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  1. #1
    Senior Member Frankinbiker's Avatar
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    Ordering a new frame for year round cycling

    I currently ride a vintage Raleigh with an 8 speed internal hub. It works great down south but I will be moving to the Great Lakes region this summer.

    Before these relocation plans I intended to build up a custom titanium frame to fit my taller than average height. Since I will be moving to the north and am in the process of designing a new frame, I thought it would be best to make sure the frame is winter compatible.

    What features do you wish your bike had for riding in the winter urban environment? My plan is to add plenty of extra braze ons and other rack mounting points.

    How much clearance do I need for tires? I plan to use 700c rims.

    Any suggestions so I don't forget anything in my frame order is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    tsl
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    I like on a Great Lake. Ontario. I have four winters of daily commuting on my current four-seasons 700C bike. My next four-seasons bike will be Ti. Who is your builder?

    Tire clearance should be for at least 38mm with full fenders. Some guys like 42mm, but by then you're getting into geometry issues with road tires in the three-seasons, and I've not had any issues with my Nokian W106 in their weird 35/38 size.

    Think about disc brakes. Mine has Avid BB7s with 160mm stainless-steel rotors. They're especially confidence inspiring the snow and slush. And you don't have to worry about grinding away your rims every time you hit the brakes.

    I suggest Wound Up's Team-X Disc fork. Besides disc brake tabs, it has clearance for 38s with fenders. Don't forget to specify fender eyelets--they're optional.

    Finally, tell your builder you'll be running your cables fully housed from end-to-end. He'll put in loops instead of the usual cable stops. The big advantage is that fully housed, you keep moisture (and dirt) out of the housings, so they don't freeze up.
    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.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    Surly Crosscheck is had to beat for an all-rounder.

    On the other hand, with all the bikes I have, the one I ride the most is my Specialized Crossroads, which I've modified with a Karate Monkey fork, 2 rear Cascadia fenders (extra length in front is very nice to have) and a suspension seatpost. Cockpit is thumbies on flopped North Road bars controlling a 7-speed 12-28 rear and a 28/44/46 half-step plus bailout front. Saddle is a Flite but of course fit is such a personal thing I really hesitate to recommend anything to anyone in this regard.

    Plusses: Very low maintenance, all I do is keep it clean and lube the chain and the rest takes care of itself for the most part. I trashed a pedal this winter because I didn't get the cone adjustment right when I overhauled it. Other than that, it's run flawlessly. Quite comfortable position, room to swing a good big tire.

    Minusses: Very harsh ride from the aluminum frame, but I'd rather get my suspension from the tires than from a fork anyhow. XTR parallel-push brakes can squeal like Ned Beatty, and since the front is set up for a disc that's what I'm going to install. Not a lot of room for accessories on the bars, the curves are in the wrong places. It's comfortable in only two hand positions, on a long ride this is a problem and I'm going to switch to actual mustache bars soon.

    Overall, I like it but I think I'm going to turn my UO-8 into my do-it-all bike. It's just so much smoother.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Disc brakes are a must.

    I also prefer an internal hub as derailleurs tend to get clogged with snow and stop working. I've found that my Alfine hub works fine in temps to -25c or so.

    Fenders are also a must. I've found SKS to be high quality and stand up to the abuses of winter.

    Clearance for at least 38mm tires would be good to accommodate studded tires. After trying both Nokian 106 (I think that's the model number) and Schwalbe Winter tires I prefer the Schwalbe as they are noticeably faster on plowed roads.

  5. #5
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Blight View Post
    Surly Crosscheck <snip> Specialized Crossroads <snip> UO-8
    Perhaps you missed the part where the OP said he's having a custom titanium frame built.

    He's looking to be sure he has all the bases covered before welding starts, not looking for suggestions for off-the-rack frames.
    Last edited by tsl; 06-01-11 at 07:57 AM.
    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.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frankinbiker's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies.

    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Tire clearance should be for at least 38mm with full fenders. Some guys like 42mm, but by then you're getting into geometry issues with road tires in the three-seasons, and I've not had any issues with my Nokian W106 in their weird 35/38 size.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    Clearance for at least 38mm tires would be good to accommodate studded tires. After trying both Nokian 106 (I think that's the model number) and Schwalbe Winter tires I prefer the Schwalbe as they are noticeably faster on plowed roads.
    How much clearance is enough? Are there standard formulas or measurements to ensure that there is enough clearance in the rear triangle for fenders and tires? Clearance also includes good distance between the fender and tire correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Think about disc brakes. Mine has Avid BB7s with 160mm stainless-steel rotors. They're especially confidence inspiring the snow and slush. And you don't have to worry about grinding away your rims every time you hit the brakes.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    Disc brakes are a must.
    Yes, I plan on getting disc brakes. Stainless rotors seem to make sense as well. If it isn't possible to mount the rear brake on the chainstay does that cause problems other than difficulty mounting standard racks?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    I suggest Wound Up's Team-X Disc fork. Besides disc brake tabs, it has clearance for 38s with fenders. Don't forget to specify fender eyelets--they're optional.
    I planned to avoid a carbon fork and was looking at the Civia fork that has mid fork rack mounts, eyelets, disc brake tab and is affordable.

    http://civiacycles.com/components/hyland_steel_fork/

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    I also prefer an internal hub as derailleurs tend to get clogged with snow and stop working. I've found that my Alfine hub works fine in temps to -25c or so.
    I also am a fan of internal hubs and currently run a Nexus 8 speed. I am on the fence about getting the Alfine 8 or Alfine 11. Price might decide for me.
    Last edited by Frankinbiker; 06-01-11 at 10:05 AM. Reason: addition

  7. #7
    Born Again Pagan irclean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankinbiker View Post
    How much clearance is enough? Are there standard formulas or measurements to ensure that there is enough clearance in the rear triangle for fenders and tires? Clearance also includes good distance between the fender and tire correct?
    My scientific method for determining adequate clearance was to see if I could squeeze a finger between my stock 32mm tires and the fenders/stays. I figured that if I could do that, then 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires would fit just fine. Happily, they did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankinbiker View Post
    I also am a fan of internal hubs and currently run a Nexus 8 speed. I am on the fence about getting the Alfine 8 or Alfine 11. Price might decide for me.
    My Alfine 8 got grumpy about shifting a few times this past winter, but its mood seemed to improve as the ride went on. Theoretically, one could assume the 11 would shift better due to its oil-bath lubrication, but I haven't heard any real-world reports as of yet.
    Gettin' my Fred on.

  8. #8
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Clearance wise, i would suggest 3/4" minimum gap between your chosen tire and the fender.

    You might want to look at which salts the state your moving to sprays the road with before you risk ruining a titanium frame due to parts seizing in. Titanium creates a high galvanic potential compared to other metals. Will you be putting it away wet or inside everyday?

  9. #9
    2_i
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankinbiker View Post
    What features do you wish your bike had for riding in the winter urban environment? My plan is to add plenty of extra braze ons and other rack mounting points.

    How much clearance do I need for tires? I plan to use 700c rims.

    Any suggestions so I don't forget anything in my frame order is greatly appreciated.
    Get a kickstand plate. Make sure that you holes for at least 2 bottle cages, if not 3 to choose later. The disadvantage of a Ti frame is that, as I understand, it is harder to add things later.

  10. #10
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    You might want to look at which salts the state your moving to sprays the road with before you risk ruining a titanium frame due to parts seizing in. Titanium creates a high galvanic potential compared to other metals. Will you be putting it away wet or inside everyday?
    This is a non-issue.

    Instead of grease, you use a Ti-compatible anti-seize during assembly--the copper colored stuff, not the silver colored stuff.

    I use it on all my metal bikes--Ti, Al, and Fe.


    ^^ clicky ^^

    It's messy, and very hard to wipe off the excess--especially from hands--but it gets the job done.

    My current Ti bike fits only three-season tires. I can still air it out in the winter when the roads are clear. Living on the lake, you're waiting for spring if you wait for dry. It gets rode hard and put away wet once a week or so all winter long. Never a problem with corrosion or disassembly.
    Last edited by tsl; 06-05-11 at 08:33 AM.
    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.

  11. #11
    tsl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankinbiker View Post
    I planned to avoid a carbon fork and was looking at the Civia fork that has mid fork rack mounts, eyelets, disc brake tab and is affordable.

    http://civiacycles.com/components/hyland_steel_fork/
    If QBP's Civia forks are anything like QBP's Surly forks, they weigh a ton. Coupled with disc brakes and possibly a dynohub, the bike will be incredibly nose-heavy, which causes it to plow in the slush, snow and ice.

    If you're having a frame built, and you prefer steel, why aren't you having your builder make a fork?
    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.

  12. #12
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I gotta say I was more than pleased with the performance of my sturmey-archer drum brakes this winter... I really only had a chance to use the front one in serious slush but drums are lower maintainance than discs and cheaper... I can lock up my rear wheel with a 90mm drum on the rear and it's excessive braking power... 70mm drums should be adequate for anyone under 220lbs unless you plan on riding down big hills. Just an idea since you're going custom. I use SA drums so I can't speak to the quality of shimano drums... they are a big weight penalty but I routinely ride my "winter/rain" bike for 5-50km rides and it's really not a big deal and I do plan on doing some longer runs on this bike when the weather gets bad again.

    My front hub has a dynamo in it as well so if you are gonna go that route (I highly recommend it) get tabs mounted for your lights on the fork, might as well get a custom fork if you go this route so you can have a drum brake tab and a hanger for a light.

    If you're going IGH get a custom chaincase made that you can use in the winter, that'd be pretty slick.

    These are basically my own plans for a winter bike I want to get built one too, but I plan on doing it all in steel.

  13. #13
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    This is a non-issue.

    It gets rode hard and put away wet once a week or so all winter long. Never a problem with corrosion or disassembly.
    Of course there is no problem for YOU. This issue appears if must you leave it in a garage wet and covered in salt-slurry. The frame will gradually corrode everything in the galvanic cell - possibly your seatpost, cranks, bottom bracket to the headset and derailleur hanger.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Frankinbiker's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the replies. I posted a thread on the commuting forum about choosing between zip-tie style cable guides vs traditional braze ons for routing cables in full housing. Do you think that would be fine?

    Quote Originally Posted by clasher View Post
    My front hub has a dynamo in it as well so if you are gonna go that route (I highly recommend it) get tabs mounted for your lights on the fork, might as well get a custom fork if you go this route so you can have a drum brake tab and a hanger for a light.

    If you're going IGH get a custom chaincase made that you can use in the winter, that'd be pretty slick.
    I plan to get the front dynamo set up with lights to serve as backup to my high powered battery lights. I also will fabricate a custom chaincase to put on the bike.


    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Of course there is no problem for YOU. This issue appears if must you leave it in a garage wet and covered in salt-slurry. The frame will gradually corrode everything in the galvanic cell - possibly your seatpost, cranks, bottom bracket to the headset and derailleur hanger.
    Would using the anti-seize paste mentioned above help? What about using titanium seatposts, stems to avoid corrosion?

    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    If QBP's Civia forks are anything like QBP's Surly forks, they weigh a ton. Coupled with disc brakes and possibly a dynohub, the bike will be incredibly nose-heavy, which causes it to plow in the slush, snow and ice.

    If you're having a frame built, and you prefer steel, why aren't you having your builder make a fork?
    I am getting the frame made in titanium, so the builder doesn't make titanium forks. Thank you for mentioning that the civia fork is heavy. The head tube will be 30cm long so I will have to get a custom steerer tube put on a fork, so I may get a custom one made.

    Hopefully I will have the bike ordered and then put together sometime in August, so I can get used to it before the snow comes. My current vintage steel Raleigh will be happy to become a fair weather park bike.
    Last edited by Frankinbiker; 06-10-11 at 01:47 PM. Reason: added link

  15. #15
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankinbiker View Post
    Would using the anti-seize paste mentioned above help? What about using titanium seatposts, stems to avoid corrosion?
    IME, the main problem is not inside the frame(provided you use anti-seize paste) but your components which will be made of less nobel metals and form a galvanic cell through any salt-slush bridging them.

    So say you have aluminum external cups, only the external part of the cup may corrode away if you leave the aluminum cup and titanium shell covered in road brine for weeks to months. If the titanium frame is clear-coated this will be less of an issue.

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