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  1. #1
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    MTB for winter, XC, hard tail, suspension ? ?

    I'd like to put together a MTB for the winter. What kind of suspension system, if any, should I go with? Also, should I go for 29er or regular?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antchen View Post
    I'd like to put together a MTB for the winter. What kind of suspension system, if any, should I go with? Also, should I go for 29er or regular?

    Thanks!
    Front suspension, air or coil spring. I'd probably stay away from full suspension because the rear wheel throws lots of crap around and, most of the time, the rear shock is where all the crap throwing happens. The brand of shock can make a difference too. I commuted for several winters on a coil spring Manitou (I replaced the elastomers with a spring) that worked very well. Never had an issue with cold. I have an air sprung Manitou Black now, with a lockout, that does will in the cold also. I have a Fox Talas that is a wonderful shock but it stiffens up so much in the cold as to be useless. Same with the rear which is a Fox too.

    The front suspension does more than just make a more comfortable ride too. It improves control in rutted terrain. A lock-out is nice for those long clear sections.

    26" wheels. There's just more in the way of options out there for 26" wheels in terms of wheels, tires, forks, etc. And the 26" wheel usually has more clearance around the stays.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member rbrsddn's Avatar
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    I bought a set of Nokian studded tires for my 8 year old Fat Ti last fall and found that the right tires can not only prolong your riding season, but make it a whole new experience. I went for my first ice ride Valentines Day after an ice storm, and couldn't believe how much traction I had riding up stupid steep hills! My vote is hardtail with front fork. The cold will provide the lockout. Have fun!
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    cool thanks for the tips guys! I haven't ridden a mountain bike in 3 years so this will be fun!

  5. #5
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    I actually like my rigid hardtail about as well as my mtb's with front suspension. There really is not much need for the suspension, but it doesn't hurt anything either.

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    If you're expecting low temperatures, look for suspension damping with a wide range of adjustment to accommodate oil thickening as it cools.

    If the fork damping can be backed off enough that is feels like a pogo stick at room temperature, that might just be the range you need below freezing.

    The need for suspension is obviously specific to your terrain, so I can't really comment on that. My ideal set-up personally would probably be 3-4" of travel front and rear on my commute, but my bikes have either more or less right now.

  7. #7
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I ride a rigid fixed gear mtb in the winter... I then worry very little about stuff freezing up or failing when it's -30 C.

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    Smiling and Waving thebikeguy's Avatar
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    I've tried a hard tail and full suspenson for my winter commuting(in Eastern Ontario) and I've found that the full suspension is better but the front would always stiffen up or outright freeze up on me.I find the rear suspension is more important anyway.I can apply torque to the ground better,tire stays in contact with the ground.With the front always freezing up on me what I did was swap out the shock forks and put on a regular set of mtn bike forks.It saved some weight on the bike and didn't effect the handling at all.
    I've ridden the last 12 winters and feel that there isn't that much of a need for studded tires.You don't actually ride on snow and ice that much if you're riding on the roads.Most of the times the roads are either just wet or actually dry(if your city has good snow removal).It's only during the blizzards that you're actually going through snow.I've ridden in ice storms and if it's getting too slippery,I just let a little bit of air out of the front tire for better traction.
    Last edited by thebikeguy; 10-27-07 at 01:37 AM.

  9. #9
    is slower than you Peek the Geek's Avatar
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    I'd just like to throw something out there to consider. If you're going to be riding off-road in the snow, you're likely going to hit buried obstacles (roots, rocks, stumps, frozen rodents) that the snow may prevent you from seeing. There's nothing more jarring than a jolt you're not ready for, and suspension would help to keep those pain-free.

    On the other hand, if your suspension freezes up, it won't matter.

  10. #10
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    If you are truly in winter conditions, where it is cold, suspension is not the way to go.
    Air suspension does not work, and oil gets cold and frozen most of the time anyways.
    Go with a rigid fork, and never have a problem in the winter. The up side is it is useful
    in picking good lines, and can even make you a better overall rider. Every fork I have ever
    used in the winter is miserable, and usually fails quickly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nopinkbikes View Post
    Every fork I have ever
    used in the winter is miserable, and usually fails quickly.

    Which forks have done this?

    It might be useful to get an idea what is working and what is not at say, -15C.

  12. #12
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    It depends on where you're riding. In Los Anchorage only a handful of major roads are kept reasonably clear. The sideroads not only get ice, they BECOME ice. Inches thick ice and compacted snow. Other cities get flurries and some weeks of snow, but it rarely has a chance to develop into road glaciers. If you're doing a lot of rough riding in fairly warm conditions (10f to 40f) over uneven snow and chunder ice, rear suspension might be good. For arctic cold over rough terrain use what they use for the Iditarod Invitational and similar extreme races. For putzing around a town in Alaska or Scandinavia any number of utility or mountain bikes will work with the right tires. I did all last winter on a clunky cruiser.
    ''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.''

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  13. #13
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peek the Geek View Post
    I'd just like to throw something out there to consider. If you're going to be riding off-road in the snow, you're likely going to hit buried obstacles (roots, rocks, stumps, frozen rodents) that the snow may prevent you from seeing. There's nothing more jarring than a jolt you're not ready for, and suspension would help to keep those pain-free.
    I call that stuff chunder as in CHunks of ice UNDER the snow. Some are like 100 lb. monsters that got launched off the road by the crazy methheads who drive our plows. Anyway I've got front suspension this winter to prevent the deep hurting in my Honore Balzac.
    ''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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