I started cycling in August. I needed something to get me back in shape after a bad 2 years and major pelvic surgery. Wasn't sure if biking would be possible, plus short of cash, so I bought this bike on sale at the LBS. Cycling is working out , and I want to continue commuting as the weather gets bad. I worked outside for 7 years (archaeology then land surveying) so I know how to dress for the cold, in general.

But...I don't like this bike too much. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, thought maybe I'd get used to it etc. Because of my surgery issues I'd prefer to be riding on a "Lexus" and this feels llike a Jeep Cherokee. So I think I'm going to get a better bike in te spring, and have this be my utility/winter bike. Because I'm enjoying cycling so much, I'm planning on doing more serious distances/training next spring/summer, so a better bike would make sense.

So...how do I outfit this one for winter? Fenders, reflective tape, lights, anything I'm missing?
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Old 09-24-06, 04:40 PM   #2
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I too have a Cypress DX. I've outfitted it with rack, lights, fenders, different pedals, etc. Tires, I'm doing a wait-and-see. We're noted for snow and cold around here, but they plow and salt here with religious fervor, so even through the worst of winter, I may be able to get by four or five days a week with the tires I have now. (They've been replaced already too.)

I'm familiar with the ride characteristics of the beast and even without the added issues of pelvic surgery, the number one thing I'd recommend is a proper saddle. The size, shape and construction of the standard one wasn't right for me at all, and given the chorus of similar comments by other Cypress riders, probably isn't right for you either. It's too big in the wrong places, too small in others and the showroom-friendly cushioning, which helps sell the bike, is all wrong for actually riding the thing.

Specialized dealers have a little sit-o-meter thing to measure the distance between your "sit bones" which will help get the sizing right. From there, work with someone who knows bike fitting and get a saddle that works for your anatomy and get its postion adjusted properly. Check with your ortho first, but it's probably also a good idea to dump the silly suspension seatpost too. I did all three on mine and it's made a world of difference. It's like an entirely different bike. I hardly know I'm on it most of the time. Comfortable for more than 50 miles at a stretch, when before, after 15 miles I was ready to quit.

Doesn't change the fact I intend to get a proper road bike come spring, but in the meanwhile, I want to be comfortable on this one. It will remain in my stable too for hauling and foul-weather use.
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Old 09-24-06, 08:37 PM   #3
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I can concur with tsl, the seat is the most important and first thing that you should get right. It makes a world of difference. Nearly any bike will work for winter but wider tires and good brakes are a plus. Generally the seats that come with bikes don't have much thought put into them so they don't work very well in the long run.

Since your pelvic region may be sensitive to bumps you might try an inexpensive dual suspension mountain bike for commuting. Although this is not the best winter bike, a cheap version for winter may be just what you need to help soak up the bumps. Really, a cheap dual suspension Walmart bike with better tires and seat may work for you better than you think. Then if the winter destroys it you will only be out a 100 bucks and the seat and tires can be transferred to another bike.

Then you can ride your better bike when the weather is good. Also, if you are going to commute it is good to have two bikes so if one is unridable (two flat tires and no time to fix) in the morning you have an option.
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Old 09-27-06, 07:42 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by tsl
I too have a Cypress DX. I've outfitted it with rack, lights, fenders, different pedals, etc. Tires, I'm doing a wait-and-see. We're noted for snow and cold around here, but they plow and salt here with religious fervor, so even through the worst of winter, I may be able to get by four or five days a week with the tires I have now. (They've been replaced already too.)
I have rack, need lights, I agree the pedals suck. In northern Indiana we haven't gotten very much snow the past couple years, and they're pretty good about cleaning the roads. So tires, yes wait and see. But I still have the original ones. What did you put on?

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Originally Posted by tsl
I'd recommend is a proper saddle. the chorus of similar comments by other Cypress riders, probably isn't right for you either. Specialized dealers have a little sit-o-meter thing to measure the distance between your "sit bones" which will help get the sizing right.
Replacing the saddle was the first thing I did, but I'm not sure if I'm happy with the choice. I really need padded shorts, I think. The LBS where I bought my bike is a Specialized dealer, I wonder why they didn't mention the sit-o-meter, given that they knew about my problems?

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Originally Posted by tsl
Check with your ortho first, but it's probably also a good idea to dump the silly suspension seatpost too. I did all three on mine and it's made a world of difference.
So the 3 things are tires, seat, and seat post? I was iffy about the suspension seat post from the beginning. But maybe not for the same reasons you didn't like it. It seems kinda cheap or something, but I'm new at this, and the LBS guy said it's actually better than another that I thought was nicer. It doesnt seem to have enough give, I thought this was contributing to the rough feel of the ride. But after your comments, I'm not sure. Feedback?

Thanks, L
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Old 09-27-06, 07:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Hezz
Nearly any bike will work for winter but wider tires and good brakes are a plus.
Since your pelvic region may be sensitive to bumps you might try an inexpensive dual suspension mountain bike for commuting.
Then you can ride your better bike when the weather is good. Also, if you are going to commute it is good to have two bikes so if one is unridable (two flat tires and no time to fix) in the morning you have an option.
The brakes seem pretty good, but I haven't ridden in wet weather yet. I wouldn't even know how to upgrade them, but of course the LBS would.

As for a mountain bike, I test rode several, and the position is just a bit more leaning forward than the hybrid Cypress. Leaning forward pinches my sensitive area (or one of them anyhow). But the idea of having 2 bikes in case 1 is out of commission is a good idea. But that will have to be later. I had a good check up at the OBGYN, he said I should be riding w/o discomfort soon. So, I'll see how I'm doing in the spring, and look at a road bike maybe
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Old 09-27-06, 10:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by notenspeed
...As for a mountain bike, I test rode several, and the position is just a bit more leaning forward than the hybrid Cypress. Leaning forward pinches my sensitive area (or one of them anyhow). ...
You may not be sitting on your saddle correctly. You should feel your sit-bones bearing weight on the wide part of the saddle. I was riding too far forward and having trouble with the senstive area also, but when I moved back on the saddle all my saddle soreness issues went away.
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Old 09-27-06, 02:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notenspeed
I have rack, need lights, I agree the pedals suck. In northern Indiana we haven't gotten very much snow the past couple years, and they're pretty good about cleaning the roads. So tires, yes wait and see. But I still have the original ones. What did you put on?
Mine developed "egg" bulges so I had to replace them. I decided to go a bit narrower to 32mm and a bit more durable. I got the Specialized Infinity "Flak Jacket" with the kevlar belt. They also don't have the little mini knobbies along the side. Much smoother ride when turning, at the cost of less off-road traction. Since I'm seldom off pavement, it's not an issue for me, but we'll see about the slush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by notenspeed
I was iffy about the suspension seat post from the beginning. But maybe not for the same reasons you didn't like it. It seems kinda cheap or something, but I'm new at this, and the LBS guy said it's actually better than another that I thought was nicer. It doesnt seem to have enough give, I thought this was contributing to the rough feel of the ride.
The original one siezed up right away. The warranty replacement was completely different. Anyway, it caused me to pogo a lot, yet didn't seem to absorb bumps--which is why I referred to it as silly. When I got the new saddle, I went with a standard seatpost to save a little weight and eliminate the pogo, then I just went back to the tried-and-true lift-yer-butt-off-the-saddle method for bumps.

I'm much more comfortable on the bike now since I'm always in the same spot. I was able to fine-tune everything else for a much better ride, that's far easier on the knees, shoulders and back.

As for the brakes, mine work just fine in the wet. Slightly longer distances, but we're talking a couple of feet as opposed to a few yards. I've not experienced additional wear in the wet, which you may read about elsewhere. Not sure why, but not complaining either!
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Old 10-06-06, 11:36 PM   #8
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notenspeed,

I think one of the Hybrid comfort bikes would be good for you since they have more of an upright riding position. They are kind of like mountan bikes with gearing better suited for street and bike paths and tall handlebar stems for more upright riding position. Is this what the Cypress is. If so, I think you have found your nearly ideal bike. This kind of bike should be fine for a short or medium length commutes. As for winter it's mostly the tires that you need to get right for your conditions. The comfort bikes are especially designed for an upright riding position which should be very desirable in your case. They also usually sport a front suspension fork and a seat post suspension post.

If you need the bike to be more reliable in really cold weather you may want to consider converting the bike into a three or five speed internal geared hub bike and get rid of the derailers. Also if you will get on snow or ice you will want some aggressive mountain bike tires instead of the bike path tires which usually come on the comfort bikes.

Last edited by Hezz; 10-06-06 at 11:44 PM.
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