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Dedicated winter bike or change tires?

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Dedicated winter bike or change tires?

Old 10-17-16, 07:47 PM
  #26  
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I know people who try to ride for speed and distance in the winter, but I'm not one of them. Some winters I have used an old 90s MTB with 2.25" studded tires - it's like pedaling a truck. Other winters I convert my commuter (steel-framed road bike) by putting on 32 mm Nokian studs. The latter is a little faster, but still is not particularly agile.

So, whatever works for you. Just remember, that winter bikes get trashed by the elements, so either ride a beater or be prepared to do a lot of cleaning and maintenance.
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Old 10-18-16, 08:09 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
If you live in a place that gets (*ahem*) real winter, where the municipality must put salt and/or sand down to make roads passable, then get a beater bike to use over the winter... salt will quickly turn your good bike into a crap bike.
This.

The first year I commuted all winter I rode my nice mountain bike. By spring it wasn't a nice mountain bike any longer. Any piece of steel was nothing but rust (chain, cassette, cogs, screw heads, cables, etc.) I quickly figured out that I'd just sacrificed a good bike to the elements. I bought a replacement for it and that bike has now been my permanent winter bike. I just let things rust and replace them as they break, which is pretty often.

It probably would be possible to just do more maintenance to keep the elements from destroying the bike like that, however after riding across town in sub-zero weather I'm not interested in standing out in the garage for another half hour washing my bike. Plus it remains below freezing in my garage for months on end, so washing the bike is just trading one problem for another as then I would have to figure out how to deal with the layer of ice I've just created. And there's no way my wife is letting me bring a sloppy, dirty bike into the house to clean it inside.

So I just accept that I've got a crappy winter beater and look forward to spring when I can ride the shiny nice bikes.
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Old 10-19-16, 06:31 AM
  #28  
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I have an extra set of (budget) wheels with studded tires that I use only for winter riding. I also ride the cassette, chain, middle chainwheel (triple crank) and BB cartridge to junk, and then replace them with new parts when the spring is well established. The winter wheel set gets an overhaul and then stowed away.
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Old 10-20-16, 01:31 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by corvusVelox View Post
Unless you plan to ride for miles across glare ice, you only really need ONE studded tyre for your front wheel. This prevents it from slipping on small ice patches when you're turning. Keep a standard Big Chunky MTB Tyre(TM) on your back wheel the rest of the time and you probably won't be left wanting much else.

I keep the studded tyre in the closet and switch it in when things get icy.

Having done a number of winters now, there's kind of two ways to do it:
-Get a beater which is nearing the end of its life and wear it out. Repeat next year. Personally, I'd recommend a MTB. Did a road bike with 27' road tyres one winter and it DID work. It was just INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. While it is true that you can slice through snow with thin high-pressure tyres and feel like a humongous bad-ass when you do, I prefer to SMASH through with wider tyres. The trade-off is that you expend a lot more calories and generally fall off the bike much less often. Then you can impress your friends during the summer by sprinting up hills.

-The other option is to get a good '90s steel MTB frame and build it into an unstoppable beast using quality heavy-duty parts. I kitted a Trek 820 out with a sealed bottom bracket, a 5-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, and quality V-brakes. After a whole winter of proper care and regular riding, (125 km a week) it only needed a front hub overhaul.


Because spinning out on ice is so much fun...
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Old 10-29-16, 12:32 AM
  #30  
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Winters in my city have usually a few weeks of snow and ice, then a few weeks clear, then a few days of snow and ice, then a week clear and so on - rather mild, most of the time.

So, instead of hassling with changing tyres, or wheels when I wake up and see it's snowing, I just use two bicycles.

Since it is flat land, I even use only one studded tyre up front, while the rear one has knobs, but no studs. It works fine for me.

If I lived somewhere with real winters, I'd probably be fine with just one bike - since I wouldn't need to swap snow/clear tyres so often. Though having a beater bike is a nice option - both as a backup and as a way of keeping your "nice" bike a bit longer lasting, with less maintenance. Though from my experience salt doesn't destroy the bike. Makes it look uglier, but it will work just fine. Maybe get a pair of winter wheels, since spokes might corrode more easily, even stainless steel ones, but the rest of the bike will probably be fine with regular oiling moving parts, greasing bearings, changing housings and cables etc.
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Old 11-15-16, 08:50 AM
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Just got done refurbishing my winter bike and getting it ready for this season:
  • New chain.
  • New cassette.
  • New chainring/crank.
  • New brake pads. Disassembled and cleaned/lubed brake calipers.
  • New brake/shifter cables and housing.
  • Disassembled and cleaned lubed both derailleurs. They're in rough shape but I think I can get another couple years out of them.
  • Serviced wheel hubs. As with the derailleurs; probably a year or two left of life.
  • With the help of a 6 foot breaker bar I was able to free the pedals. Surprisingly enough they spin pretty well. I bought some replacements but I think I can get some more life out of the old ones.
  • With everything disassembled I gave the bike a good scrubbing to remove all the gunk from the nooks and crannies.

I snapped a picture of the reason I don't just swap tires and ride my good bikes out in the salt and chemicals. The stuff they use around here quickly destroys anything steel. The picture really doesn't do justice to how bad these parts looked.
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Old 11-15-16, 10:14 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by corvusVelox View Post
Unless you plan to ride for miles across glare ice, you only really need ONE studded tyre for your front wheel. This prevents it from slipping on small ice patches when you're turning. Keep a standard Big Chunky MTB Tyre(TM) on your back wheel the rest of the time and you probably won't be left wanting much else.

I keep the studded tyre in the closet and switch it in when things get icy.

Having done a number of winters now, there's kind of two ways to do it:
-Get a beater which is nearing the end of its life and wear it out. Repeat next year. Personally, I'd recommend a MTB. Did a road bike with 27' road tyres one winter and it DID work. It was just INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS. While it is true that you can slice through snow with thin high-pressure tyres and feel like a humongous bad-ass when you do, I prefer to SMASH through with wider tyres. The trade-off is that you expend a lot more calories and generally fall off the bike much less often. Then you can impress your friends during the summer by sprinting up hills.

-The other option is to get a good '90s steel MTB frame and build it into an unstoppable beast using quality heavy-duty parts. I kitted a Trek 820 out with a sealed bottom bracket, a 5-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, and quality V-brakes. After a whole winter of proper care and regular riding, (125 km a week) it only needed a front hub overhaul.
One studded tire, a sure fire way to land on your butt. Here in New England, lots of freeze/thaw with lots of ice, anytime. When is ice just a little slippery?
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Old 11-15-16, 10:17 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
Just got done refurbishing my winter bike and getting it ready for this season:
  • New chain.
  • New cassette.
  • New chainring/crank.
  • New brake pads. Disassembled and cleaned/lubed brake calipers.
  • New brake/shifter cables and housing.
  • Disassembled and cleaned lubed both derailleurs. They're in rough shape but I think I can get another couple years out of them.
  • Serviced wheel hubs. As with the derailleurs; probably a year or two left of life.
  • With the help of a 6 foot breaker bar I was able to free the pedals. Surprisingly enough they spin pretty well. I bought some replacements but I think I can get some more life out of the old ones.
  • With everything disassembled I gave the bike a good scrubbing to remove all the gunk from the nooks and crannies.

I snapped a picture of the reason I don't just swap tires and ride my good bikes out in the salt and chemicals. The stuff they use around here quickly destroys anything steel. The picture really doesn't do justice to how bad these parts looked.
I need to overhaul my winter commuter before my garage turns into a deep freeze!
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Old 11-15-16, 10:30 AM
  #34  
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Realistically, if you live where the use of road salt it routine, IMHO you should have a dedicated winter bike, because it's going to corrode to a degree no matter how diligent you are about de-salting it. I have one I've had a number of years, one I just bought but haven't set up yet, and I do ride some of my other bikes during the winter on the nice days when salt isn't an issue.
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Old 11-19-16, 11:38 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
One studded tire, a sure fire way to land on your butt. Here in New England, lots of freeze/thaw with lots of ice, anytime. When is ice just a little slippery?
Of course! That's why there's no sure-fire solution that will work in every region for every kind of winter. Or any sure-fire solution that will work for every rider, for that matter. Where I live, conditions are generally dry with patchy ice and powdery snow through most of the winter. There's a lot of asphalt surfaces out here and a rubber tyre in the back feels more grippy and reassuring to me. That's a personal choice more than it is a practical one, and it's important to consider those sorts of things too when choosing a bicycle for winter riding. It's a contract you enter into with the weather and the bike- you WILL fall, so it's important to consider how to make it as painless as possible when it happens. A lot of that has almost as much to do with how you ride and what level of experience you have doing it in winter than with what kind of equipment you're using.

So cast your net wide.

Also, you've found a sure fire way to fall off a bike and land on your butt? Would you consider teaching us the secret?
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Old 11-20-16, 12:17 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
One studded tire, a sure fire way to land on your butt. Here in New England, lots of freeze/thaw with lots of ice, anytime. When is ice just a little slippery?
I know it's not a statistically valid number, but from mine 10+ year round cycling experience, one studded tyre works fine. If the land has no hills (like where I commute) and you are aware of your limits. I do just that. Have both studded tyres, but just place one on the front wheel, leaving the rear with just knobs. This works for cleared roads, with occasional ice patches. When we get a long, really cold winter (once every 5 years), I do bother to put both studded tyres, just in case, but for the last 3 years, all winter commuting, every day - I use just the front, no problems.
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Old 11-21-16, 03:23 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
I know it's not a statistically valid number, but from mine 10+ year round cycling experience, one studded tyre works fine. If the land has no hills (like where I commute) and you are aware of your limits. I do just that. Have both studded tyres, but just place one on the front wheel, leaving the rear with just knobs. This works for cleared roads, with occasional ice patches. When we get a long, really cold winter (once every 5 years), I do bother to put both studded tyres, just in case, but for the last 3 years, all winter commuting, every day - I use just the front, no problems.
Works for you great. For most with real winter, seems a good way to fall. Long cold winter? Welcome to New England. Sooo many freeze thaw days and changeable conditions. And I put studded tires on so I don't fall, not in the winter yet anyway. YRMV.
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Old 11-21-16, 03:28 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by corvusVelox View Post
Of course! That's why there's no sure-fire solution that will work in every region for every kind of winter. Or any sure-fire solution that will work for every rider, for that matter. Where I live, conditions are generally dry with patchy ice and powdery snow through most of the winter. There's a lot of asphalt surfaces out here and a rubber tyre in the back feels more grippy and reassuring to me. That's a personal choice more than it is a practical one, and it's important to consider those sorts of things too when choosing a bicycle for winter riding. It's a contract you enter into with the weather and the bike- you WILL fall, so it's important to consider how to make it as painless as possible when it happens. A lot of that has almost as much to do with how you ride and what level of experience you have doing it in winter than with what kind of equipment you're using.

So cast your net wide.

Also, you've found a sure fire way to fall off a bike and land on your butt? Would you consider teaching us the secret?
Secret? Big butt. No falling with 2 studded tires. If you need studded tires, using one just makes sure you do fall. Never seen any sense in that. Do you only run 2 winter tires on your car? Or just 2 studded tires on your truck? Planning to fall? Not me. I plan to pedal. Going to have do the 17 miles on the fat bikes this winter, with 2 studded tires of course. YRMV.
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Old 11-22-16, 09:09 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Tundra_Man View Post
I snapped a picture of the reason I don't just swap tires and ride my good bikes out in the salt and chemicals. The stuff they use around here quickly destroys anything steel. The picture really doesn't do justice to how bad these parts looked.
FYI, I had a similar experience my first few winters. Everything but the front chain ring needed replaced every year.

When I paid more for a fat bike, I brought it in and cleaned it every weekend in the basement. Then I oiled everything up before it went back outside. The components are rusty but still serviceable after 2 years. Also helped my freezing dérailleur problem.
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Old 11-22-16, 09:29 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
One studded tire, a sure fire way to land on your butt. Here in New England, lots of freeze/thaw with lots of ice, anytime. When is ice just a little slippery?
Here NOT in New England, that's just about all the time. Most of this discussion is about studded tires, but we just deal with cold, rain later on, and ice lurking in the shadows. No salt to worry about, no studded tires, but I am going change tires probably this weekend mainly for more durable, slightly better traction and because I don't want to wear out my nicer tires over the winter.

Also, I'll be riding the fixed gear for most winter-like weather, not exactly a "dedicated" winter bike - more like a "designated" winter bike.

Last edited by wphamilton; 11-22-16 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 11-22-16, 09:47 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Here NOT in New England, that's just about all the time. Most of this discussion is about studded tires, but we just deal with cold, rain later on, and ice lurking in the shadows. No salt to worry about, no studded tires, but I am going change tires probably this weekend mainly for more durable, slightly better traction and because I don't want to wear out my nicer tires over the winter.

Also, I'll be riding the fixed gear for most winter-like weather, not exactly a "dedicated" winter bike - more like a "designated" winter bike.
Not much ice? Look at the Continental winter tires. Not studded, extra grip, good reviews on them.
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Old 11-22-16, 10:01 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Not much ice? Look at the Continental winter tires. Not studded, extra grip, good reviews on them.
Yeah those would be good. I've still got some Rubino Pro's to wear out - not exactly good wet grip but decent compared to my summer tires.
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Old 11-22-16, 07:41 PM
  #43  
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I don't bother with studded tires. In the fall, I go from 1.25" slicks to 2.1" knobbies and pop my fenders on my A.T.B. That should do it. I don't see any reason to have a dedicated winter bike. I don't trust any tire, studded included, to get me over ice. If I see ice up ahead, I either go around it or get off the bike and walk it. I keep my speed down, watching and waiting for these sometimes-snow-covered ice patches. When I come home, I just put the bike in the shower, rinse and then wash it down with a sponge and dish soap.

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Old 11-22-16, 07:54 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I don't trust any tire, studded included, to get me over ice. If I see ice up ahead, I either go around it or get off the bike and walk it.
I live for the ice. Don't really commute much per se, but my friends and I run studded tires during winter and there's nothing better than hitting the streets after a freezing rain and pedaling along on glare ice without a worry while pedestrians are struggling to not slip and fall while crossing the street. It's just such a fun, smooth feeling when the studs connect with good ice. I look for and hit all the icy patches on purpose.
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Old 11-23-16, 07:14 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
I don't bother with studded tires. In the fall, I go from 1.25" slicks to 2.1" knobbies and pop my fenders on my A.T.B. That should do it. I don't see any reason to have a dedicated winter bike. I don't trust any tire, studded included, to get me over ice. If I see ice up ahead, I either go around it or get off the bike and walk it. I keep my speed down, watching and waiting for these sometimes-snow-covered ice patches. When I come home, I just put the bike in the shower, rinse and then wash it down with a sponge and dish soap.
There are a few days out of the year that I'd walk the entire way to work if I avoided riding on ice. For those days, my studded tire bike is nice. For the rest of the year, I love my fat bike.
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Old 11-23-16, 07:33 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
I live for the ice. Don't really commute much per se, but my friends and I run studded tires during winter and there's nothing better than hitting the streets after a freezing rain and pedaling along on glare ice without a worry while pedestrians are struggling to not slip and fall while crossing the street. It's just such a fun, smooth feeling when the studs connect with good ice. I look for and hit all the icy patches on purpose.
They really work? I guess I was wrong, then. Hmmm. Maybe I'll dig up the courage to try it some day.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
They really work?
Oh, yeah, they work great. But keep in mind that I'm running mountain bike tires with many, many studs. Last winter I ran Hakkapeliitta WXC 300s, with 300 studs in them. My one neighbor ran some Nokian Freddies having, I think, 336 studs. My other neighbor ran some Nokian Extreme 29er tires having 294 studs in them.

And we go at reasonable speeds. We are not doing 30 mph down some icy hill. Nothing that crazy.

The Freddies have a flatter profile and grip the best. The WXC 300s are more rounded in profile, and I do notice the reduced grip from having fewer of the studs actually in contact w/the ice.

Straight line on glare ice is no trouble. In fact, I have to remind myself to take care when stopping and putting a foot down. More than once I've almost fallen after stopping the bike and forgetting that I'm on ice still.

Straight line braking is pretty ok too. Easy to lock up the rear wheel. Harder to lock up the front, though it can happen and the studs do sometimes break free of their grip on the ice. But a straight line skid is easily controlled.

Cornering. BE CAREFUL. These studs don't really protrude much. Avoid lateral forces and corner easy. I slow way down on the turns to reduce my lean and avoiding sideways forces on the tire/ice interface.

I've actually never yet owned studded road tires. This year I might try a set.

Side streets in my small city aren't often scraped to the pavement during winter. There's usually a layer of hard-pack. Not sure whether that's to save money on plow blades, or to enable the snowmobiler community. Might be a little of both. Most days it is the widely-spaced, rubber mountain-bike-style lugs that matter the most. There was just one thaw/freeze event last winter that gave us a few days of glare ice in the back alleys and in some of the parking lots.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:20 AM
  #48  
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I threw some photos into my album:

https://www.bikeforums.net/album.php?albumid=500

Hope you can see them. They show typical street conditions in the neighborhood.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:41 AM
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Thanks for all that good information, Jona. I really knew nothing about studded tires. If I had farther to go for work, then maybe I'd think about getting some. As it is, I only have to go about a thousand yards. Hey, I use the same EA30 bars, except mine are flat.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 11-23-16 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:47 AM
  #50  
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last spring I trimmed down to 2 bikes (I sold 3). in the past month or so I bought 2 more. Wifey only knows about 1 of them. you're asking a bunch of addicts if you should have more, what do think our answers will be? :-) :-)
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