Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 23 of 23
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    US
    Posts
    588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Tried to Cycle in 12" of Snow

    and failed. The snow was so high that my feet and pedals were digging into the snow. Is it possible to cycle in these conditions? While pedaling it felt like the crank arms were slipping? I'm not sure how to describe it. What's causing this and how to get over it? I had fenders on and I'm wondering if snow just accumulated between the tires and fenders causing me to stall? I was using a road bike. I've been on ice and snow a few times before but not with this much snow.

  2. #2
    2_i
    2_i is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek 730, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M6R, Trek 830, Dahon HAT 060, ...
    Posts
    1,324
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There are snow bikes, also called fat bikes, that take 3" wide tires. I think that this is what people use to ride on top of deep snow. I saw one guy in our area commuting on such a bike. While our conditions have not been yet calling for such a bike, the bike was not quite out of line with the surrounding. The guy was actually moving quite fast on top of ice and snow nonuniformities. The latter could have been still coped with using moderate tires, I think 44mm in my case, but slowly compared to that guy.
    Last edited by 2_i; 01-29-14 at 08:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Regina, SK
    My Bikes
    2009 Trek 520
    Posts
    886
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The notion that fatbikes can ride on top of deep snow is false. Fatbikes still need a compressed based on ride on, the level of compaction needed to keep from sinking is much less than a normal bike, but there are limits. Under certain conditions (moisture content of snow), up to a certain depth you can compact the snow on the fly, but it takes a huge amount of effort to keep plowing forward. The snow I typically encounter is very dry and doesn't pack, so it doesn't need to be too deep to make me bog down.

  4. #4
    2_i
    2_i is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Trek 730, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M6R, Trek 830, Dahon HAT 060, ...
    Posts
    1,324
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by gecho View Post
    The snow I typically encounter is very dry and doesn't pack, so it doesn't need to be too deep to make me bog down.
    So have you got a fat bike? Do you use it much? Would you buy it again?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St.Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,626
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Fat bike tires are more like 4" - not 3".

    There is no way a normally equipped bike is getting through a foot of new snow.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    '75 Sekine, '90 Giant Mtb, 09 Trek 2.1
    Posts
    830
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by gecho View Post
    The notion that fatbikes can ride on top of deep snow is false.
    +1. Even my 5 ft x 2 ft sled will sink with 150 lbs in it. Apparently bikes with 4 in low pressure tires can handle deeper snow than my 2 inch tires, but there isn't anything magical about them. One thing I think might be a really big plus is the control and traction you can get with a wide tire and very low pressure. I'm just starting snow biking, on 2.3 inch tires at < 15 lbs, which I swear should be pinch flattening, and get nice traction and control. Higher pressures not so much. Ugh.

    OP - I cannot imagine going through that much snow on anything. Sheesh. More than about 4 inches and I'm carrying the dang bike. Are you using chains or something?
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    US
    Posts
    588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Of course, I'm using a chain. I've had this slipping-like feel in the crank arms while pedaling in significantly less snow before and want to know what's causing it. This is with the soft powdery stuff with no more than four inches I'm guessing.

  8. #8
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    NW Minnesota
    Posts
    2,537
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I also notice that "slipping crank" feeling when riding in some winter conditions. I came to the conclusion that it was actually the rear tire (Schwalbe Winter 700x40) breaking traction when I would start mashing to maintain momentum in deeper snow. It seems to happen more when I stand than when I sit and spin in a lower gear. I've felt something similar when I rode on damp sandy gravel and would stand during climbs.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    St.Paul, MN
    Posts
    1,626
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by RoadTire View Post
    ...Are you using chains or something?
    Quote Originally Posted by Rimmer View Post
    Of course, I'm using a chain.
    Nice.

  10. #10
    ride for a change modernjess's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Bikes
    Surly Cross-check & Moonlander, Pivot Mach 429, Ted Wojcik Sof-Trac, Ridley Orion. Santa Cruz Stigmata
    Posts
    1,941
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Fat bikes (and their riders) have their limits in snow. I own one and live in a snowy frozen hellscape. A foot of fresh powder is most likely beyond the capability of most fat bikes and riders. There are a lot of variables that go into it but with fresh snow a lot has to do with how much moisture is in the snow and how compactable it is or not. You just have to get out in it and see how it goes. I've had some really great days in 8 inches of fresh snow, and some really awful days in 4 inches of super wet crud. Anything that is already compacted is usually very ridable.

    With that said, rider fitness is a HUGE factor. I feel like many times I'm limited not by the bike or the snow but by my fitness level. It takes a lot of effort to ride snow. I'm a big guy and getting old so generally I'm moving slowly in the snow albeit with a smile on my face.

  11. #11
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Norwalk, CT
    My Bikes
    2012 Cruzbike Sofrider, 2013 Cruzigami Mantis
    Posts
    2,583
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
    Fat bikes (and their riders) have their limits in snow. I own one and live in a snowy frozen hellscape. A foot of fresh powder is most likely beyond the capability of most fat bikes and riders. There are a lot of variables that go into it but with fresh snow a lot has to do with how much moisture is in the snow and how compactable it is or not. You just have to get out in it and see how it goes. I've had some really great days in 8 inches of fresh snow, and some really awful days in 4 inches of super wet crud. Anything that is already compacted is usually very ridable.

    With that said, rider fitness is a HUGE factor. I feel like many times I'm limited not by the bike or the snow but by my fitness level. It takes a lot of effort to ride snow. I'm a big guy and getting old so generally I'm moving slowly in the snow albeit with a smile on my face.
    Maria Leijerstam rode a trike with fat tires to the South Pole. She commented during her documentary that she figured out at the end that by really pushing it, she was able to go over the loose stuff much more easily because she didn't sink in. Clearly rider fitness is going to have a huge effect on whether or not (or for how long) you can pull something like this off.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    I'm band already? lubes17319's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    in a ditch
    My Bikes
    wheels, brakes & bars
    Posts
    1,000
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I ride with lots of fatbikers & we usually end up walking the same sections.
    I can count on 1 hand the times over the past 5 yrs where a fatbike was able to roll where my anorexic 2.4" tires forced me off my bike.

    The traction/control when you're rolling in the slickery stuff is where I feel fatbikes shine.
    Who cares what your bike weighs, just ride it!

  13. #13
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    North of Canada, Adirondacks, NNJ
    My Bikes
    2013 Additions: 1981 Schwinn SS, Miyata Terra Runner, Colnago Super, PX 10, Stumpjumper
    Posts
    4,259
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein

    If you're too lazy to research and read up on it, ask Siri

  14. #14
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    central ohio
    My Bikes
    96 gary fisher 'utopia' : 99 Softride 'Norwester'(for sale), 1972 Raleigh Twenty. Surly 1x1 converted to 1x8, 96 Turner Burner
    Posts
    1,260
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The last time I rode in 12" of snow I was doing a lot of walking. And if I had to do it again, I would reconsider. I've ridden thru many snowstorms. But thru previous experience, I have my limits now. I think 6-8" are what I know I can handle and still ride. Its going to be an adventure, and I'll be doing a lot of handlebar wrestling getting thru that deep of snow, and I know I have to leave at least a half hour earlier than normal to make it to work on time. The worse part of riding in deep snow are the ruts from traffic. Being able to hold a steady line thru a car tire track helps a lot. But if its undisturbed then that makes it a little easier. And in those conditions I don't think having 4" tires over 2.4" tires would make that much of a difference. But I don't have any experience with 4" tires so maybe someone else can elaborate on that.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    My Bikes
    '75 Sekine, '90 Giant Mtb, 09 Trek 2.1
    Posts
    830
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by lubes17319 View Post
    I ride with lots of fatbikers & we usually end up walking the same sections.
    I can count on 1 hand the times over the past 5 yrs where a fatbike was able to roll where my anorexic 2.4" tires forced me off my bike.

    The traction/control when you're rolling in the slickery stuff is where I feel fatbikes shine.
    I have been thinking the same thing more or less after just plain a lot of reading forums, no exerience though. On the MORC site there is always a call for fatbikes to pack the trail and frequently the idea that skinny 2.4 tires make big ruts comes up. Might be some truth to that - 4 inch tires do better packing of trails than our "anorexic 2.4" tires. But think of the weight penalty also those wheels and tires are heavy.
    Awarded 2014 Billy Madison "Ultimate Insult" by jsharr. Must have been something about my rambling, incoherent response...

  16. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    US
    Posts
    588
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    I also notice that "slipping crank" feeling when riding in some winter conditions. I came to the conclusion that it was actually the rear tire (Schwalbe Winter 700x40) breaking traction when I would start mashing to maintain momentum in deeper snow. It seems to happen more when I stand than when I sit and spin in a lower gear. I've felt something similar when I rode on damp sandy gravel and would stand during climbs.
    I'm thinking maybe that's what's causing it for me. I'll try lower gear next time.

  17. #17
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Montana U.S.A.
    My Bikes
    Too many to list, some I built myself including the frame. I "do" ~ Human-Only-Pedal-Powered-Cycles, Human-Electric-Hybrid-Cycles, Human-IC-Hybrid-Cycles, and one Human-IC-Electric-3way-Hybrid-Cycle
    Posts
    1,170
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That "crank loose" feeling when the rear tire breaks traction is one of the reasons I prefer a crank forward, flat footed frame geometry like some cruiser and dutch bikes have. That seating position although less aggressive for "mountain biking" type throwing your weight around does consistently keep more of your weight on the rear traction drive wheel and reduce slipping, also with less weight on the front tire it tends to take less effort for the front tire to cut through fresh snow.

  18. #18
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Minneapolis MN USA
    My Bikes
    Trek 4300
    Posts
    837
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I live in a snowy frozen wonderland and am enjoying my first winter with a Pugsley. It does not make one unstoppable. It seems to me that there are levels of snow that any bike could handle, and there are levels of snow that would stop any bike, and then there are the levels in between. The fat bike lets a person go in conditions that would stop a narrower bike, but as conditions worsen, they get to the point where even the fat bike won't go. I got it because I wanted to add a few days to the total number of days in a year when I could bike to work, and am accomplishing that goal. If I had to make a sound bite for the Pugsley, I would say, "The Pugsley makes it possible, but it doesn't make it easy."
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a Krampus, which uses 3" tires, and the main advantage I notice over my old bike is that I have more leeway to lower the tire pressure. Like some people posted above, the worst snow to ride in is the heavy, wet stuff. When it gets right around the freezing point and things are half-melted, I find it almost impossible to keep my front tire from floating all over the place. Drop fifteen degrees from that and the snow starts to get hard and crunchy, making it easier to handle.

    With fresh powder I'd say my limit is around four inches. The stuff is so light and fluffy I can just plow through it, but I still have trouble keeping control after a certain point. With more dense snow my limit would be around two inches. A more skilled rider could probably keep control in more snow; after enough practice maybe I'll be there one day. I definitely don't see any bike at all riding through a foot of snow.

  20. #20
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    My Bikes
    2 many
    Posts
    13,551
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The crank slipping is the back tire slipping. At 6" your pedals hit the snow. That's very difficult to keep going. I did about a mile once. I had to stop and rest a few times. The wide tires of fat bikes under some snow conditions are harder to push through the deep snow because they are wider, like 5 inches of soft snow on pavement. In conditions like that I can ride a lot farther on my 2.4" tires, than 3" or 4" tires.
    No one rides a bicycle in 12" of snow. In 5" of snow there are often deeper drifts to stop you.
    Been riding on ice as snow as much as possible starting in 1968 on motorcycles, and 1995-6 on Mountain bikes.

    The conditions here today allow my little dog to walk on the crust without sinking in. While I beak through every step. Good exercise. Soft snow today with a hard crust is too much work to ride.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  21. #21
    Transportation Cyclist turbo1889's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Montana U.S.A.
    My Bikes
    Too many to list, some I built myself including the frame. I "do" ~ Human-Only-Pedal-Powered-Cycles, Human-Electric-Hybrid-Cycles, Human-IC-Hybrid-Cycles, and one Human-IC-Electric-3way-Hybrid-Cycle
    Posts
    1,170
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    . . . No one rides a bicycle in 12" of snow . . .
    Not trying to be an obnoxious nit-picker (but maybe that be what I am doing) but that statement isn't an absolute.

    I've ridden in snow that was not only that deep but deeper, but it was snow that was packed hard enough by the snowmobiles that had been using the trails that I rode on top of it and only sunk in a couple inches or so. If its soft and you sink in the full 12" then I would agree that very few sane people rides a bicycle in that stuff, can't rule out the possibility of some nut somewhere doing it though although I bet he/she has a heck of a time doing so !!!

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    My Bikes
    2 many
    Posts
    13,551
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    Not trying to be an obnoxious nit-picker (but maybe that be what I am doing) but that statement isn't an absolute.

    I've ridden in snow that was not only that deep but deeper, but it was snow that was packed hard enough by the snowmobiles that had been using the trails that I rode on top of it and only sunk in a couple inches or so. If its soft and you sink in the full 12" then I would agree that very few sane people rides a bicycle in that stuff, can't rule out the possibility of some nut somewhere doing it though although I bet he/she has a heck of a time doing so !!!
    No it's not an absolute, but it was less trouble to word it that way.

    The way I worded it, to me means IN snow as in soft snow sinking all the way down. I have done it. and so have others, but after a while they will eventually stop. It's not remotely practical to go anywhere. It's easier to walk. The pedals when down are about 6" off the ground. I also included the word "bicycle", as I have done it plenty of times with 25 to 50 HP.

    I would describe riding on snow packed by a snowmobile or other traffic, like cars, as being ON snow. The roads around here get packed hard once in a while, with studded tires that's fantastic.

    The local off road bike path here gets solid hard ice with 3" deep footprints and ruts in it. I ride over that all the time with studded tires.......................no not ALL the time. frequently? often? periodically? As often as I can?

    If you get a chance try and ride a mile in 12" of snow and report back here. I tried to go 1.5 miles, I gave up around 1 mile. I was close enough to a road to ride home on a road down to about 5-6 inches.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    6367 km away from the center of the Earth
    Posts
    934
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by turbo1889 View Post
    If its soft and you sink in the full 12" then I would agree that very few sane people rides a bicycle in that stuff, can't rule out the possibility of some nut somewhere doing it though although I bet he/she has a heck of a time doing so !!!
    Hey ho. i did it .....ok not in 12" ...... but in 20".
    I wouldn't call it riding as it was more like..... walking than riding.
    Must be the reason why it took me so long.

    This mile long (walk) took me maybe 1hr of a 12 hour ride.
    I have done some hard workout in my life but pushing a bike that dig in snow all the way to the ground and don't want to move at all for 1hr long while trying to move your feet that dig too, was probably the hardest work out i have done in my life. (Number 2: MMA military style work out ex equo with climbing a stiff hill on a loaded heavy bike at a big gear ratio)

    A few things that make it harder in this situation:
    -when you push too much on the handlebar when everything is stuck the rear wheel rise up so when you push the bike you can only push with one hand on the handlebar while the other hand stays on the saddle to prevent the rear wheel from leaving the ground
    -from time to time you can't even push the bike because the snow is too deep or too hard to cut through so you have to lift the front wheel to move again
    -if after a while you want to give up and go back, you can't because you have as much work to do the other way
    -you have no idea where you put your feet (mind work out)
    -you have to do it knowing that if something happen.... it's not like a busy highway


    Quote Originally Posted by Rimmer View Post
    and failed. The snow was so high that my feet and pedals were digging into the snow. Is it possible to cycle in these conditions? While pedaling it felt like the crank arms were slipping? I'm not sure how to describe it. What's causing this and how to get over it? I had fenders on and I'm wondering if snow just accumulated between the tires and fenders causing me to stall? I was using a road bike. I've been on ice and snow a few times before but not with this much snow.
    What i believe happened is that your rotating wheels add parallel to the ground linear motion to your crank arm and that your crank arm doesn't rotate at the same speed as your wheel. So your crank arm slide on snow.
    When your crank arm is at a horizontal position your pedal at the back until your crank arm is horizontal again and your pedal is at the front, your bike and crank arm go in the same direction (at least a part of it does) so speed add up. Relatively to the ground your pedal go faster than your bike. As you keep pedaling you crank arm and your bike don't go in the same direction so speed don't add up. And relatively to the ground your pedal is slower than your bike.
    Knowing that your crank arm is probably shorter than your wheel radius, while riding your pedals probably move a little bit like the prolate curtate and curtate cycloid depending on your gear ratio and wheels and assuming that your wheels don't skid i believe. Perhaps someone can confirm it or not.

    Last edited by erig007; 02-11-14 at 08:09 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •