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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 10-28-12, 06:42 PM   #1
Mithrandir
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Winter/Rain Bike

I'm thinking of building a bike for the dual purpose of riding in Winter and Rain. This won't be for utilitarian purposes (at least not initially), just recreational riding for exercise and fun.


So I've read that the perfect Winter bike has the following characteristics:

* Aluminum
* IGH
* Belt Drive
That being said, I am wondering if I can get away with avoiding those three features, specifically, I've fallen in love with a 2013 Salsa Vaya frame (white/blue), which as we all know is steel. Also, the rear triangle doesn't have a gap so a belt drive is out too. And finally; the rear dropouts are for derailleurs, so an IGH isn't a possibility without some sort of chain tensioning device. That being said the available IGH's out there either have too few gears for me (moderately hilly area) or are too expensive for the ones that do have enough gears.

So my initial build would look something like this:
* Salsa Vaya Frame
* Shimano 105 Triple Crank
* Shimano 105 shifters
* Avid BB7 Disc brakes
* Shimano 12-30 Cassette (may consider 11-34 for big hills)
* Shimano 105 level derailliers (or Deore if I end up going with 11-34 cassette)
* Some sort of full-coverage fenders (I tried SKS Longboards before, I wasn't very impressed. They had nice coverage but they wobbled like crazy no matter how much I adjusted them.)
* Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires for Winter
* Undecided on the tire for rainy days. Perhaps a cross tire or touring tire.

So given that this bike would be ridden for recreation, and not out of necessity, I don't anticipate that I'll regularly ride it during heavy snow/rain; light rains and snows will probably be the worst I'll go out in. In that case, will this work, or am I likely to have issues with the steel/derailleur setup?

Thanks!
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Old 10-28-12, 07:13 PM   #2
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My winter bike is steel, V brakes, chain drive and MTB derailers (7 speed trigger shifters).
If it gets really cold so that the gears start icing up I just don't ride. I'm wimpy like that.

PS. Although most car drivers around here handle ice and snow quite well there are still a significant amount of the phenomenally clueless who make riding on snowy or icy roads a high risk activity.

Last edited by Waxbytes; 10-28-12 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 10-29-12, 11:45 AM   #3
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Wat does winter mean for you? What is heavy snow? In fact, keeping the bike good lubricated is the basis. Wet conditions means using enough grease so the water doesn't stick to the moving components. Also clean derailleur cables, if possible entirely in outer cables, are very important. Don't forget a good maintained body, you don't want it to freeze in the middle of your ride.
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Old 10-29-12, 12:13 PM   #4
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That will work great. You don't mention wheels. Hubs are important for rain and cold. Chris King work best. Otherwise, anything with sealed bearings. In heavy wet snow, your cassette will ice up. So will your glasses and everything else. Don't ride then. OTOH, even in such conditions you'll still be able to ride as a SS. The chain will keep one cog and ring clear.
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Old 10-29-12, 07:33 PM   #5
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My winter/rain bike is fixed gear. I don't worry about cables freezing, crud in deraileurs, cassettes icing up, destroying my rims etc.. All i do is take off the chain in the spring and get a new one. On the same wheels for 6 years, same cog, and second chainring.

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Old 10-29-12, 09:34 PM   #6
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That is a bike I would be happy to ride through the winter.
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Old 10-31-12, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
That will work great. You don't mention wheels. Hubs are important for rain and cold. Chris King work best. Otherwise, anything with sealed bearings. In heavy wet snow, your cassette will ice up. So will your glasses and everything else. Don't ride then. OTOH, even in such conditions you'll still be able to ride as a SS. The chain will keep one cog and ring clear.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of the hubs. Was thinking of just going with the standard Deore XT that I use on my roadie.

Looked into the Chris King's, a bit pricey, and I can't find any in 36h blue anyways. Any other suggestions?


I've got ski goggles to handle freezing glasses. Just arrived today; Scott Notice OTG. They fit really nice... only problem is I have no idea where to mount my eyeglass mirror! Heh. Going to consider a handlebar mirror...
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Old 10-31-12, 03:03 PM   #8
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I think an IGH is overkill for most situations.

I like single speed for winter. Cheap, light, and very little to go wrong.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
I'm thinking of building a bike for the dual purpose of riding in Winter and Rain. This won't be for utilitarian purposes (at least not initially), just recreational riding for exercise and fun.


So I've read that the perfect Winter bike has the following characteristics:

* Aluminum
* IGH
* Belt Drive
That being said, I am wondering if I can get away with avoiding those three features, specifically, I've fallen in love with a 2013 Salsa Vaya frame (white/blue), which as we all know is steel. Also, the rear triangle doesn't have a gap so a belt drive is out too. And finally; the rear dropouts are for derailleurs, so an IGH isn't a possibility without some sort of chain tensioning device. That being said the available IGH's out there either have too few gears for me (moderately hilly area) or are too expensive for the ones that do have enough gears.

So my initial build would look something like this:
* Salsa Vaya Frame
* Shimano 105 Triple Crank
* Shimano 105 shifters
* Avid BB7 Disc brakes
* Shimano 12-30 Cassette (may consider 11-34 for big hills)
* Shimano 105 level derailliers (or Deore if I end up going with 11-34 cassette)
* Some sort of full-coverage fenders (I tried SKS Longboards before, I wasn't very impressed. They had nice coverage but they wobbled like crazy no matter how much I adjusted them.)
* Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires for Winter
* Undecided on the tire for rainy days. Perhaps a cross tire or touring tire.

So given that this bike would be ridden for recreation, and not out of necessity, I don't anticipate that I'll regularly ride it during heavy snow/rain; light rains and snows will probably be the worst I'll go out in. In that case, will this work, or am I likely to have issues with the steel/derailleur setup?

Thanks!
if you want to waterproof a steel frame use some clear epoxy paint

My bike has an aluminum frame and IGH but i don't have a belt drive.
A "rustproof" chain works just fine

Regarding the need of tensioning devices with an IGH. I don't follow why
Removing a few links from the chain and a jump stop chain does the trick
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Old 11-08-12, 01:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post

So my initial build would look something like this:
* Salsa Vaya Frame
* Shimano 105 Triple Crank
* Shimano 105 shifters
* Avid BB7 Disc brakes
* Shimano 12-30 Cassette (may consider 11-34 for big hills)
* Shimano 105 level derailliers (or Deore if I end up going with 11-34 cassette)
* Some sort of full-coverage fenders (I tried SKS Longboards before, I wasn't very impressed. They had nice coverage but they wobbled like crazy no matter how much I adjusted them.)
* Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires for Winter
* Undecided on the tire for rainy days. Perhaps a cross tire or touring tire.
When most people think of a winter, crappy weather bike, I don't think this is what they have in mind. Winter takes a toll on bike parts. Not necessarily the frame, but the little bits seem to get rusted all to heck. That seems like an awesome bike to me, especially if you are building it up new. If you have the means and inclination though, definitely go for it.

I have had the same problems with derailleurs freezing up that most people mention here. If your commute is conducive for it, a single speed (fixed even better) is great for slushy fun. The problem for me in winter though, and I ride through everything from dry roads to deep, untracked snow, is the variation in effort needed due to the varying conditions. I use two different bikes each day for my commute. A single speed is tough for me on the leg of my commute that is 10 miles. In the winter snow, I prefer gears for that leg. The 5-mile leg is easier and usually cleared of snow more readily, so a single speed works fine.
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