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  1. #1
    Senior Member IceNine's Avatar
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    How long do your winter bikes last?

    I decided to take my 1984 Schwinn Voyageur out for a winter ride recently, which is the first time I had done that in snow and ice. I have 1 1/4" Gatorskin tires on it and SKS fenders with front homebrew rubber mudflap. Not an ideal setup for winter riding but not horrible. I had a blast riding but after 10 miles or so I had so much sand and grit under the fenders and all over the brake pads that I can't imagine that the wheels or drivetrain would hold up very long riding regularly like that. So I'm thinking about getting a more appropriate dedicated snow and ice bike--one that I consider expendable. Something like an old gaspipe Schwinn Varsity or something along those lines. I've got several other vintage bikes, but nothing that I'd really like to trash. Am I approaching this the wrong way? Is there a way to ride on snow and ice with sand and salt in such a way that bikes last a long time?

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Mine lasted 6 years. It needs new cables and a new chain now.

    If you want your bicycle to last, get fenders, and clean your bicycle after your rides.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    This also depends on where you live.
    Slushy wet snow with sand will grind up your parts in short order if not cleaned as mentioned above.
    But if you live where the snow does not melt until the end of March then you need very little cleaning and your bike will last a very long time.
    I've only seen three days since November that had slushy conditions. And of course I rode on those days.

  4. #4
    bikes are sexy Lebowski's Avatar
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    just make sure i lube it at least once a week and wipe all the grime away from moving parts.
    [2010] Specialized P3 - [09] Origin8 Scout 29er - [08] Specialized Epic Comp - [08] Specialized Allez - [06] - Specialized SX Trail II - (((In Pieces - '08 Jamis Parker -- '07 specialized Hardrock Sport -- 2005 KHS DJ200)))

  5. #5
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    Longer than a bike being used off-road.

    But not as long as a bike being used on-road.

  6. #6
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    .

    I just replaced my neighbors Bridge stone mountain bike, he said hes used it for 15 years and it was unsafe so insted of repairing I sold him a Yokota, we live in canada so it's ass cold here and lots of snow, his bike had huge build of of rust and all parts stuck on it lol
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  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I bought a used MTB as my winter commuter 4 years ago. I've had to replace a number of parts (cables, brakes, brake pads). So far so good. The frame seems to be in good shape, but the seat post is fused to the frame - I had to find a taller seat so that I could be more comfortable riding it.

  8. #8
    AEO
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    it helps to prepare the frame before using it in winter.
    use plenty of frame saver inside the frame, pack the bearings with some quality marine grade or white lithium grease and wax the outside as much as possible.

    minor maintenance, like lubing the chain and cleaning off the dirt/salt buildup after each ride goes a long way.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  9. #9
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    Slushy snow with sand will be hard on rim brakes and chains. Chains are cheap and I use disc brakes. Other parts last years.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Last spring I had to replace pretty much the entire drive train.

    I'm not sure how much cleaning the bike helps. By the time I get to the end of the driveway, it's dirty again!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  11. #11
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I clean off my bike with a couple of buckets of hot water. And I use a chain cleaning tool to keep the grit off of my chain. I clean the chain about twice a month. Keep the bike clean and it will last all winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
    I clean off my bike with a couple of buckets of hot water. And I use a chain cleaning tool to keep the grit off of my chain. I clean the chain about twice a month. Keep the bike clean and it will last all winter.
    The chain will last all winter. The bike will last many winters.

  13. #13
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
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    Ride a single speed, keep it lubed, clean it every so often. replace the chain, cables, and pads every spring. It'll last a hell of a long time.

  14. #14
    Got Scotch? goalieMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    Ride a single speed, keep it lubed, clean it every so often. replace the chain, cables, and pads every spring. It'll last a hell of a long time.
    Yup. That sounds about right to me.
    "It turns out that what you have is less important than what you do with it."

  15. #15
    Senior Member cmcanulty's Avatar
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    2 or 3 winters in the slop we have for 6 months in Northern mich. I always start with a dumpster bike though.

  16. #16
    ǝıd ǝʌol ʎllɐǝɹ I JeanCoutu's Avatar
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    2-3 years before something major starts acting up, it's less trouble to just buy/find a new used bike.

  17. #17
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    If a bike is ridden in either:

    Fresh snow, with no salt or sand applied
    and/or
    dry roads, possibly with salt or sand on them

    will this cause nearly as much wear as riding in slushy salty roads? or is the road salt/snow by itself a major cause of drivetrain wear?

  18. #18
    Member Jack's ABC's Avatar
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    For me the frame is Titanium, so that will last for ever. The drive train is Campy Centaur and this is Canadian winter no. 4 and will be ready for replacement this summer due to chain stretch and normal wear as much as anything. Wheels are open pro's on Chorus hubs and they have had 6 years of commuter use and will need replacing when the sidewalls wear out from city braking.
    Most frequent changes are tires and handle bar tape, so no real difference between winter wear and any other wear form use.

    Best tip is to visit the local car wash and spend a buck to give the bike a quick hose down when it gets covered in grime. Cost $5-$10 a year.

    If your frame is steel, disassemble and spray the inside with a protective agent (WD40 or linseed oil at a push). I lost a Reynolds 753 to rusting from the inside out after 10 plus years nearly daily use in sodden British weather.

  19. #19
    Senior_Member2 diff_lock2's Avatar
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    With out mud guards the chain wont last a single winter.

  20. #20
    Dough Mestique
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    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    Ride a single speed, keep it lubed, clean it every so often. replace the chain, cables, and pads every spring. It'll last a hell of a long time.
    Yep.

    I got a freebie bike, stripped and sanded it, painted it inside and out, built it up as a single speed. I do 75 - 100 miles a week on it all winter long, and I don't want to kill myself keeping it cleanm so I just replace the entire drivetrain once a year because of the sand and salt. I wipe it down with Pledge every week or two and spray on some paint if I see a nick or rub mark wearing through to the metal. I figure the bike will last longer than I do.

    I don't recommend starting out with a garbage scow, though, as a winter bike. it will always ride like a department store bike, which takes some of the fun out of it. A decent quality Japanese touring bike from the 80's is a good bet. They're cheap, fairly easy to find, ride nicely, and are sturdy as hell. Go for one with fender bosses on it and maybe cantilever brake braze-ons.

    Anyhow, it worked for me.

    BL


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    "Next time, I will not make the same mistake twice!"

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