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Do you hate your winter bike?

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Do you hate your winter bike?

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Old 11-07-17, 01:08 PM
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davidmcowan
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Do you hate your winter bike?

Seriously, do you? I've been riding a 16 mile round trip commute on a pretty solid, belt driven and utilitarian bike for the past two winters. I live in Minneapolis, so the winter is for realz. I've had some mechanical issues with the utilitarian bike and as a result I've been commuting on my sparkle purple surly straggler and it has been glorious.

My question? I hate how "utilitarian" my winter bike feels, and the straggler is beautiful and fun to ride. How much destruction do you think riding a favorite bike in winter will have? What should I plan to replace should I choose to ride it? Would you ride your favorite bike all winter if it made you smile through the grouchy months? Even better, have you done it and do you have experiences to share?
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Old 11-07-17, 03:29 PM
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the more bikes you use, the less each bike has to endure. keep it fun & enjoyable!

when it's just cold, this bike


when it's icy & studs are required, this bike


when it's borderline sloppy & muddy, this bike


I'll try not to torture my bikes this winter, but no promises



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Old 11-07-17, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
the more bikes you use, the less each bike has to endure. keep it fun & enjoyable!
This reads like conflicting advice.
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Old 11-07-17, 05:36 PM
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There are certain qualities that make my winter bike necessary for winter riding, and those same qualities make it less fun riding. Studded tires, for instance, is the main reason I don't enjoy riding it, but it is a necessary evil. It is outfitted with panniers, thick 38-mm tires during other times of the year, and much heavier than my non-winter bikes which make it less fun for riding. It's a purposeful bike, and fun is not included.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:24 PM
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I can't wait to get on my fat bike. Now that the Bloor Bike Lanes have passed the city council vote they are now permanent (unless Doug Ford gets elected and rips them out) so I'm going to test them out during snow days and report back to the naysayers on youtube.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:30 PM
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I'm rehabbing the winter bike I've used for the past 4 winters. All I can say is that the bike took a beating and the winters in Des Moines aren't as brutal as those in Minneapolis.
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Old 11-07-17, 06:55 PM
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I'm not sure hate is the right word, but it certainly isn't my favourite.
Probably the most telling point for me is that when I spend money to replace or upgrade a part, I get no satisfaction from it.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
I can't wait to get on my fat bike. Now that the Bloor Bike Lanes have passed the city council vote they are now permanent (unless Doug Ford gets elected and rips them out) so I'm going to test them out during snow days and report back to the naysayers on youtube.
What are the naysayers saying on YT? About the permanent bike lanes? Or about fat bikes?

Off topic: I saw the report on the vote by council as well. I'm all for more cycling infrastructure, but I am not 100% convinced that Bloor is the right street to do it.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
I'm not sure hate is the right word, but it certainly isn't my favourite.
Yeah, it is. I hate riding my winter bike.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:38 PM
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It's not so much hating the bike itself, but what it represents. The at times unreal cold... ice- wind- snow that has to be endured while riding it.

But! Once I get out on it there are times it's really gleeful to be out in insane conditions on my bicycle. I wouldn't want to be stuck in a car even under the conditions of Winter.
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Old 11-07-17, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
What are the naysayers saying on YT? About the permanent bike lanes? Or about fat bikes?

Off topic: I saw the report on the vote by council as well. I'm all for more cycling infrastructure, but I am not 100% convinced that Bloor is the right street to do it.
Bike Lanes. There's a lot of youtube videos from Toronto cyclists recording their commutes on streets.

(All the new bike lanes are downtown. We need some in the suburbs like North York especially on roads that connect between bike trails in the parks.)
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Old 11-07-17, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Bike Lanes. There's a lot of youtube videos from Toronto cyclists recording their commutes on streets.

(All the new bike lanes are downtown. We need some in the suburbs like North York especially on roads that connect between bike trails in the parks.)
Agreed. I often ride cross the city north of the 401 and find that it's hard to not expose yourself to some major roads. This is not desirable during rush hour. I'll spend half an hour looking for a suitable route to avoid the big roads. The 401/404/DVP are tricky to cross without the big roads.
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Old 11-07-17, 08:53 PM
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I do kind of hate my winter bike. It's my fault, though. It was fun at first: the SUV of bikes! Then, 3 years of western Wisconsin winters happened. The derailleurs crapped out, the brakes crapped out, the rear wheel became unsalvageable. I wanted to keep it running, but couldn't justify spending the money on decent components for an old MTB...only to let them rust out again.

Now it's a single speed with a very low gear. I'm holding off on riding it until I absolutely have to. But at that point, I won't hate it quite as much - it keeps me riding through the winter, and that's the important part!
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Old 11-07-17, 09:14 PM
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My winter bike is my only one with 26 inch wheels, so I'm stuck with it until the studded tires wear out. I think the tires are worth more than the bike. Until then, at least it's keeping the road salt off my other bikes.
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Old 11-07-17, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
How much destruction do you think riding a favorite bike in winter will have? What should I plan to replace should I choose to ride it? Would you ride your favorite bike all winter if it made you smile through the grouchy months?
Ha, I was thinking about not enjoying my winter bike rather than the actual questions of the post.

I think that riding a favorite bike could be okay...so long as you are dedicated to cleaning it daily. I mean, like, a serious cleaning that will get salt/sludge off the frame and derailleurs, along with appropriate re-lubing. If you have a heated garage or indoor bike room with access to non-frozen water, that would help.

Personally, I wouldn't ride anything nice once it gets bad out. My winters are similar to yours - I'm about halfway between the Cities and Madison - and anything that goes out gets trashed within about a month. Salt, blue stuff, motor oil, sand, and whatever that stuff is that they spray - all of that gets gunked up on the bike and eventually corrodes everything. I don't have a heated garage or bike room where I can efficiently clean the bike without water freezing. So, favorite road bikes go in the basement and the winter beater rides again.
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Old 11-08-17, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
This reads like conflicting advice.
why? more bikes doesn't interfere w more fun, does it?
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Old 11-08-17, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mercator View Post
I'm not sure hate is the right word, but it certainly isn't my favourite.
Probably the most telling point for me is that when I spend money to replace or upgrade a part, I get no satisfaction from it.

That's the best way of telling it. Always feels like a choir.
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Old 11-08-17, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by davidmcowan View Post
Seriously, do you? I've been riding a 16 mile round trip commute on a pretty solid, belt driven and utilitarian bike for the past two winters. I live in Minneapolis, so the winter is for realz. I've had some mechanical issues with the utilitarian bike and as a result I've been commuting on my sparkle purple surly straggler and it has been glorious.

My question? I hate how "utilitarian" my winter bike feels, and the straggler is beautiful and fun to ride. How much destruction do you think riding a favorite bike in winter will have? What should I plan to replace should I choose to ride it? Would you ride your favorite bike all winter if it made you smile through the grouchy months? Even better, have you done it and do you have experiences to share?
Nope. I don't hate my winter bikes at all. But that's mostly because they aren't just "winter" bikes. They are my mountain bikes and a couple of other fairer weather bikes. I work under two principle: 1.Life is too short to ride crappy bikes and 2. if it's worth doing it's worth over doing

My "it's not blizzarding" bike

DSCN0635 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

And my "stormageddon" bike that gets the studded tires (it gets a fender system like the other one when the snow falls)

DSCN0168 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Each one is outfitted with sealed bearing hubs, bottom brackets and headset so that they require minimal maintenance.
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Old 11-08-17, 09:50 AM
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My winter is not as "real" as your winter, but heck no. My winter bike is set up for more easy riding, no-maintenance fixed gear, and I like riding it as much as my "good" bike. I'm not cruising on that bike any faster than 18-20 anyway even in the best of conditions so I'm not concerned with having more than a laid-back moderate effort. It's just a different ride is all.
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Old 11-08-17, 10:40 AM
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I have had a beater fix gear winter/rain/city bike forever. (41 years and counting.) A horizontally dropped '80s sport road bike fitted with full (and well flapped) fenders, LowRider rack and a lock. Position/fit nearly as aggressive as my best bikes. Every part (including the frame) has been replaced at least four times. It has evolved as parts change and where and how I ride changes. Started out as an epoxy painted Peugeot UO-8. Now a much sleeker Trek 4something.

For those first nearly 30 years, it was one of two bikes. Since it was fix gear, it was very different from the other. So different, it wasn't a "step down" but instead a step into a different world. Now most of my bikes are fix gear so that distinction isn't there. But now, except for weight and fatter tires, it isn't all that different from the other bikes and not a huge step down.

Now, I have added another bike to my stable that is a very worthy winter/snow/ice bike; so good in fact that it is a blast when those conditions happen. A Raleigh Competition set up with fat tires. But if snow became a regular feature here (or I moved) I'd go to a fix gear that could handle big tires and go Continental ice tires or studs (with two sets of wheels so snow/no snow tires swaps is fast). Maybe go fix gear on the Competition.

The two biggest pluses for real winter/snow/ice/salt - no derailleur to get gunked up or trashed in a routine slide and the fix gear. In my view, any bike with a vertical dropout is a poor choice as a winter bike. Now I have always lived in locations with no outside running water in winter - outside faucets shut down and/or apartment life, hence no easy means to de-salt my bike after riding. My winter bikes get put away wet and dirty. Here, a fix gear is a real plus. Even frozen chain links don't stop fix gears. I would just slide the wheel forward to get proper chain slack. Not until the third link froze did I have to do more.

Yes, when the weather turns and I can go out on my gook bike(s), it is a pure joy! But the winter beater has its place and does very well in it. And in snazzy condition late fall/early winter, it is a joy to ride.

Ben
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Old 11-09-17, 04:58 PM
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A different strategy can be to just use the winter bike year round for commuting (slick tires in summer). You get used to that slow speed when that is all you see most of the time. Admittedly, this hurts much less, when your commute is not 25km a day. Then, it's just much more fun to get out on your better bikes for additional recreational fun.
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Old 11-10-17, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
A different strategy can be to just use the winter bike year round for commuting (slick tires in summer).
This. Last spring I fit new summer tires, the biggest slicks I had tried, and the bike was faster and more fun than ever before!

"Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy" / MBB&B Part II

I don't hate my winter bike, but the brakes were becoming a problem. I've had progressively "achy" hands since my mid 40s. And by the end of each commute my hands would hurt. Last winter I thought maybe grippier brake pads would help. My bike shop suggested replacing the cantis with V-brakes. It made braking light and responsive, and no longer an issue for my hands.
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Old 11-11-17, 03:35 PM
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I didn't...until I got on it the first time to ride a bit in preparation for a tune up.
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Old 11-11-17, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Stormsedge View Post
I didn't...until I got on it the first time to ride a bit in preparation for a tune up.
uh oh wutz it need?
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Old 11-11-17, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
uh oh wutz it need?
Likely just a derailer adjustment...weather flip-flopped, so back out on the Domane. I'll get to it.
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