So, I started commuting last year, and stopped during the winter. Picked it up again this year. Now, I am really thinking of commuting in the Winter too. Most of the winter isn't too bad. Plowed roads, and so on, but obviously, you need a bike that can handle deep snow and Ice.
My current ride is a Modified Rocky Mountain RC30. Modified in that I swapped the Handlebars out (flat bars) for Bullhorns and put on some Ultegra bar end shifters, and got some nice Brake levers for it. other than a Dent I recently discovered, and a few paint scratches, (rocky mountain is notorious for wimpy paint), it's in pretty decent shape, I'd like to keep it that way.
So I want to build a bike for winter. I've never built a bike before, so I'd like it to be simple.
First off, what makes a good winter bike?
My initial thought it a single speed, perhaps fixed gear. This would be nice because it needs less maintenance, and considering it's going to be absorbing salt and grime from the roads, I'd like it to be simple.
But should the frame be Steel? Aluminum?
How important is a Suspension on these bikes?
Should I go with thinner tires, but knobby? or get some MTB super-knobs?
Is a flat bar better for winter riding?
For single Speed, what gear ration? high? low? etc etc.
Is single speed considerably harder on snowy terrain?
What makes it a good winter bike?
Some info on my ride:
I live in Michigan, so from November to March we have snow for the most part.
My commute is about 8 miles one way. Mostly paved roads. Some hills, but nothing untackleable
I'm 5'9 124 lbs.
I like to go fast, though winter riding isn't conducive to fast.