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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mtbnomore's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Sacramento, CA
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    2008 Surly Pacer w/105, 2009 Gary Fisher Cobia, 2010 Surly CrossCheck
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    Single speed beater good for winter commuting?

    Hello all,

    I've on these forums for a while, but I'm now facing my first ever winter riding (read: snow riding) this coming February when I move to MN for my new job. I've been kicking around a few ideas about what bike to get for the task, as I only have a road bike and a fixed gear for my riding out here in CA. The LBS that I frequent has proposed building a beater bike from an old mountain bike frame with a single speed drivetrain and a bunch of used, but reliable parts. I like the idea, as I can use it and abuse it without being too heartbroken over any damage or vandalism that it might endure, and it's cheap. The other option that I was kicking around is a Kona Smoke, but from what I've read on here, the salted roads are murder on your drivetrain, and they aren't readily available out here in Sacramento.

    Help me out, guys!
    "Rather be forgotten, than remembered for giving in."

  2. #2
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Cowtown, AB
    My Bikes
    Titus El Guapo, Misfit diSSent, Cervelo Soloist Carbon, Wabi Lightning, et al.
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    CA to MN - did you lose a bet or something?

    SS vs. gears. My wife and I ride all winter, she with gears, me on the SS. I have disc brakes [Avid BB7], she has v-brakes. Our roads are heavily salted and sanded for 4 months each year. The city uses something called "pickled gravel" to turn the snow into brown salty slop. Here is the frquency of maintenance and repair.

    Brakes: Me - nuttin' / Her - 2 pair of pads, plus two full teardowns of the front brake [including sanding the corrosion off of the bushings]
    Shifting: Me - no / Her - the front derailleur got gummed up, but threw some chain lube on it and it was good to go
    Chain: Me - lube once every couple of weeks, cleaned it when the snow was gone / Her - ditto
    BB: Me - classic cartridge BB creak, went away after 6 months / Her - outboard bearing crank [Truvativ GXP type], smooth and silent all season

    In real terms, my SS needs less work than my wife's geared bike. I recommend disc brakes for winter riding, partially because they don't collect crap the same way a rim brake can. Also, if you go with SS, use a standard hub with a spacer kit and wide cog. I use a Woodman disc hubset, the Spot spacer kit and Surly cogs. The first winter I rode with an ACS Claw freewheel on a Spot rear hub. I trashed/broke 3 freewheels in 4 months, and the bearings in the Spot hub were done at the end of one winter. I find the standard cassette hubs to be far more durable and better sealed. Also, if you do manage to kill one, a freehub is cheap and easy to repair, and almost any shop will have them kicking around [Shimano parts].
    Proud Member of the HHCMF
    '06 Cervelo Soloist Carbon | '09 Titus El Guapo | '09 Misfit diSSent | '09 Wabi Lightning

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mtbnomore's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    My Bikes
    2008 Surly Pacer w/105, 2009 Gary Fisher Cobia, 2010 Surly CrossCheck
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    It's for training. My territory won't be assigned until after a 6 month stint in MN at the home office.
    "Rather be forgotten, than remembered for giving in."

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