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Raised a new winter commuter bike [long-ish post]

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Raised a new winter commuter bike [long-ish post]

Old 11-26-17, 12:42 AM
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Raised a new winter commuter bike [long-ish post]

Hi everyone!
After my old steel winter beater started to corrode in places I could not repair it, I started to look out for an aluminum frame. The bike coop I volunteer for had a very nice, almost complete 2007 Trek 6000 in the TODO-pile which I was able to free for a fairly low price. So here I was with a summer bike restoration project! The bike was pretty run down when I got it (likely no TLC since purchase), but all main components were in a good shape besides needing lots of standard maintenance. I had to replace chain and cassette.
After years of cycling on an upgraded BSO, it is nice to have something lighter and smoother under my bum. My winter bike serves as everyday commuter (relatively short commutes, but it is a car replacement so it probably sees about 1500km a year + some courier-duties I started recently) in summer and winter. Winter here means lots of snow, slush, wind, and occasional black ice from December to March/April at down to -20C. Since my commute is short, I do not clean the winter bike after every ride (it would double the commute time...) and store it outside to avoid defrosting. I have recently added a good brush to my inventory to get a bit up to speed on quick cleaning.

So, here's the bike:
IMG_20171125_184707.jpg

Aluminum frame, 17.5in frame for 6' guy, Avid BB5 disc brakes, rigid after-market aluminum fork, 9-speed deore-level drivetrain, Axiom disc rack, milk crate with DIY U-Lock holder, fenders with DIY mudflaps, and chainstay kickstand. In the summer, this bike is running 26x1.5 slick tires, in the winter I have the option of running standard Kenda MTB tires (handle snow and slush well, but no studs), or Schwalbe Winter Marathons (suck in deep snow/slush/ruts, but have studs). I am also promised knitted and lined bar mitts by my GF, as soon as I deliver useful measurements of the handlebar area The milk crate bottom is lined with plastic against spray from the bottom and I have a dry-bag filled with bubble-wrap to provide some shock-absorption to more delicate loads, such as laptops or food deliveries.
As this bike is now on the upper-level of bling-factor on my campus, I upped the security measures: stationary 16.8mm onguard brute U-Lock + mobile thinner U-Lock in holder on milk crate (picture below), quick releases replaced with allen key versions and key screws (holding fork, disc brakes, fenders, rack) now have torx heads with the security pin in the middle. Got those screws from ebay for a relatively decent price.
For me, this bike is a little bit an experiment, as to how well I can prepare a fairly nice bike to survive a winter without going down the beater path given the level of care that I can reasonably provide. More on that later.

Things to highlight:
The bike came with a rockshox dart 1 fork, weights 2.5kg. I didn't need that, so I decided to risk a Taiwanese aluminum rigid fork with suspension-correction, ~800g instead. Having ridden it for 2 weeks now, I can say I like it quite well and it is confidence inspiring enough that I would ride it as a commuter. I would not challenge it to serious MTB or downhill rides.
I also got a simple aluminum handlebar + stem, to replace the steel version that this bike came with.
The U-Lock holder is a creation I am extremely happy with. I had to use screws to reliably attach the pipe pieces to the crate - zip-ties kept snapping:
IMG_20171125_184853.jpg
The lock rattles quite a lot in the holder. I'm still trying to think of the neatest way to stop that.

The whole bike with U-Lock is probably in the 16kg range (manual estimation).

Also, as mentioned before, I tried to winterize the bike as much as possible beforehand, to get through the winter with as little rust and damage as reasonably possible for my use case. Specific measures are:
  • Using aluminum frame & fork
  • Disc brakes instead of V-brakes for bad weather performance
  • Corrosion resistant chain (KMC EcoProteq - I'm very curious to see how well it stands up to the salt)
  • Clean drivetrain with ProLink lubing, instead of wet-lube (I'm curious how far I can reasonably maintain this over the winter)
  • Use of nosed ferrules for any cable housing ends that point upwards.
  • Improvised duct-tape channels for rear derailleur cable on chainstay that runs exposed and could see a lot of slush. Requires more permanent cover. Maybe electric shrink-wrap will be the answer.
  • Replacement of all steel-screws with stainless steel screws, partially tamper-proof. Those M7 stem screws were hard to come by.
  • Added longer DIY mudflaps to full-coverage fenders to channel water/snow/slush spray away from me, and the drivetrain. Made out of a run-down 700C tire I got for free from my local bike-coop. Used metal braces on the inside to force the tire to stay wide open.
  • Added short mudflap at front-end of rear fender to channel stuff away from chainrings area. See picture below. This still needs to prove itself in winter.
    IMG_20171125_184739.jpg
  • Applied car wax to fenders, rims, chainstays, seatstays, and spokes to (hopefully) reduce snow/slush accumulation and keep the drivetrain a little cleaner. (don't do rims if you have rim brakes!)
  • Covered scratches with transparent nail-polish. This especially applies to scratched plain steels parts, such as the rear derailleur body. Some beveled washers I had to use are plain-steel, too. Now, they have fancy finger-nails
Non-winterizing related challenges with restoring this bike were mostly related to the disc brakes. It came with Avid BB5 brakes that had exactly 0 effect when applied on the road. With the help of this forum, I have been able to bring them up to a level comparable to good kool-stop V-Brakes. The key to making them brake well was using the business-card method (How To Adjust Avid BB5 Disc Brakes - The-House) and making sure that the cable is fixed with the brake-arm as relaxed as possible. If the brake-arm is in a fairly tense position while the lever is relaxed, you'll somehow get a mushy brake feeling. Also, I am using low-compression Shimano brake housing. But it's not clear to me, how much of an effect it has on the brake feeling. I am running resin Nukeproof pads in the front, and sintered ones in the back. Resin squeals in the rain, but bites very well. The BB7 brakes I got very cheaply in the meantime will stay off the bike until it would be time to replace worn BB5 pads.



Future TODOs:
There are still a few items I am planning to do over the course of the next months:
  • come up with some form of spandex/... cover for the rear derailleur parallelogram to prevent it from filling up with slush. This is a very long-cage derailleur. Getting to the goal line here is mostly about motivating and rewarding my GF and her talents in that field. It's looking promising so far.
  • When cable replacement is needed: replace current plain stainless steel cables with teflon-coated cables. At least I heard that this would reduce the probability of frozen cables. Has anyone tried this?
  • Fine-tune the fit. As you can see I'm pushing the sizing on this bike. My touring bike is in a similar situation but very comfortable. I'll try to dial the winter bike to a comparable setup soon. The stem might be a tad too long.
  • Once the fit is in, the handlebars will get a trim. They're pretty wide right now, compensate the twitchy feeling of the steering geometry, but put the sails into every grain of wind out there. We'll see.
  • My (way too heavy) summer slicks are (finally!) almost run-down (at least the rear). Once that process has finished, I'm looking to replace them with more proper high-pressure, low-weight, low resistance road tires, such as the Schwalbe Duranos (Chainreaction has 26x1.1's for ~30$Cdn each). Anyone else has any suggestions? I'd like to go more narrow than 26x1.5.
Total cost of the bike is more than initially expected. I'll do the math in the next few days and report, if desired. Got the bike itself for 90$Cdn from my local coop.


Thanks for reading. I'm curious what you are thinking about going about a year-round winter-proofed commuter in this way. Any suggestions are also very welcome!


Cheers.
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Old 11-26-17, 08:44 AM
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Nice job. Thanks for sharing.

Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
...Total cost of the bike is more than initially expected...
Same thing always happens to me.

Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Thanks for reading. I'm curious what you are thinking about going about a year-round winter-proofed commuter in this way. Any suggestions are also very welcome!
Since the frame is too small you should get the tallest stem riser you can find to get the bars up, maybe even a different stem and some riser bars. Also get some studded tires. I like schwalbe marathon winters. And some pogies.
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Old 11-26-17, 09:01 AM
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Smart, clever and stylish! For the U-Lock holder, try foam pipe insulation (like pool noodles, but thinner).
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Old 11-26-17, 10:36 AM
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Here's the expense writeup (as far as I remember). Everything is in $CAD.
Some components have been moved over from my old winter beater (tires, bike computer, reflectors, lights, saddle, milk crate, pedals)
  • Bike itself:90
  • New aluminum seatpost: 10
  • New brake pads: 29.50
  • Fenders: 16
  • Avid BB5 replacement plastic parts: 20.50
  • Misc. cable housing, cables, standard screws, etc: 25
  • Used grips: 4
  • Hex key scewers: 15
  • New tubes: 10
  • KMC EcoProtec chain, 9-speed: 32
  • New cassette, SRAM PG-950: 36.70
  • Replacement fork: 70
  • Kickstand: 26.80
  • Tamperproof screws + stainless steel std screws: approx. 20
  • Car wax: 12
  • Additional rear light: 5.50
  • Brush: 4
  • New handlebar: 20
Sum: 447.
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Old 11-26-17, 10:43 AM
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Nice job on the build. It's a heck of a find for $90.

Winterize, yes, but winter-proof, no way. Water always finds a way to get through, carrying with it salt and dirt. I've ridden my own 'winter' bikes for a few southern Ontario winters now and I find the best way to preserve it is to give it a shower after a wet/slushy ride. I suppose the same thing goes for a car, though, oddly enough it's easier to do with a 2-ton car than a 20-lb bike.
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Old 11-26-17, 01:54 PM
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Thanks guys!
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Since the frame is too small you should get the tallest stem riser you can find to get the bars up, maybe even a different stem and some riser bars. Also get some studded tires. I like schwalbe marathon winters. And some pogies.
Knitted&lined pogies are promised by GF . I have Schwalbe Marathon Winters. Cool for ice, not so much for ruts and lots of slush/snow. My Kendas have this tread and work much better for the dominating snow/slush/ruts conditions here:
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....1Hgf5jz7JL.jpg
The center line makes them rolling quite nicely on asphalt. If there were Schwalbe-quality studded tires with such a tread, I'd be happy. My Kendas will last another ~2 winters. Still undecided which tires I'll put on this year.

About bike fit (thanks for you comments!): I haven't figured out the effects of changing things, yet. Some adjustments to get the reach comfortable seem counter-intuitive to me. People recommend to have a larger saddle set-back, and riser-bars. My touring bike frame is also too small, but it's very comfortable to me. Compared to my winter bike fit, it has less saddle set-back, a shorter stem (shorter saddle nose-handlebar distance) and the handlebar is much below the saddle (have to measure it, but it is extreme, 5-10cms). No numb hands, responsive handling and no feeling of being overly compressed on the bike. The recommendations I read make sense to me, but it hasn't translated to reality for me, yet. More trying needed.

Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Smart, clever and stylish! For the U-Lock holder, try foam pipe insulation (like pool noodles, but thinner).
Oh, nice call - that stuff looks like very versatile stuff. Thanks!

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Winterize, yes, but winter-proof, no way. Water always finds a way to get through, carrying with it salt and dirt. I've ridden my own 'winter' bikes for a few southern Ontario winters now and I find the best way to preserve it is to give it a shower after a wet/slushy ride.
Glad to hear from you. I'm just ~100km west of you. Was looking forward to your feedback. What do you use to shower your bike? Do you dry it? I guess, you can store it inside afterwards, no?
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Old 11-26-17, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Glad to hear from you. I'm just ~100km west of you. Was looking forward to your feedback. What do you use to shower your bike? Do you dry it? I guess, you can store it inside afterwards, no?
I'm fortunate that I have a shower at work into which I can take my bike. Also fortunate that no one else uses the shower, but I do clean up the mess I make. I'll let it drip dry inside and then wipe it down. Some quick lube after that and it's good to go.

I do realize that not everyone has the luxury to clean, or even store, their bikes inside, but I think even a wipe down after a wet ride, perhaps with a spray bottle and warm water, is helpful in preserving the parts that are susceptible to corrosion.
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Old 11-26-17, 03:33 PM
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I have one of those hand pump garden sprayers that I use on my drivetrain.
So far just water, but I've been meaning to research something else I could mix in to more effectively desalinate my bike.
I just rinse the drivetrain and wheels, not the whole bike.
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Old 11-27-17, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
I have one of those hand pump garden sprayers that I use on my drivetrain.
So far just water, but I've been meaning to research something else I could mix in to more effectively desalinate my bike.
I just rinse the drivetrain and wheels, not the whole bike.
I was not aware these exist. Will have a look into that, that sounds doable for my household.
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Old 11-27-17, 02:02 PM
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I use one of these backpack sprayers in the winter when my garden hoses are put away. They go on sale for $20 all the time. It's good because it sprays more volume than the hand-held sprayers and you can pump it while you are spraying.

I've thought about getting one of these portable pressure washers
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Old 11-28-17, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Banzai View Post
I have one of those hand pump garden sprayers that I use on my drivetrain.
So far just water, but I've been meaning to research something else I could mix in to more effectively desalinate my bike.
I just rinse the drivetrain and wheels, not the whole bike.
Is the pressure on these things sufficient?
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Old 11-28-17, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Is the pressure on these things sufficient?
They're not as good as a garden hose, but better than nothing.
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Old 11-28-17, 07:40 PM
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Cool bike, and thanks for posting up the budget - it's interesting to see. I thought about building up a winterized bike this fall and actually began with a '90s trek MTB, but decided to just see if my regular ride will be able to handle it. I live in Chicago and do pretty much everything within a 5km radius of my apartment so I figured building a dedicated snow bike was overkill. Hope this bike works well for you.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by loosemilk View Post
Cool bike, and thanks for posting up the budget - it's interesting to see. I thought about building up a winterized bike this fall and actually began with a '90s trek MTB, but decided to just see if my regular ride will be able to handle it. I live in Chicago and do pretty much everything within a 5km radius of my apartment so I figured building a dedicated snow bike was overkill. Hope this bike works well for you.
Thanks. For me, this is a year-round commuter with winter compromises built-in, I do not have another bike for everyday commutes and errands. Enjoy riding in snow ! For me, that's one of my favourite things about winter.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
They're not as good as a garden hose, but better than nothing.
(also @Banzai). One more question. How much water do you use for one wash usually? I see some 1.5 liter things, as well as 1-2 gallon sprayers at local hardware stores. I feel that I would likely be too cheap with going for 1-1.5 liter tanks, but 1 gallon should do it, no?
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Old 11-28-17, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
(also @Banzai). One more question. How much water do you use for one wash usually? I see some 1.5 liter things, as well as 1-2 gallon sprayers at local hardware stores. I feel that I would likely be too cheap with going for 1-1.5 liter tanks, but 1 gallon should do it, no?
1 gallon should be enough. Works best if you can fill it with warm water to melt the ice and snow off. May also need to enlarge the hole a little bit to increase the water flow, but try it out first to see how it works. Sometimes they are a little misty and don't move enough volume to squirt the grime off the bike.
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Old 11-29-17, 08:00 AM
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Found some locally:

https://www.lowes.ca/outdoor/garden-...type/backpack/
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Old 11-29-17, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
(also @Banzai). One more question. How much water do you use for one wash usually? I see some 1.5 liter things, as well as 1-2 gallon sprayers at local hardware stores. I feel that I would likely be too cheap with going for 1-1.5 liter tanks, but 1 gallon should do it, no?
I think mine is the larger one, but only because it was the one on super sale that day. Even filled halfway gets me through many rides.

I just rinse down the chain, cogs, chainring(s) and wheels well enough to be satisfied that most of the salt got rinsed away, or at least diluted significantly. It's not actually a wash of my bike, just some salt/rust prevention.

When it's well below freezing, the fact that it uses a lot less water than a garden hose is probably a good thing.
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Old 11-29-17, 10:23 AM
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Never mind. I just went and looked at mine. It's definitely 1 gallon.

Goes a long way.
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Old 11-29-17, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Thanks for looking this up for me, now all I need you to do is buy one, try it out and post the review.
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Old 11-29-17, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
Those are similar to the ones that I made into studded tires using the DIY method.
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Old 11-29-17, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
Thanks for looking this up for me, now all I need you to do is buy one, try it out and post the review.
I am thinking about it. Seriously! All the other units at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, etc., sell for over $100, but for $20-30 it might be worth try. You could always return it if you don't like it. It's not like you're putting paint or deck stain in it.
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Old 11-29-17, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I am thinking about it. Seriously! All the other units at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, etc., sell for over $100, but for $20-30 it might be worth try. You could always return it if you don't like it. It's not like you're putting paint or deck stain in it.
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Old 11-29-17, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I am thinking about it. Seriously! All the other units at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona, etc., sell for over $100, but for $20-30 it might be worth try. You could always return it if you don't like it. It's not like you're putting paint or deck stain in it.
Not sure where you are shopping, but I have gotten 2 gallon sprayers for under $10 and my 4 gallon backpack sprayer for under $20. Home Depot has a 1 gallon sprayer for $8.97 US.
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Old 11-29-17, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Not sure where you are shopping, but I have gotten 2 gallon sprayers for under $10 and my 4 gallon backpack sprayer for under $20. Home Depot has a 1 gallon sprayer for $8.97 US.
Mine is a Home Despot (intentional misspelling) sprayer in roughly that price range.

Edit: I just clicked the link. That actually IS my sprayer.
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