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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 09-25-10, 07:36 PM   #1
Gear853
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One bike for whole year?

I'm currently only have one bicycle, an mountain bike "21 speed". I'm curious if it's possible to ride the same bike all year long, including winter? (Which is why I posted here) I read that it's better to have a different bike for winter, but I really don't have the luxury of that option.

I also live in atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia to be exact, if that would help.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 09-25-10, 08:13 PM   #2
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you can ride the same bike all year but if they put tons of salt on the roads where you live you might notice all the bearings starting to get sloppy.
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Old 09-25-10, 09:00 PM   #3
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You mean like this?





Yeah, I gots me one a dem.

That's my 2006 Trek Portland. We're just ending our third summer and beginning our fourth winter.

That said, it's not my only bike, but it is the only bike I ride all 52 weeks of every year.

It even goes on vacation with me. Here, wearing it's cyclocross tires on the dirt roads of rural Ontario...

(Trek Portland in the District of Portland, get it?)

...and here on top of Mt Evans in Colorado.

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Old 09-25-10, 09:23 PM   #4
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Most people I know who ride in the winter just use the same bike.
If they do get another bike its a $30.00 garage sale special with maybe another $35.00 of TLC
Until I got my newest bike I had one bike for my summer and winter riding here in Winnipeg. If you get lots of ice you can get studded tires for your ride

It is true that winter riding can be very hard on a bike. I think that the reason for getting a "winter only" bike is so you don't destroy your expensive summer bike
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Old 09-26-10, 12:58 AM   #5
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It's totally possible. I've been a year-round bicycle commuter for a decade now, and I've never owned more than one bike at a time. Winter just means a bit more maintenance, and studded tires if you're riding on ice. The second-bike-for-winter ideal is for people with pretty bikes, expensive steel frames, or high end componentry; they run a winter bike to save their fancier summer bikes the stresses that winter weather throws at a bike. Some people even have designated bikes for rainy days.

The nice thing about owning an aluminum mountain/road/hybrid bike is not having to worry about frame corrosion. Just keep your drivetrain cleaned and lubed, and maybe be ready to overhaul your hubs come spring if they need it. If you do have a steel frame, dry it off after rides and keep an eye out for chips in the paint and corrosion. Other than that, just ride.
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Old 09-27-10, 02:42 AM   #6
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Nice bike, TSL. You must have been gutted when some sod stole half your spokes.
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Old 09-27-10, 06:48 AM   #7
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Nice bike, TSL. You must have been gutted when some sod stole half your spokes.
Nah, just the opposite. I looked at them as free wheels to use until I could get real ones. I had these babies built up last autumn, with a dynamo hub powering a Schmidt Edelux and B&M taillight. This pic is with the studded snow tires and wider winter fenders.



More wheel pics here, wheel specs and ride report here.

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Old 09-27-10, 07:03 AM   #8
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That's a bit more like it.

nice, nice bike. I'm envious.

Took a peak at your reports - I see you are a believer in moderate tyre pressures. That's a hard sell to a lot of people, even when backed up with test figures.
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Old 09-27-10, 05:40 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies! I guess my next topic would be how to clean and lube my drivetrain without making a big mess (the first time I did it, I did it out door, and crap was flying everywhere!).

TSL that's a nice bike, by the way! I'm thinking of getting something similar myself.
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Old 09-27-10, 08:15 PM   #10
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I see you are a believer in moderate tyre pressures. That's a hard sell to a lot of people, even when backed up with test figures.
When I started cycling only 4˝ years ago, I initially listened to the racerboys who pump their tires way into the triple digits. I never liked the way the bike rode or handled. It rode like a buckboard, and was skittish, like the tires were allergic to the road. Over time I lowered the pressure into the 90s. Then I read PSI Rx and felt safe in going even lower. I like the way my bikes ride now, and they handle like they're glued to the pavement.

The Portland with its wider rims and 28mm three-season tires (Continental Grand-Prix 4-Season) gets 60 PSI in the front and 70-75 PSI in the rear. I'm just as fast as I always was on this bike, but I'm a lot more comfy too.

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Thanks for all the replies! I guess my next topic would be how to clean and lube my drivetrain without making a big mess (the first time I did it, I did it out door, and crap was flying everywhere!).

TSL that's a nice bike, by the way! I'm thinking of getting something similar myself.
There's nothing like a really good all-rounder. The Portland is just that--an excellent all-rounder. It's happy on fast group rides, happy off-road, loves my commute, climbs pretty well (see the pic at 14,130 feet above for proof) and really, really likes hauling home the groceries. When the racerboys are trapped with their bikes in the trainer for winter, I just change tires, fenders and cassette, and keep right on rolling through the worst Mom Nature can throw at us.

In general, cyclocross bikes are a pretty good place to start for a four-season road bike. The Portland combines a cyclocross front end with a touring rear end. It sounds schizophrenic, but it really works well. It's stable carrying loads, while retaining quick and nimble (although not twitchy) handling. (A sneeze won't make it change lanes.)

Anyway, I live in an apartment and have no place other than my living room to work on my bikes. I've learned how to do it neatly.

Forget wet cleaning the chain. Those chain cleaning machines do nothing but make a mess and suck all the goodness out of your chain. I get more miles out my chains with an old-school rag cleaning than I do with a wet cleaning.

Twice a week through the winter, I flip the bike upside down on the coffee table (over newspapers), sit my ass on the couch and go at it. I crank the chain through a rag (old socks are great) until it comes pretty clean. Then I put a drop (just one!) of Tri-Flow on each link. I crank it through the gears a few times, then crank it through the rag again. If the chain's really bad, I repeat a second time.

Get the 6 oz (177 ml) size of Tri-Flow, in the non-aerosol bottle. It comes with one of those little plastic straws for accurate single-drop application. In the summer, I use Pro-Link, but in winter I prefer Tri-Flow. And frankly, it matters less which lube you use, and more that you actually use it regularly. I just like Tri-Flow for its applicator straw, and Pro-Link because it keeps my chain shiny in the dry.

Plan too on replacing your chain in the spring. I keep a spare on-hand (and extra master links) just in case. Winter is hell on chains. You chain will not survive it, so don't even plan on it. Just keep it cleaned and lubed and it will get your through, then honourably retire it in spring.

Riding in the wet and snow eats (rim) brake pads too. Keep a couple pairs of those in stock too.

Last edited by tsl; 09-27-10 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 09-28-10, 09:05 PM   #11
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yes.


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Old 09-28-10, 09:45 PM   #12
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I don't normally do this in the other seasons, but I occasionally spray some WD40 on cable housing or anything else that tends to freeze up.

Unlike tsl, I don't clean my bike twice a week, but I have been in the habit of running my bike through some snowbanks to get rid of any salt, then bouncing the tires a couple of times to shake any slush off, then spraying with one of my water bottles. Follow that with any lubrication you think you need.
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Old 09-29-10, 03:08 PM   #13
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When I started cycling only 4˝ years ago, I initially listened to the racerboys who pump their tires way into the triple digits. I never liked the way the bike rode or handled. It rode like a buckboard, and was skittish, like the tires were allergic to the road. Over time I lowered the pressure into the 90s. Then I read PSI Rx and felt safe in going even lower. I like the way my bikes ride now, and they handle like they're glued to the pavement.

The Portland with its wider rims and 28mm three-season tires (Continental Grand-Prix 4-Season) gets 60 PSI in the front and 70-75 PSI in the rear. I'm just as fast as I always was on this bike, but I'm a lot more comfy too.
I had a 2007 Portland and seriously hated it. This was completely because of how it rode. Like crap. Rough, rough riding. I couldn't wait to get rid of it. It's interesting to hear someone else that loves the bike have the same problem I did when I had one. Makes me want to go pick up another one. I liked the idea of having a bike like this, but couldn't get over the ride. All other Aluminum frame Trek bikes I had rode like crap also so I just figured.......
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Old 09-29-10, 03:35 PM   #14
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I could probably get by with one bike for the whole year if I ran a second wheel set with studded tyres but then it comes down to which one would I choose ?

My Trek 7500 is like the Portland in that it has a sucktastic ride at triple digit pressures but with 700:35 Cx tyres under her @ 80 psi she rides like a dream and does see action all through the year.
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Old 09-29-10, 08:27 PM   #15
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I could probably get by with one bike for the whole year if I ran a second wheel set with studded tyres but then it comes down to which one would I choose ?
You don't really need a second wheelset. Just swap to winter tires at the beginning of the season, then swap back at the end.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:28 PM   #16
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i never change my tires for winter. i would drive my bike on bald tires in winter as long as they hold air. it is all about how comfortable you are on a bike.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:44 PM   #17
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The whole winter bike thing makes more sense when you've a fancy bike with the latest and greatest on it:

$75-100 chains, $150-411 cassettes and other wear items can be less fun to replace than similar wear items on a cheaper bike.
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Old 09-30-10, 02:05 PM   #18
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The whole winter bike thing makes more sense when you've a fancy bike with the latest and greatest on it:

$75-100 chains, $150-411 cassettes and other wear items can be less fun to replace than similar wear items on a cheaper bike.
I could not agree more. Your mountain bike should work fine. You can get studded winter tires for all those icy/slick inter days, and slicks for Spring through Fall use to make riding more enjoyable. I personally would not ride a bike in foul weather without fenders, others might disagree. I don't enjoy getting water spraying up my back (from the rear tire) or up my front (from the front tire). Winter riding is easy to start.... as Nike's slogan states: Just Do It. Use layers and you quickly figure out that works and what doesn't. Being outside in the Winter is fininitely better than staying coupled up inside.

Happy riding,
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Old 10-01-10, 06:21 PM   #19
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I'm working on my third winter with the same bike that I ride all year( '08 Kona Fire Mountain/Xtracycle) I have other bikes, but, the only one that I actually ride is the X.
I replace the chain, crankset, and cassette on a yearly basis. I haven't had any issues with my dérailleurs, still running the ones that came as original equipment, I really feel that the grunge guards help a lot in that area.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:28 PM   #20
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Need some help with this topic

I commuted on a $50 beater bike around the city for 2 years, through snow, ice, you name it.
It was a 90's walmart 15 speed mountain bike with only one working gear (All the parts eventually became more and more worn with less than stellar maintenance).

That bike was eventually lost to me when I tried to mount it on a faulty bus rack (my derailleur was completely twisted and bent when I got off the bus, poor thing). After that incident that left me somewhat stranded, I decided I wasn't going to use public transportation anymore and was determined to ride the whole 6 miles. Doesn't seem like a terrible distance but on a failing bike with one terrible slipping gear it was arduous.

I finally decided on a fairly cheap Schwinn tourist "Hybrid" from target.

It has the standard 700c 28mm tires (622-28, i forget what that means exactly) with regular stock slicks. The bike has performed fine through the spring summer and now the fall and I maintain it fairly well, however its never been through snowy wet winter and I'm not confident that thin tires through snow are the best idea, especially with no tread on the tires.

Is it possible to keep the wheelset and just swap the tires? Do I need to swap tubes as well? Any suggestion on a cheap but effective set of tires that will work for a 700c/622 wheelset?
Secondly, I have basic commuter SKS fenders (thin flexible plastic, full length with small flaps). Are these appropriate for the winter or will I need something else?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 10-06-10, 06:10 AM   #21
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Well, 28mm tyres are fairly common. Schwalbe marathons will work ok in most conditions, apart from ice.

It's a bit hard to know what to suggest, without knowing what you are used to. What is the make and model of the current tyres?
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Old 10-07-10, 05:37 PM   #22
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i cant find any information on these tires as they are just the generic type that came with my target bike. They are already fraying along the sides and will need to be replaced soon. Basically, I'm just looking for a set of tires that will fit and be able to handle ice/snow/etc. I'm only used to thick 26" mountain bike tires during the winter. I'm trying to spend ideally as little as possible on a set of tires, but I don't know what kind will fit.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:29 PM   #23
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I ride year round on a cross. Last winter it was a Kona Jake the Snake. It served me well commuting, training, group rides, touring and centuries.

Summer tires are Conti GP4000'sand yes, PSI is well into the triple digits. In the winter I ride Schwalbe Snow Studs which at 3 psi are big pillows.

It was a bit of a pain swapping tires last year but I'm waiting on delivery on a front wheel which will complete the second wheel set, and the winter tires will be mounted permanently.
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Old 10-11-10, 06:49 AM   #24
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<SNIP>
I finally decided on a fairly cheap Schwinn tourist "Hybrid" from target.

It has the standard 700c 28mm tires (622-28, i forget what that means exactly) with regular stock slicks. The bike has performed fine through the spring summer and now the fall and I maintain it fairly well, however its never been through snowy wet winter and I'm not confident that thin tires through snow are the best idea, especially with no tread on the tires.

Is it possible to keep the wheelset and just swap the tires? Do I need to swap tubes as well? Any suggestion on a cheap but effective set of tires that will work for a 700c/622 wheelset?
Secondly, I have basic commuter SKS fenders (thin flexible plastic, full length with small flaps). Are these appropriate for the winter or will I need something else?

Thanks for any input.
Those bikes are pretty descent. I got one for my Mom a few years ago. The biggest difference between those and the lowest end Trek or Schwinn at your LBS is that they come with marginal assembly and no support. Those are the two items you pay for when you go to your LBS. These bikes can be very descent value as long as you don't mind spending a little time going over them yourselves to check ov erhte work from the minimum wage clerk who got assigned the bike assembly job for that day ( probably without any training). An hour or two with the Park Tools book and my Mom's bike was tuned to near perfection. Check your tires, I bet they are are 35 ot 42 mm. (622x35 or 622x42 as a side note 700c tires are 29" not 28"... that is a European size not sold much here. If you buy a mountain bike, some of the newer models called 29er's use beefy 700C wheels... but I digress), that means you should have no problem mounting a set of good quality winter tires. You can go either for the Schawlbe or Nokias. The Schwalbe's are more studds, but less deep tread, those things combined, give lower rolling resistance, and slightly better ice performance. The Nokia have beeper treads, and fewer studds, this tire is better if you get deeper snow. Since I regularly have to pass through a small section of neighborhood where they are responsible for their own plowing, I have to pass through some deep snow a few times a week during peak winter months. That makes the Nokia a better choice for me. The Nokias are also cheaper as they have fewer studs. AVOID any steel studded tires. They may seems cheaper, but after 1.5 months of riding on them, I found my set of Innova Steel studded tires, to be useless on ice. I nearly shattered my elbow and seriously wrenched my shoulder when the Innovas refused to get trip on an icy path of road. The Nokia that was on the front had no prolems with giving me good grip (one of the tires has a bead failure, and had to be replaced with the Nokia as the Innovas were 4 weeks back ordered... can't go without snow tires in Buffalo NY in January). I now have 3 years of use on my Noikia Winter tires, and the studs look almost as good as new. 3 full seasons vs. useless after 1.5 months... the savings don't add up. Sure you can get a kit to replace the studds on the Innova, but should you realy have to replace the studds once a month. Ironically the tread pattern is nearly identical so deel snow performance was no different.

Happy riding,
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Old 10-11-10, 09:32 PM   #25
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Until I picked up a gig at a LBS, where I became spoiled for choice, my winter bike was also my summer bike was my rain bike; in that particular case, and early-'90s Specialized Allez Comp. I am here to tell you that 19mm slicks at 135 PSI are no way to spend a winter. That was three years ago and the bruising on my... saddlery region... is just now starting to fade.

Current thinking for winter bike use is something that has room in the frame for me to swing a fat 700c tire, and lots of clearance for fenders. Low gearing, winter adds a lot of drag (more clothes, more drag from the tires, more drag from the denser air itself and let's face it, those damp cold mornings are just... a drag): 11-28 8-speed cassette and 22/32/44 chainrings. I'm thinking I'm going to build a sturdy wheel around a F&S Torpedo 3-speed coaster brake hub and use a 40/45/50 triple up front for 9 evenly spaced gears, MPLS is a compact and flat city with prevailing prairie westerlies so I don't really need 24 different gears.

If I had to limit myself to 1 bike year 'round, it would probably be Loose Change, my long-suffering '71 Super Course workhorse. (It's at the painters right now, can't wait to get it back!) There's a lot to be said for steel vs. ally, particularly in the winter. A properly-set-up, properly-constructed lugged steel frame can be a thing of surprising grace and beauty. Winter is tough enough: Shouldn't we all be enjoying rather than simply enduring?
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