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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 11-03-11, 10:29 AM   #1
RadioFlyer
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help please : snow caking on chain causing skipping.

Is there a solution to this problem? I'm just riding along when all of a sudden, there's too much snow on my chain, getting between the links and I guess icing up causing the chain to jump.

I'm thinking of somehow attaching a toothbrush somewhere, somehow to brush snow off as it accumulates, but that's not gonna work, right?

thanks!
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Old 11-03-11, 03:17 PM   #2
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You can try to increase the tension by shortening the chain or adjusting the b-screw. But what also may be happening is the derailleur is not properly aligned. Normally this doesn't show up, but when the chain rides a tiny bit it tends to shift, another idea is their is ice inside the derailleur in this case you can't do much unless you've got a friction shifter option to trim the derailleur.

Apply a lot of chain lube also.
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Old 11-03-11, 06:37 PM   #3
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can you run full coverage fenders, they make life much more bearable in wet conditions and keep the vast majority of road grit/salt/snow off your bike
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Old 11-03-11, 08:19 PM   #4
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+1 on the full coverage fenders, they help. But if you ride in deep enough snow, you'll pack the rear cassette with snow eventually, which might be what's happening. If the chain is still grabbing the chainrings, then the problem is at the back of the drivetrain, and it's a pretty common one for snow cyclists.

When riding in deep enough snow to be kicked up into the cassette, I just pick a gear and stay there; as long as the chain doesn't change cogs then the cog you're on will stay usable and the chain won't skip.
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Old 11-04-11, 12:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electrik View Post
You can try to increase the tension by shortening the chain or adjusting the b-screw. But what also may be happening is the derailleur is not properly aligned. Normally this doesn't show up, but when the chain rides a tiny bit it tends to shift, another idea is their is ice inside the derailleur in this case you can't do much unless you've got a friction shifter option to trim the derailleur.

Apply a lot of chain lube also.
Thanks! I'll try shortening the chain as it does seem rather slack. I beat up my bike, but it's pretty well aligned.

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can you run full coverage fenders, they make life much more bearable in wet conditions and keep the vast majority of road grit/salt/snow off your bike
yeah, I have planet's freddy fenders. Helps with water, not so much with the snow.

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+1 on the full coverage fenders, they help. But if you ride in deep enough snow, you'll pack the rear cassette with snow eventually, which might be what's happening. If the chain is still grabbing the chainrings, then the problem is at the back of the drivetrain, and it's a pretty common one for snow cyclists.

When riding in deep enough snow to be kicked up into the cassette, I just pick a gear and stay there; as long as the chain doesn't change cogs then the cog you're on will stay usable and the chain won't skip.
lol, i think the deep snow is the problem as my deraileure was dragging in the snow at some points.

Good idea on picking and sticking with one rear gear! I hadn't thought of that. I'll just use the front rings as my commute is pretty hilly.



The attached photo is a couple years old and only shows the caking on the derail, but the snow recently has been deeper and wetter and now cakes on the cassette too.

electrik suggested keeping the chain lube, but is there a lube on the market that specifically helps with ice/snow?

Thanks all!
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Old 11-07-11, 10:39 AM   #6
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"is there a lube on the market that specifically helps with ice/snow?"

PAM nonstick cooking spray. Hose rear cassette, chain, and rear der. down until it's dripping.
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Old 11-16-11, 11:47 AM   #7
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This is one of the reasons I eventually went single speed. The snow buildup was getting too much and then you couldn't shift if you tried. Single speed is not for everyone but it does solve that one big issue of snow buildup.
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Old 11-16-11, 02:41 PM   #8
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I noticed a problem on my 7 speed freewheel, but not my 5. It may be possible that 5 speed freewheels are less vulnerable to snow packing in there?
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Old 11-16-11, 07:22 PM   #9
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I noticed a problem on my 7 speed freewheel, but not my 5. It may be possible that 5 speed freewheels are less vulnerable to snow packing in there?
Yes, the chain is narrower and tolerance tighter when you go up in "speeds".
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Old 11-17-11, 06:54 AM   #10
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Yes, the chain is narrower and tolerance tighter when you go up in "speeds".
I'm assuming by the quotes around "speeds", you are indicating that this isn't accurate terminology. I realize "speeds" isn't a technically accurate descriptor, but I was using the same terminology that I've seen used when selling chains and freewheels. So how would you have liked to see it described?
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Old 11-17-11, 08:27 AM   #11
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full coverage fender for the rear only dump more snow and slush onto the hub and cassette.
full coverage fender with mud flap for the front helps reduce spray build up on the drive train.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:18 PM   #12
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full coverage fender for the rear only dump more snow and slush onto the hub and cassette.
I can visualize this, but I didn't notice any difference when I started running full fenders. I rode fenderless for years, and once the snow was deep enough, the cassette would eventually cake solid. I could never watch it happening (it's difficult to watch your rear hub while riding for an extended length of time ), but I assumed that the caking was from snow kicked up by the tires. My solution was to switch to an IGH.

Maybe it happens faster with fenders? Like I said, I never noticed a difference. I don't run fenders because of snow, since all it really does is keep snow off of my shins and shoes; but I'm too lazy to remove the fenders for the winter, and it's nice to have them for the occasional warm and wet weather events that've become increasingly common. Come spring there's no way I'd ride fenderless, as this whole town turns into one big slush puddle for two weeks while the winter snows melt.
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Old 12-12-11, 06:58 PM   #13
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Try some pure silicon spray on the drivetrain parts.
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Old 12-24-11, 08:25 AM   #14
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fenders and mudguard
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Old 12-24-11, 10:40 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakcloud View Post
This is one of the reasons I eventually went single speed. The snow buildup was getting too much and then you couldn't shift if you tried. Single speed is not for everyone but it does solve that one big issue of snow buildup.
+1
I have a separate dedicated single speed 29er that I use in deep snow, but before this I would lace the chain to a single rear cog and remove the rear derailleur (poor man's SS). Either way, its the low-hanging derailleur that is causing the problem, and getting rid of it solves the skipping issue.


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fenders and mudguard
Fenders and a mud guard won't keep the derailleur from getting packed up......
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Old 12-24-11, 11:25 PM   #16
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But if you ride in deep enough snow, you'll pack the rear cassette with snow eventually, which might be what's happening. If the chain is still grabbing the chainrings, then the problem is at the back of the drivetrain, and it's a pretty common one for snow cyclists.

When riding in deep enough snow to be kicked up into the cassette, I just pick a gear and stay there; as long as the chain doesn't change cogs then the cog you're on will stay usable and the chain won't skip.
That's the only problem remotely like this that has ever happened to me. It doesn't happen often, no more than twice a winter on average. It's dependent on the temperature and snow conditions, so you might hit a stretch when it does happen more often.

A courier used to keep a can of WD 40 and spray the chain and cassette to help with the problem.

I usually only lose a couple of gears with it, so it will slow me down or make things more difficult. But on the other hand, my whole life is like that and I'm used to it.
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