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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 02-23-10, 07:43 PM   #1
chico1st
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Body angle for winter cycling

When people are making up winter bikes, is there an ideal body angle? The bike that I currently use 3 seasons is a roady where my seat is a little higher than my hoods. But people talk about shifting their weight to the rear of their bikes, which my bike does the opposite of. Also if im slipping and sliding I imagine I'de want to be more vertical.

My bike also has ~1" crotch clearance... which I imagine is bad for winter... slips = junked?
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Old 02-23-10, 10:07 PM   #2
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My bike also has ~1" crotch clearance... which I imagine is bad for winter... slips = junked?
For me, the back wheel gives out and the least of my worries is the top tube and what it hits. I just need to tell myself "Roll with it.. roll with it" Once I slipped in mud and forgot to roll and sprained my wrist.
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Old 02-23-10, 10:24 PM   #3
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My bike also has ~1" crotch clearance... which I imagine is bad for winter... slips = junked?


The positions vary a lot, if your front wheel is sliding you want to shift weight to the rear wheel.
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Old 02-24-10, 12:17 AM   #4
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The positions vary a lot, if your front wheel is sliding you want to shift weight to the rear wheel.
wait... what?

don't you mean, "if your rear wheel is slipping while climbing a hill, you want to shift weight to the back"?

if your front wheel is not tracking where you want it to go, you can either a: steer to correct or b: put more weight on it to make it dig in.
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Old 02-24-10, 12:30 AM   #5
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wait... what?

don't you mean, "if your rear wheel is slipping while climbing a hill, you want to shift weight to the back"?

if your front wheel is not tracking where you want it to go, you can either a: steer to correct or b: put more weight on it to make it dig in.


Ya! sorry, if the front wheel starts to drift put more weight on it... haha! And yes... shift weight to the back to go uphill and if the rear wheel slides out. If the rear-wheel is really going to slide though just let it go and focus on controlling the front wheel... If you are coming up to a snowy/loose corner you might even get your weight over the front preemptively

edit: yes i should add this first technique is for turning. If you are trying to go straight then unweight the front wheel and let it float up and over things would otherwise deflect it and let the rear wheel run through them.

Last edited by electrik; 02-24-10 at 09:57 AM. Reason: more specifics
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Old 02-24-10, 03:25 AM   #6
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Then again, if your front wheel jumps and slides everywhere due to icy ruts, putting more weight on back will calm things down and help you steer. You will not be able to cut through the ruts by putting more weight on front wheel anyway.

I agree about the need to change positions a lot, depending on what you happen to be riding on, in or into at any particular time. Sudden changes in direction and/or speed don't work out too well if there's only limited amount of friction available, so you need to plan ahead.

One more thing about putting a foot/both feet down: your shoes will have far less traction than studded tyres, and your tyres will obviously have less traction when your weigh is off them. In really icy conditions, stopping and getting going again (e.g. red lights) can be a very delicate matter.

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Old 02-24-10, 07:08 AM   #7
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Old 02-24-10, 10:42 AM   #8
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so riding a roady where my body is very horizontal isnt an issue when its snowy/icy?
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Old 02-24-10, 11:20 AM   #9
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I use the same handlebar and saddle height as I do in the summer, if that's your question. But I'm speaking of a XC mountain bike, not a road bike.

Since my bike does have a forward weight bias compared to most winter riding set-ups I have seen, I generally use a more aggressive (studded) tire in the front.
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Old 02-24-10, 02:37 PM   #10
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I ride an Xtracycle, in a upright position. I am assuming that the weight distribution is fairly even front to rear.
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Old 02-24-10, 04:43 PM   #11
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In general I think it's better not to have too much weight over the front wheel. My position is less aggressive on my winter bike. I do have Bell Lap bars on it (drops with a flare) so that I can get down lower when the wind is in my face.

Basically I tried to think of what a cyclocross bike or an offroad bike with drops would be set up like.
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Old 03-01-10, 01:20 PM   #12
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I use my standard xc mtb setup. I tried the road bike setup previously (while my normal winter was out of commission), but it scared the hell out of me. I found the weight was too far forward and was constantly correcting steering input. As well, any slip of front or rear meant that I was going down or very close to it ...

Whereas the xc mtb setup most of the weight is more even (bias toward the rear), so if you get slide out going through a turn, you are in a better position to correct or get a foot out!
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