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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 01-25-05, 10:13 PM   #1
IchbinJay
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Winterizing a road bike.

Basically what I am trying to do is make my pure road bike (Bianchi Brava) into an all weather bike without spending loads of money and adding tons of weight. Any hints and or tips would be appreciated, thanx!
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Old 01-25-05, 10:51 PM   #2
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A few easy steps...

1) wax the paint

2) cover all unpainted metal surfaces with a thin coating of oil or grease

3) Place bike in closet.

4) get cheap mtb with fat knobby tires. Optional Studs for ice.

5)

weight added to road bike 0 lbs.
cost - sub $300
with tires suitable for ice Add $200

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-25-05 at 10:53 PM. Reason: incomplete
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Old 01-26-05, 05:37 AM   #3
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A good winter road bike needs clearance for wider tyres (25-28), proper full length fenders bolted to eyelets and clearance at the brakes for both of these. Is the Brava a good starting point?
If you intend to ride in snow, then you should look at the MTB route.
Some people fit lower gearing for winter.
Wax your frame and any exposed cable. Pack your bearings full of grease. Grease all threaded bolts, seatpost, pedals etc.
Fit a large seatpack big enough to take your repair kit, some emergency food and spare layer of clothing.
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Old 01-26-05, 06:40 AM   #4
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I'd go with: Fenders, fenders, fenders. There are clip-one if you don't have clearance for full length ones, but nobody likes a slush ******. Lights - good ones. A fat LED on the back and something rechargeable on the front if you can afford it. Clean and grease the machine before and after winter, and during the winter pay special attention to keeping the rims and brake blocks clean as they wear like mad otherwise. And store the bike indoors.

You *could* get an MTB beater instead, but it's more fun to winterise your noble steed.
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Old 01-26-05, 06:59 AM   #5
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- Frame Saver or WD-40 in the insides of the frame
- Wax the outside

Now here's where you may run into problems:

You want a little more controll than the slicks provide most likely. Some people prefer slicks and you can get around on them surprisingly well as they often do a good just of slicing down through the snow, even hard packed snow which gives you some control. On the other hand, I like a little traction. You probably want cyclocross tires. Those are some pretty tight clearance brakes, you may have a hard time getting CX tires to squeeze in.

Also, when the temperature gets around 10 degrees the hub grease gets real viscous. If you can, you'll want to regrease the freewheel with a mixture of grease and oil or at low temps the pawls will get stuck in the out position. Actually they'll eventually return, but you'll probably want to be moving before they get around to that.

I think the headset on that is a ball cage assembly. There should be a weather seal on the bottom race but if not you'll want to make one out of a old inner tube.

You'll want fenders. It looks like the back has eyelets but maybe not the front (depending on year). Clearance will be an issue, especially with the CX tires. Assuming you can even squeeze all that in the frame you'll probably need different calipers to get around that whole mess.
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Old 01-26-05, 07:58 AM   #6
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>>Assuming you can even squeeze all that in the frame you'll >>probably need different calipers to get around that whole mess

NO. Long drop calipers, which do have room for fenders and winter tyres, require the bolt holes to be further from the dropouts, ie more frame and fork clearance. You can't retrofit long drop caliper to a std caliper frame.
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Old 01-26-05, 08:51 AM   #7
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You're right, you can't fit long reach, but you might be able to find a set of other calipers that have a larger diameter reach than the 105s or whatever exactly are on there. I have some old short-reach Dia Compes, for example, that have wider clearances than 105s. If you can fit the wheel and fender combo in the frame/fork at all then the only concern really is lateral brake clearance.
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Old 01-26-05, 09:27 AM   #8
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This is probably not the answer you wanted but...

I spent a couple years riding the same bike year round. I'd tweak it up for winter and then de-tweak it for summer. But then I decided to spend a fraction of the money I'm saving by biking, and bought a second, cheaper bike just for winter. For me, this is a MUCH better solution.

I keep both bikes in good running condition, so I always have a backup. That's been a godsend on several occasions. The main characteristics of the winter bike are:

- cheaper and heavier frame
- cheaper and heavier components.
- fenders
- cheap, removable LED's (so the batteries don't freeze at night)
- big clips (baskets) for winter footwear.
- big knobs on front, not so big knobs on back.
- mandatory weekly clean and lube.

Maybe next year I'll get a spare front wheel with studs on, so I can easily switch to studs if conditions warrant it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-26-05, 09:42 AM   #9
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Second SS/fixed bike is your answer....
Cheap frame, remove components, add fenders, pack all bearings with marine grease.
lube chain once in a while and dont worry about it.
My winter bike cost about $50 in bikes/parts from thrift stores and the local bike co-op.
Not having to worry about frame/paint damage or ruining sensitive/costly components....priceless
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Old 01-26-05, 10:28 AM   #10
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Just about everyone, is at least addressing the tire, fender, frame clearance. It's going to be a close one. To me this is the main expense. And a problem in snow.

You may need to hunt down brakes and fenders and tires........Retail fenders $30 Retail tires $30 plus. retail brakes $100 plus.
If you have to pay retail you may be in the $160 range or Half that for used if you find what you want. This is of course is an estimate, it could go either way. Things have a way of going up somehow. You still have a close clearance brake and bridge and fork bike, with close fenders that will clog up quickly in the snow. Not good for slush, powder, or anything, below freezing.

This makes the Sub $300 Mountain bike look more reasonable. If you really like the Bianchi, it will make that last longer. Certainly there are many ways to do this. My suggestion is only one. It is may be the most convenient, and least amount of work.

Not sure if it's the most expensive or not. Up front it may be. Over time I'm not sure. It certainly will give you a bike that is easier to keep upright on slippery surfaces. And one that will keep going longer without clogging in a variety of winter snow conditions.

It also depends on what you mean by a winter bike. If you mean a road bike that does not go in ice, snow, slush, etc. just rain and dirty roads, then you may do ok with the Bianchi.

I'm assuming when look out the window right now it looks like what I see in Rhode Island. So I'm thinking snow slush etc.

If you don't mind a little fiddling around or a little hunting for the right thing......the used Mountain bike could possibly be done for $50 as mentioned

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-26-05 at 10:34 AM. Reason: incomplete
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Old 01-26-05, 11:59 AM   #11
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Oh yeah, I meant to add to mine that I agree that a separate beater mtb or road with better clearances may be the way to go.

I suspect the thing is the Brava is a fairly "entry-level" bike (this is in no way to disparage you, Jay, I'm the same way myself). It retails around $600 so to talk about spending another $150 or $200 for a backup bike starts to sound like a lot of suck to somebody who feels like they ponied up some dough to get a $600 bike. I understand that.

Still, $30 fenders + crappy mountainbike at $75 may be the way to go.
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Old 01-26-05, 12:59 PM   #12
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I have an extra set of wheels and tires, and I put on my studded tires when it snows.
However, another commuter at work rides in the same stuff as I do, and he has his summer tire in front and has put a cyclocross tire on the back for winter.
He says he just rides slower if he has doubts about the surface.

The local road maintenance people here use volcanic cinder on the roads to provide folks with traction.
This cinder gets in everything.
I find myself cleaning my chain once or twice a week, and lubricating more heavily than in dry conditions.
My fellow commuter doesn't do any extra maintenance during winter and gets along just fine.

I have fenders and, again, my fellow commuter doesn't.
He has a rack in back and that keeps him from getting a stripe up his back; and, since he changes clothes at work, he doesn't seem to mind the stuff that comes up from in front.

So, I'd say start by trying cyclocross tires, riding slower when in doubt, and maybe paying more attention to lubrication.

That said, both my fellow commuter and I agree on one thing: we both ride in the hours of darkness with 20 watts of lighting.
With careful shopping, a person can get that level of lighting for about $100.
The lighting has made the biggest difference in safe and comfortable riding for both of us.
We could not go back the way we used to do it now that we've experienced adequate lighting.
In the very heart of winter, I need the lights both in the morning and in the evening, but then, I work 12 hour days on the days I work (43 hours a week, on average), and that puts me on the road both earlier and later than most folks.
Still, the lights have made winter much more doable.
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Old 01-26-05, 02:29 PM   #13
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I agree with the lighting issue.
I just bought a "cat-eye like" 5 LED flashlight for $10 at Home Despot.
I have a white LED camping head light and a red blinky on my helmet $15
A blinky on the seatpost $5 and Tireflys $5
$35 total
Enjoy
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Old 01-26-05, 02:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Cox
I have an extra set of wheels and tires, and I put on my studded tires when it snows.
However, another commuter at work rides in the same stuff as I do, and he has his summer tire in front and has put a cyclocross tire on the back for winter.
He says he just rides slower if he has doubts about the surface.

The local road maintenance people here use volcanic cinder on the roads to provide folks with traction.
This cinder gets in everything.
I find myself cleaning my chain once or twice a week, and lubricating more heavily than in dry conditions.
My fellow commuter doesn't do any extra maintenance during winter and gets along just fine.

I have fenders and, again, my fellow commuter doesn't.
He has a rack in back and that keeps him from getting a stripe up his back; and, since he changes clothes at work, he doesn't seem to mind the stuff that comes up from in front.

So, I'd say start by trying cyclocross tires, riding slower when in doubt, and maybe paying more attention to lubrication.

That said, both my fellow commuter and I agree on one thing: we both ride in the hours of darkness with 20 watts of lighting.
With careful shopping, a person can get that level of lighting for about $100.
The lighting has made the biggest difference in safe and comfortable riding for both of us.
We could not go back the way we used to do it now that we've experienced adequate lighting.
In the very heart of winter, I need the lights both in the morning and in the evening, but then, I work 12 hour days on the days I work (43 hours a week, on average), and that puts me on the road both earlier and later than most folks.
Still, the lights have made winter much more doable.
That's an good point Ken. In the winter you are constantly scanning the surface to look for ice, ruts, slush, etc. I find that in the worst bumpy ice, a good light is a huge help.

Do you have a huge mud flap on your fenders that goes almost to the ground? I find that most of the dirt on the chain, comes from the bottom of the front tire. If you make a mud flap that goes to 1" from the ground is a big help, but it must be flexible to go over things. I use two pieces or mtb tube glued together.
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Old 01-26-05, 02:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by powers2b
I agree with the lighting issue.
I just bought a "cat-eye like" 5 LED flashlight for $10 at Home Despot.
I have a white LED camping head light and a red blinky on my helmet $15
A blinky on the seatpost $5 and Tireflys $5
$35 total
Enjoy
Yes I agree with your lighting strategy. I ride in the dark all the time, both on well lit streets and on some unlit paths by the river. Every day.

Total Lighting investment = $17 for Cat-eye front/rear LED combo pack (including batteries).

Some other bikers around here have invested hundreds of dollars in lighting systems. I don't really understand why, unless you're going biking deep in the Rocky Mountains at 3am and there's no moon.
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Old 01-26-05, 04:06 PM   #16
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I kind of got lost in this thread


I have the same exact bike. hey IchbinJay what year is yours?

So back on topic would it be possible to fit wider tires on the bike? like kind of cyclocross tires? something nobby probably.

thanks
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Old 01-26-05, 09:20 PM   #17
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Mine is a brand new 2005. It's got all the right eyelets for fenders and I think I could get some clearance for fenders if I let out the cable a bit. I actually have been riding it with 25c (that it came with) and have had some success. However the snow keeps falling (there's about 2 ft on the ground now) and I really want to find a solution so as I can use just this bike. It's a steel frame so I don't doubt the strength of the frame, it's more the shifters, brakes and drive train that I'm worried about. Does anyone know of any sort of chain guard I could possibly get for a road bike?
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Old 01-26-05, 10:17 PM   #18
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Yeah, I had the same problem. I bought a five year old Giant Yukon off of ebay for under a $100 to use as my bad weather bike. Works great.
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Old 01-28-05, 02:56 PM   #19
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I don't have money to spend on another bike that I can just beat the crap out of. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Why did my bike cost so much if it only has one function? I think that having to buy another bike is a waste of time and money. Screw it. I'm gonna throw some fenders on it and ride it as is. Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?
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Old 01-28-05, 03:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IchbinJay
I don't have money to spend on another bike that I can just beat the crap out of. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Why did my bike cost so much if it only has one function? I think that having to buy another bike is a waste of time and money. Screw it. I'm gonna throw some fenders on it and ride it as is. Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?
Just remember to clean the salt off it frequently. The beater bike suggestion was so the bike you paid so much for doesn't get ruined in the harse winter environment. Salty road spray will corrode bikes fast.

A beater can be found for $50 or even less.
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Old 01-28-05, 03:13 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IchbinJay
I don't have money to spend on another bike that I can just beat the crap out of. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Why did my bike cost so much if it only has one function? I think that having to buy another bike is a waste of time and money. Screw it. I'm gonna throw some fenders on it and ride it as is. Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?
Spend 50 - 100 on a beater bike or spend 50 - 100 on replacing trashed components in the spring.
Save yourself a lot of time cleaning, lubing, and worrying.
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Old 01-28-05, 04:29 PM   #22
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It depends on what you want and like. You do what suits you best. There is no need to spend a lot of money if you don't want to. But you will have to spend some to ride your bike in the winter.

I have three beater bikes for example that are in excellent condition. Two have matching fenders and they work perfectly.
They have not all together cost me the price of a set of fenders. If after the winter you find that you don't like what happens to your bike,then start looking at yard sales and in the trash. I have found a couple of mtb's in the trash that needed nothing except air in the tires. I gave them away.
If you like having one bike that's OK too. It may or may not be cheaper.It depends on what kind of conditions you ride it in.
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Old 01-28-05, 08:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IchbinJay
I don't have money to spend on another bike that I can just beat the crap out of. Isn't that a little ridiculous? Why did my bike cost so much if it only has one function? I think that having to buy another bike is a waste of time and money. Screw it. I'm gonna throw some fenders on it and ride it as is. Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?
Great stuff. I love that part in the end, "Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?" What passion. Many people here have bikes that repairs on their good bike would be more than spending 50 to 100 bucks on a beater bike. So, no it is not ridiculous.
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Old 01-28-05, 08:55 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by recneps345
Great stuff. I love that part in the end, "Are we here to ride bikes or spend money on them?" What passion. Many people here have bikes that repairs on their good bike would be more than spending 50 to 100 bucks on a beater bike. So, no it is not ridiculous.
So true.

If there was not a four foot snow drift in front of the garage door I would go take a digital picture of my $5 yard sale Schwinn Continental. Almost mint, with matching blue fenders from a $10 Schwinn Traveler or something similar.That I gave away. Total investment about $20 with a new tube. I did not count the grease or my repacking everything. That was fun.
This bike is bulletproof. Heck it's bombproof.

What's a new 9 speed DA chain these days? Pretty close?
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Old 01-30-05, 10:07 AM   #25
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I've lived in Massachusetts my whole life and have yet to have a bike become ruined or corroded by salt, sand, snow, rain etc. As a matter of fact it seems to me that it is just the opposite that ruins bike: bikes that sit in sheds or basements become ruined far faster than bikes that are used and kept up reguarly. I do appreciate everyone's advice, don't get me wrong. I just really want to ride the same bike year round. Also, being a mechanic myself, I like tweeking bikes. It's part of the fun for me.

So I guess my next question would be, what is a good brand of full fenders for 23c rims?
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