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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 11-26-08, 02:36 PM   #1
lancer107
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Winter+City+Salt+Bike Chain/Tires

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if any of you could help me out with some ideas, i love to bike and live about 20 minutes from work, to close to drive but too far to walk in our great canadian winter when temperatures can range up to -32. I can basically bike birds eye to where i work through a local park. I have been looking into K-Trak which is pretty cool but i don't think it will hold up to crossing the road and the all the salt that the city of Ottawa puts on the roads. Do you guys have any ideas on guarding the chain from salt? I also noticed someone had posted a picture in one of the threads where they had small spikes embedded in the tires, what are those tires called?

Any advise would be great,
Thanks.
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Old 11-26-08, 04:04 PM   #2
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You can buy studded bike tires from several manufacturers. There are some reviews and comparisons on the web. Google studded bike tires. Also, the best way to deal with salt is just to clean the bike every night with a hose. Including the gears and chain. And let it dry off inside where it is warm. Then lube the chain with a bike lube for winter conditions after the chain dries out. The basement is a good place for this.

If the snow is packed the wide tire snow bikes are more flexible because they can be ridden on the road. Check out the Surly Pugsley. Or Wildfire designs.

Last edited by Hezz; 11-26-08 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 11-26-08, 05:17 PM   #3
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Yours is also a pretty good application for WD-40. It displaces the water, cleans the chain, and is a minor impediment to winter-time corrosion.

I know: never mention the "WD" without expecting a brawl, but ... that's my $0.02
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Old 11-26-08, 06:30 PM   #4
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I live in Ottawa and bike all winter. I use studded tires form Mountain Equipment Co-op. They'll be able to steer you to the best ones for your bike.

As to the chain, I just use lots of oil, often. You have to expect increased wear and tear on a winter bike, and you should probably learn to do some overhauls yourself: it's reasonably certain something will become seized over the course of the season, and many bike shops don't have much capacity in the winter.
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Old 11-28-08, 03:10 PM   #5
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I live in Ottawa and bike all winter. I use studded tires form Mountain Equipment Co-op. They'll be able to steer you to the best ones for your bike.

As to the chain, I just use lots of oil, often. You have to expect increased wear and tear on a winter bike, and you should probably learn to do some overhauls yourself: it's reasonably certain something will become seized over the course of the season, and many bike shops don't have much capacity in the winter.
This is what I do as well. MEC does, in fact, kick ass. Oil and studded tires go together like Cap'n Highliner and Billy. Don't use the MEC "wet lube", however. It's in a fairly big bottle for cheap. That stuff is horrible. I used it two winters ago instead of my favourite Finish Line Wet Cross-Country. Big mistake. After a few days of exposure to salt, it turned into this nasty plasticky consistency that coated everything it touched. Getting that goo off of the chain was like trying to remove pine sap from wool. I eventually got the stuff off with synthetic paint thinner [methyl hydrate?], but the chain never did work as nicely as before.
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Old 11-28-08, 03:28 PM   #6
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I just started this winter. I didn't make to MEC to look for studded tires, but I live right by Rebec & Kroes on Bank and Alta Vista. They carry Innovas and Schwalbe Marathon studded tires in 26" and 700c, and I think they have another kind but I don't remember what it was. I put the Schwalbes and a new set of fenders on my beater this week. Studs are definitely no help in this slush, but I'll practically need them just for my street when it gets a bit colder. Plus I want to bike on the canal.
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Old 12-01-08, 07:52 PM   #7
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You can bike on the canal? I'm going to tour up there one Christmas just so I can do that.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:27 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pinkrobe View Post
This is what I do as well. MEC does, in fact, kick ass. Oil and studded tires go together like Cap'n Highliner and Billy. Don't use the MEC "wet lube", however. It's in a fairly big bottle for cheap. That stuff is horrible. I used it two winters ago instead of my favourite Finish Line Wet Cross-Country. Big mistake. After a few days of exposure to salt, it turned into this nasty plasticky consistency that coated everything it touched. Getting that goo off of the chain was like trying to remove pine sap from wool. I eventually got the stuff off with synthetic paint thinner [methyl hydrate?], but the chain never did work as nicely as before.
?

I'm pretty sure that's what I've been using for the last two years, and I have to keep dumping it every two or three days in the winter as the road-spray washes it off. You sure it wasn't a mislabeled bottle of pine-tar you picked up?
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Old 12-02-08, 12:09 AM   #9
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I'm also from Ottawa and I ride my bike without studded tires, I'd rather not pay alot for tires I might not even like or need, I've been winter riding for years and had no problems, I also did the canal on my Skate bike I built, I'm cheap lol I don't pay for bike parts, I get nice stuff free all the time, Yep, the garbage is a wonderfull thing.
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Old 12-02-08, 03:39 PM   #10
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I'm in Ottawa and I do use studded tires. Work area is fine as is most of my commute, but the residential streets near home are often only partially cleared of snow (at best) and more often than not covered in ice.
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Old 12-02-08, 03:43 PM   #11
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s+t+f+u+ride
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Old 12-02-08, 04:32 PM   #12
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On my beater, I solved the chain problem: $4.99 KMC "Z" chain. When it gets super nasty, just toss a new one on.
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Old 12-02-08, 08:44 PM   #13
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Studded bike tires, better than the chain idea i found online thats for sure!

Wow i didn't think i would get any posts, i've never used an online form. Thanks for the heads up, i didn't realise studded tires were that popular and that MEC carried them. I am going to need a whole winter setup, i like this winter biking idea i honestly hadn't heard of it until i saw the KTrack, have you guys seen it? https://www.ktrakcycle.com/index.html lol i saw it on Dragons Den but i think its more recreational, trying to keep the salt off the chain will be hard enough, could you imagine what it would do to that track? Thanks pinkrobe for the heads up on the cheap lube followed by the nasty goo - valuable tip; knowing myself I probably would have bought it. I bike through a park and it gets pretty slushy/with underlying ice so will definitely be picking up a slush guard, Z chain, and some studly tires as my regular ones sometimes fish tail... I'm not going to lie, i'm pretty excited that MEC carries them!
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Old 12-03-08, 12:14 PM   #14
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The studded tires are working great for me. I take a lot of shortcuts that have iced over after people walk on them. Since most of them get very wet sometimes, I'm a lot better off than the people trying to walk on them. And clipless pedals, though indulgently expensive, are great for quick release when I get bogged down in the snow. Don't think my bike is going to last the winter though.
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Old 12-03-08, 02:49 PM   #15
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Lube your bike, that's the key to winter riding, specially in harsh conditions like in the GTA
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Old 12-04-08, 01:33 AM   #16
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Don't think my bike is going to last the winter though.
Why not? Take care of it and it should last many decades. They key is to protect the frame from rust, use quality components, and regular maintenance.
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