Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Winter is far away, but...

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Winter is far away, but...

Old 07-29-13, 11:25 AM
  #1  
oldlanesign
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 29

Bikes: KHS Flite 100, 77 Motobecane Super Mirage

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Winter is far away, but...

I know... it's FAR FAR FAR from winter, but, I am sure you've all heard about the notorious Chicago winters, and this upcoming one will be my first attempt at full-on commute mode. Snow, debris, the works—I am willing to try and trudge through it on my two-wheel wonder.

I don't have a lot of disposable income, so I need to start a financial plan for my winter bike strategy.

But, which bike to go with? Shall I buy an old vintage beater, strip it down, fender it out, winter tires, etc, OR, go the MTB approach?

I really do prefer road/track style frames and drop bars, but I've never really ridden seriously in the snow before, and I maybe willing to try the MTB approach if it seems more suitable for the conditions. I feel like a road bike with drop bars may not handle very well in difficult winter roads.

See, I have a friend who wants to give me a Schwinn Varsity, and I was planning stripping it and making that my winter ride. However, I may be able to get a reasonably priced MTB, and thought it might be nice when then conditions are pretty rough.

Tread, control, balance, etc. All very important variables.

Suggestions?
oldlanesign is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 11:43 AM
  #2  
bent-not-broken
back in the saddle
 
bent-not-broken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central WI
Posts: 633

Bikes: Raleigh Olympian, Trek 400, 500, 1500, 6700, Madone 6.9, Sekai 2400, Schwinn Passage, KOM, Super Letour, Nishiki Sport, Vision R45, Bike E, Volae Team

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Lots of good info in the winter biking thread as well as a number of links to winter biking web sites. I personally prefer a more upright bike in winter, using both a hybrid and mt bike. Now that my commute is 15 miles I converted a hybrid to a drop handle cross bike. Room for fenders is almost a neccessity for a winter bike.
bent-not-broken is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 12:01 PM
  #3  
Steely Dan
born again cyclist
 
Steely Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Chicago
Posts: 2,398

Bikes: I have five of brikes

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Liked 61 Times in 26 Posts
i've done the winter bike thing in chicago for 4 years now. the first two years were with an old "hybridized" 90s MTB, the most recent two years were with an IGH/disc brake hybrid.

my thoughts:

- i found studded tires to be invaluable after some bad wipe-outs on glaze ice in my first year.

- fenders are your friend.

- i'll take disc brakes over rim brakes for winter biking. others will swear that their rim brakes work just as well, if not better, than disc brakes in winter's messy glop, but that has not been my experience at all. not even close.

- the IGH on my current winter beast is neat and all, but it may be overkill for chicago because the streets are kept pretty well plowed here. a traditional derailleur drive-train will probably serve you fine. you could maybe even entertain thoughts of fixed gear as many winter riders seem to like it for better control of the bike.

- i'm thinking about possibly upgrading to a disc brake CX bike for winter commuting. the IGH thing isn't my favorite, and i prefer drop bar road bike geo's over hybrids.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 07-29-13 at 12:05 PM.
Steely Dan is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 12:09 PM
  #4  
alan s 
Senior Member
 
alan s's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 6,946
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1481 Post(s)
Liked 175 Times in 116 Posts
I've had my rear derailleur ice up a couple times, but my ride is flat, so riding single speed for a while is no big deal. In addition to the bike, you need to think about appropriate clothing and layering. Heard it can be cold and windy in Chicago.
alan s is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 12:12 PM
  #5  
droy45
tougher than a boiled owl
 
droy45's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Rocky Coast of Maine
Posts: 1,125

Bikes: Fetish Cycles Fixation / Fuji S12S / Gary Fisher MTB / Raleigh Grand Prix / Ross Professional / Kent comfort cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The converted MTB will make a fine commuter with studded tires. I used this approach early on and have never gone away from it. I just simply switch to narrow slicks for the summer and the ride seems refreshing all over again year after year. It only hurts a little when switching into the knobby studded tires on Thanksgiving weekend because it makes the bike alot slower until you get used to it. The winter commutes are always much slower due to several factors so you will have to allow more time as compared to summer time.
droy45 is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 12:13 PM
  #6  
spivonious
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Lancaster, PA, USA
Posts: 1,851

Bikes: 2012 Trek Allant, 2016 Bianchi Volpe Disc

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For those who ride in a few inches of snow, is it worth it to get studded tires, or will simple MTB tires work? I rode home in the snow once last year with my almost-slick 700x32s and it was a bit hairy.

Also, OP - you definitely want something to cover your eyes if it's actively snowing. In the aforementioned ride home, my eyelashes had a nice think layer of ice on them by the time I got home (~7 miles). Ski goggles would definitely help.
spivonious is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 12:37 PM
  #7  
squegeeboo
******
 
squegeeboo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 949

Bikes: Specalized Tri-Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've been doing it in rochester since aught 6. Anywhere from 8 - 16 miles each way. Currently at 11-12ish.

Assuming you can't just catch a ride on the truly bad days, or work from home. Here's what I would consider necessary

1. Goggles
2. Studded tires, you can either switch them out as needed, or put them on at the first site of snow and take them off in march at some point.
3. Face mask for the truly cold days
4. Layers based on temp, my first few years I just layered PJ's over my shorts, worked great, now I actually have winter cycling clothes, better/less bulky then the PJ's, but an expensive initial outlay.
Also used to do fall/spring bike gloves with socks with the thumb cut out over them, now I have 2 different pairs of ski gloves.

As for things to consider, but aren't necessary:
Fenders
Disc brakes
water proof layers
booties

Your mileage may vary of course.
__________________
In the words of Einstein
"And now I think I'll take a bath"
squegeeboo is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 01:00 PM
  #8  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,967

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3752 Post(s)
Liked 896 Times in 627 Posts
don't do the MTB (too much work peddling), stick with the road bike, fenders and studded tires. don't think of it as a beater, it's gonna be your main steed for a long time and it deserves respect

my old girl served me well. a roadified hydrid.
the MTB I suited up I nick named "The Tank" was just that and saw only 1 ride.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
hybrid april 2011.jpg (101.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg
DSC_8522.jpg (104.1 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg
DSC_8513.jpg (103.9 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg
1231091417johntest1.jpg (94.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg
1231091417ajohntest1.jpg (91.8 KB, 19 views)

Last edited by rumrunn6; 07-29-13 at 01:03 PM.
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 01:04 PM
  #9  
squegeeboo
******
 
squegeeboo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 949

Bikes: Specalized Tri-Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Additionally, without a lot of maintenance, winter will destroy your bike.

I got my current year round bike in aught 7, it's a specialized tri-cross elite.

I need a new bottom bracket not quite every year, I'm on my 3rd front rim, 2nd back rim, and I get a new chain and rear cassette every year. And 3rd or maybe 4th set of brake/shifter cables, but I don't treat my bike as well as I should. My repair total this spring was something like 800 dollars, should have just bought a new bike for it, but it ended up being 3 seperate repairs over a month.

I'd say I average about 300-400 a year for repairs, but it's also a bike where every part is 50+, and I have a shop do the vast majority, so I'm paying labor as well.
__________________
In the words of Einstein
"And now I think I'll take a bath"
squegeeboo is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 01:20 PM
  #10  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,967

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3752 Post(s)
Liked 896 Times in 627 Posts
still beats car payments of $100-$300 pr month ... or repair payments for an old car :-)
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 02:35 PM
  #11  
oldlanesign
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 29

Bikes: KHS Flite 100, 77 Motobecane Super Mirage

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Excellent. You've all been a tremendous help thus far. I started commuting in March, so I am definitely used to the layering, burka, goggles, gloves, etc. And, rumrunn6, the winter bike will be one man's beater, and my treasure after I put a little work into it!
oldlanesign is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 04:46 PM
  #12  
dynaryder
PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes
 
dynaryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: BicycleSPACE warehouse in SW Washington DC
Posts: 6,980
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by squegeeboo View Post
As for things to consider, but aren't necessary:
Fenders
Disc brakes
Would never ride in rain or snow without these. Fenders keep a bike much cleaner,and I switched to discs after my first commuter's V brakes packed with snow and I glanced off a car.
__________________

C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L/S2E-X
dynaryder is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 04:50 PM
  #13  
no motor?
Unlisted member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 6,193

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1376 Post(s)
Liked 429 Times in 294 Posts
I can't help you with the maintenance part of winter commuting as I quit when it gets too slippery out, but can tell you it's a lot easier to dress for the colder weather and be comfortable than when it's hot out. Layers are your friend then, and those days when the temperature varies quite a bit are easier to handle when you've got multiple layers.
no motor? is offline  
Old 07-29-13, 09:54 PM
  #14  
modernjess
ride for a change
 
modernjess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 2,221

Bikes: Surly Cross-check & Moonlander, Pivot Mach 429, Ted Wojcik Sof-Trac, Ridley Orion. Santa Cruz Stigmata

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
My favorite things for winter biking are in this order

- My Surly Moonlander - ok it's not exactly mandatory but it sure is fun! I'll commute on it when it's snowing.
- Having proper clothing and knowing your options for different conditions - this takes some trial and error (take notes) it is huge factor in long term success
- Studded tires. On my main commuter, Cross Check, For me they make it daily riding possible and much safer.
- Reliable and bright lights with back ups. It's dark as hell out there when the days get short, the roads are sketchy, it's good to see where you're going and be seen.
- Winter boots, I got the 45NRTH boots last year and they are stupid expensive, but they work.
- IGH - I like gears in the winter and the IGH is easiest to maintain.
- Fenders - not a deal breaker, but they can keep you and your bike a little more clean and dry.

Disc brakes are nice but not at all critical. Get some Kool stop salmon pads for the non disc brakes that you do have. They are the best for winter.

Rest assured, Winter WILL take it's toll on your bikes. Lube everything well before the season starts, including your seat post. Try to keep the bike semi clean, car wax on the frame helps repel some of it. And definitely keep the drivetrain well lubed it's easier said than done sometimes. PLan to replace your chain every spring.
modernjess is offline  
Old 07-30-13, 06:12 AM
  #15  
Mikehs
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Little Haseley UK
Posts: 42

Bikes: Many All >40 years old

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Interesting to plan ahead. I moved to the UK (near Oxford) from US and before that Taiwan. My commute in Taiwan was a chaotic 8 miles each way in Shinchu/Jubei. US to close to ride. Now it is 14 miles each way. Googles sounds like a good idea. I am less concerned about the snow and more about the ultra wet/dark roads. Had not thought about my fixed gear bike. How good is this when you have to stop fast and it is wet? I am a bit puzzled. There are no hills to speak of so I do not change gears. My single speed has a flip-flop hub so would it be better as a free wheel and being able to use the breaks vs. fixed. I don't lock my feet at all into pedals so I can get feet down fast. At the moment I was thinking of using my Merida mountain type as a commuter bike.
Mikehs is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
cpf_carrot
Winter Cycling
11
07-28-14 03:11 PM
nbreitholtz
Commuting
12
08-27-12 11:58 AM
thcri
Winter Cycling
4
11-02-11 11:31 AM
Dakota82
Winter Cycling
22
04-11-11 10:42 AM
irclean
Winter Cycling
12
12-22-10 12:12 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.