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Brompton in snow

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Old 02-04-18, 06:43 PM
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Brompton in snow

This has been a convergence of getting studded tires for smaller wheels in our household, 24" on my wife's main bike and 16" for Bromptons, and a significant snowfall over the weekend. My wife wanted to try out the new tires and it was actually the first time for her in the snow. Soon frustrated on her 24" bike, she quickly abandoned me and I had to do some local errand on my 700c on my own.

However, thereafter we tried the Bromptons in the snow and it turned out to be much easier than on a full size bike. This was powder snow on top of iced up road, flattened down in many places by car tires, really rough stuff to ride on. The surprise was how well Bromptons tackled the snow. It seems that the small wheels seek out better any nonuniformites that the tire can grab on to. Obviously keeping the fragile balance is easier with the center of mass of the bike closer to ground. I never thought of Brompton in the context of winter (at the start or end of some, I might have ridden 20" Bike Friday). In any case, this has been a revelation and I will look more seriously at Brompton in the context of winter.
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Old 02-04-18, 09:07 PM
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Just be careful with the snow building up on the rim;
rim brakes' effectiveness is drastically reduced.
My Snowmobile by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 02-06-18, 11:34 AM
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I purchased the studded tires for my Brompton for the winter commute and they were great for that. Never really tried it in the deep snow. Glad it works for both of you.
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Old 02-11-18, 04:28 PM
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You all are brave. I wouldn't even leave the house til all that horrible stuff melted off the street.
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Old 02-12-18, 07:56 AM
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Right now perennial cycles has those tires on sale. 24.00
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Old 02-18-18, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
This has been a convergence of getting studded tires for smaller wheels in our household, 24" on my wife's main bike and 16" for Bromptons, and a significant snowfall over the weekend. My wife wanted to try out the new tires and it was actually the first time for her in the snow. Soon frustrated on her 24" bike, she quickly abandoned me and I had to do some local errand on my 700c on my own.

However, thereafter we tried the Bromptons in the snow and it turned out to be much easier than on a full size bike. This was powder snow on top of iced up road, flattened down in many places by car tires, really rough stuff to ride on. The surprise was how well Bromptons tackled the snow. It seems that the small wheels seek out better any nonuniformites that the tire can grab on to. Obviously keeping the fragile balance is easier with the center of mass of the bike closer to ground. I never thought of Brompton in the context of winter (at the start or end of some, I might have ridden 20" Bike Friday). In any case, this has been a revelation and I will look more seriously at Brompton in the context of winter.
I ride my Dahon Curve with 16" homemade tires (Homemade 16" (ETRTO 305) studded tires for a Dahon Curve) in the snow and ice and it has worked out well. Glad to see that the Bromptons work as well.

I've always imagined that larger diameter tires would be easier, but it is good to hear that you had the opposite experience.

I'd recommend cleaning your bike after riding it in the snow and slush. My bike is parked in underground parking so I am am to rinse off the salt and dirt after each ride without worry about it freezing. Keeping the rims clean means the the brakes will work better and both the brake pads and the rims will last longer.
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Old 02-18-18, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by edelay View Post
I ride my Dahon Curve with 16" homemade tires (Homemade 16" (ETRTO 305) studded tires for a Dahon Curve) in the snow and ice and it has worked out well. Glad to see that the Bromptons work as well.
I followed your thread in fact and am pleased to know that your experiences with Curve in snow and ice have been good too. The commercial 16" studded tires are, in fact, a relatively recent development and I grabbed these tires once they became available, but then they were lying around without getting used.

Originally Posted by edelay View Post
I've always imagined that larger diameter tires would be easier, but it is good to hear that you had the opposite experience.
I continue to ride mostly my full-size bike in the winter as I have plenty of infrastructure set up on it and around it. The fact that its high center of gravity becomes a challenge in winter does not bother me since it is my bread and butter. It has been more of a challenge for my wife. However, for one reason or another I may need to fall back on the folding and it is good to know that I can do it in winter just as much as during any other season. Also the fact that I may be able to pull my wife out riding in winter on folders is attractive.

Originally Posted by edelay View Post
I'd recommend cleaning your bike after riding it in the snow and slush. My bike is parked in underground parking so I am am to rinse off the salt and dirt after each ride without worry about it freezing. Keeping the rims clean means the the brakes will work better and both the brake pads and the rims will last longer.
I ride as much in winter as in summer and I would go nuts if I were to clean the bike after every ride. Except for partial cleaning when the bike comes in for some fixing or when tires get changed, the bike gets in fact its first full cleaning when it gets warm in spring . The bike and chain only get some application of lube/protectant and the process got highly improved with the purchase of Swiss oilers. The one for chain has a brush and it works like a dream .
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Old 02-18-18, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
I ride as much in winter as in summer and I would go nuts if I were to clean the bike after every ride. Except for partial cleaning when the bike comes in for some fixing or when tires get changed, the bike gets in fact its first full cleaning when it gets warm in spring . The bike and chain only get some application of lube/protectant and the process got highly improved with the purchase of Swiss oilers. The one for chain has a brush and it works like a dream .
When I say "clean" I just point a hose at my rims, brake pads, chain, then knock any big chunks of debris off. So more of a "rinse" than a "clean". Also means that I have to do a scrub and lube the chain a lot less too.

What is a "swiss oiler"? Up here that would mean a Swiss hockey player from Edmonton. LOL.
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Old 02-18-18, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by edelay View Post
When I say "clean" I just point a hose at my rims, brake pads, chain, then knock any big chunks of debris off. So more of a "rinse" than a "clean". Also means that I have to do a scrub and lube the chain a lot less too.
To be honest I do nothing of that type, do not even kick the bike. Often the bike is a ball of snow as I come in and it is a ball of snow as I leave. How would I rinse the ball of snow?!

Originally Posted by edelay View Post
What is a "swiss oiler"? Up here that would mean a Swiss hockey player from Edmonton. LOL.
Oh, I bought myself a couple of Reilang oilers, one double-pump and another single with a brush. This happened after I erupted with frustration over the standard $5 oiler cans. Well, for the pair of the Reilang oilers I could have bought a department store bike. Yet my reaction after using these oilers was why, why did I not get them before . It is one of these tools that you apply and you know that they are perfect and that you look forward to using again. Beyond the satisfaction, I am convinced that in a couple of years I will be financially ahead with them in terms of time spent, protectants used up and parts staying in shape.
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Old 02-18-18, 08:15 PM
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Wow. Anybody trying to ride a brompton in the snow is very brave, or just not getting anywhere. I like riding my Pugsley studded 4" wide tire in the snow (a fresh snow of 2" or so is easy) but often the conditions are not good for even that bike. It all depends on the many possible conditions of the snow/ice going on at the time. In most of these conditions, the Brompton just is the absolute wrong bike. Fold it up and get on the bus!
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Old 02-18-18, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sleepycactus View Post
I like riding my Pugsley studded 4" wide tire in the snow (a fresh snow of 2" or so is easy) but often the conditions are not good for even that bike. It all depends on the many possible conditions of the snow/ice going on at the time. In most of these conditions, the Brompton just is the absolute wrong bike.
I think it is good that fatbikes got more people outdoors in winter. However in my observations fat tires provide advantage over regularly sized tires only under very specific conditions and I would say on the average are a hindrance in typical commuting. In the depth of winter I can do statistics just by looking on the ground and checking tracks and they continue to be primarily narrower tires. When it is rough I am proud to see anyone riding no matter what size tires or bikes they ride .
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Old 02-22-18, 11:17 PM
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Bought those 24.00 studded schwalbe I mentioned above and mounted them tonight. When i get a, chance I wI'll give them a try.
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Old 03-01-18, 06:04 PM
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Gave the tires a try. They really grip well on ice, although I didn't get a chance to ride in snow or slush over ice yet. They were easy to mount. They are a lot more difficult to pedal, either due to the weight or perhaps stiffer sidewalls. Those 72 studs on a 349 tire are the same as I have on my 700 C winter beater and I think they are much grabbier. I have a 177% SA 3 speed, 54/13, and found myself using the bottom 2 gears a lot more than usual, rarely having much opportunity for 3rd gear unless going on level ground without a headwind or downhill. Still, if you get a lot of ice on your commute they could prevent a nasty fall.
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Old 03-02-18, 11:47 AM
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My Brompton is my bike of choice in snow for a number of the same reasons. One, it's the only one that generally has studs on in the winter, but that's because of all the other reasons. Two, I can easily drop the saddle a bit so that if I'm in conditions where putting a foot down would help sometimes, I can do so without tools and without worrying the post will slip because I adjusted it in wet. Three, the handling actually seems easier to deal with when it fishtails on deep snow than when the same happens on a bigger bike -- probably, as you said, because the center of gravity is lower?

Finally, if the weather gets TOO bad, yes, I can easily fold it up and take public transit/a cab without figuring out what to do with a full-sized bike. Especially helpful if I leave home in nice weather and after work it's nasty out, although usually that's less about the conditions of the road and more about which coat I've brought.

The poor thing has taken a beating over the years -- it gets chain and rings replaced basically annually, and goes through brake pads like candy, plus I had to have the hinges replaced once because they'd corroded, probably from salt getting in when I folded it covered in wet road grime. But it's my winter commuter, and all those bits still beat paying for gas.
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