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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 10-14-08, 04:29 PM   #1
Sigurdd50
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Converting to smaller bike for Winter bike commuting?

I ran a similar question in Commuter forum, but seem to have read a comment somewhere by someone inhere who said they thought a smaller bike gave them more control in winter conditions.

I've been trolling for a better frame for my winter set up (26" tires with a Shimano internal 3-speed in back). Currently its an 80's Canadian made Peugeot US Express (with the ashtabula crank upgraded to a typical alloy crank with some sorta conversion dealio). It works, it's a bit of a beast. I found a cool '84 Trek 890 (very early Trek All terrain bike frame, canti studs, etc). I could pretty easily swap the wheels and bits fromt he Peugeot to the Trek... BUT the trek is around 3CM smaller in frame size. The Wheel base on the trek is about 2" shorter.

I know I can get a tall seat post and some long stem in front.. and my bars are some old school albatross like deals. And I realize one can't tell how it will be until it's all changed, but for Winter bike commuting, is key bike fit not as key? I'm juiced to put the Trek into use, just not sure if the size change is too big
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Old 10-14-08, 09:18 PM   #2
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I think that was me that made that comment. I am not sure I have ever heard anyone else espouse it, so maybe it is just a quirk with me. So take it with a grain of salt.

But, for me, I feel more at ease with a small frame that I can more easily stabilize in dicey conditions. Ordinarily, I like to be perched way up on as large a frame as I can get. In fact, I mostly ride an older road bike with a level top tube that give me only about an inch of crotch clearance. But on ice and snow, I want to be able to move around up there if needed to avoid a fall, or to fall more softly. So, in the winter I ride an old rigid MTB with a long top tube, but a smallish seat tube and long seatpost. Not freakishly small, mind you. But significantly smaller.

You asked if bike fit is still key. Yes it is. If you are covering any distance at all, you need to fit the bike well. There really is no comprimising that. But, I cheat a little with the seatpost and stem/bars to make it work.

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Old 10-15-08, 03:00 AM   #3
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I am of the opinion that a smaller frame can be an advantage in slippery conditions.
Look at the trial bikes, down-hill bikes and dirt-jump bikes, where control of the bike is more is more important than biking efficiency. I am no expert, but I do suspect that short top-tube is the key geometry factor in this.
This is always a trade-off, with a small frame you sacrifice efficiency and aerodynamic riding position for bike control.
You have to analyze your needs to make a decision.
I use a rather small frame for winter because the commute is very short but I bike in very difficult conditions sometimes.
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Old 10-15-08, 07:20 AM   #4
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My ride is 5 miles or so over mostly urban bike paths... perhaps I"ll just have to take a couple hours and swap the parts and see how it rides.
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