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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 10-24-12, 08:44 PM   #1
sbs z31
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first time winter commute

I started a thread in the commuting forum but was told to come here. Anyways, I would like to start commuting this winter and was wondering what you guys think of this bike and if It's up to the task of MN winter cycling.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/gravity/g29ss.htm

I also have a old steel Schwinn road bike that I can build up but I'm not sure if rim brakes will be good for winter cycling. Any advices and tips will be much appreciated, thanks in advance!
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Old 10-24-12, 09:02 PM   #2
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That is a really nice bike for the money as much as I hate to admit it. If you are new to bicycle mechanics you should try to find a local co-op or shop that can help you set the bike up right.

I have seen far too many customers come into the shop with a Bikes Direct bike that was no where close to the right size or being assembled correctly. If you know what you are doing they can be good bikes though.
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Old 10-24-12, 09:16 PM   #3
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That is a really nice bike for the money as much as I hate to admit it. If you are new to bicycle mechanics you should try to find a local co-op or shop that can help you set the bike up right.

I have seen far too many customers come into the shop with a Bikes Direct bike that was no where close to the right size or being assembled correctly. If you know what you are doing they can be good bikes though.
Thanks for the advise and I have only been cycling for almost 6mos but have build my own singlespeed bike and another singlespeed bike for my brother. Not saying I know everything but enough to know how everything works. I guess I'll stop by the lbs and take their free winter cycling and maintenance class and get fit for a mountain bike frame. I want a singlespeed with disc brakes that wouldn't brake the bank and this one seems to fit quite well but only thing I don't like is it doesn't have the eyelets for full fenders.
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Old 10-24-12, 10:13 PM   #4
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That is a pretty good plan, take any free classes you can. If it makes you feel any better, full coverage fenders on a bike with horizontal dropouts can be a pain anyways. Whenever you have to change a flat you have to take the fender loose enough that the wheel can clear it as you try to pull it back out of the frame. You can certainly rig something for the fork to make fenders work and just do a fender for the rear that is more of a mudflap to still keep you from soaking your pants riding through slush.
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Old 10-25-12, 03:07 PM   #5
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Going to the winter cycling and maintenance class tonight, I guess they recommend me to bring in a winter bike but sadly I don't have one yet so I'll just go there to listen and ask questions lol. Now I'm actually looking forward to the snow and getting really excited!
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Old 10-25-12, 03:39 PM   #6
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HI sbs,

As far as fenders go you can make do with a zip tie mount like I have here.

I don't know if you plan on running studded tires or not but be warned 29er studs are quite expensive compared to 26" wheels.

Other than that have fun and enjoy the ride.
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Old 10-26-12, 09:51 AM   #7
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Went to the class last night and figured out what I need. My brother has a pos huffy mountain bike that I'm just going convert to a singlespeed, order the nashbar singlespeed conversion kit that comes with the chain tensioner, English to Euro bb so I can use my old Schwinn crankset an bb, get a used Wheelset, cool stop salmon pads and some fenders. I'm hoping to keep everything under $150, it's a winter beater so I figure I could just use what I have and save myself some money.
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Old 10-26-12, 01:35 PM   #8
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You would be better off get an older used steel mt bike instead of a huffy.
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Old 10-26-12, 01:52 PM   #9
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Personally I wouldn't run a single speed for a winter commute unless it was a very short one. Even a modest amount of unplowed snow can have you rethinking this decision in a very short amount of time.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:01 PM   #10
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I run a "dinglespeed" in the winter. My 29er SS has 33/36 chainrings up front, and 22/25 cogs in back. Thus a 33/25 set up for easier pedaling when it gets a bit tougher going, or the 36/22 when everything is moving fine. Just a thought. As long as the teeth add up the same, you can change it back and forth without any tension issues.
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Old 10-26-12, 08:57 PM   #11
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I run a "dinglespeed" in the winter. My 29er SS has 33/36 chainrings up front, and 22/25 cogs in back. Thus a 33/25 set up for easier pedaling when it gets a bit tougher going, or the 36/22 when everything is moving fine. Just a thought. As long as the teeth add up the same, you can change it back and forth without any tension issues.
I thought about a dingle setup but my budget won't allow it. My commute is 8mi one way and I've been riding a singlespeed for about 5mos now so muscling through hills wouldn't be much of a problem and I'll be on the street most of the time. Thanks to all who has replied!
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Old 10-26-12, 09:30 PM   #12
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There is a good chance the single speed conversion kit will not work on the huffy. A huffy is likely going to use a freewheel and those kits are designed around cassette hubs. You can still use the tensioner on the multi speed freewheel but the tensioner may end up rubbing the cogs.

I will second the idea of trying to find a quality older mountain bike (like a 20ish year old Rockhopper) and starting with that. You should be able to find one very cheap on craigslist.
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Old 11-10-12, 06:12 PM   #13
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So I decided to use my extra Schwinn road bike frame as a winter bike. I've spent about $100 total on this build and this include a used mountain bike fork, new tektro cantilever brakes, used crankset, used clipless pedals, used 26x1.75 tires, used fenders, used 26" front wheel, used rear 26" coaster hub wheel and a new Kmc chain. Pretty much all I have left to do is wrap the drop bar and put on the front fender, this thing is really fun to ride. I'll upload a picture of it in a little bit.
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Old 11-11-12, 09:36 AM   #14
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So I decided to use my extra Schwinn road bike frame as a winter bike. I've spent about $100 total on this build and this include a used mountain bike fork, new tektro cantilever brakes, used crankset, used clipless pedals, used 26x1.75 tires, used fenders, used 26" front wheel, used rear 26" coaster hub wheel and a new Kmc chain. Pretty much all I have left to do is wrap the drop bar and put on the front fender, this thing is really fun to ride. I'll upload a picture of it in a little bit.

would love to see a pic of this
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Old 11-11-12, 11:43 AM   #15
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Personally I wouldn't run a single speed for a winter commute unless it was a very short one. Even a modest amount of unplowed snow can have you rethinking this decision in a very short amount of time.
I always ride multi-gear bikes in winter, but it's not unusual for something to freeze up on the RD and your bike suddenly becomes an SS.

Come spring you have legs like barrels.
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Old 11-11-12, 05:03 PM   #16
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Sorry for the poor quality picture and I'll have a picture of the bike later tonight once I install the front fender and wrap the bar.
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Old 11-12-12, 07:20 PM   #17
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Here it is, drop bar wrapped and front fender is on.
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Old 11-17-12, 06:43 PM   #18
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I thought about building my own studded tires but decided it is probably better to just buy a pair from the lbs. Picked up a set of nokian 26x1.95 studded tires for $130, guess I'll need to lay off of skidding for a while lol.
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