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Advice sought from Wrenches - Ride bike in winter w/ worn out drive train?

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Advice sought from Wrenches - Ride bike in winter w/ worn out drive train?

Old 12-01-14, 10:32 AM
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hobkirk
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Advice sought from Wrenches - Ride bike in winter w/ worn out drive train?

I'm a snob - I really want to hear from you guys who fix bikes - your experience is almost always pragmatic. That's why I'm posting here instead of the "winter" forum.
  1. My drivetrain is worn out - chain, middle ring (42), cassette (11-34)
  2. My hardware: 105 shifters, Ultegra crank/chain/FD/brakes (I've been upgrading as I replace items), the MB equivalent (XT 771?) RD/cassette (Ultegra RD won't handle 11-34 cassette)
  3. I have new chain/ring/cassette but it seems best to use the current trashed components as long as possible
  4. I live 20 miles west of Boston - we just got 6" of snow, the roads were heavily salted
  5. In the past, I have ridden my 2007 CF Roubaix in winter (I started riding in 2010) - although less and less
  6. The 11-34 cassette allows me to stay in the middle ring (and avoid trashing the 53 & 30 rings)
My only other bike is a 1975 Lotus (bought new, then only rode about 6 months). The RD works poorly (original broke, replaced w/ inferior RD), I have Kool Stops (still bad by new bike standards), and at 69 with a new hip, my always stiff body has even more problems bending down to shift. I replaced the sew-ups in 2010 (I rode this bike for 1,000 miles before springing for the used Roubaix). The bike is a real clunker by modern standards.

Is my thinking sane?

Thank you.
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Old 12-01-14, 10:34 AM
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Winter Cycling
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Old 12-01-14, 10:48 AM
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Well...
First it depends on what winter means for you. For me, it's snow and sanded/salted roads. It EATS drivetrain parts.
But as opposed from dragons, gods and monsters from the past, winter doesn't require virgins for sacrifice.
OTOH slipping/skipping chains can do damage by themselves.
So unless worn to the point of dangerous to me, or to other parts of the bike(excessively worn chain thrashing a crankset etc) I'd try to hold off replacing stuff during winter.
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Old 12-01-14, 11:04 AM
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I'm not sure how much middle road rings are but that could get kinda pricey. If you're really grinding through them I'd look for a steel one. Or maybe get a 50T big ring, see if you can stay in that ring. Big rings are usually way easier to replace than middle rings.

If it was me I'd get a nice, light (26 lbs max) mid-90s rigid MTB for $50-100 and grind through the winter on that. Put some BMX platforms on it and get some nice cozy boots. I have Wolverine now, Rocky is another favorite brand.

I'd probably even spring for a pair of Pogies if I was gonna ride right through a MA winter. I'd get a spare front wheel and do DIY studded tire on it.

Maybe go 1x8.
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Old 12-01-14, 11:16 AM
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I use a pre 80s Mtb.. it wears studded tires , on drum brake wheels I built..

If I were to build new wheels a SA 5 speed IGH w drum brakes would be a Winner ..

But I already had a 6 speed freewheel rear Hub , so That is what I run. now even the triple crank is more than I need Because of where I Live .

Mudguards and a Big Saddle Bag are part Of the Setup (my Abus steel-o-chain lock goes in the Bag)


A steel chainring is a Winner when using it as a 1 by. Surly's suppliers, make them out of Stainless steel .
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Old 12-01-14, 11:17 AM
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Riding through the Winters of the NE rust belt areas have no winners WRT the bikes used. Any bike will get worn/corroded at a FAR greater rate then when used during the other 3 seasons. Si I say just pick which bike otherwise works for you and understand that you'll be doing repairs and stringing things along before the Winter's done. Also assume that the bike won't be the same again. Here, in Rochester, we have a bunch of all year riders that we see at the shop. Usually their first Winter they use the bike they already have and invest a bunch by Spring to get it back to whatever shape can be achieved with their budget. By the second or third Winter they often seek out a Winter bike which is, in their view, disposable and often far simpler then their fair weather bike. Sometimes this Winter bike is that early all year one, sometimes by the third winter that bike is already used up (has frozen BB/post/stem or other mechanically prohibitive cost to continue it's use). Andy.
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Old 12-01-14, 12:29 PM
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My winter/rain/beater bike is a Surly Pacer frame and fork, both heavily treated with Frame Saver, and equipped with a part-box collection of components that are both cheap and expendable. The frame/fork should last indefinitely but the rest of the stuff lives a nasty brutish and short life (to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes). Fenders help but only slow down the damage.
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Old 12-01-14, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
Well...
First it depends on what winter means for you. For me, it's snow and sanded/salted roads. It EATS drivetrain parts.
But as opposed from dragons, gods and monsters from the past, winter doesn't require virgins for sacrifice.
OTOH slipping/skipping chains can do damage by themselves.
So unless worn to the point of dangerous to me, or to other parts of the bike(excessively worn chain thrashing a crankset etc) I'd try to hold off replacing stuff during winter.
1) My winter means roads that have been sanded and salted in recent days. The road has that whitish tinge showing salt did get put down.
2) That's what I wanted to read! Thanks. All these other naysayers...

In my first winter (2010), I did ride a few times when I'd go through snow, but I stopped that. When the snow intrudes onto the road, the shoulders get smaller and I found it too dangerous (for me). In that first winter I also rode when it was really cold (15 F), but I've dialed back on that - 5-10 minutes stationary to fix a flat becomes a scary proposition, and it's too easy to find ice that I can't avoid.

Riding ONLY on days when it's at least 30 and when there's no snow on the shoulders cuts down potential riding days. And on 1/18/2015 I get a new left knee (to go with my new R hip), so that will completely eliminate at least 4 weeks of winter.

Thanks
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Old 12-01-14, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
I'm not sure how much middle road rings are but that could get kinda pricey. If you're really grinding through them I'd look for a steel one. Or maybe get a 50T big ring, see if you can stay in that ring. Big rings are usually way easier to replace than middle rings.

If it was me I'd get a nice, light (26 lbs max) mid-90s rigid MTB for $50-100 and grind through the winter on that. Put some BMX platforms on it and get some nice cozy boots. I have Wolverine now, Rocky is another favorite brand.

I'd probably even spring for a pair of Pogies if I was gonna ride right through a MA winter. I'd get a spare front wheel and do DIY studded tire on it.

Maybe go 1x8.
  1. Giving up my big ring isn't much of a loss. Nowadays 15 mph is a good average speed on a ride that averages 45' of ascent per mile (69, 230).
  2. I've got enough projects - I find stuff like that ONLY if I am NOT LOOKING for it!
  3. I looked at them during my first year!
Thanks
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Old 12-01-14, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Riding through the Winters of the NE rust belt areas have no winners WRT the bikes used. Any bike will get worn/corroded at a FAR greater rate then when used during the other 3 seasons. Si I say just pick which bike otherwise works for you and understand that you'll be doing repairs and stringing things along before the Winter's done. Also assume that the bike won't be the same again. Here, in Rochester, we have a bunch of all year riders that we see at the shop. Usually their first Winter they use the bike they already have and invest a bunch by Spring to get it back to whatever shape can be achieved with their budget. By the second or third Winter they often seek out a Winter bike which is, in their view, disposable and often far simpler then their fair weather bike. Sometimes this Winter bike is that early all year one, sometimes by the third winter that bike is already used up (has frozen BB/post/stem or other mechanically prohibitive cost to continue it's use). Andy.
"Frozen BB/post/stem" and etc. does remind me of some of the issues. Riding on milder days as described above and rinsing off the drivetrain after rides seemed to help. But I definitely agree that winter is much, much harsher on everything.

It's days like today (50, dry) that I want to ride but I wanted to make sure my worn components weren't going to kill anything else.

I appreciate your words.
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Old 12-01-14, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
My winter/rain/beater bike is a Surly Pacer frame and fork, both heavily treated with Frame Saver, and equipped with a part-box collection of components that are both cheap and expendable. The frame/fork should last indefinitely but the rest of the stuff lives a nasty brutish and short life (to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes). Fenders help but only slow down the damage.
Quoting Hobbes - that's sweet. Thanks
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Old 12-01-14, 01:46 PM
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Yes, Acton is great riding! (I raced out of Cambridge in a previous life.)

First thought when I read your post - turn that Lotus into a fix gear. I am virtually certain it has that magic feature, horizontal dropouts. First have it powder coated and frame saved. (I know the NE/midwest rust/salt thing really well, even if it has been decades since I saw it last.) Then I saw your age and hip and realized you really want big tires so you don't fall. They probably won't fit on your Lotus. But an early '80s, probably Japanese sport frame built around 27" wheels would be perfect. Use 700c wheels, the rear fix gear (either with a fix gear cog or a single speed freewheel), put on big enough tires that you feel comfortable, take off the outer chainring, replacing the chainring bolts with single ring bolts and go ride!

That 27" tire frame will be no better than a mid-level frame, heavy enough and with enough wall thickness that one salt winter won't harm it too much. Next summer, while you are not riding it, get it powdercoated and framesaved.

The inner ring of a sport bike of that era will probably be ~40 teeth. A 16 or 17 tooth freewheel or fix gear cog will do just fine.

Grease the heck out of everything including all threads. (Don't and after a salty winter, you will be grunting away trying to loosen this or that and wondering "which is going to fail first, my body, the part I am trying to free, the tool or the frame it is attached to". Phil Wood grease for everything that moves (bearings, etc.), boat trailer hub grease for parts that are seldom moved (BB cups, seatposts and stems, all threads).

I rode a Peugeot UO-8 my Boston and Ann Arbor winters. Fit the bill perfectly. I won't give them universal approval because they are French thread standard which is a pain in the you know what. But you do have Harris Cyclery almost next door and they have and know it all.

Ben
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Old 12-01-14, 03:00 PM
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I tell people to get as much as they can out of worn components for winter riding. As long as you can handle the slop in shifting, and that first ride where you're actually skipping in either certain cogs out back and/or the middle ring, go for it -- hold off on the replacement stuff as long as you can or until Spring, whichever comes first. I work in a shop in York ME, and a guy just asked me this about his drivetrain -- while it was marginal, he can still get a lot of wear out of it, convinced him to ride it through the Winter.

But if you do have to swap out in the middle of Winter, consider cheap components for winter use only, and then swap them out for the nicer stuff in the Spring See if there's a 105 or Tiagra chainring that would work, same level for chain and cass. If there's still wear left in them, save them for the next winter and/or emergency spares.
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