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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 11-04-11, 07:56 PM   #1
Arrowana
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Motorized Winter Bicycle?

As much I would like to, I don't think I'll be able to ride a bike everywhere I want, when I want during the winter. I really don't want to pay for a car, so I'm looking into adding a small engine to a MTB so I have something to ride when conditions are too bad for a normal bike. I guess the main question is what will I need for tires? The main roads I use to get around are not plowed too well, though with a 26x2.3" front tire with screws added, I have managed without too much trouble. Adding a motor will definitely increase my speed, so I have a feeling I'll need to go wider to keep control of it. For pre-made studded tires, the Schwalbe Ice Spiker is 2.1" wide, which sounds too narrow. Any ideas for a wider tire I can add screws to for the winter? Any particular reason I should look for a 29'er over 26"? Should I be looking into getting a Surly Pugsley or a Salsa Mukluk?

And don't worry, I am setting up my Trek with studded tires and a disc brake so I do have a normal bicycle.
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Old 11-04-11, 08:09 PM   #2
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I have a huffy cruiser with a 66cc PK80 engine. The rear sprocket is 44 tooth. The top speed is about 32 mph. I am running 2.10" kevlar tires on it the work pretty well on the dirt roads.

I cruise at about 20 mph most the time. Need some suspension as the cruiser is brutal own the bumps.

This is a get from point A to Point B thing. 98 MPG.

You really need to be good with a wrench to work on these china kits, they take allot of tinkering to get them dialed in. Which is as much fun as riding for me. There are a couple of good forums for Motorized Bicycles if your interested.
http://motorbicycling.com/
http://motoredbikes.com/
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Old 11-04-11, 08:33 PM   #3
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Since this is something that I might even be using to commute, I'll be going for something a bit more reliable, a Golden Eagle kit, probably with a 35cc Subaru Robin 4-stroke, or if I think I need it, maybe move up to a 50cc Honda 4-stroke.

http://bikeengines.com/
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Old 11-05-11, 08:04 AM   #4
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Dear lord, at those prices you might as well go electric. I used to have gas motors on my bicycles, but the noise and vibration got old. They also take a bit of maintenance. In my latest upgrade I went with the BionX motor (the MSRP is very steep, but you can find cheap kits out there, or go with cheaper motors). It's silent, and doesn't even need a throttle, where the harder I pedal the harder the motor pushes. The motor is also dead silent, and smooth as though there was nothing there (the geared motors make some noise and take a bit more maintenance, but they're also much cheaper). I can climb 10% grades with my wife on the back at 13-14MPH. The best part is my workplace let's me recharge the battery at work, so free "gas" too!
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Old 11-05-11, 02:12 PM   #5
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Since I'll probably be getting a new bike to put it on too, I think an electric kit that has enough range is too pricey for me. I have taken apart and put back together a similar engine in high school, so I don't think I'll be totally clueless when it comes to maintenance.

Any advice in regards to tires?
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Old 11-05-11, 11:25 PM   #6
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For the past 2 winters I had a mountain bike in my stable with a BionX PL-350 electric assist mounted on it. It was amazing in the snow. If it snowed any significant amount overnight. I would ride the BionX equipped bike. Riding one of my non-electric bikes I would have to leave anywhere from 10-30 minutes earlier on a snowy morning to get to work on time. On the BionX bike I didn't have to leave any earlier. In 10-15cm's of fresh snow. I could average 27-28 kph. This was using it as an assist system. As in, I pedaled same as I would on a non-snowy ride.

It was mounted on a very nice lightweight mountain bike that I wanted to use again sans the electric system so I took it off. But I give a double thumbs up on electic assist in the snow. It rocks. Makes cycling to work in deep snow a reality. A fun reality.



Oh yeah. Here is a ride to work in the 10cm's of snow with the above bike.

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Old 11-07-11, 07:36 AM   #7
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The other nice thing about an electric system with regenerative braking is that you basically have antilock brakes on the bike. It is very nice on the steep downhills to just crank up the regen, and have the motor do all the braking. This also helps spare the brakes, which are pretty much there only for emergency braking now.
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Old 11-07-11, 09:20 AM   #8
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How well do the batteries last in the cold? I use battery-powered lights; the light+battery that gives me 4hours in summer only lasts 2hours in winter.

Never seen an electric that lasts long enough or is fast enough for me (we are speed restricted to 15mph in the UK).
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Old 11-07-11, 08:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by LesMcLuffLots View Post
For the past 2 winters I had a mountain bike in my stable with a BionX PL-350 electric assist mounted on it. It was amazing in the snow. If it snowed any significant amount overnight. I would ride the BionX equipped bike. Riding one of my non-electric bikes I would have to leave anywhere from 10-30 minutes earlier on a snowy morning to get to work on time. On the BionX bike I didn't have to leave any earlier. In 10-15cm's of fresh snow. I could average 27-28 kph. This was using it as an assist system. As in, I pedaled same as I would on a non-snowy ride.

It was mounted on a very nice lightweight mountain bike that I wanted to use again sans the electric system so I took it off. But I give a double thumbs up on electic assist in the snow. It rocks. Makes cycling to work in deep snow a reality. A fun reality.

Oh yeah. Here is a ride to work in the 10cm's of snow with the above bike.
Sweet, I think this has pretty much convinced me this is a good idea. What tires are you using on there? How does it work on snow that's had a ton of cars go over it already?
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Old 11-08-11, 11:17 AM   #10
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Sweet, I think this has pretty much convinced me this is a good idea. What tires are you using on there? How does it work on snow that's had a ton of cars go over it already?
I use Nokian Mount & Grounds. They have low rolling resistance on pavement, and enough tread to get through snow up to a few inches deep (the key is to keep your speed up, and an electric motor definitely helps with this. In fact, I only use my electric motor in winter just for this reason). Slush/wet snow is the worst, and more than 4-6" of it is practically unbikeable. The Hakka WXC 300 is more aggressive, and can handle much deeper snow, but also has much higher rolling resistance. If your commute is primarily on plowed roads, than the Mount & Grounds are perfect.

One key thing is to keep the tires outside. If I bring them inside then snow builds up in the warm tread, but if I keep them outside the tread spits out the snow and stays clean.
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Old 11-08-11, 04:32 PM   #11
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I'm thinking I might go with the Nokian W240, and if they don't work good enough for the motorized bike, then they will probably be fine for my Trek, and I'll just find the largest MTB tires at the local co-op and turn those into studded tires.
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