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Winter Beater: Such a Concept for Cyclists???

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Winter Beater: Such a Concept for Cyclists???

Old 04-06-11, 06:00 PM
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Dakota82
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Winter Beater: Such a Concept for Cyclists???

Hello, everyone!

Well, Winter Cycling is over but, I can't help but ask this question early. Do some people save a bicycle intended for Winter? I know some bikes you would not ride Winter long but, does anyone save a bike that is specifically meant for winter riding?

You see, I am going to pick up a Surly Long Haul Trucker this Summer and, although I am sure I can ride it Winter long, to save up on the wear&tear and get maybe a more Winter cycling type Bike, I figured I should select a Winter-Beater-bicycle.

What guys think? Make any sense? Silly? Got suggestions?

Looking forward to hearing from ya'll.

Best Regards,

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Old 04-06-11, 06:06 PM
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I plan on saving mine. I'll put it in the basement and pull it out when the snow starts flying again.
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Old 04-07-11, 02:01 PM
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I have a winter beater that I have >$100 invested. I just finished cleaning the salt and sand off and out of it, and would not subject my 'better' bikes to that much abuse. The studded tires and fenders are there and ready to go in the fall. The chain was shot with about 800 miles use commuting.

I use both a mid 90's mountain bike w/o suspension and a cheap hybrid w/700 tires. I prefer the more upright position for riding ice and snow.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:18 PM
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Winter, yes.

Beater, no.

Especially in winter I don't want to be let down by a mechanical failure on some old POS bike.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Winter, yes.

Beater, no.

Especially in winter I don't want to be let down by a mechanical failure on some old POS bike.
Same here. Outside of winter I can use virtually any substitute bike. In winter I need utmost reliability and spare no money in ensuring that reliability.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:26 PM
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I just changed over to a low end hardtail MTB, Giant Yukon, with discs.
one problem with POS bikes, they most likely won't fit 2.1" studded tires WITH fenders, at least not without getting clogged.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:31 PM
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I share tsl's viewpoint; I want a reliable foul-weather machine that I know I can depend on, but like any other tool that sees regular abuse by being regularly subjected to harsh conditions, it needs some TLC to stay in top-notch working order. After my first winter commuting on my latest "beater", I can confidently say that belt drive, IGH, and disc brakes is the way to go when the weather turns foul (for me, anyway). Now I've got my sights set on a fair-weather commuter. Hmm... almost time to start another "which bike should I buy?" thread.

Of course, on a tight budget there's nothing wrong with used MTB that's been tuned up and armed with studded tires and fenders for sloppy conditions, allowing one to keep his or her cherished ride pristine.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:45 PM
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My winter bike also serves me through the summer... with the IGH, full fenders, and now with a new chain guard it is ideal for wet riding... it rolls on some 26 by 2.1 Panaracers which roll out decently and offer some great shock absorbing properties.

It is a nice quality bike that just completed it's third winter and it has never caused me a speck of trouble and I expect that with a little regular tlc it will last me many many more years.

Winter is too long here to ride a crappy bike.
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Old 04-07-11, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
Of course, on a tight budget there's nothing wrong with used MTB that's been tuned up and armed with studded tires and fenders for sloppy conditions, allowing one to keep his or her cherished ride pristine.
I initially picked up this 1988 Kuwahara Shasta to serve as my winter messenger bike and after serving me well through a winter of that I started tweaking this and that and I am quite pleased with the result.

Frame is one of Kuwahara's hand built models and I have a very similar Kuwahara Cascade set up for touring.

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Old 04-07-11, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
Of course, on a tight budget there's nothing wrong with used MTB that's been tuned up and armed with studded tires and fenders for sloppy conditions, allowing one to keep his or her cherished ride pristine.
Agreed. Of course, once it's fixed up to be reliable, it's no longer a beater, now is it.
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Old 04-08-11, 05:44 AM
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I could make a good case for a beater as a winter bike in Chicago. Next year I'll find a $100 rigid MTB, add fenders and studded tires and use the bike without concern for longevity.

The heavy use of salt on the roads would keep me from using anything nice from December to mid March.

I have several bikes and I like having a low-cost road bike with fenders as rain bike, this helps keep my other bikes clean. Since this bike can't take studded tires, a beater MTB is needed for winter use.

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Old 04-08-11, 06:13 AM
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I have a cheap MTB with disc brakes, fenders and studded tires that is dedicated for days when there is a reasonable possibility of snow, ice and slush.

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Old 04-08-11, 07:17 AM
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I'm with tsl and 2_i. In the winters we get here in Rochester, you want something even more bomb-proof than in the summer. Having to stop and walk or fix a mechanical problem in 80F weather is one thing; doing it in 8F weather is something else entirely.
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Old 04-08-11, 07:32 AM
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Where did this notion that a beater is somehow mechanically inferior come from?

This is my "beater" and my favorite bike. It's as mechanically sound as any of my other bikes...just a bit uglier aesthetically.

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Old 04-08-11, 08:18 AM
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i will drive any bike in the winter as long as it cost me nothing but lately i have never used the same winter bike 2 winters in a row.
this bike cost me nothing but a lot of time
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Old 04-08-11, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I could make a good case for a beater as a winter bike in Chicago.

The heavy use of salt on the roads would keep me from using anything nice from December to mid March.
If I walk around the city, my shoes are devastated by the salt. However, the bike is pretty immune. Most bolts have been replaced by stainless. Otherwise, the areas that could rust are covered by a protective film that I need to update at a frequency of once per two years or less. Only the kickstand may require a couple of applications per winter, in the areas where the film gets rubbed off, while the chain gets 2-3 applications per year.
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Old 04-08-11, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Where did this notion that a beater is somehow mechanically inferior come from?
Usually when people talk about a "beater" car, they're talking about a hunk of junk that barely passes inspection and is already rotten with rust. It's viewed as essentially disposable, to be used until it won't go anymore and then replaced.

I, and many others it seems, make the reasonable translation of the term to bikes: A bike that works...mostly...but is not in good shape and is cared for enough to keep it going but not much beyond that.
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Old 04-08-11, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Where did this notion that a beater is somehow mechanically inferior come from?
Originally Posted by Arcanum View Post
Usually when people talk about a "beater" car, they're talking about a hunk of junk that barely passes inspection and is already rotten with rust.
Yup. Around here "winter cars" are different than "winter beaters". A winter car is a nice, reliable car, just not new or flashy. A winter beater is one step removed from the crusher--something where if it died or got stuck, you'd just unscrew the plates and leave it.

Same goes for bikes.

My winter bike is an '06 Trek Portland. It was three months old when it got its first taste of salt. After its annual spring desalination (currently in progress, just need to put the new cables and housings on) it's frequently mistaken for a new bike.

Winter beaters are what the guys at the bike mission behind my apartment give to the homeless guys.
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Old 04-09-11, 06:06 PM
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"Beater" has a couple meanings.


In the case of my "winter beater", I think of it as a baseball bat with a couple dozen nails driven through the fat end that I can use to club Minnesota winters into whimpering bleeding submission.
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Old 04-09-11, 06:21 PM
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My beater is ready for warmer days now... it sees use 12 months of the year as it is a pretty comfortable "beater" and if it can survive the Canadian winter a little spring rain and summer temps won't hurt it.

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Old 04-11-11, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
Yup. Around here "winter cars" are different than "winter beaters". A winter car is a nice, reliable car, just not new or flashy. A winter beater is one step removed from the crusher--something where if it died or got stuck, you'd just unscrew the plates and leave it.

Same goes for bikes.

My winter bike is an '06 Trek Portland. It was three months old when it got its first taste of salt. After its annual spring desalination (currently in progress, just need to put the new cables and housings on) it's frequently mistaken for a new bike.

Winter beaters are what the guys at the bike mission behind my apartment give to the homeless guys.
My beaters, cars, motorcycles or bikes, have always been mechanically sound. The only thing that makes them a beater is cosmetics - you don't care if it gets dirty, rusty, scratched or dented.

What kind of an idiot would ride/drive something that isn't mechanically sound, ESPECIALLY in the winter?
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Old 04-11-11, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
What kind of an idiot would ride/drive something that isn't mechanically sound, ESPECIALLY in the winter?
I've often wondered that myself. Yet dozens of rattletrap clunkers pass me every day.
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Old 04-11-11, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
I've often wondered that myself. Yet dozens of rattletrap clunkers pass me every day.
If they are passing you every day, they can't be in too bad of shape, mechanically.
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