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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 12-29-13, 04:01 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: southern NH
Bikes: Salsa Vaya in bright orange
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Do mudguards work in winter... or are full fenders the way to go?

Hi everyone, I'm a newbie here and this is my first post. I'm also a newbie to winter road cycling, and so wanted to post a question... but I'll get to that in a moment.

I'm trying to get sorted for a New Hampshire winter riding my Salsa Vaya. It's a steel 'light touring' bike and I just got my Nokian Hakkapeliitta studded W106's mounted. I had the option of 700x35 or 700x45 sizes, and stupidly chose the wider 45s. I say stupidly because when it came time to mounting a fender, I found that the plastic SKS Velo 55 set I bought won't clear the tire. So my options now are these:

1. Ride fenderless this winter
2. See if I can return the Nokian 45 tires for the 35 size and then use my fenders. Not sure if Peter White Cycles will let me do this (I haven't ridden the tires yet, but they are mounted obviously)
3. Install a set of 'Mudguard' fenders like the Crud Racepac, where the front 'fender' is basically a plastic shield that straps onto the downtube (as opposed to mounting on the front fork and covering a decent amount of tire) and the rear fender simply clips onto the seat post.

I am uncertain how much protection a 'mudguard' will offer. Will it deflect enough water and slush to make winter riding pleasurable (within reason), or will it give only minimal protection?

Or should I go the route of trying to negotiate a tire swap and ride with a full fender?

Yikes, I screwed up with this plan!

Thanks for any comments or suggestions!

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Old 12-29-13, 04:33 PM   #2
John Nolan 
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If you plan to ride in snow and slush I'd use full fenders for sure. They make a difference.
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Old 12-29-13, 04:41 PM   #3
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Welcome to BF.

Don't be too hard on yourself about picking the larger tires. A new commmuter setup is always a little hit and miss as to what components play well together. I've heard great things about the 45's and have had good luck with the 35's for several thousand miles.

I've tried several different component lists for my winter commuter and have found that full fenders (with the front mudflap touching the ground) is the way to go. Keeps the bike and drivetrain nice and clean. Pretty much everything else I've tried has the front tire throwing a lot of slushy crap at the bottom bracket and drivetrain.
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Old 12-30-13, 06:27 PM   #4
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Mission Accomplished!

Thanks everyone for your exceedingly helpful feedback!

I drove up to Peter White Cycles this afternoon, just an hour north of hear in sunny... I mean cloudy and cold... New Hampshire. Peter graciously took back my wide 45 Hakkes and swapped then for a set of 35 wide ones. You should check out his website, as he has interesting treatises on things like studded snow tires, dynamo lights, wheels and almost anything to do with touring.

With the skinnier and smaller replacements I easily mounted my SKS fenders. As soon as I can find some winter boots that fit me, I'll get my beast out on the road. I'm glad I have real fenders on my bike!

One thing worth mentioning: Lake MXZ 302 winter boots run very small. I usually wear a size 47, but the normal-width Lakes in 48 were too tight, especially in width... and I have a narrow foot. I ordered up a pair of 48 Wides, so I'll see how those do... I've never worn a wide shoe before, but the Lake's foot last must have been based on a ballerina's foot or something similar! For some reason lake doesn't make a size 49... and the jump to a 50 would have to be absurd for me.

Also, ordered some Shimano SH- MW81 boots in case the Lakes don't work out. No shop around here stocks anything larger than a 46 in a winter boot, so I have to resort to mail order. All the great prices I found will be wiped out by return shipping fees.. oh well!

By the way, I'm ordering from and they have excellent prices and free shipping for us east coast cyclists.
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Old 12-30-13, 06:38 PM   #5
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Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.
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