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  1. #1
    Senior Member Monkey Face's Avatar
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    'Winter bike' - I don't get it, so please explain.

    I usually only go out in the winter when it's dry, but this year I've really caught the bug, so I want to go ride through wind and rain and save the turbo trainer for when it's icy.

    So excuse my ignorance, but please explain to me why anyone 'needs' a winter-specific bike.

    Why can't I just use mudguards and budget wheels on my road bike? What going to happen to my bike(s) (Wilier Mortirolo and Bianchi Infinito - both carbon) if I ride them through the winter?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    all the salt and sand here destroys the bearing, chain and gears in the winter. sometimes in the spring i see piles of salt and sand still in the middle of the road

  3. #3
    Senior Member Monkey Face's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazzywolfie View Post
    all the salt and sand here destroys the bearing, chain and gears in the winter. sometimes in the spring i see piles of salt and sand still in the middle of the road
    But don't you wash the bike down after every ride?

  4. #4
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Add in freezing temperatures that could be as cold as -43C , snow, and ice and you might understand the need for a different ride for winter.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Face View Post
    But don't you wash the bike down after every ride?
    no. i don't have a garage or heated area where i could wash it it down plus it would be a ton of work if i had to wash it every time i took it out. during winter i just drive it like i stole it and rebuild it in the sping.

  6. #6
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    No, water won't evaporate... it freezes and then you're stuck with a mess. I don't wash the bicycle for months. Even if you wash it carefully you can watch the rust forming somedays!

  7. #7
    Senior Member CharlieFree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Face View Post
    But don't you wash the bike down after every ride?
    In these types of winter climates, outside faucets and hoses will freeze up so they are usually taken out of service; there is nothing available to wash your bike down with. Even if you did have access to running water, it would freeze on the bike within minutes or even seconds, causing malfunctioning components.

    Must be nice to not have to worry about that.

  8. #8
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey Face View Post
    But don't you wash the bike down after every ride?
    In the winter? Oh gawd no!
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  9. #9
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by crazzywolfie View Post
    no. i don't have a garage or heated area where i could wash it it down plus it would be a ton of work if i had to wash it every time i took it out. during winter i just drive it like i stole it and rebuild it in the sping.
    Plus you don't want to store the bike someplace warm. Big temperature changes, like going from a nice warm barn to a frigid commute, can cause strange and sometimes bad things to happen.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Bear in mind the OP is from the UK, and generally will not deal with our winter issues here in Canada, things like ... winter. Do they even use road salt in the UK? Occasionally they might see some snow flakes. If your winter is a general coolish drizzle then by all means fenders and grotty condition wheels, possibly some differing brake pads (Kool Salmons perhaps). You might have some drive train issues come spring, but nothing a couple parts can't take care of.

    Never underestimate the protective qualities of a layer of filth and grease, but this is reserved for real winter riding. From the sounds of the OP's bike description, this won't happen. Winter carbon riding, anyone?
    Last edited by TRaffic Jammer; 08-30-10 at 01:17 PM.

  11. #11
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    Hi Monkeyface, it's me again!

    It's absolute tosh when people say riding in bad weather ruins your bike, I ride every week of the year(except for holidays and snow) on a carbon bike with decent wheels and 23mm tyres.
    As long as you clean the bike and re lube the chain after each "dirty" ride you will have no problems at all. Personally I don't bother with mudguards, you and the bike are going to get wet and dirty with or without mudguards!
    I think that there is nothing more invigorating that a good long ride in the rain.

  12. #12
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    Do you get that winter conditions vary by region? It doesn't sound like you need a winter bike, as you don't ride in a region where winter seriously alters road conditions. Some people want more wheel clearance to fit fenders and studded tires. Some people want a frame that doesn't rust in all the road salt, or one that they don't care whether it rusts. Some people like having a single-speed or IGH drivetrain so they don't have to deal with snow and ice packing into the cassette. Some people like having an excuse to own multiple bikes. Why do you have two? Would you like to have three?

    Mind you, I don't have a winter bike. I just put studded tires on my sole bike and keep going. Since you plan on remaining a fair weather cyclist, not riding when it's icy, then winter tires probably won't do you any good. Just slap on some fenders and ride what you got, if that's what you want to do.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Monkey Face's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Plus you don't want to store the bike someplace warm. Big temperature changes, like going from a nice warm barn to a frigid commute, can cause strange and sometimes bad things to happen.
    I store the bike in a garage. No heating. So I guess the temperature range is only going to be about 15 degrees max. I have a cousin in Tronno, so I know what you guys have to suffer.

    We do have salt over here, but it's reassuring to hear from clx1, who's basically articulated what I kind of suspected.

    I agree (GriddleCakes) - over here it seems more like an excuse to buy another bike rather than a necessity. In which case I think I need a singlespeed!

  14. #14
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clx1 View Post
    It's absolute tosh when people say riding in bad weather ruins your bike, I ride every week of the year(except for holidays and snow) on a carbon bike with decent wheels and 23mm tyres.
    As long as you clean the bike and re lube the chain after each "dirty" ride you will have no problems at all. Personally I don't bother with mudguards, you and the bike are going to get wet and dirty with or without mudguards!
    I think that there is nothing more invigorating that a good long ride in the rain.
    When that rain turns to snow, slush and ice, the temps drop down to well below 0C and roads accumulate a nice collection of salt, grit and crap, you'll trade in your "tosh" for "OMG you yanks are crazy!"
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clx1 View Post
    It's absolute tosh when people say riding in bad weather ruins your bike, I ride every week of the year(except for holidays and snow) on a carbon bike with decent wheels and 23mm tyres.
    As long as you clean the bike and re lube the chain after each "dirty" ride you will have no problems at all. Personally I don't bother with mudguards, you and the bike are going to get wet and dirty with or without mudguards!
    I think that there is nothing more invigorating that a good long ride in the rain.
    See, no winter to speak of. Nothing to see here , move along

  16. #16
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    Is the temperature difference really a big deal? I live in an apartment with no outside storage (i guess unless i can sell my car and build a fortress in my parking spot) and there's no way in hell I'm leaving my baby out there for the bastards to steal or vandalize it... I was just figuring that I'd have to spray it down and lube it once a day...

  17. #17
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Bike thefts drop off when it's colder than -30C....

  18. #18
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Few people experience winters as severe as ours, unless you are from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    For us it is about dealing with the cold as we don't have the same humidity and large snowfalls they get in the east but we still get our fair share of the white stuff.

    Cold and wet is our spring and fall... and today.

    Am riding a proper British 3 speed today that does not care a whit about the weather and keeps ticking along happily on it's hub gears.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tligman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Bike thefts drop off when it's colder than -30C....
    okay, it gets cold here, but rarely THAT cold. Lots of other things drop off long before -30C, including my interest in going outside, even for a minute.

  20. #20
    Tawp Dawg GriddleCakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tligman View Post
    Is the temperature difference really a big deal?
    The only thing that I've noticed is that snow builds up on the frame and drivetrain faster and thicker when the bike is warm than when the bike is cold. I think this is because snow will melt when it comes in contact with a warm frame, then immediately freeze. If the bike is already below freezing, most of the snow will bounce off. This only lasts until the bike cools down, but if you're throwing a fair amount of snow then you can pack the cassette full within minutes and lose the ability to shift. I suppose that more snow and ice on the frame means you're hauling more weight, as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Bike thefts drop off when it's colder than -30C....
    "I swear I didn't mean to steal the bike, I was just checking it out and my hand froze to the frame! I was walking it to the nearest warm water source to thaw us apart, and then I was gonna bring it right back, I promise!"

  21. #21
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    It's 42C today with the humidity, and this thread had me looking forward to a nice winter snow ride.

  22. #22
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tligman View Post
    Is the temperature difference really a big deal? I live in an apartment with no outside storage (i guess unless i can sell my car and build a fortress in my parking spot) and there's no way in hell I'm leaving my baby out there for the bastards to steal or vandalize it... I was just figuring that I'd have to spray it down and lube it once a day...
    You could do what tsl does and bring your bike inside, hang it in the shower, hose it down, leave it to dry, and then reapply lube (or at least I assume he re-lubes it). Me... I'm happy to have my unheated garage and I'm hoping my new bike will require almost zero winter maintenance.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  23. #23
    Dances With Cars TRaffic Jammer's Avatar
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    I bring mine to a heated garage @ where I can hose it down, and it drip dries in the house afterwards. Mucho lube is used over the course of the winter. In the messenger days we had a firehouse that would hose our bikes down to get all the salt and crap off.
    Last edited by TRaffic Jammer; 08-31-10 at 07:19 AM.

  24. #24
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by irclean View Post
    You could do what tsl does and bring your bike inside, hang it in the shower, hose it down, leave it to dry, and then reapply lube (or at least I assume he re-lubes it).






    It's not so much that I'm a clean bike freak, but that the only place I have to store my bikes is the living room...

    ...and I do so dislike slush on the hardwood floor.

    In any event, three years of winters on this bike with no adverse effects, other than expected chain wear.
    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.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Few people experience winters as severe as ours, unless you are from Winnipeg, Manitoba.
    The mixed blessing about Calgary is the chinook. It's wonderful when it melts the snow and drys out the roads, and you can ride your road bike in warm clothing and enjoy a sunny day. It sucks when all it does is turn the snow to ice before a re-freeze - the most fun you can have on two wheels

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