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  1. #1
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Does anyone NOT get a beater for the winter?

    This is my first winter cycling, and last summer and fall I heard about people getting out their "beater bikes", but didn't understand why.

    Now after a couple months of salt (EVIL) and snow, I get it. Thst sutff has ravaged my chain and rear cassette. I'm definitely going to need to replace the chain, and maybe the cassette, too.

    So do ALL you guys have dedicated winter bikes that you just let get crapped up? If not, are there tricks to keeping that awfule salt from corroding the drive mechanism?

    (I heard one interesting idea of using car wax, but haven't tried it as I'm not confident enough yet to take off the cassette.)
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  2. #2
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    My current winter bike is my ex-commuter bike. We get less salt and I guess it's somewhat less slushy here too, so winters are not so bad for the mechanics. I just keep the drivetrain lubed and relatively clean.

    It's nice to have a winter bike with studded tyres permanently on. Makes leaving home in the mornings easier, as I don't have to change tyres / wheelsets.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  3. #3
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    What do they do to the roads instead of salt? Plow and sand?
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  4. #4
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    It's quite often too cold for the salt. Well, not THIS winter it hasn't been, but otherwise. Then it's plow and sand.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  5. #5
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    My year-round commuter has internal gears, drum brakes, and a partially-enclosed chain. These features make it very resistant to salt and sand. I put the studded tires on in December and take them off in March. I do have a backup bike (always good to have a backup bike) but it is too fragile for routine winter commuting and clearly not a beater.

    Given that my bike (including an upgrade to a hub dynamo) cost about $1,000, this is not the cheapest solution. If you do get a beater, I would suggest a singlespeed, since a good beater should be mechanically reliable.

    Paul

  6. #6
    Senior Member landrover's Avatar
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    i change out my wheelsets.
    i mothball my Velocity Deep V ATB rims for a pair of low end performance rims.
    my winter biking is confined to asphalt and a little gravel so i don't punish em.

  7. #7
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    It's just fun to have a bunch-o-bikes.

  8. #8
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    Sorry to introduce myself to this forum with an equipment rant, but I don’t really buy into this beater mentality the way most everyone else here does. The years that I used a bike with a bunch of cheaper parts, they just corroded faster since (1) I was a lot less likely to do maintenance and (2) generally the metal is lower grade.

    The last few years I have actually been riding my freeride bike in the winter, hydraulic disks and full suspension, and by far the priciest bike I own. Toronto is the salt capital of the country, since nobody can stand the thought of snow tires on their car.

    Is the salt bad for my bike? Probably. Have I noticed after three years? Hardly. I replaced a brake piston one spring that had some corrosion on it, but that may have had more to do with abuse during the previous summer. The chain eventually gets corroded, but come on, its a chain, and it's usually so stretched from pulling a 40lb bike with studded tires around that I have to replace it anyways in the spring. Better bikes have more aluminum, ti, etc and more corrosion-resistant steel. Wash all the salt off it when you get home, do the regular maintenance you should have been doing anyways, and it will be fine. Really.

    The benefit is brakes that actually stop me when covered with snow, tires that hold the road, and a bike that I know isn’t going to crap out because I got it out of a dumpster somewhere. And I must say the suspension is nice when I hit god-knows-what-hazard lying on the road or trail under the snow. My real bike just seems safer to me, and a lot more fun.

  9. #9
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    My "beater" is my year round commuter. This is not to imply that it is a low quality bike, but it is built to be beat on. It doesn't have boutique parts that break when you look at them funny, or attract theives like flies to a steaming pile of crap. I select beater or comuter parts based this criteria: First, it has to be reliable, and relativly economical, Second, it should not be particularly new tech, or pretty.

    I do make some changes to my bike for winter abuse. I remove the cassette and rear deraileur, and replace it an old toasted deraileur as a tensioner and a single cog. I sometimes throw on winter pedals, as they take abuse too. Everything else holds up OK, you just have to give it more frequent maintenance. I'll usually have to replace the hub cones after a winter of riding, for example.

  10. #10
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    >The last few years I have actually been riding my freeride bike in the winter, hydraulic disks and full >suspension,

    I've been thinking about hydraulic discs in the winter. How do they hold up? It would be awesome to have brakes that work consistantly in the slop. I wouldn't mind putting one on the front of my bike if I was confident it would last. How much maintenance do you do on those brakes? How often do they require bleeding, pads, rotors, etc?

  11. #11
    dam this is fun ! STEEKER's Avatar
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    NOPE I have two bikes I use all year round and switch the tires on one for winter the only thing is the chain that gets rust the cogs are fine and clean up easy besides I change my chain in the spring once a year do to the stretch and mile's I put on it BUT if I did not have a safe place to lock up my bike inside I would get a beater due to the crack heads stealing bikes like mad here..Steeker

  12. #12
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    About the discs, I have Y2K Hayes Mags, the old ’champagne’ set, and they have required almost no maintenance. I replaced one front piston, 30 bucks or so, in 2002, and have bled the front a few times. The back brake, over it’s five-year run, has required absolutely no maintenance whatsoever. I bled it once as a make-work project. Pads last about a year on average, for the hard compound hayes pads, six months for the softer compound pads that MEC sells for cheap.

    The braking power is pretty good in the snow, and the feel of the brakes doesn’t change much from 30C to -30C. I have a 160mm Rotor in the back that loses a bit of grab when there is a lot of slush on it, but the 205mm rotor in the front is better. I actually enclosed the front rotor in one of those disc covers that T.H.E. Products made a few years back, which keeps it dry enough that it feels like it does in the summer and doesn’t squeal in deeper slush.

    Not everyone’s experience has been as good with hayes cheaper brakes though... The HFX brakes have had some people filing grievances on some of the DH and freeride forums. The Avid cable discs however, have no shortage of glowing endorsements. My dad used them on his freeride rig and they grab pretty well when wet as well.

  13. #13
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    Probably all of my bikes are beaters in some peoples minds. I use my older Trek 4300 for the snow,slush, ice. I also ride it in the summer as well.

  14. #14
    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    I'm a strong opponent of the "winter beater bike." You need a good bike in the winter even more than in nice weather. You just need to maintain it. After every messy ride, wipe down the bike. Concentrate on the drive train. Drip (don't spray) chain lube on the links. Even if you have to replace the chain, they're cheap. I just bought two for $13 each from Nashbar.

  15. #15
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranger
    Probably all of my bikes are beaters in some peoples minds. I use my older Trek 4300 for the snow,slush, ice. I also ride it in the summer as well.
    Word.

    The winter riding I've done has been on my 12 year old Bianchi mtn bike. My road bike is an 80-something Fuji 12 speed. We haven't been on the Tandem since Thanksgiving. My girlfriend has primarily been riding her '69 Schwinn Typhoon, but thats her favorite bike in the summer too (the road bike only gets used for workouts, the mtn bike hardly at all).

  16. #16
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    I'm just amazed at what the salt has done to my chain and rear cassette. The body of the bike seems fine, and I haven't noticed anthying weird about the rims.
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  17. #17
    Riding is Praying Shorty's Avatar
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    Yep, When I mean beater I mean a tough bike, not a cheap one. I don't change components, I just clean them regularly with citrus degreaser. Than actually removes most of the rust. I also try to lube regularly so stuff can't freeze up.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    I'm a strong opponent of the "winter beater bike." You need a good bike in the winter even more than in nice weather. You just need to maintain it. After every messy ride, wipe down the bike. Concentrate on the drive train. Drip (don't spray) chain lube on the links. Even if you have to replace the chain, they're cheap. I just bought two for $13 each from Nashbar.
    I have to echo Daily Commute...
    I want my winter bike to be reliable... I really don't want to break down at -30c.

  19. #19
    steel/campy/tubie Junkie Evil_Gilligan's Avatar
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    You've all heard my "ride a decent bike" rant here ... I agree with ghettocruiser 100%

    (just wanted to get a halleliuya (sp?) in there ....)

    Good gear lasts longer and never fails to please you no matter what the conditions.

  20. #20
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=ghettocruiser]About the discs, I have Y2K Hayes Mags, the old ’champagne’ set, and they have required almost no maintenance.

    That's really impressive. I find my V brakes are really poor in the cold, they don't modulate well. When it is wet, things get way worse, for the first 2 or 3 wheel revolutions, almost no response, then they grab really hard. In snow or on ice this is dangerous. Then there is the rim wear. Even though I don't brake very often, the pads are always scuffing the rim, especially on the back. I can wear through a rear rim in one winter. With the experience you've had, sounds like discs are a practical option. Any opinions on the mechanical discs? I had seen some positive reviews of the avids.

    I'm thinking of building up an aluminum MTB frame I have lying around with some discs for next winter. Probably single speed.

  21. #21
    . . . rosebud . . . Diggy18's Avatar
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    Right on with the V-brakes. I noticed that in temps below maybe 25 or 20F, it seems like the rubber just gets too hard to modulate, like you said. And have you ever ridden through any amount of water in low temps? The water freezes on the rims in an instant. I need a trick to get ice off the rims while on a ride. Should I carry a lighter or something?
    "There'll be time for complacency when I'm six feet under. "

  22. #22
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    I don't ride a beater in the winter. I ride my only bike, which is rather junky and beaterish any time of the year!

  23. #23
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    Try spraying lock de-icer while riding or just pull over and do it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    I actually purchased a new Norco Scrambler back in 2001 rather then use an old beater. This is a relatively low to medium end bike and if I remember correctly it cost me around $359 CDN at the time.

    My thinking was that I like to ride through the woods in the winter and as much as possible I would rather avoid a breakdown if possible since the effects of a breakdown in the winter are potentially much harsher then in the summer months.

    That bike has worked well for me every since. I clean the chain and replace the chain yearly but that's about it for yearly replaceables. The bike is also used in the summer with a tire switch as a loaner bike for friends who would like to go for a ride with me in the woods but don't have a good bike themselves.

    ~Jamie N

  25. #25
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
    Wash all the salt off it when you get home, do the regular maintenance you should have been doing anyways, and it will be fine.
    This is exactly why I have a beater winter fixie with fenders.
    I ride it and leave it in the garage until next ride. Maybe once every couple weeks I'll add a few drops of oil to the chain.
    No cleaning, no components to check, no worries....
    Enjoy

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