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  1. #1
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    what makes for a good winter bike?

    Have not tried winter cycling yet, but I'm planning to at least continue to get my groceries by bike, run some errands, and do an occasional 20 mi ride this winter (snow removal permitting). I'm thinking of converting an old Raleigh Technium into my winter bike (700c wheels w/ studded snow tires for starters) but would it be wiser to convert an old mountain bike for this purpose? I guess I'm just wondering what qualities make an ideal winter bike. I'll be taking my other bikes off the road for the winter since the roads around here are salted and there is so much icy, slushy stuff on the roads all the time so I figured i'd start w/ something that was older and sort of worn to begin with but maybe this isn't the best perspective. any suggestions? I've got some major hills to contend w/ around here and if we get a lot of snow (last year we topped 100") then there won't be any shoulder and there will be patches of road w/ packed snow on them that I will have to cross just to get to town.

  2. #2
    Twilight Requiem AdrianFly's Avatar
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    Well.. one thing that helps is when you ride your bike in the winter time.

    Aya.. erm.. yes.. yes indeed. You definitely need winter.


    Thread over.



    However, in all seriousness I would suggest those cool Nokian Studded Tires. Those and the best material you can afford for your hands and feet to keep them warm so you don't accidentally get frostbitten on one of those subzero days. Even without the frostbite, when your fingers or feet go numb on a winter ride.. just remember that stinging feeling when you go back inside after shoveling, etc. Owwww... ow ow ow.... dang it... arrgghhhhh... (..as you shake your hands.. run em under hot water.. etc..)

    Nokians, Pogies and best gloves/boots hand/feet protection you can afford.
    Last edited by AdrianFly; 09-20-08 at 06:39 AM.

    The Bearded Fred: Only known cyclist left in the world to be 100% natural and completely free from performance enhancing drugs. Also known for self reliance, amazing talent for satisfying the women and great guitar riffs. Honestly, a full racing kit is absolutely the most ridiculous looking stuff you can wear short of a clown suit."

  3. #3
    tsl
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    Plays in traffic tsl's Avatar
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    I started with the minimum because I wasn't sure if winter cycling would "work" for me. I had only one bike at the time--a comfort hybrid. I'd already outfitted it with fenders, so all I really needed was snow tires. I bought a set of Nokians for it. That was the full extent of the winter preparations for my bike.

    For clothing, I worked from my existing winter wardrobe. I found that almost everything I owned was too hot. I ended up cycling through even the coldest parts of the winter in autumn/spring clothing. (I did buy winter cycling gloves--Cannondale Windfront Gloves and some lobster gloves. The C'dales are fantastic if you buy a size too large and wear thin gloves inside them. Never needed the lobster gloves.)

    The bike and the clothing worked, but was sub-prime.

    It was for my second year that I switched to winter cycling clothes. That worked much better, although it takes time to layer up and peel off. On-bike comfort is, IMHO, worth it.

    I also thought through what I needed in a four-season bike, and found one, and only one, that met every one of my specifications (which may be different than yours or anyone else's) That worked really well.

    The moral is, winter riding isn't for everyone. There's no point in going hog-wild only to find out it's not for you.

    You don't *need* a mountain bike--unless you prefer mountain bikes or intend to do a lot of off-road riding. My old fart comfort hybrid did just fine my first year, and my shiny new fast and slick Trek Portland road bike worked really well the second year.

    You don't *need* cycling-specific winter wear, but it helps.


    The Portland and I arriving at work in early March '08.
    Last edited by tsl; 09-20-08 at 02:28 PM. Reason: Added pic
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vger285's Avatar
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    Your time

    If you are planning on just playing this winter,then use an old bike(beater) and hvae a good time, but if you want to work at it to be a better rider come next spring,get something that will work for you, like a (country road bob) VanDesslesports.com.them next spring you will fly!like i said, it's your time!

  5. #5
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Here are some random thoughts about hallmarks of a winter bike:

    -Expendable. It will be exposed to the elements, and it may be hard to clean and dry it after every ride.
    -A tad smaller than normal. People will jump on me for this, but I like a somewhat smaller frame because I feel I can throw it around more in bad conditions.
    -Room for lots of tire/fender
    -Geared down a bit. Depending on how bad your conditions are.
    Cross Check Nexus7, IRO Mark V, Trek 620 Nexus7, Karate Monkey half fat, IRO Model 19 fixed, Amp Research B3, Surly 1x1 half fat fixed, and more...
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  6. #6
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    I've got two bikes for winter duty, depending on conditions.

    My old Sirrus road bike, for when it's dry and clear, since I'm more partial to raod riding. Just equipped it with fenders, and a Specialized armadillo tire for the rear, and one planned for the front once that wears out. Fixing flats in the cold is not fun. MTB pedals and shoes for better traction.






    And for when it might be snowing a bit, or the roads are sloppy, my old Stumpjumper. Sometimes with MTB pedals, sometimes with flats. haven't gone to studded tires yet, but I do plan to get a pair someday. Personally, I like this more for winter riding, as it's slower(nice when it's cold), it's a bit more stable and slower handling, and the upright riding position offers better vision and center of gravity. Plus, it's got braze-ons for rack and fender mounts. You can pick up a late-80's/early 90's steel framed mountain bike with front and rear braze-ons on ebay for $250 or less.


  7. #7
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erbfarm View Post
    Have not tried winter cycling yet, but I'm planning to at least continue to get my groceries by bike, run some errands, and do an occasional 20 mi ride this winter (snow removal permitting). I'm thinking of converting an old Raleigh Technium into my winter bike (700c wheels w/ studded snow tires for starters) but would it be wiser to convert an old mountain bike for this purpose? I guess I'm just wondering what qualities make an ideal winter bike. I'll be taking my other bikes off the road for the winter since the roads around here are salted and there is so much icy, slushy stuff on the roads all the time so I figured i'd start w/ something that was older and sort of worn to begin with but maybe this isn't the best perspective. any suggestions? I've got some major hills to contend w/ around here and if we get a lot of snow (last year we topped 100") then there won't be any shoulder and there will be patches of road w/ packed snow on them that I will have to cross just to get to town.
    The Raleigh should work fine, and studded tires are a good idea, especially since you have a lot of hills. Fenders are nice in the slop. I would not use expensive drive train components, as the salt and grime will eat them up.

    For clothing, experiment as this is a highly subjective decision. Personally, I wear some high-tech fabrics, but not as much as you might think. On top I like a wicking tee, light wool sweater, and an outer shell in cold weather or a wind shirt in cool weather. On the legs, I wear cycling shorts, poly longjohns and quick-dry hiking pants. I wear wool socks and all-terrain running shoes on my feet, with toeclips on platform pedals. I have several pairs of gloves that I select for current conditions.

    The main thing is don't worry about it too much. I assume you've done other athletic activities in the winter, such as hiking and skiing. If so, you can use a lot of the same gear, especially in the first winter.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    As for road bike or MTB--whatever you prefer, but a triple is nice in heavy snow.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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