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  1. #1
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    Getting into serious winter cycling : Recommend stuff

    Mostly slush, cold rain, and occasional snowy/icy periods here in Niagara Falls.

    Questions:

    Disc breaks - Good idea? Bad idea? Great idea? Can I get by fine without them? Price range if they are neccessary?

    Fenders - Looking to keep my back and legs 95% dry. DO NOT LIKE BEING SOAKED. I want to be riding full time, because I don't have a gnarly job, so I really can't afford to drive anymore. Link me to some stuff.

    Snow tires - Worth it? Can I use them in wet conditions without causing wear? Are they better - How much better? Metal Studs, or another style?

    ---

    Basically looking to stay alive and stay dry.

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Disc breaks - Good idea? Bad idea? Great idea? Can I get by fine without them? Price range if they are neccessary?
    Depends on what you ride in and where you live. For my area they don't add anything but our snow is very dry. For you, they might be an improvement over rim brakes. However discs usually add complexity to an area of the bike that doesn't need it. You want to mount racks and fenders where the brakes are and there is often a conflict.

    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Fenders - Looking to keep my back and legs 95% dry. DO NOT LIKE BEING SOAKED. I want to be riding full time, because I don't have a gnarly job, so I really can't afford to drive anymore. Link me to some stuff.
    Lots of fenders out there. SKS are pretty good as are Planet bike. If you use a mountain bike there are lots of fenders for those too but you need to do a little Dremel surgery to get full coverage. And you may need more than one fender set to do it. I grafted a piece onto a Planet bike clipon fender to get coverage



    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Snow tires - Worth it? Can I use them in wet conditions without causing wear? Are they better - How much better? Metal Studs, or another style?
    Can tell you. I've use regular full knob mountain bike tires since 1983 for winter riding and never found them to have issues. You have to be careful on ice but, again, dry winters and dry snow are a different beast from your situation.
    Stuart Black
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  3. #3
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    The snow also isn't all that outrageous here. Ice isn't a major major problem.

    Do these things ride fine on regular ground? Metal studs on a dry street seem weird. (during the winter seasons I'd probably want to just ride this bike non stop, and store my 5 other bikes in my garage.)

  4. #4
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Mostly slush, cold rain, and occasional snowy/icy periods here in Niagara Falls.

    Questions:

    Disc breaks - Good idea? Bad idea? Great idea? Can I get by fine without them? Price range if they are neccessary?

    Fenders - Looking to keep my back and legs 95% dry. DO NOT LIKE BEING SOAKED. I want to be riding full time, because I don't have a gnarly job, so I really can't afford to drive anymore. Link me to some stuff.

    Snow tires - Worth it? Can I use them in wet conditions without causing wear? Are they better - How much better? Metal Studs, or another style?

    ---

    Basically looking to stay alive and stay dry.
    Disk brakes, good idea, yes. Absolutely necessary? No, in fact many rim brakes work quite well. Some do not. Typically, aluminum rims with decent v-brakes and pads will do quite well, and quality ones will suffer little. I have Avid brakes on aluminum rims with some kool-stop pads and the difference when wet is very little. There is a little difference I suppose, but its not big. Then again, images of skidding around on steel rims with side pull brakes come to mind.

    Fenders, full coverage is sweet. Planet bike and Axoim make some spiffy ones.

    http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7007.html
    Versions available in other styles, for other kinds of bikes. They have one for your bike, chances are.

    http://www.axiomgear.com/product/fen...uct.php?id=286
    I have these. They're easy to fit inside the Xtracycle i've got, cover totally, pretty much the same as the Planet Bike ones. Anyways, these types of fenders are tops for the slush. Fits Schwalbe Ice Spikers well.

    On studded tires, they're better if you hit ice, they're not worse if you don't. Good tungsten carbide studded tires like Nokians or Schwalbes will perform just as well on dry asphalt as an equivalent non-studded tire, just a bit heavier and noisier. Personally, I would have them on my bike unless you don't really see ice at all. They make some moderate ones which aren't too expensive or knobby if you don't see a ton of ice or feel you need the extra protection.

    If you decide to buy, my advice is to go for Carbide studs as opposed to plain steel ones. These studs are super invincible and will last a very very long time, typically the tire around the stud wears out long before the stud ever will.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bgilchrist's Avatar
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    I have been winter commuting in Winnipeg for a few years, although this year will be the first year I am going straight through the winter.

    Disc Brakes - Meh. I have calipers ( Although I do have disc brakes on my Full Suspension mtn bike), and I haven't seen any reason to switch.

    Fenders - oh yeah. Amazing what the difference they will make. I have full fenders, which I would highly recommend. My experience is that the 'half' style or the clip ons are a waste. Do you have front suspension? On my commuting bike I have front suspension, but the brake bridge has a threaded hole that I could attach a full front fender to. I would rate full fenders a 'must have'

    Studded tires - This seems to be a 'comfort blanket' type thing, but it depends on how much ICE you get. I was in the local MEC last month and there was someone looking at studded tires. I asked what his commute was, and based on that I told him they weren't necessary. Well, you would have thought I had just said I was going to do unmentionable things to his wife! Both the salesperson and the customer were dumbfounded that I suggested he didn't need studs.

    Rule of thumb:
    Dry pavement: Slicks
    packed or loose snow: knobbies
    Ice: studs

    I find studs have no advantage on anything but ice. The performance trade off isn't worth it. depending on ow much weight you have on the bike ( panniers, etc) also needs to be factored into tire selection. I have a lodaed front and rear rack, so the extra weight helps the traction in snow. Depending on hw much riding on ice you do, you may want to look at building a spiked tire. I did that when I was riding on ice, and found that the way I placed the screws meant very little performace loss when not cycling on ice.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jurgen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    ...you need to do a little Dremel surgery to get full coverage. And you may need more than one fender set to do it. I grafted a piece onto a Planet bike clipon fender to get coverage
    Ooh, nice. My PB fender current ends just above the front derailleur, so I'll be trying something similar. Thanks for the photo!

    And bgilchrist may want to extend the front fender, too.

  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurgen View Post
    Ooh, nice. My PB fender current ends just above the front derailleur, so I'll be trying something similar. Thanks for the photo!

    And bgilchrist may want to extend the front fender, too.
    The piece I grafted on is part of the Planet bike mountain bike fender set. I didn't like the front fender or I broke it...a little of both...so I cut part of it off. The bottom is shaped to jammed down in the chainstays since this bike doesn't have a chainstay bridge. To get maximum clearance, I threaded the zip tie through the hole so that just the head is behind the fender. On the other side, I zipped another tie to the first one and cut them off close to the head. Works great.

    For the front fender I got an SKS mountain bike fender. A bit better coverage than the Planet bike.
    Stuart Black
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    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member bgilchrist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurgen View Post

    And bgilchrist may want to extend the front fender, too.
    Ummmm...I think you meant cyccomute??

    If anyone is interested, the fenders I have on my MTB are similar to these. ( no mudguards):

    http://ecom1.planetbike.com/7007.html

    I did not have a suitable place to attach the screws for the fender stays on either the front or rear, so I ziptied them to the front fork and rear seatstay. 1000kms, no problems so far

  9. #9
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    more info needed

    It would help if we knew what bike you'll be riding.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jurgen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bgilchrist View Post
    Ummmm...I think you meant cyccomute??
    Ack! Can I change my answer to "none of the above"? I actually meant ryansexton. (cyccomute doesn't look like he needs much of my suggestions, although I'm happy to take his!)

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jurgen View Post
    Ack! Can I change my answer to "none of the above"? I actually meant ryansexton. (cyccomute doesn't look like he needs much of my suggestions, although I'm happy to take his!)
    I'm always open to new ideas And you are welcome to use mine.
    Stuart Black
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    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  12. #12
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    Its a 2005 Jamis Mountain Bike with front suspension. I don't know the model and can't find it on the internet. Its in the back of my shed behind a bunch of stuff because I wasn't planning on snow riding.

  13. #13
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    If the bike already has disc brakes and wheels, that's great. They aren't as important as fenders or studded tires, though.
    Full plastic fenders will keep you driest. If your bike has fender mounts these will work great. Many full fenders can be rigged up on frames that don't have the special eyelets.
    Bike Nashbar has a deal on great fenders for $25.
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...All%20Products

  14. #14
    No one carries the DogBoy
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Mostly slush, cold rain, and occasional snowy/icy periods here in Niagara Falls.

    Questions:

    Disc breaks - Good idea? Bad idea? Great idea? Can I get by fine without them? Price range if they are neccessary?
    Good idea, you can get by fine without them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Fenders - Looking to keep my back and legs 95% dry. DO NOT LIKE BEING SOAKED. I want to be riding full time, because I don't have a gnarly job, so I really can't afford to drive anymore. Link me to some stuff.
    No links, but SKS and freddy fenders have served me well... BUT, you need a better mud-flap. Craft your own out of old milk jugs or something else that's sturdy. You CAN use full fenders on a suspension bike if you craft a mounting to the crown that is in fixed position to the wheel. Your bike looks kind of crazy, but you stay dry.

    Quote Originally Posted by ryansexton View Post
    Snow tires - Worth it? Can I use them in wet conditions without causing wear? Are they better - How much better? Metal Studs, or another style?
    I'm going to say worth it. (in WI anyway) If you get good ones with carbide studs, wear of the studs will not be an issue. If you get cheap ones, the studs will wear/fall out in one winter (my experience). How much better? On clean plowed roads, a little worse. On plowed roads that still have a layer of snow/slush...marginally better. On black ice...infinately better (something is better than nothing right?) Peter white has several comments on his site about selection of winter tires. I recommend you read it. Carbide studs are the only way to go as far as I'm concerned, but I don't know your conditions first-hand.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited by DogBoy; 12-31-07 at 12:44 PM.

  15. #15
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    I think fenders are my most important buy. I think with regular stock mountain bike tires I should be fine. The amount of ice in this city is minimal in most parts (by the actual falls the ice ridiculous) but other than that, most of the city is ice-free due to lots of salting.

    Since I will be riding my bike for the entire season, which means days that it might be completely dry, its probably okay for me to stick with the tires I have.

  16. #16
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    I wouldn't worry about studs. I live in Buffalo, and this is my second winter with basic road bike tires. Unless there is over an inch of fresh snow it's not a big deal on this side of the river.
    Fenders, on the other hand, are priceless.

  17. #17
    ALL PARTY ryansexton's Avatar
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    Lente: I heard something about a Critical Mass/Bike Day thing in Buffalo every month? Is this true? If so I'm making a trek through fort erie to party this spring

  18. #18
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    Yeah, we do the critical mass thing. It's a lot of crusty punk types mixed with the kind of random sample you get from the cycling community. The numbers go way down in the winter. The cops have come in and clubbed people once or twice, fyi.
    There is also a midnight riders group, and on big american holiday weekends (labor day etc.) about a hundred people ride, which is a lot for this city. Quite fun. Again, cops have attacked in rare circumstances.

  19. #19
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    After the bike your gear is going to be crucial to making your commute as comfortable as possible... there will be a debate on whether or not to run studded tires and since I use both on several winter bikes can say that you can get by really with non-studded tires as long as they are the right type. The rubber compound is even more important than the type of tread as a tire that gets hard in cold temps will not offer the same traction as a tire that stays sticky.

    I have been running Schwalbe Hurricanes (semi slick) on my fixed mtb and Schwalbe CX Compe tyres on my cross bike and the hook up and control has been amazing despite the lack of studs. For ice the only real way to go is to use studded tires and I have a bike set up with these for when it gets really nasty and the iciest conditions here are usually in the spring when things start that thaw-freeze cycle.

    Out in Alberta where we get a lot of cold and a lot of snow and slush staying dry and clean is really important so besides fenders, a waterproof and wind resistant shell as well as a waterproof footwear is essential. I am a huge fan of the polypro base socks at MEC as when they are slipped on under some woolies my feet stay really toasty.

    Cotton is the work of Satan.

    Your lighting should be such that people think you're a little screwy... you really cannot be too well lit up especially when winter commuting in Canada is a dark affair.

    Plan on doing a lot of regular servicing as winter riding is hell on chains and drive trains and a dirty drive train robs you of efficiency at a time when your efficiency will already be compromised due to colder temperatures, bad roads, and gear that makes you less aerodynamic.

  20. #20
    Squirrel solveg's Avatar
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    I just wanted to show you these cool things a guy at my LBS makes. They're called Pogs or something like that. They're heavy duty windproof "muffs" on the bike, and you an access everything very easily and escape like you're not even in them. They cost $50 and fit on almost any bars. I'm in love with them. I wear bike gloves underneath, but normal ones without fingers. I'd be plenty warm without any gloves at all. They are deep fleece lined. You can loosen up where they attach if your hands get too hot and you want some air in there. It was 24 degrees today and they were totally comfortable.

    Last edited by solveg; 01-09-08 at 06:26 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member GernBlanston's Avatar
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    Tires

    I ride in New England on the road, and the ice is less of a problem for the most part than the salt and sand. I ride a rigid MTB with cruiser tires with a wide-ish tread gap, and I get reasonable traction with them on just about everything except ice. I like the wide surface area and the long tread life. They do get a little packed with snow if I ride in snow, but that doesn't happen often.

    Studded tires, IMHO, are overkill unless you ride on actual ice.

    GB

  22. #22
    Senior Member climbhoser's Avatar
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    studs are only nice for ice.

    I see plenty of ice, but it's minor compared to the distance of my commute. If I take it slow and careful on the patches I see it slows my 15.5 mi one way ride down very little...maybe a minute or two total. Compared to the noise, the expense and the weight of studded tires it just makes more sense to go without them.

    If I lived in New England where there are roads that are basically skating rinks all year then I might consider them. My commute would have to be MORE ice than not for me to justify it.

    In snow, packed or otherwise, I don't think they do much more than knobbies.

  23. #23
    Senior Member RomSpaceKnight's Avatar
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    Rim brakes work just fine. Any fender cheap and light will suffice. Good set of knobbies all you need 95% of times. Good gloves critical. Keep body core warm and dry. Wear a helmet with ear warmers and eye protection. Enjoy winter riding.

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