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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 03-14-14, 06:15 PM   #1
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One or Two Winter Bikes...

Each of the last few years I've increased how often I ride in the winter months (Ontario, Canada). Last year I picked up a Norco cross bike with Tiagra, and BB7 disks. I put some Conti non-stud winter tires on it and use Clement MSO the rest of the year on it (gravel). I would like the option to ride more frequently in the winter though. The conti tires are good on roads with patches of snow, or that are cold/wet as they don't slip much. But it's not good if more snow, ice, etc. Lastly, this is the bike that I "trash"...I usually keep my bikes clean but this one gets it's fair dose of salt, muck and I don't clean it often.

Wondering if studs would get me out more. Or perhaps a fat bike for trails, but I'm not sure the trails in my area will be fat bike ready (lots of money to find this out).

Thoughts from those on one bike with studs, etc, for more frequent riding, versus two different bikes that can handle the winter months.

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Old 03-15-14, 04:34 AM   #2
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I use one winter bike that has two sets of matching wheels. One wheelset set has Schwalbe studded tires and another has a Schwalbe semi-slick Cyclocross tires that Schwalbe rate as 4 stars for winter use. In Chicago I use Studded tires about 20% of the time. Like you, I find that a semi-slick does well on a surface that is mostly clear of snow and ice and with smaller patches of snow and ice. A good semi-slick is useful on a little ice and snow if these patches are treated with enough respect. However, the days when the streets are mostly icy, a studded tire is the only safe option. Deep snow is really not ride-able on anything less than a fat bike, IMO.

You might consider getting a fully-rigid vintage mountainbike and putting some fatter studded tires on it for days with plenty of ice on the roads. You will still use your Cross bike with the Conti winter tires more.
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Old 03-18-14, 10:08 AM   #3
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N+1 a 26" wheel bike built on an old MTB sits in the basement,
until the Ice in the street makes it the one to use..
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Old 03-18-14, 11:37 AM   #4
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Just one winter bike for me. I ride my other "non-winter" bikes during the winter months when the weather permits. But my converted cross bike with studded tires and fenders is my go to bike in real wintry weather.
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Old 03-18-14, 11:52 AM   #5
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My "winter" bike is my summer Plan B / foul weather / guest ride. I just swap tires in the fall and spring (Marathon Winters to Schwalbe Smart Sams) and put on the rack and fenders as needed. Makes a good all year general purpose bike. Jack of all Trades - Master of None. If I was to get a second winter bike, it would have to be a fat bike.
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Old 03-22-14, 07:57 AM   #6
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I have 2, my Fatback fatbike and Surly Troll MTB/Touring bike. The Fatback is my year-round MTB, and the only changes I make for winter are to put the pogies on. The Troll gets studded tires for the winter.
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Old 03-23-14, 06:08 PM   #7
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Studs make ice a non-issue. Doesn't change snow though. (In fact with studs I aim for icy patches rather than snow)

A fat bike makes ice a lot easier to deal with, if you have a fat bike with studs you're totally set there. It handles a LOT more snow than any other tire - but it's still not perfect. It stops working somewhere in between 6-12 inches, depending on the kind of snow.

In Minnesota, they ride fat bikes on the mountain bike trails in the winter. They usually have to go through and pack it down (with snowshoes, from what I understand) first though, or it won't work.
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Old 03-26-14, 10:05 AM   #8
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I usually ride my Salsa with Nokian studded tires in the winter, but any snow over 2" means I'm hurting, and snowmobile trails have to be packed to avoid cutting into them. This year I bought a used Pug for $300 (cracked frame which I had welded) and haven't gotten off it yet, leaving the Salsa for the basement. It has non-studded tires on it and still does well on the ice when I run them down below 5 psi (I weigh 215), to the point you can hear them squeegee across the ice and it's stable so long as you don't make any sudden moves. I have friends with Dillinger studded tires on their fatbikes and they don't have as much grip as my 26x2" Nokian's since the pressure is so low, creating a larger footprint and this lower contact pressure on the studs. I bought some cheap Mission's to stud up myself for next winter since this one is basically done. My Nokian tires still aren't the best on ice. Don't get me wrong, they get the job done, but it's not like there is an abundance of traction to the point I can forget I'm on ice. Therefore my vote is for two bikes or at least two sets of tires for one bike.

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