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  1. #1
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Summer Project--THE ICEBIKE FRAM

    I putzed around my last Anchorage winter on a big cruiser. It was OK in some respects, but sucked in others. I've been mulling an idea around in my mind this summer. It would be the ultimate urban icebike. Similar in some respects to the snow bikes folks use for wintertime off-road riding, but different in other respects. It would have:

    --Wide enough tires for snow, but not so wide that they can't move fast on pavement and ice trails. I found the Nokian Freddies to be perfect and want to use them again.

    --Strong, traditional style frame. A Surly Puglsey would seem to be ideal.

    --Disk breaks front and back. As I understand it these are resistant to weather conditions, though I haven't used them. My limited breaking power was a real problem this past winter.

    --Seven speed internal hub. I hate messing with derailleurs in ice, rain and snow and I loved the zero maintenance of my cruiser's hub this winter. Three wasn't enough, but seven might be just the ticket. The worst off roading I'll need to do is going through foot or two of snow drifts. I also love the fast starts and stops allowed by the internal hub.

    --Plenty of racks and big fenders.

    This is all pretty sketchy right now, so I'm looking for any input.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Snow_canuck's Avatar
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    Big freakin industrial pedals.

  3. #3
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I checked out a winterized Pugsley and while impressive I'm thinking of going in a different direction. The Puglsey is designed to use REALLY fat tires at a low PSI for floating on snow. That's great for off road in winter, but in Anchorage ice is the more fixed reality. Sometimes miles of it. A big puffy tire would be OK on it, but far from ideal. Plus, I'm a big fan of upright riding in town due to the increased visibility it affords you and easier falls. I'm thinking of beefing up my Marin comfort hybrid a bit, putting the Nokians on it and using it for my ice bike.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jpmac55's Avatar
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    Tom - do you know of any complete bike that has a seven speed internal hub? I am a novice and not sure about building my own winter bike although it's tempting.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpmac55
    Tom - do you know of any complete bike that has a seven speed internal hub? I am a novice and not sure about building my own winter bike although it's tempting.

    Thanks.
    I don't have any direct expereince with internal hubs, but I would think that winter service would be very hard on them. My winter beater is just that - a beater with Suntour derailluers scrounged off of cast-offs because they crash and get gritty and rusty. I would hate to do that to a nice internal hub.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I was car-free in Denver for 4 years with a 12 mile round trip summer and winter. Down to -5 F. Fenders just built up snow so I did without. My Goretex rainsuit was also my outer layer in winter and subbed for fenders. Also my deraileurs kept freezing up so an internal hub may be spot on. I crashed two or three times a year on rutted ice and dreamed of studded tires I couldn't afford. I tried a tadpole trike and found the rear drive wheel kept spinning out on ice and snow so I kept it for summer fun. What do you do for the mosquitos in Alaska?
    This space open

  7. #7
    Senior Member jpmac55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dog
    I don't have any direct expereince with internal hubs, but I would think that winter service would be very hard on them. My winter beater is just that - a beater with Suntour derailluers scrounged off of cast-offs because they crash and get gritty and rusty. I would hate to do that to a nice internal hub.
    Joe - I haven't peddled in winter yet but Tom's original post mentioned he didn't want to deal with the deraillers in snow, etc.. I just assumed since the gearing is housed internally, it would be a good winter choice.

    In my case, I don't have a beater though I'd like to find one before winter. I was thinking of a single speed converted with a Shimano Nexus (internal eight speed). Or if I had to buy new, would this be a good winter bike:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/bianc...os8/index.html
    John
    Rivendell Saluki, Specialized Tricross, Dahon Mu SL

  8. #8
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Who's Tom? I had good luck with the internal gears on my cruiser this winter. No rust and no failures of any kind down to twenty below .f and tons of ice and snow. I think 7 or 8 would be enough for in town. You really need some kind of gearing unless you're a youngster or superman. The snow drifts will bog down the bike something terrible. It's like cycling through water. During breakup it *IS* cycling through water lol

    Here's a writeup on the Shimano hubs:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/shimano-nexus.html
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  9. #9
    Year-round cyclist
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    I'm in Montréal, not Anchorage, so I can't vouch for your Winter conditions, but I feel they are relatively similar. So here is what I need and I think what you might need too:

    - Fenders: sounds silly to start with that, but fenders not only keep the cyclist cleen, but they also protect the bicycle and its drivetrain. You need a long mudflap on the front wheel, and preferably wide fenders with lots of clearance. I don't have problem on one bike that has 5-6 mm clearance between wheel and fender, but the one that has 12 mm behaves definitely better. And you tend to get overflow with SKS 700x45 fenders around 700x37 tires; wider fenders, such as 60 mm ones would be better. Which means you need a bike with fork and stays designed with enough clearance for that and decent tires! In installing fenders, you should start with a narrow gap in the rear and make it wider, so you won't pinch any snow.

    - Tires: Fat tires are good for hard packed snow. Even if you ride before the streets are plowed, the snow won't be hard enough to float on it, so the 3" wide tires of the Pugsley will still cut through the snow. I prefer tires with a decent tread (tractor tread for instance), and maybe studded tires if there is rugged ice, frozen iceruts or any other kind of similarly difficult conditions. In practical terms, I use either Vittoria Lizzard 700x37, Specialized Cyclocross 700x37 and one other whose name escapes me (bought at different times) during winter, and may install Nokian Hakkapeliittas 700x37 if the weather warrants it. I never felt the need for more than the Hakkapeliittas: usually if these tires can't carry me safely, the snow is too deep and I should use snowshoes instead.


    – Gears: low gears for difficult conditions. I never had any problems with a derailleur system and never had any problems with a freewheel, but freehubs don't like temperatures below -15 or -20 C. I must stay that fenders have done a great job in keeping the drivetrain OK. On the other hand, I re-grease my LX hubs every 2-3 years and sometimes wonder why I do this, because the grease looks like new, even though I rode 5000-7000 km per year, including 1000-1500 km in Winter. As for internal gearing, I'm a bit sceptical: it's probably very good in humid and not so cold conditions (ex.: 0 to -5 C), but I'm weary of its behavious at -20 C and I'm also weary of the shifter at -20 C.

    – Lights: For headlight, I use a dynohub with a Lumotec or Schmidt headlight. It never fails in the cold. For taillight, I use battery LEDs (always more than 1 – currently Cateye TL-LD1000 and Planet Bike Superflash) but have to watch their brightness often. At -20 C, I find that Energizer batteries last longer than others I have tried; I haven't used rechargeables at low temperatures yet.

    – Brakes: I use rim brakes with Kool Stop Salmon pads. Braking is a problem if I haven't used the brakes for 20-30 minutes (ex.: riding out of town), but in the city, they work decently well: they need 1-2 wheel turns before grabbing well, but since I can't brake too hards because of ice anyways, it's not a real issue. I know that disc brakes work fine in the rain and especially in muddy conditions, but I wonder if discs freeze and stop working in adverse winter conditions. It's worth exploring anyways! Or get both disc and v-brake brazeons!
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon View Post
    Or get both disc and v-brake brazeons!
    On the same wheel?

  11. #11
    Tree Hugger
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    Tom, I believe Beaver Sports is in Anchorage. Ask for Simon, He'll set you up.

    Simon is the creator of the Snowcat rims. A great choice whether you go with the pugsley or a standard frame.

    http://whickedwheels.com/winter/snowcats.html

  12. #12
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Beaver Sports is in Fairbanks. The big rims are for floatation, which isn't so much of a problem in the city.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  13. #13
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    After some questions to Surley and an inspection of the Pugsley, I've opted to go with a Kona Hoss instead with 26" wheels and wide but not outrageously wide rims. I just don't need to be floating. In fact it would be bad to float in the big city. The Hoss has a solid reputation for toughness as well and seems to have a somewhat lower center of gravity.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jimisnowhere's Avatar
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    It doesn't have front fender mounts
    I can ride the solarcycle with no hands.

  15. #15
    64 49' N Ernesto Schwein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    Beaver Sports is in Fairbanks. The big rims are for floatation, which isn't so much of a problem in the city.
    The last I heard Simon was out of the snowcat business but I'll ask him next time I see him.

    My recommendation for the perfect alaska ice/crap/road frame is a redline conquest. They are not anymore expensive than a surley, reasonably light, sturdy and plenty of options for mounting racks, fenders or running disc brakes. If you haven't tried it yet the disc brake thing is something you should investigate. I've seen reasonable shape conquests used for under $200 on ebay, I bought mine new for around $300 and change shipped and I'm still sorry I sold it a year or so back.

  16. #16
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Isn't the conquest more of a summertime road bike? It seems like you'd be leaning quite a bit forward on the thing and moving real fast. Neither leaning forward nor moving fast brings pretty pictures to mind when I think of what I went through last winter. That's why I've been leaning towards cruisers and mountain bikes.

    I am leaning towards disk brakes. I'll at least give them a try.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

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    Cosmo,

    How is your bike project coming. Today I saw what I thought was a Kona Hoss. Maybe it was another Kona model. It was built like a beach cruiser with 3 inch wide wheels. I'm not suggesting you do this but it was kind of cool looking. Anyway, that frame had a lot of clearance for really wide tires if needed. I'm building a single speed winter road bike for more mild conditions out of an old 27 inch ten speed.

    EDIT: Sorry, it wasn't the Hoss I saw but a Kona single speed beach cruiser called the HUMUHUMU-NUKUNUKU-APUA'A. I can't pronounce that but it sounds Hawaiian.
    Last edited by Hezz; 09-01-07 at 11:44 PM.

  18. #18
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Crap, the snow is already starting and I'm way behind on this project. This weekend I got the Hoss frame out and started tinkering. So far:

    --I've put some hybrid handlebars and an extension on to raise the height of the handlebars a bit. I need to be a little more upright than usual for the kind of urban riding I'm looking at.

    --I'm going to replace the existing rear hub with the same 36 2mm Ryno Lite that has worked well for me with my summer bike.

    --I'm scouting for the biggest baddest pedals I can find so my size 13 spiked Danner boots will fit on them. No way am I clipping my feet to the bike! I was able to prevent multiple falls last winter by putting my foot down in time. Falling is bad enough, but tipping over with my head landing in front of some Alaskan 4WD monster is not an option.

    --The Hoss is a sweet ride and should make an excellent chunder hopper. How well it will balance on the pack ice remains to be seen.

    --I'm going to replace the existing saddle with a B-17. Brooks is the only way to ride.

    --The cables need to be replaced, which will be a weekend project.

    --I'm going to try to mount a carbide lamp up front. It won't run out of batteries! \

    --For my main LED front light I'm probably going to insulate it with some pipe insulation to keep the worst of the cold from sucking the life out of the btty's like last year. Ideally I'd like to have a system of LED lights all over the thing, to make it like a christmas tree. I didn't have enough light last year for maximum safety. I want frickin' laser beams coming out of its frickin' head!

    --Gotta get some fenders, at least for the front. The back rack serves as a fender most of the time.

    --I"m bagging the internal hub concept for now. Yes the alternative entails some risk of freezeup, but I'll live with it.
    Last edited by Cosmoline; 10-15-07 at 02:52 PM.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  19. #19
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    Cosmo,

    Check out BMX bicycle pedals. They make some really big platform pedals. Some with metal grips that would work well in winter. Good Luck. Also, there are a couple of companies that make high visability vests with blilnking red LED's on the vest. That would probably be an effective approach for night riding.

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    No derailleur problems since 1994. Most derailleur problems are sticking cables. Internal hubs have cables too.
    One big problem is bringing a cold bike into the house, then it condenses and sweats like crazy. Then taking it outside and the water or "sweat" freezes in cables etc. Keep it cold or bring it in all night until it's dry. This accounts for quite a few "deraileur problems" that I have seen. Condensation in the cables or other places turning to ice.




    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  21. #21
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I like that one you've got. I've heard that re. the cables, though I kept my bike frozen most of last winter so it wasn't a big problem. This winter i've got to bring it at least as far as the artic entry so it will melt off. I'm going to dig around and brainstorm about possible ways to prevent iceup on the cables. There may be a grease with a very low freezing point I could use.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    I like that one you've got. I've heard that re. the cables, though I kept my bike frozen most of last winter so it wasn't a big problem. This winter i've got to bring it at least as far as the artic entry so it will melt off. I'm going to dig around and brainstorm about possible ways to prevent iceup on the cables. There may be a grease with a very low freezing point I could use.
    If you could run your shift cable up the seat stay and along the top tube like a mountain bike, that might keep it cleaner longer.

    You can try running the cables dry, or with a little WD-40, and just put on a new cable every summer to keep them fresh. WD-40 will get, or help keep water out.

    If the artic entry is above freezing, the fastest easiest way to remove snow from the bike that I have found is a brush with long, very soft bristles.

    I have an air compressor and a garage, I blow the remaining water off. One needs to use care to not aim the blast at any bearings and push water into them.

    I have read a few posts in the forums last winter from riders who used internaly geared hubs in very cold weather.
    I think they all had good things to say. I can't remember the threads or exactly what they said, you can probably find them by searching.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  23. #23
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I used a nexus three speed last winter and liked it, but I'll at least give the Hoss' open gears a try in the snow and see how they do. Switching over to internal on that frame would be tricky I suspect.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

  24. #24
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cosmoline View Post
    I used a nexus three speed last winter and liked it, but I'll at least give the Hoss' open gears a try in the snow and see how they do. Switching over to internal on that frame would be tricky I suspect.
    I think Machka has experience using a derailleur in very cold temps. I think she has posted about it.
    It does not get much below -5 f here during times when I can ride.

    Just curious , how cold does it get when you ride?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  25. #25
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Anchorage only gets down to -20 f. at worst and usually stays between -5 and 15 f. There are periodic Chinook winds that melt everything down to ice and re-freeze it, so ice and icy blocks of snow are ubiquitous. The worst aspect is haing to navigate roads that get more and more narrow as the season goes on. We have six solid months of freezing temps, so the snow doesn't really go anywhere unless you haul it to a snow dump. The trails are mostly useless or crowded with moose. The sidewalks are a nightmare, and the roads themselves have little or no shoulder to hang onto to let traffic pass. All in all, it can get "interesting."

    My hope is to have a bike that's good for general cruising on ice but can also hop the chunder and navigate difficult stretches better than a hybrid or cruiser. The conditions can go from wonderful smooth ice that rides like concrete to complete hell in the course of a few yards. I know some local riders who use a fixie or SS for winter on the theory that there are no gears to screw up, but I've found gears to be very useful esp. when plowing through the dense fresh stuff. If you don't float on it, you have to muscle through it. My knees need at least some gears for that or it's get off and push time, which I refer to as "man hauling."
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

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