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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 08-22-13, 11:19 AM   #1
mcallaghan
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Winter Conversion

I've got a Surly Disc Trucker, running Marathon Plus tires. However, with my new job, I'll be able to ride my bike to work all winter, along with going on deliveries around town. Living in the Rockies, at around 8000ft, means we spend around 6 months with snow every year. So I'm starting to think about how to convert my Disc Trucker into a Winter Commuter.

For tires, I'm thinking the Marathon Winter will be the best to go with. Also trying to figure out a cheap wheelset I can mount them on so I don't have to wrestle with tire changing come the fall. And again in the Spring, where the weather will change frequently and it'll be easier to change wheels vs tires to adapt to the conditions.

Is this a smart idea?
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Old 08-24-13, 06:21 AM   #2
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I honestly wouldn't waste my money on an extra wheelset. With weather changing back and forth, eventually you are going to make a bad decision and ride in on unstudded tires, especially once you get a feeling in the spring for how fast they are (plus even changing wheelsets takes time). That is when you will wipe out, and hopefully emerge unscathed but shaken. I speak from personal experience (changing between bikes, not wheelsets, though).

If you do go with a second wheelset and have 26" wheels, you can buy decent disc mountain wheelsets for around $100 (I often use Jenson USA). For 700c disc, I am not aware of as cheap of options, though you could get a 29er wheelset (same bead seat diameter) in the $150 range; I personally start building wheelsets at this price point, since you can get a better wheel for the money. If you go the mountain bike wheelset route, make sure you don't run too narrow a tire on them.

Regardless, try to figure out what sort of snow you will be riding. Does your area plow the roads/paths religiously, so you only need to deal with ice? Will you be riding on lots of packed snow? If packed snow, you don't need as many studs (they are there for ice, which you will surely hit, just maybe not in large quantities), but a wider tire helps you float over snow helps. If you will be riding significant ice, get lots of studs so you don't get knocked over when climbing out of an ice rut. If you are riding lots of snow and ice, well, get a wide, heavily studded tire.

Either way, make sure you are spending your hard-earned money on carbide studs, not steel studs. The former last years (I have 2-3000 miles on mine, and they are going strong), while the latter may last a year.

Last note; get fenders, or get soaked with sandy, salty slush.
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Old 08-25-13, 12:37 PM   #3
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IDK about The other tires , My Nokian studded tires are extremely long wearing

I read that Schwalbes Rubber compound needs Aging before Mounting so It wont shed Studs in use.

Admittedly Im not using my studded tire as long as you will .

Here black ice is an occasion not a season.. Im still using the same [26" 1.9" wide] tires

now 20 years later .. still has all the studs ..
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Old 08-26-13, 08:04 AM   #4
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The bike path is plowed regularly during the winter, so a lot of ice. It also snows a lot up here, so there will be plenty of days (and sections I am sure) where I will be riding through snow.

My disc trucker is my touring bike, so is fitted with front and rear mudguards already, along with disc brakes, which is why I'd prefer riding it in the winter over my Mtn. Bike.

I have an old (15+ years) Mtb Bike, but no mud guards on it (and not quite sure I could get some that would fit) which could be an alternative option.
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Old 08-26-13, 01:06 PM   #5
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Mine is an old pre 80 MTB I added mudguards .. the wheel build I did, used drum brakes

rims, Snow Cat, from All Weather Sports in Fairbanks, Alaska
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Old 08-26-13, 01:11 PM   #6
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studs & fenders
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