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Old cheap road bike for winter commuting

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Old cheap road bike for winter commuting

Old 01-05-16, 08:32 AM
  #1  
devio
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Old cheap road bike for winter commuting

I am looking at purchase my first commuter bike and I prefer the clean look of a road bike versus a hybrid/ATB. At this point in time I would also be planning on using the bike during the non winter months and I would prefer a road bike for that.

My question is, how big of a mistake is it using an old (70s ) bike for the winter commute. I do not get tonnes of snow where I live but it still sticks around for a while. Other threads suggested aluminum wheels and wet weather break pads and fenders. Is there anything else I would need? The bike in question is a CCM Targa for $40.

Thank you,
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Old 01-05-16, 08:52 AM
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CCM were mostly mass-produced low end bikes so the relative merits aren't going to stack up very well. I'd say it depends on how rideable it is and what you'll have to replace. $40 isn't that big of a mistake regardless.
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Old 01-05-16, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
CCM were mostly mass-produced low end bikes so the relative merits aren't going to stack up very well. I'd say it depends on how rideable it is and what you'll have to replace. $40 isn't that big of a mistake regardless.
Thanks wphamilton,

The bike itself is in good condition with new tires. However, I will need a new seat and tune up, and along with the fenders, aluminum wheels and new break pads I am assuming the cost will start getting up there.

In terms of a mistake, I am less worried about the monetary but more a safety/usability of the bike itself. Is it a bad idea to use this bike as a winter commuter?
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Old 01-05-16, 09:13 AM
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I'd get a used mtb with alloy wheels over a cheap road bike for winter commuting; for not much more than the initial $40 outlay, you can get a better bike that will take fatter tires.

Regardless of which bike you get, you are going to want to be able to fit fairly robust tires and fenders for winter commuting. Studded tires are great for winter commuting. If you don't get a lot of snow or if your roads are cleared up well, continental winter contact tires are also a good choice.

Bottom line is pick the right tire and use fenders to keep the crud off of you.
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Old 01-05-16, 09:39 AM
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I don't do snow, other that 2 or 3 days every few years, so for me a winter bike is just one that I don't care about as much. So I can't advise on suitability for those conditions.

I'd be concerned about having to mess with it to keep everything working.
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Old 01-05-16, 02:23 PM
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There's 2 problems, both related to tire clearance:
1. Road bikes often cannot fit studded tires. Without studded tires you don't have any grip on ice. Tread helps with grip on snow.
2. "Clean Look" or not, if you don't have fenders, then your bike will kick up the stuff on the road onto you any time there's rain or melting snow - around winter this can be pretty awful, you get the black gunk on the road that's salt, sand, and road chemicals that they put down on the road all over you and your bike. I don't usually use fenders during the summer, but during winter's just to nasty on the road when it's around freezing not to use them.

Those are my thoughts.
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Old 01-05-16, 03:32 PM
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The Targa in my opinion is a really big mistake. You'd need to change so much stuff that it's not worth it.

Depending on where you are you can get a decent MTB for winter riding. The more upright position lets you avoid the nasty solid chunks of stuff on the roads. The fatter tires (2.125" full knobby) give great grip in the snow and if the pressure in them is reduced a lot they can be ridden on black ice without you having to have studs on them. i commuted in Toronto Canada on my MTB throughout the winters. I NEVER used studded tires. What i did do was go to an outdoor ice rink late at night. That would be an temporary ice rink the City built for the winter. I'd let some air out of the tires and then practice riding on the ice. Braking was done mainly on the REAR brake. Turns were done slowly with little leaning. the result of this was that I could SAFELY ride to work or home when it snowed and the streets hadn't been cleared yet. The experience of riding on the ice rink really paid off whenever I hit black ice on the road since sometimes I'd slip a bit but the bike never went down.

An MTB can be converted to a drop bar tourer reasonably inexpensively too. I've seen 26" MTB tires as narrow as ONE INCH in a catologue although you'd need narrow rims for them.

Cheers
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Old 01-05-16, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
An MTB can be converted to a drop bar tourer reasonably inexpensively too.

Cheers

I did this once and found the cost of replacing the shifters was pretty expensive. It is a lot more than just a set of bars...
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Old 01-06-16, 07:26 PM
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A bike forums member told me that you don't want to be leaning forward too much on snow and ice because it takes weight off your rear wheel. I'm building my winter beater with upright bars. I'll see how his theory works in my riding.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:14 AM
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My winter commuter is a '76 Nishiki International. The main problem with using a 70's-80's road bike is they come with 27 inch wheels and you can't get studded tires in that size. On the plus side these bikes usually have enough room to fit a wider tire, especially when you convert them to 700c. They also have eyelets for fenders. Converting to 700c is relatively easy:
Step 1: The braking surface is 4mm lower on a 700c wheel. The bike needs to have brakes with enough room to move the pads down that far. If it doesn't, don't buy that bike.
Step 2: Get a 700c wheelset that lets you put 700cx32 studded tires in it and where the rear hub accepts a threaded freewheel. For $99 I bought ones like this:
BikeIsland.com - Bicycle Parts, Accessories and Clothing at Affordable Prices with Free Shipping
These are aluminum. Even if you opt not to get new rims and stay with a 27 inch tire, do NOT buy a bike with steel rims. Brakes are very, very poor on steel rims when they are wet and they will be "wet" all the time in the winter.
Step 3: You will probably need to "cold set" the drop outs 5mm-10mm to accept the a 135 mm rear spacing. This is easier than it sounds and there are several threads about how to do this on the Classic & Vintage forum. Essentially you simply spread the rear dropouts to get the new rear wheel to slide right in. I've done this on 7 or 8 bikes and it's pretty easy to do.
Step 4: Get the freewheel off your old wheel, clean it up, and put it on the new wheel. This will require a special tool and it might be better to just take it to a bike shop unless you plan on doing this a few times (I now have about a dozen of these tools, sheesh!). You might be able to find a member on the C&V forum that lives near you. They'd probably love to help out with steps 3 and 4.
Step 5: Put some fenders on it and go for a ride in the slush.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A bike forums member told me that you don't want to be leaning forward too much on snow and ice because it takes weight off your rear wheel. I'm building my winter beater with upright bars. I'll see how his theory works in my riding.
I know I like sitting up more when the conditions are crummy. There is a reason why mtbs more or less standardized on a more upright position than road bikes. Plus you're typically not going as fast so the larger frontal area is correspondingly less of an issue.
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Old 01-07-16, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by devio View Post
I am looking at purchase my first commuter bike and I prefer the clean look of a road bike versus a hybrid/ATB. At this point in time I would also be planning on using the bike during the non winter months and I would prefer a road bike for that.

My question is, how big of a mistake is it using an old (70s ) bike for the winter commute. I do not get tonnes of snow where I live but it still sticks around for a while. Other threads suggested aluminum wheels and wet weather break pads and fenders. Is there anything else I would need? The bike in question is a CCM Targa for $40.

Thank you,
This is my vintage bike I build up for winter commuting; this is my 2d IA winter and the bike is holding up well. It has massive clearance for fat tires and fenders. The frame is a craigslist special I picked up for $30 (it's a 1993 bridgestone BB-1 which was their basic commuter). The parts (other than the cantilevers and pedals) came from my parts bin:



This is the build thread I did on the bike:

https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...ter-build.html
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Old 01-07-16, 10:32 AM
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Awesome,

Thank you everyone for the input. It is all much appreciated. I will keep looking for a used bike that may be more efficient in the winter. I found an old Sekine for $25 but once again I have the same issues as the CCM so I will just keep at it.
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Old 01-08-16, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
A bike forums member told me that you don't want to be leaning forward too much on snow and ice because it takes weight off your rear wheel. I'm building my winter beater with upright bars. I'll see how his theory works in my riding.
My experiene with too much weight forward is that #1 the front wheel can be deflected easier if you hit a chunk of hard stuff on the road and #2 it's harder to pull the front wheel up and over a ridge of hardpacked snow or ice.

Cheers
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Old 01-08-16, 11:44 AM
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Here is the thread I started last February. We discussed riding on snow and ice. It was very helpful. I'm looking forward to trying my new winter bike.

[h=2]Teach me how to ride in snow[/h]
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Old 01-08-16, 02:11 PM
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sometimes you gotta break the ice, take the plunge and get your feet wet, meaning: your 1st time bike might as well be anything cheap. you can always toss it or resell it.
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Old 01-08-16, 06:51 PM
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@devio
Both of my current bicycles came from other people's garbage. 26" mountain bikes are plentiful and versatile, and can be had for cheap if not free. If you really want a road bike that's fine too, but they aren't quite as well suited to heavier winters. In a general sense, seriously consider bikes that people have thrown out or are giving away broken, and either of these sub-$50 bikes you mentioned will probably suffice. In my opinion the best way to start is with something cheap that just needs a little love to be back on the road again- this not only saves money, it also familiarizes you with repairs and maintenance, so that your bikes will last longer and do better for you. Repairs don't have to be expensive either- many bikes that are "broken" just need new tires and some brake work.
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Old 01-12-16, 01:25 AM
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I don't know the CCMs. The parts being fairly close to junk I could believe. If you can handle this as a project you could buy it considering it as little more than a frame, them build it up single speed. Single speed, fix gear and internally geared hubs, all of which the CCM could do nicely, are far better in snow/ice/salt conditions than derailleurs.

Plan on new(er) wheels, brakes, seat, pedals and probably a new crankset/bottom bracket to get it on the road. Yes, far more than the bike itself. But when you tire of this frame or something happens to it (and stuff happens to winter bikes that get used; I rode 5 New England and midwest winters, I know) you can simply transfer the parts to the next frame. My first winter bike of the mid '70s is in its 5th iteration now. Everything, including frames having been replaced at least that many times. It has evolved to a fine ride that is still winter worthy.

If you take this on, find a local bike coop where you can join, then use their tools and pick their brains.

Ben
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Old 01-12-16, 07:42 AM
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The CCM Targa is a BSO (Bicycle Shaped Object) and with steel rims it's totally unsuited for wet riding let alone winter riding. An decent mountain bike with alloy rims can be had used for $50.00 Canadian in many places. the upright riding position helps with the tricky stuff when riding, the wide handlebar aids with control on snow or ice and wide decent quality tires can be used in winter. I used to commute year round in Toronto and in winter i used a mountain bike with good quality knobby tires. In the snow i'd just reduce the air pressure a lot. I never had problems with those tires on snow or ice.

I'd convert it to drop bars for spring, summer and fall. I'd sometimes run narrow slicks on it.

With a threadless stem (you can get a threadless/quill stem adapter if you have a quil stem) it's a simple matter of disconnecting 4 cables, switching out the handlebar (my drop bar has the brake levers, shifters and cables left on it when the straight bar is on in winter) and a few adjustments to switch the bike from fair weather to winter use.

Bike with straight bars.

MTB On The Trail 01a by Miele Man, on Flickr

Same bike converted to drop bars.

IMG_0561 by Miele Man, on Flickr

If I could only have one bike it'd be a mountain bike because they're so versatile.

Cheers
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