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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 11-16-11, 02:09 PM   #1
sauze
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To Single Speed Or Not?

Well with winter finally setting in here (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I've put winter tires on my 'tourer/commuter' and adjusted my fenders and gathered my long underwear.

One thing I'm wondering if I should do before the weather gets really bad is to "poor boy single speed" my bike? (AKA take off shifters, deraillers, pick a gear and shorten the chain)

My only winter riding experience was last year, and I loved having a SS set up , nothing to worry about but staying upright. I ran a low gear (42X16) and it was fine in nearly all applications. Is it necessary though? Am I going to get frozen in some un-ridable gear 10 miles from home? Anyone else with experience riding in seriously cold temps (-30 , -40 and the like) ?

Thanks a ton in advance. Here's a few pics as it stands now.



My bike after I got it , before a proper cleaning.




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Old 11-16-11, 05:29 PM   #2
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Wow,that's a very beautiful bike you have there. Personally I am addicted to SS/FG and that's all I use. I have three bikes and they are all SS or FG. If you feel that you're strong enough to ride a SS...then go ahead and do it.
Very little maintenance and I love the simplicity... and it has made me a stronger/better rider.
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Old 11-16-11, 08:22 PM   #3
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If it rides good now I'd just go with what you got. Worst case is in the winter you get stuck in a gear due to ice. So whether you do it yourself or nature does it for you, same difference

I say this as someone who mostly rides fixed. Honestly for a winter beater I wouldn't touch it (except maybe avoiding that particular gear combo in the photo...chain kind of long)
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Old 11-17-11, 09:58 AM   #4
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Thanks for the reply's , good advice. I think I may as well keep it as is for now. I'm sure around January I'll start to get my derailleurs freezing up but if I keep it in a workable gear I should be alright. No worry's about me riding in that gear combo , I don't think I've ever needed my 3rd chain ring (it's flat for miles around) . I'll put up some updated photos after I put on my winter tires , give her a bit of a clean.
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Old 11-17-11, 10:14 AM   #5
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If it rides good now I'd just go with what you got. Worst case is in the winter you get stuck in a gear due to ice. So whether you do it yourself or nature does it for you, same difference
I do pretty much the same thing. I use my derailleur as much as I can in winter, but always park it at the perfect FG combo, so that when nature decides my bike needs to be a single speed, I'm ready to go.
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Old 11-17-11, 10:55 AM   #6
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#1 !!) grease the seat post and stem quill, if you have not in a while..
see all the stuck post /stem struggles from buying a bike whose prior
owner did not..
you are further north than I.. but glacially flattened..
my Ice bike has 26" wheels, studded Nokian tires, I say get an old 'rigid' MTB
and single speed it if you want..
IGH/drum (or disc) brakes is better.. IMHO.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-17-11 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 11-17-11, 01:47 PM   #7
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@fietsbob no worries about the seatpost and stem , these photos were taken just after picking the bike up (several months ago as you can see by the weather) both the stem and seatpost have been thoroughly greased and adjusted many times as my brother, father and myself have all ridden it at different points.

I have indeed been looking around for a rigid MTB to convert for winter use (have an old raleigh that would fit the bill , just WAY too small for me this bike is pushing that edge already) but they do get snapped up here more than most places, probably because lots of people are looking for a winter ride. I'd love eventually to have a dedicated winter rider with disc or drum brakes it's just not in my budget for this year at least. I did get a pair of cheap tires (below) that I'll be putting on new brake pads. Given I made it through last year on my old Super Grand Prix OK , this should be doable.



thanks again, any more suggestions / thoughts / tips are welcome.
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Old 11-17-11, 07:20 PM   #8
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i dont want to hijack this thread or mess it up but in the first post.....2nd pic...what is that little tab thing off the seat stay? I have always wonder this. What is the point of that thing?

btw....that bike is fantastic. IM an old BMX guy and have a soft spot for the brand.
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Old 11-17-11, 09:09 PM   #9
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i dont want to hijack this thread or mess it up but in the first post.....2nd pic...what is that little tab thing off the seat stay? I have always wonder this. What is the point of that thing?

btw....that bike is fantastic. IM an old BMX guy and have a soft spot for the brand.
I believe the tab is to hold the chain off the ground when removing the wheel.
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Old 11-18-11, 01:52 PM   #10
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I believe the tab is to hold the chain off the ground when removing the wheel.
That's exactly it, actually pretty handy not sure why you never see them any more.

First day of real winter riding today , snowing and getting to -18 overnight. Actually a little excited .
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Old 11-18-11, 03:57 PM   #11
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That's exactly it, actually pretty handy not sure why you never see them any more.
My '91 Bianchi has one of those as well. I guess they stopped putting them on because not enough cyclists used them...
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Old 11-20-11, 06:37 PM   #12
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I'm from Winterpeg Manisnowba as well, and ride into the -30's on occasion.
Regularly ride in the -15 to -25 stuff.

I ride MTB's though, I don't think those road tires work very well on snow/ice covered roads.
I have Nokian studded tires that make a world of difference, I can ride on the river trail no worries.

In real cold weather -10 to - 30 and below there is no worry about deraileurs, especially with your
friction shifting. It is when you get just below freezing and the slush hits and freezes around the RD and cables that there can be problems.
But when that happens I just don't shift gears, so it is no issue.


As far as clothing goes, I am trying hi tech stuff this winter (tight fitting hi tech fabrics) that should be good to
-15 to -20. I am sort of tired of getting dressed in bulky ill fitting stuff, it does the job but is just so clumsy.
The only thing that I might go bulky on is the boots. I have some nice answer kashmir's cycling specific boots, but I need covers
(which I haven't got yet) to go below -15.
But my rides are usually in the 1.5 to 2.5 hour time frame so that's a lot of time to get cold in -20 with a strong Winterpeg wind.
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Old 11-20-11, 08:46 PM   #13
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if your rear fender is as pictured, it's going to collect snow and cause quite a lot of rolling resistance, especially with knobby tires.

if possible, I'd trade your pictured knobbies, which I think is designed for gravel, for some mud specific ones. Mud and snow tires are quite similar, except the snow tires have studs in them.
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Old 11-21-11, 06:49 PM   #14
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Hey sauze, digging that kuwahara more and more everytime I see it. I'm riding an mtb with slicks for now and it seems to be ok so far until the snow glazes over with ice i guess.

i have an mtb in your size you can have if you want.
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Old 12-07-11, 09:01 PM   #15
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I like to have gear options ..... snow day riding is very different to cold , clear day riding several days after the snow storm.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:37 PM   #16
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nothing make me more mad when I see someone wanting to convert a classic road bike into a single speed and ruin it for winter.
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Old 12-09-11, 12:13 PM   #17
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1.) wasn't planning on 'ruining' anything. taking off components , to put them back on at a later date isn't exactly a permanent change. Also , when I ride in winter I have a tendency to clean my bike frequently, don't think I was going to 'cause any more cosmetic damage to the frame.
2.) hardly a 'classic road bike' (it's a Japanese touring bike from the late 80's)
3.) nothing makes you more mad really? What about genocide? or paedophilia ?
4.) Post #14 , Kuso generously offered me a MTB frame that I received and have opted to use instead.

Last edited by sauze; 12-09-11 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 12-09-11, 01:08 PM   #18
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That's exactly it, actually pretty handy not sure why you never see them any more.....
Not certain there is a connection but the chain peg and pump pegs both disappeared in the mid-80s when most bike manufacturing went to Asia.....
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Old 12-09-11, 05:16 PM   #19
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Nokian Mount and Ground W tires a 26x1.9 with studs , are a good choice,

they have 2 rows of studs, but none in the center , for bare pavement ,
with black ice patches, just right.

they have been fine. I got mine in 91, still have all the studs in them.
but freeze up is not annual for 6 + months.
just episodic when the off-shore winds pull cold air down the Gorge..
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Old 12-10-11, 09:29 PM   #20
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Well with winter finally setting in here (Winnipeg, Manitoba) I've put winter tires on my 'tourer/commuter' and adjusted my fenders and gathered my long underwear.

One thing I'm wondering if I should do before the weather gets really bad is to "poor boy single speed" my bike? (AKA take off shifters, deraillers, pick a gear and shorten the chain)

My only winter riding experience was last year, and I loved having a SS set up , nothing to worry about but staying upright. I ran a low gear (42X16) and it was fine in nearly all applications. Is it necessary though? Am I going to get frozen in some un-ridable gear 10 miles from home? Anyone else with experience riding in seriously cold temps (-30 , -40 and the like) ?
FOr those forum members who have never been to Winnipeg, it is a great city... one of the greatest cities in Canada and North America.. It's the main service centre for the eastern part of the Canadian prairies, with it's own ballet, a thriving music scene, and home to the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Winnipeg Jets.

It is also dead flat. The streets are long and straight and people don't need telephones because they can communicate from one side of the city to the other using semaphore flags. I cannot imagine any reason why you would ever need to use a gear that is not useable in most Winnipeg situations. I know there is wind, but common... be realistic.

Also, were those pictures taken after one derailleur or the other was already frozen? And that is why you are cross chaining in the small/small combo?

To answer your question, I think Winnipeg is the perfect city to use a singlespeed. Bitter cold temperatures and no hills to climb or descend make is a no-brainer. However, If I were you, I would leave the cool old 10-speed alone and get a junker hybrid for the winter. Then you won't have to clean the bike regularily (pull a bike out of a dumpster, fix it up, and throw it back in the dumpster in the spring). Even if you clean it, a winter bike should be viewed as disposable. (edit: Just saw the post about using a mountain bike and I think that is a good call.)

Also, you said you have winter tires - do you mean studded tires? (edit: get a mean-looking set of studded tires like Fietsbob said - in many cities you can get away with non-studded, but the cold in Winnipeg often makes it too cold for road salt to work, so ice persists)

Last edited by LarDasse74; 12-10-11 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 12-12-11, 04:10 PM   #21
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FOr those forum members who have never been to Winnipeg, it is a great city... one of the greatest cities in Canada and North America.. It's the main service centre for the eastern part of the Canadian prairies, with it's own ballet, a thriving music scene, and home to the 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Winnipeg Jets. - Thank you kindly! Go Jets!!

It is also dead flat. The streets are long and straight and people don't need telephones because they can communicate from one side of the city to the other using semaphore flags. I cannot imagine any reason why you would ever need to use a gear that is not useable in most Winnipeg situations. I know there is wind, but common... be realistic. True , dead flat is accurate, we get very windy but it's usually workable

Also, were those pictures taken after one derailleur or the other was already frozen? And that is why you are cross chaining in the small/small combo? These were just some pre-cleaning photos , it was certainly never ridden in that combo

To answer your question, I think Winnipeg is the perfect city to use a singlespeed. Bitter cold temperatures and no hills to climb or descend make is a no-brainer. However, If I were you, I would leave the cool old 10-speed alone and get a junker hybrid for the winter. Then you won't have to clean the bike regularily (pull a bike out of a dumpster, fix it up, and throw it back in the dumpster in the spring). Even if you clean it, a winter bike should be viewed as disposable. (edit: Just saw the post about using a mountain bike and I think that is a good call.) fourmer Kuso , offered me an old Raleigh MTB frame, I'm using that for real winter duty (studs and the like) but right now we've got almost no snow (very odd) and so the Kuwahara with some cheap cross tires has been great

Also, you said you have winter tires - do you mean studded tires? (edit: get a mean-looking set of studded tires like Fietsbob said - in many cities you can get away with non-studded, but the cold in Winnipeg often makes it too cold for road salt to work, so ice persists) done and done, just not for this bike
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Old 12-12-11, 05:09 PM   #22
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It is also dead flat. The streets are long and straight and people don't need telephones because they can communicate from one side of the city to the other using semaphore flags. I cannot imagine any reason why you would ever need to use a gear that is not useable in most Winnipeg situations. I know there is wind, but common... be realistic. True , dead flat is accurate, we get very windy but it's usually workable
I was actually expecting you to argue... I was visiting the 'peg a few years back and I was talking to a guy about mountain biking near Assinaboine park. I said it must be real nice, except no hills. "No - there are a few big hills" he assured me. I thought about arguing but eventually just smiled and nodded and assumed Manitoban English has a different definition of the word 'hill.'
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