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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 09-28-11, 10:58 AM   #1
Pynchonite
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Winter Buildin' by a Newb

I've never biked in the winter before, but my fiancee called me a chicken and I live in Iowa... so yeah...
Anyway, I've got a Trek 7200 (2005?) frame with some of the original parts and a couple of 700C wheels that I'm going to try to winterize. It looks like this:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/6809917...in/photostream

Where to go from here? I figured that, starting out, first to go would be the fork and stem. The front suspension is nigh useless even in good conditions and heavy to boot (ditto with the suspension-fitted seatpost). I think that, ultimately, the rear cassette (7-speed) will be replaced with a fixed gear, while retaining the front derailleur and chainrings (3-speed). But yeah, other than that, what to do? Where should (limited) money go? Any suggestions?

A couple things that must always be kept in mind: in Iowa, the winters are unpredictable on an hour-hour basis. What was sludge in the morning could be several feet of snow by lunch and then frozen by lunch 2. Also, where I live features some fairly spectacular hills (not mountains, but hey, there's a river running through here), so whether this is something that should be taken into consideration during the build or if it's a matter of technique, I'm still too green to know.

Suggestions, castigations, general help is very much appreciated!

Last edited by Pynchonite; 09-28-11 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Image wasn't working, added a link instead.
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Old 09-28-11, 03:29 PM   #2
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I once considered building a 3x1 but the fact that you still need a rear derailuer to take up chain slack steered me away. Since you talk about changing conditions and varied terrain you might want to keep all the gears for a while, just to see what you really need. There is so much difference between lightly loaded nice days on flat sections and being all bundled up and heavily loaded while climibing hills in a snow storm.

In reality I think you can do as much or as little to winterize a bike as you want. I've had some (but actually very little) trouble with open gears or cable freezing or anything like that. I rode for a while with just an old MTB tire on the front and a semi agressive 1.5 or 1.75 on the rear. I also park outside at work so I've had to clean snow off the bike and ride home in heavy snow with big hills. In fact this will be my first year with discs and studded tires, though I do admit that rim brakes suck in any kind of standing snow.

So I think that before you start building a bike you should put the thing together with the parts you have, find some tires you think might work and give it a try. See what you need before you change all that much. Maybe you make a few ajustments, maybe you want quality studded tires, hydraulic disc brakes, and an internally geared hub. Or maybe you decide that it is a pain in the rear and unpractical.

Also don't forget to think about clothing. I'm sure there is all sort of advice on here about layered synthetic materials, about wicking and soft shells and shoes and so on.
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Old 09-29-11, 10:12 AM   #3
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Others may disagree, but my opinion is that if you are doing hills in the winter, you should have studded tires. This is doubly true if you are on the road and not on separated bike paths; your life is worth more than the $100-$200 for a high quality set. I went one winter without, and even in relatively flat Madison WI saw a marked improvement in safety when I switched to studded tires.

The other thing you need for winter riding (on your bike) are good lights, front and rear. I run two each; one set on my bike, one on my helmet. That way, if I wipe out, there is still a good chance that a car will see me laying in the road and stop.

Otherwise, I think your bike should generally be ready to go. You can add useful accessories like fenders or go single speed (though with vertical dropouts, you will still need a chain tensioner unless you go to some interesting solutions), but these are less critical than good clothing. You will learn what you need/want; each person is different.
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Old 10-01-11, 09:54 PM   #4
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I live in Iowa too and also have a hybrid for a winter bike. Have been doing it for the last 6 winters. It's definitely doable. I do use the bus system as a backup, but I still managed about 15 commuting days a month last year.

I would recommend that you use common sense though. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with... but build confidence.

As for components, I would tend towards simplicity and durability. I would prefer to ditch the FD since it seems to be a worse ice magnet than even the RD. Free up ice with WD-40.





http://dsmcommutercorner.wordpress.c...t-winter-snow/
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Old 10-03-11, 11:10 AM   #5
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So far:
1. Keeping the cassette for now, for the climbing of things.
2. Getting studded tires, because everybody and their mothers and their mothers' mothers unto infinity told me I needed to.
3. Definitely getting fenders, and thinking about a chain guard to take care of the above-mentioned ice-attracting properties of the front derailleur.
4. Following the advice of a couple people, including two separate LBS's, putting a disc brake only on the front, since the godawful suspension fork came with mounts, and since it would be less expensive.
5. Going to cover up every instance of the Trek logo with reflective material, and replace the head badge with some sort of light... or more tape...
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Old 10-03-11, 07:00 PM   #6
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Don't forget the eye-destroying 10000 lumen lighting system. It melts traffic out of your way.
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Old 10-04-11, 08:45 AM   #7
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Good call on a partial chain guard, I found that most of the gunk on my chain came from the front wheel, so whatever fenders you put on I'd recommend a big mudflap to get complete coverage... I think this year I'm going to use an old oil jug or something. There are lots of DIY instructions if you search them out.

If you didn't have wheels already I'd suggest using sturmey-archer drum brake hubs, they're super nice for the winter, the brakes and gears (IGH) are all sealed and the drums are enough to stop my 220lbs safely. No bent rotors, can get dynamos too so no dead batteries for the lights... but this crap starts to get expensive unless you can build your high power LED system.
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Old 10-04-11, 10:21 AM   #8
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Finding 700c wheels with disc hubs has been a total pain to this point. I'm starting to wonder if maybe 29er wheels would work because they are 1) less expensive than the 700c wheels I've seen 2) more plentiful than the 700c wheels. Unfortunately, I don't know whether there's enough clearance in the front for a 29er wheel, and am not sure about compatibility generally...
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Old 10-04-11, 11:07 AM   #9
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700c and 29" are the same rim diameter (622 mm). What varies (as far as the wheel is concerned) is rim width. Depending on what tire you wish to run, a narrow (rim width) 29er wheelset could work quite well. Check out http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html near the bottom for a chart of rim width and tire width compatible sizes (actually, that webpage also has info on rim diameters as well). Brown admits that it is on the conservative side, so you may be able to push things a bit. You should be able to track down rim widths on manufacturer websites.
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Old 10-06-11, 10:48 AM   #10
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Thanks for the link! I've been trying to compare costs and it turns out that while disc-capable 29er hubs are less expensive than 700c, the studded tires to go with them are not... by, like, a lot...
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Old 10-07-11, 08:31 AM   #11
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So to add to my previous post (because I forgot a detail)...Some 29er wheelsets are disc only. I see cantilever posts on your frame, so I'm guessing there are no disc tabs (though it is possible). So, if you go with a 29er wheelset that is disc compatible, make sure the rims are rim brake compatible. As far as tires go, most mountain rims can handle a 40mm (and maybe a 35, if the rim on the wheel is narrow enough) tire, which I am guessing your frame should be able to do as well. Yes, a 40mm studded tire costs more than the cheapest 35, but not tons more. You may want to do some reading to figure out what tires you want, then determine what rim width you can use. Happy browsing!
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Old 10-07-11, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clasher View Post
Good call on a partial chain guard, I found that most of the gunk on my chain came from the front wheel, so whatever fenders you put on I'd recommend a big mudflap to get complete coverage... I think this year I'm going to use an old oil jug or something. There are lots of DIY instructions if you search them out.

If you didn't have wheels already I'd suggest using sturmey-archer drum brake hubs, they're super nice for the winter, the brakes and gears (IGH) are all sealed and the drums are enough to stop my 220lbs safely. No bent rotors, can get dynamos too so no dead batteries for the lights... but this crap starts to get expensive unless you can build your high power LED system.
+1 There is no doubt that getting a drum hub with a dyno would be very useful. My Peugeot PX8L has drums retrofitted and they are wonderful; they're smooth, quiet and easy to modulate. I can't speak highly enough of the SA drum brakes.

Here's my pug with the SA drums...


P1010510 by Sallad Rialb, on Flickr
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