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Explain the rain bike to me

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Explain the rain bike to me

Old 10-17-15, 08:40 PM
  #1  
rms13
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Explain the rain bike to me

It doesn't rain where I live so I don't need one but I frequently see people on forums using steel bikes for rain bikes. Isn't that counterintuitive since steel rusts. Shouldn't you use carbon or ti for rain?
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Old 10-17-15, 08:48 PM
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It cannot be explained, because rain bikes make no sense. Why have a bike you don't like as much as the others just because it might get a little abuse. That's what bikes are for, not to be preserved. But then I refuse to ride in the rain anyway so what do I know?
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Old 10-17-15, 08:54 PM
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I don't understand why people live in areas that get enough rain to justify having a bike specifically for rainy days.
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Old 10-17-15, 08:56 PM
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My old Allez has:
- bigger tires to run lower pressure for better wet grip.
- race blades fenders, always attached.
- a non leather saddle that's OK to get wet.
- dura ace 7800 best stopping brakes ever.
- threaded bottom bracket that won't creak after it's wet.

It might get more use with el nino this year.
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Old 10-17-15, 08:56 PM
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Before sealed bearings and carbon, I had a rain bike. It kept the expensive bike in usable condition longer. I no longer own a rain bike. We have rain here, but that is it. I would probably have a different approach if I lived in a place that used salt and other products on the steeets.
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Old 10-17-15, 08:57 PM
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In the main, it's really quite easy to understand the rain bike concept.

Rain equals water. Water equals wet. Wet equals fenders.

Most race bikes don't play well with fenders. Simple.

It's really no more tricky than that to understand.
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Old 10-17-15, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
In the main, it's really quite easy to understand the rain bike concept.

Rain equals water. Water equals wet. Wet equals fenders.

Most race bikes don't play well with fenders. Simple.

It's really no more tricky than that to understand.
This, plus my rain bike is my only road bike that doesn't have a tensioned leather saddle. Even in San Diego, where it hardly ever rains, it rains enough to justify a bike that can better deal with wet conditions. And with the coming El Nino, I expect my rain bike to get some more use.
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Old 10-17-15, 09:19 PM
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My "rain bike" is aluminum, so I dunno...

Also, it's just the least expensive of my road bikes but still a favorite. In fact, I probably ride it more miles than my other two road bikes combined.
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Old 10-17-15, 09:31 PM
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Being a "So Cal" guy also, I totally see this. I've got a couple hybrids that I'd probably ride if I *had* to ride in the rain. (So far I've only been "caught" in the rain when hoping it wouldn't. Takes quite a bit of cleaning & lubing after I'm done which is a PITA, but not intolerable)

Biggest thing I'd say is.....My best hybrid cost $700 brand new. My current EVO.....$3K. (Wet = more slippery than dry. Thus rain bike)
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Old 10-17-15, 09:42 PM
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i used to ride i want stay gor ride but no have time now but happens i got in rain before i had steel road bike. i have steel and luminum road bikes. Carbon fiber bike no have buy yet i want one but so many cracked fail carbon fiber frames online i not know what to do to buy or not. How strong how long you have your carbon fiber bikes. One man i work toogether is buy generic no brand name carbon fiber frame from china and put ultegra groupset and fulcrum wheels and make one really nice carbon fiber bike too is weight i think 16 pounds. that make my bikes feels so heavy i have steel bike weight 26 pounds one aluminum road bike i have is weight i not remember good but maybe is 23 pounds.
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Old 10-17-15, 10:01 PM
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What some people call rain bikes, we call "thrown-downs", or "beaters", or "loaners", here in CA.

It's just a designation for a bike that they don't mind getting cruddy, or using in cruddy conditions where the bike may suffer over time.

Being in SoCal, I don't have a rain bike, but I usually have a bike designated for high risk situations, or for loaning out, so I don't risk one of my "good" bikes.

The last memorable "beater" I had was a Peugeot of indeterminate origin that I picked up for $5 one day when I was at PickAPart looking for car parts.
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Old 10-17-15, 10:05 PM
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Aluminum, fenders, sealed bearings, ceramic rims, rain tires, bar end shifters, Ultegra drivetrain. Not a beater, just specialized for its purpose. What's so hard to understand?
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Old 10-18-15, 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
In the main, it's really quite easy to understand the rain bike concept.

Rain equals water. Water equals wet. Wet equals fenders.

Most race bikes don't play well with fenders. Simple.

It's really no more tricky than that to understand.
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Aluminum, fenders, sealed bearings, ceramic rims, rain tires, bar end shifters, Ultegra drivetrain. Not a beater, just specialized for its purpose. What's so hard to understand?
OP's question was very specific. Some people use steel frames for rain bikes, and that's what he doesn't understand.
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Old 10-18-15, 01:49 AM
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all of my bikes are steel, so they have spent many thousands of miles in the rain to no ill effects. as long as the bike doesnt live outside and has a chance to dry out its no big deal. even after completely overhauling everything and taking everything apart the only places ive found rust has been on bolt heads which for the most part are the same on aluminum and crabon bikes.

its similar to many peoples fears of the carpet fibres, its not gonna crumble and fall apart like a 1950 dodge pickup in the front yard of a hoarder.

ps: my "rain" bike is the only one with a leather brooks on it and its doing fine. my ass does a great job of sheltering it from the elements
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Old 10-18-15, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
It doesn't rain where I live so I don't need one but I frequently see people on forums using steel bikes for rain bikes. Isn't that counterintuitive since steel rusts. Shouldn't you use carbon or ti for rain?
Yes and most do. Generally, a winter or rain bike is older and heavier and trades off durability and wet weather protection for performance.

When I started riding with a group 8 yrs ago there were a couple of people, myself included, who had steel bikes. Mine broke and out of 50 or so members I don't think anyone is riding steel any more. There are a few left in garages but I don't see them out much.
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Old 10-18-15, 03:57 AM
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23 years old, untold number of rain miles, no rust. You could eat out of the bottom bracket shell. Just wipe the grease out. You just have to take care of it and use frame saver to be safe.

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Old 10-18-15, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
Shouldn't you use carbon or ti for rain?
I live in a land of seasonal drought where rain also comes seasonally in winter.
Winter miles are base miles, taking the advice of former US Nat'l coach "Eddie B" my winter/wet bike is an older one equipped with full fenders.
When Captain Fast stays home because the roads are damp properly equipped riders are out on the road not getting soaked in toxic road spooge on fender equipped bikes.
Not the set-up for posing at Starbucks or racing in District championships but effective in less than ideal conditions.

Practical versatile frames designed with fender mounts in CF are still rare so steel it is.
I have steel frames that have been ridden in all weather for decades without melting or crumbling into rust.
Oddly enough the mfgs are aware that their steel framesets were to be used outdoors and provide a durable finish.

-Bandera
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Old 10-18-15, 07:19 AM
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Carbon and even aluminum are relative latecomers to cycling. Titanium I don't know. But steel bicycles plowed through all conditions all year long for decades before other materials were an option. And the steel bikes that were maintained, and stored out of the worst elements, survive just fine.

There are reasons for avid riders to prefer one material or the other, but rust does not need to be a reason.
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Old 10-18-15, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
It doesn't rain where I live so I don't need one but I frequently see people on forums using steel bikes for rain bikes. Isn't that counterintuitive since steel rusts. Shouldn't you use carbon or ti for rain?
For many people they have steel road bikes because a key feature of that kind of bike for them is inexpensive. And that typically means steel and has little to do with whether or not steel is the best material in those conditions.

dave
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Old 10-18-15, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
I don't understand why people live in areas that get enough rain to justify having a bike specifically for rainy days.
Well ... some people like variety. I LIKE riding in rain - but I am likely to ride any of my bikes with fenders in rain. I don't have a Rain Bike per se.

And all my bike but one not yet ready to ride are steel - rust normally only becomes an issue on bike that are in damp storage long term.

I suppose I should not even broach the joys of riding in rain or snow, eh?

Also - any excuse for N+1 ... Rain works.
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Old 10-18-15, 07:30 AM
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My rain bike can become a crit bike if I take the fenders off.
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Old 10-18-15, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by DinoShepherd View Post
In the main, it's really quite easy to understand the rain bike concept.

Rain equals water. Water equals wet. Wet equals fenders.

Most race bikes don't play well with fenders. Simple.

It's really no more tricky than that to understand.
+ 1.
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Old 10-18-15, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13 View Post
It doesn't rain where I live so I don't need one but I frequently see people on forums using steel bikes for rain bikes. Isn't that counterintuitive since steel rusts. Shouldn't you use carbon or ti for rain?
Old steel bikes are cheap, available, and tend to have larger tire clearance. If one rides in the winter, in an area with salted or sanded roads, everything is going to age and wear quickly, so the rain/winter bike concept is about having something to take the abuse, at a disposable price point.
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Old 10-18-15, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by colombo357 View Post
OP's question was very specific. Some people use steel frames for rain bikes, and that's what he doesn't understand.
Ah, well IMO many people use old steel bikes because they regard them as disposable. Sure, if you maintain an old steel bike you can get it wet and it'll still last a long time. However the fact that it's old simply underscores my previous sentence. I built my rain bike specifically to do that job. Other than changing out worn drivetrain components, oiling the chain, and washing it occasionally, I haven't "maintained" it.

These days I mostly ride our tandem in the rain. It happens to be steel, too bad. However it has CK hubs, so good. We only have the one, so I put fenders on it in winter, take them off in summer. My rain bike now mostly sees duty as my roller bike, for which it is also well suited by design. No damage at all in about 6 years of roller bike duty.

If I were to build a new rain bike today, I'd probably use a Nashbar frame again, but the carbon CX one. Don't know what I'd do for hubs. CK are the only truly reliable, no maintenance wet weather hub, but I'm not wealthy. I'd go discs since the Mavic ceramic rims haven't been made in many years and use painted alu rims of some sort. Ultegra drivetrain again, mechanical.
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Old 10-18-15, 08:27 AM
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For me it comes down to maintenance, weather and road conditions. I tend not to keep my Trek FX that clean. I justify that because it was cheap & I don't give a crap if it's dirty. So I ride it in the rain & other crappy weather. It helps that it has 28s for tires. When it's incredibly windy I ride the FX cus I stay within the city where the wind is blocked by buildings rather than out on the open highway where I'm battered because it's so flat here. I can keep my road bike clean & undamaged by avoiding our pothole filled city & rainy weather.

So for me it has nothing to do with frame material, more to do with tires, cost of bike and location of where I'm riding.
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