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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 01-16-07, 08:49 PM   #1
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Well, I was wrong

I gave my old winter snow MTB commuter to my brother for Christmas and got me a new Raleigh One-Way SS for my snow commuter. I figured that with the Kenda Klondike studded tires and no derailuers to get all iced & gunked up, it would be a better choice for riding in the snow. Well I was wrong. We finally got some snow & ice last night, so I rode the Raleigh to work for the first time today. While I thought it was great when I putted around the neighborhood during our first snow, I found a few quirks that make it less than desirable for my commute:

1. Drop bars made it feel less stable on snow covered roads with an undercoating of ice.
2. Lack of lower gear shifting capabiity required me to climb the steeper grades out of the saddle, which negated any traction gained from the studded tires and almost caused the rear to slide out from under me.

So at lunch I bought a cheap Trek 7.2FX, which I'll finish setting up tomorrow night to use for my snow commutes. Just goes to show that getting older don't necessarily make one any wiser when one gets the itch for a new bike.
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Old 01-16-07, 09:03 PM   #2
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I can't think of a better place for gears than in snow. We had about 5" on the ground a couple weeks ago and it took me about an hour and a half to travel 12 miles. I spent a majority of the time in granny, which was 22/11, and it was still a work out.

I know a lot of people ride SS all winter successfully, but no thanks for me.
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Old 01-16-07, 09:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I gave my old winter snow MTB commuter to my brother for Christmas and got me a new Raleigh One-Way SS for my snow commuter. I figured that with the Kenda Klondike studded tires and no derailuers to get all iced & gunked up, it would be a better choice for riding in the snow. Well I was wrong. We finally got some snow & ice last night, so I rode the Raleigh to work for the first time today. While I thought it was great when I putted around the neighborhood during our first snow, I found a few quirks that make it less than desirable for my commute:

1. Drop bars made it feel less stable on snow covered roads with an undercoating of ice.
2. Lack of lower gear shifting capabiity required me to climb the steeper grades out of the saddle, which negated any traction gained from the studded tires and almost caused the rear to slide out from under me.


So at lunch I bought a cheap Trek 7.2FX, which I'll finish setting up tomorrow night to use for my snow commutes. Just goes to show that getting older don't necessarily make one any wiser when one gets the itch for a new bike.

Now That's funny!

It reminds me of a buddy of mine we call the "Upgrade King" He upgrades stuff so often, I told him once his speakers had dust on them and it was time to upgrade, he agreed

I could not ride in the winter slog I do with out gear selection.
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Old 01-16-07, 09:18 PM   #4
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I think an internally geared 3 speed with a ~15T rear cog and ~32T chainring, along with roller rear brake and disc front on a 26" bike with flatbars would make the idea snow commuter
but that is just my opinion
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Old 01-16-07, 09:24 PM   #5
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I'm amazed at how drastically things change with snow and ice. Since this is my first winter riding, I was unprepared for the experience. Yes, I read through tons of threads in this forum, and I got a vague idea of what people were describing, but it still didn't prepare me for the sense that I was learning how to ride a bike all over again.

In my case, I got studded tires for my hybrid yesterday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make valid comparisons to riding without studs in the snow, since the road conditions changed by the time the studs came on. I imagine my traction improved, since previously I had semi-slicks on, but I just now returned from a ride on my cross bike, which has non-studded moderately knobby tires, and I fared just as well. Perhaps the improved handling of the studs aren't readily apparent, i.e., if nothing fantastic happens on the studded tires, i won't take notice if I just travelled over black ice (whereas on non-studded tires I might have felt the jitters).

Maybe I'm still riding cautiously, so I don't yet know how far I can push my luck on the studded tires. But after two falls this winter (the second one leading to rib injury), I'm spooked and will probably not push my luck, regardless of tire. The benefits of studs, if any, will probably be lost to me this season.
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Old 01-16-07, 09:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ViperZ
Now That's funny!

It reminds me of a buddy of mine we call the "Upgrade King" He upgrades stuff so often, I told him once his speakers had dust on them and it was time to upgrade, he agreed

I could not ride in the winter slog I do with out gear selection.
The dust on the old MTB was EXACTLY the reason I got rid of it!
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Old 01-16-07, 09:51 PM   #7
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In my case, I got studded tires for my hybrid yesterday. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make valid comparisons to riding without studs in the snow, since the road conditions changed by the time the studs came on. I imagine my traction improved, since previously I had semi-slicks on, but I just now returned from a ride on my cross bike, which has non-studded moderately knobby tires, and I fared just as well. Perhaps the improved handling of the studs aren't readily apparent, i.e., if nothing fantastic happens on the studded tires, i won't take notice if I just travelled over black ice (whereas on non-studded tires I might have felt the jitters).

Maybe I'm still riding cautiously, so I don't yet know how far I can push my luck on the studded tires. But after two falls this winter (the second one leading to rib injury), I'm spooked and will probably not push my luck, regardless of tire. The benefits of studs, if any, will probably be lost to me this season.
I've found that studded tires are good for when you have ice, especially if it's covered up by a layer of snow. For the majority of the winter on slushy wet roads, inverted tread tires have always been just fine for me...which is my next dilemma/experiment. I used to run Serfas Drifters and Conti Town & Country's on the 26" MTB, now I have a couple of pairs of 700c tires to try - the Vittoria Randoneur Crosses that came with the Raleigh and the Bontrager Invert Hardcases that came on this Trek. Stay tuned. Any other suggestions are welcome.

BTW, not pushing your luck is SOP for winter riding.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:17 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chipcom
Just goes to show that getting older don't necessarily make one any wiser when one gets the itch for a new bike.
Yeah, but what's a guy gonna do when he hits that mid-life crisis? Buy a sports car? If I'm gonna be foolish with my money, it's gonna be with bikes. I can't seem to stop browsing my local craigslist daily for that one special bike that's gonna be the sweetest addition to my harem.
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Old 01-17-07, 02:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Portis
I know a lot of people ride SS all winter successfully, but no thanks for me.
I think the people who ride SS/fixed in the winter live in cities where there is very good snow removal.
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Old 01-17-07, 08:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ECDkeys
Yeah, but what's a guy gonna do when he hits that mid-life crisis? Buy a sports car? If I'm gonna be foolish with my money, it's gonna be with bikes. I can't seem to stop browsing my local craigslist daily for that one special bike that's gonna be the sweetest addition to my harem.
I'm way past the mid life crisis...I'm at the 'I finally make white-man's money' stage.
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Old 01-17-07, 08:46 AM   #11
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Honestly I might think about riding a fixie or SS on mellow summer days, but I use MORE of my gear range in the winter.

And I've never had so much ice on it that I can't get at least three or four choices on a 9-speed cluster.
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Old 01-17-07, 08:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
I gave my old winter snow MTB commuter to my brother for Christmas and got me a new Raleigh One-Way SS for my snow commuter. I figured that with the Kenda Klondike studded tires and no derailuers to get all iced & gunked up, it would be a better choice for riding in the snow. Well I was wrong. We finally got some snow & ice last night, so I rode the Raleigh to work for the first time today. While I thought it was great when I putted around the neighborhood during our first snow, I found a few quirks that make it less than desirable for my commute:

1. Drop bars made it feel less stable on snow covered roads with an undercoating of ice.
2. Lack of lower gear shifting capabiity required me to climb the steeper grades out of the saddle, which negated any traction gained from the studded tires and almost caused the rear to slide out from under me.

So at lunch I bought a cheap Trek 7.2FX, which I'll finish setting up tomorrow night to use for my snow commutes. Just goes to show that getting older don't necessarily make one any wiser when one gets the itch for a new bike.
What's it like to be wrong?

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We see photos of "winter" or "snow" bikes with one gear on the forums. They look good in the photos.
However in 6" of deep snow without a low gear they are useless. One needs a low granny gear to ride any distance in 6" of deep fluffy powder snow. If it's heavy snow forget it. After about 5" or so it's easier to walk even with a low granny gear. If it's a short distance you can ride it, but you can't go very far.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-17-07 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 01-17-07, 09:22 AM   #13
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What's it like to be wrong?
Considering that it didn't get me hurt, not bad, but not a practice I want to get in the habit of.

Anyone tried Maxxis Raze tires in the snow? I really don't like either the Bontragers or the Vittorias as options when I don't want to run the studded Klondikes.
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Old 01-17-07, 04:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by chipcom
I've found that studded tires are good for when you have ice, especially if it's covered up by a layer of snow. For the majority of the winter on slushy wet roads, inverted tread tires have always been just fine for me...
What we need is studded tires with remote control. They look like regular knobbies at first... but if you're about to go on an icy patch, you push the button - and the studs shoot out. Back into slush? Press the button again and the studs retreat back into the knobs. Now that's the ideal winter tire for ya!
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Old 01-17-07, 05:34 PM   #15
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I'm way past the mid life crisis...I'm at the 'I finally make white-man's money' stage.

And you shoulda knowed better
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Old 01-17-07, 06:36 PM   #16
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What we need is studded tires with remote control. They look like regular knobbies at first... but if you're about to go on an icy patch, you push the button - and the studs shoot out. Back into slush? Press the button again and the studs retreat back into the knobs. Now that's the ideal winter tire for ya!
Yepper! How about starting off as slicks and having both the knobs and the studs pop out? Tomorrow would be a great day for those. The roads are fairly dry now and it's supposed to be dry and overcast tomorrow, even getting above freezing, so the morning commute should be cake without studs or knobbies...but about the time I ride home the temps will drop and it's supposed to snow. Yeah, James Bond tires would be kewl.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:36 PM   #17
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Considering that it didn't get me hurt, not bad, but not a practice I want to get in the habit of.
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Old 01-17-07, 06:46 PM   #18
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Hey, I'd be wrong every time if it meant getting a 7.2FX out of the deal. That's it, next time my wife tells me I'm wrong, I'm going to the LBS to pick up a Trek.
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Old 01-17-07, 07:08 PM   #19
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Hey, I'd be wrong every time if it meant getting a 7.2FX out of the deal. That's it, next time my wife tells me I'm wrong, I'm going to the LBS to pick up a Trek.
Aww come on dude, you can think bigger than that! In the context of winter bikes...think Pugsly!
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Old 01-17-07, 10:09 PM   #20
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I think the people who ride SS/fixed in the winter live in cities where there is very good snow removal.
Nope. Not all of us live in metro areas.

I rode many a winter with my Giant set up as a SS while I lived in NE Pennsylvania, from small Pocono towns to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. All of which had crappy snow removal practices.

For me one gear made it a better commute overall. This is strictly my opinion and I won't go into detail, as I don't want to ignite a ss/fixed vs. geared winter bike argument. I simply prefer a ss over a geared bike in snow up to 6". Any deeper, I'm probaly calling out of work to go hit the slopes.

Craig
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Old 01-18-07, 02:35 PM   #21
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I was cursing my be-slushed cassette and derailers the other night, but I wouldn't really have been able to handle the topography at all on my commute w/o dropping down to the 22t granny ring. Fortunately, when I got to the point where the front derailer was too slushy to let me get the 22t, it was downhill the rest of the way anyway.

We're back to mist and rain, I hope that's the rest of the winter. Send the snow to New England or wherever.
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Old 01-20-07, 08:57 PM   #22
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I've always said that getting rid of gears to avoid the occaisional shifting problem is like cutting off your finger to prevent papercuts. Gears are useful things. The worst that can happen is that they get frozen, and then you have a single speed. So switching to a single speed is kind of like pre-breaking your bike.
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Old 01-20-07, 09:22 PM   #23
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I'll tell ya one thing - the quality of the 7.2FX has gone to crap, compare to the 7200FX I used to have. Specifically the crank and FR - sounds like a damn sewing machine. Got rid of the suspension seat post and put a rigid Easton I had on it, a B17, Freddy Hardcore fenders, my M324 pedals I had on the SS, as well as the Kenda Klondikes I had on the SS. Pics to come maybe tomorrow. Not much snow on the roads at the moment, but I figure the towpath should be a good place to give her a test ride and final adjustments tomorrow. I figure the SS will be good for putting along on the towpath in the summer - might just keep it at work for errands and lunch rides rather than using the commuter for such things - since I work a stone's throw away from the towpath. Lotta nice 'scenery' there on a warm summer day.
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Old 01-21-07, 02:59 PM   #24
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Got a nice ride in, from home, down to the towpath for a few miles (which still has a pretty good coating of snow, but not rutted up too bad yet), then back. She'll do.
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