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In praise of rain bikes

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In praise of rain bikes

Old 02-08-17, 01:55 PM
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In praise of rain bikes

I know a lot of people use a beater bike of some sort for foul weather commuting and I totally understand that, but there's just something satisfying about having a well-tuned machine that's comfortable, reliable and pretty much down for anything.

This morning was 36F and raining, the kind of weather that makes you look out the window and question whether you really want to spend 45 minutes riding your bike in this slop. My resolve has been a bit low recently, but my car is in the shop so I had no choice but to HTFU. I rarely regret making that decision anyway, and today was no exception. I have the clothing to manage the moisture, and my commuter was purpose built for riding in the rain. Despite the cold and the wet, I honestly enjoyed the ride.



Who else has a rain bike that they love to ride? Let's see 'em!
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Old 02-08-17, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Who else has a rain bike that they love to ride? Let's see 'em!
The winter/wet bike, a modern-ish reinterpretation of the classic British club riders machine.
Light (enough), capable of running 28mm tires w/ mudguards and lively (enough) for long base miles rides at pace on wet rough secondary roads.

For commuting, the real thing.

-Bandera
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Old 02-08-17, 02:37 PM
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No pics, but I actually have three. My Trek winter/rain/city fix gear, steel frame, fenders, Lowriders and 28c Paselas, the Raleigh Competition with its Lowriders, rack, fenders and 35c Paselas and my old Mooney, 32c Paselas, fenders and Lowrider plus rear rack except right now that rack is serving double duty with the Competion. (I have several racks for bikes with seatstay mounts and none of those bikes right now)

All three of these bikes are classy rides.

Ben
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Old 02-08-17, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
The winter/wet bike, a modern-ish reinterpretation of the classic British club riders machine.
Light (enough), capable of running 28mm tires w/ mudguards and lively (enough) for long base miles rides at pace on wet rough secondary roads.

For commuting, the real thing.
Exactly!

I really like your International. That's the next bike on my wish list, maybe with a 650B conversion.

Your Soma looks like it has something my Jake (and I'm guessing your International) lacks...adequate front fender coverage. I really ought to get some longer fenders. I put SKS Longboards on another bike recently and I was amazed how much cleaner they kept the drivetrain.
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Old 02-08-17, 02:53 PM
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I've been using my old race bike with Race Blades as a rain bike, but as everyone knows partial fenders leave a lot to be desired. So I'm going to build up a CX frame so I can fit full fenders.
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Old 02-08-17, 03:02 PM
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This is my more-often-than-not commuter, but it is definitely rain ready.

IMG_1610.jpg
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Old 02-08-17, 03:43 PM
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I've been saying it all along, I almost prefer riding in the rain, my best rides have been rides in the rain.
I ditched the fenders a long time ago, just makes cleaning the bicycle harder. I wear good cheap rain gear stay dry and warm without the fenders.
Wipe the bicycle down with towel to dry it off after he rain ride, all is Great!
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Old 02-08-17, 03:56 PM
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Old pic. Lights have since been transferred to my Trek 850 for the winter. Went on a bit of a diet too...handlebar bag instead of rack/panniers. Bright yellow bar tape now as well an old set of brifters. Bar ends went on a Motobecane Grand Touring I'm fixing up.

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Old 02-08-17, 04:08 PM
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Here's one of mine after yesterday's freezing rain. This is my all-weather bike with studded tires for winter and 37 mm touring tires for the other three seasons. As pictured it is loaded with about 30lb groceries.

IMG_0757.jpg
IMG_0760.jpg

This is my preferred commuter when I'm not hauling stuff:

Giant.jpg
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Old 02-08-17, 05:13 PM
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Just got in on the new space horse with fenders. Works like a dream. Always have fenders! You never know when it will rain.
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Old 02-08-17, 05:21 PM
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Just rode my b'stone BB1 to work; the roads were covered in snow. It may be a beater but it's a heck of a beater. I keep it nicely tuned up and the schwable studded tires are great. Plus the bike has a dura ace crank. All beater bikes need something a bit special like a fancy crank, .

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Old 02-08-17, 05:26 PM
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OP (and others), for a thread about rain bikes, I would have thought I'd see lots of front fenders with flaps that nearly reach the ground. All of these look like they would still spray all over the feet and crankset.

Do you guys just wear waterproof shoes/boots?
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Old 02-08-17, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
OP (and others), for a thread about rain bikes, I would have thought I'd see lots of front fenders with flaps that nearly reach the ground. All of these look like they would still spray all over the feet and crankset.

Do you guys just wear waterproof shoes/boots?
I wear water proof covers over my shoes when it rains. Watch the weather forecast, and when there is over a 50% chance of rain I through my Frogg Toggs (weight about 2 pounds) in my panniers and off I go. I have never got wet nor cold (I layer for warmth) on any ride and I don't use fenders!
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Old 02-08-17, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
OP (and others), for a thread about rain bikes, I would have thought I'd see lots of front fenders with flaps that nearly reach the ground. All of these look like they would still spray all over the feet and crankset.

Do you guys just wear waterproof shoes/boots?
Yep. You're absolutely right. There's a lot of spray from my winter bike, especially from slush. I've been looking for a DIY solution but am hesitant to add anything to the front that might get caught somehow in the wheel.

I do wear shoe covers during the colder months.
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Old 02-08-17, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
OP (and others), for a thread about rain bikes, I would have thought I'd see lots of front fenders with flaps that nearly reach the ground. All of these look like they would still spray all over the feet and crankset.
As @Andy_K noted the Planet Bike Cascadia mudguards/flaps fitted to my Soma are long enough to keep feet/drivetrain as well protected as is reasonable.
Classic Bulemels did as well, if the annoying flimsy front mudflap cooperated (it usually didn't).

As you can see many "modern" fenders lack good coverage for the feet, no doubt a style over substance issue, or something else that I don't understand.
If my Internat'l didn't reside in a drought prone area I'd fashion a front extender out of an empty dishwashing liquid bottle and rivet it place as we did "back when" and slosh on through the toxic soup of herbicide/pesticide runoff, automotive fluid leakage and animal waste we call "rain".

-Bandera
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Old 02-08-17, 05:46 PM
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I know, right? I just put fenders on my bike (well I always had a seat post fender). Its quite nice seeing how wet and muddy it is now. In the summer I'll take them off and just get cooled off on those wet hot days. ;-)

Here is a nice cycleexif example of a good Canadian all weather bike.

A Bit Torrential: Cory's All-Weather Surly Steamroller | Cycle EXIF

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Old 02-08-17, 05:48 PM
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In praise of rain bikes
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I know a lot of people use a beater bike of some sort for foul weather commuting and I totally understand that, but there's just something satisfying about having a well-tuned machine that's comfortable, reliable and pretty much down for anything.

This morning was 36F and raining, the kind of weather that makes you look out the window and question whether you really want to spend 45 minutes riding you rbike in this slop... I rarely regret making that decision anyway, and today was no exception. I have the clothing to manage the moisture, and my commuter was purpose built for riding in the rain. Despite the cold and the wet, I honestly enjoyed the ride.

Who else has a rain bike that they love to ride? Let's see 'em!
Recently I posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
After 40 years of cycle commuting on a year-round minimal one-way 14 mile route [and road cycling and touring], I have [last] year finally assembled IMO, the perfect bicycle fleet:
  • One nearly year-round dry,clean-road bike (carbon fiber road bike,except for deep winter with lingering salt)
  • One year-round wet,dirty-road bike (aluminum road bike, just recently acquired) [outfitted with 30 C studded tires for winter, fully outfitted with trunk bag with fold–out, panniers, computer, clipless pedals and fenders]
  • One winter bike for anything (steel mountain bike with Marathon Winter studded tires always on, for the least possibility of ice
The first two bikes are smooth, easy riding, and easy to carry upstairs; the third is a heavy and significantly tougher ride…I'mvery happy with my Specialized S-Works for dry weather riding but my Cannondale Mountain bike was pretty heavy and cumbersome as a Wet/Winter beater.

So I recently bought the Specialized Diverge Elite aluminum bike as a wet weather beater, and it rides nearly as nicely as the S-Works.The ride and shifting of the Diverge is as smooth as the S-Works, but the feel is more "solid," with 30 C tires. I think this is a great all-purpose bike…

So now, the Cannondale will be reserved completely for only miserable, studded-tire riding, maybe about 3 to 4 weeks during the winter and my riding needs are completely met. I liken my three bikes to a Lamborghini, a Lexus, and a Humvee.
Just yesterday, I rode in similar freezing, sharply pelting rain producing slippery slop on the Roads and sidewalks. I even almost took some nasty spills while walking. Nonetheless I was secure on my 30C studded tires at full pressure (90 psi). This was my first serious challenge to them. Last year I wrote:
Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
The Xerxes is an interesting design for a relatively minimal studded tire. The central ridge makes it a relatively fast-rolling tire in dry conditions at higher pressures, and you must lower the pressure quite a bit for the studs to engage the pavement. They are finicky that way, but I've learned to deal with it.

Today we had some interesting conditions to deal with…I'm happy that I threw the Xerxes on this morning, started them at 40 psi front and 55 psi rear, let additional air out of the front tire until I could hear the studs digging in at 35 psi. Once I got used to the relatively squenchier ride with the front wheelat lower pressure, I felt pretty comfortable and stable, but avoided leaning into any turns (you want more numerous studs for that), to avoid throwing the rear wheel into a death-slide.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the review of those Xerxes tires, @Archwhorides. …I already have Schwalbe Marathon Winters for the Cannondale but I’m eagerly awaiting Back Bay Bikes to get the Schwalbe 30 C studded tires, because I like the wide ones so much. BBB does have the Xerxes currently, but I can’t hold out much longer.

I’m hoping I can ride the Diverge with Marathon 30 C tires safely at usual pressures, as I have done on the Cannondale mountain bike.
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Old 02-08-17, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Here's one of mine after yesterday's freezing rain. This is my all-weather bike with studded tires for winter and 37 mm touring tires for the other three seasons. As pictured it is loaded with about 30lb groceries.

Attachment 552097
LOL, that Bianchi is my bike!

Well, I have half a dozen bikes, but I bought that frame for $30 and built it up with spare parts to have a good beater bike. Gotta like lugged steel frames! But boy, is that Geometry slack. Funny though, all the new "adventure" bikes have the same geometry - long, low, and slack, with plenty of room for 622x42 tires...
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Old 02-08-17, 05:54 PM
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A Bit Torrential: Cory's All-Weather Surly Steamroller | Cycle EXIF
Now that looks like an effective fender! A line from the bottom of the front tire through the bottom of the fender flap is well below the bottom of the pedal stroke.
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Old 02-08-17, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
LOL, that Bianchi is my bike!

Well, I have half a dozen bikes, but I bought that frame for $30 and built it up with spare parts to have a good beater bike. Gotta like lugged steel frames! But boy, is that Geometry slack. Funny though, all the new "adventure" bikes have the same geometry - long, low, and slack, with plenty of room for 622x42 tires...
Okay, I had to search up what 'slack' meant. I don't really notice much difference in handling between it and my other bikes.

I thought about putting on 42 mm tires on it, but wasn't sure if there was enough room between the seat stays, so ended up putting on 37's. It looks like there's plenty of room left.

Mine was a hand-me-down from my sister who was way too small for that frame.
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Old 02-08-17, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
As you can see many "modern" fenders lack good coverage for the feet, no doubt a style over substance issue, or something else that I don't understand.
-Bandera
You may be right about that, but there are still a few out there with sufficient coverage. I've got a set of these on my Norco:

SKS Longboard Mudguard Set | Chain Reaction Cycles

Plenty of coverage on the bottom with the mud flap just a couple of inches from the ground.
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Old 02-08-17, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
OP (and others), for a thread about rain bikes, I would have thought I'd see lots of front fenders with flaps that nearly reach the ground. All of these look like they would still spray all over the feet and crankset.

Do you guys just wear waterproof shoes/boots?
Yeah, shoe covers. I've got PB Cascadias on the bike in my first post, but the flaps still aren't long enough.

I recently built this bike with SKS Longboards, but I'm still too smitten with it to subject it to the daily abuse of PNW winter.



These fenders do a great job of holding back the road spray.
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Old 02-08-17, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Yeah, shoe covers. I've got PB Cascadias on the bike in my first post, but the flaps still aren't long enough.

I recently built this bike with SKS Longboards, but I'm still too smitten with it to subject it to the daily abuse of PNW winter.



These fenders do a great job of holding back the road spray.
Wow! Nicely matched. I had no idea then came in that colour.
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Old 02-08-17, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Wow! Nicely matched. I had no idea then came in that colour.
I actually had the bike powder coated to match the fenders. That is, I was planning the red and cream color scheme and I found the fenders before I picked the specific shades, so I figured I may as well pick the exact shade to match the fenders (RAL 1015, FWIW).
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Old 02-08-17, 06:20 PM
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I only have one commuter and run it with studs in the winter. In rainy weather or down to 25F I wear Pearl Izumi shoe wrappers over my mountain bike shoes, it works fairly well.


I love the belt drive in any inclement weather. The sidewall on the Xerxes studded on my rear wheel began to delaminate, and I replaced it with the heavier Schwalbe Winter 30mm studded, will probably do the same up front.
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