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Winter bike plans?

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Winter bike plans?

Old 08-11-19, 05:57 PM
  #1  
BFisher
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Winter bike plans?

I know! I know! Summer's still here!

It's a great time to not only ride, but also to put plans in motion for any winter bike builds, changes, etc.

Confession: I've not been much of a winter rider at all. This year, though, I hope to change that.

Living in the northeast, winters can get pretty harsh (although not as harsh as some of you out there). I currently have three options.

Do I just dedicate the Peugeot UO-8 to year-round duty? It’s got lights, fenders, rack, bag, covered in BLO…but skinny tires (28). Too narrow for winter?

There’s the Trek 930 MTB. Near mint condition, ready to rock. No fenders. But, it’s so damn nice! Would it be a shame to beat the hell out of it by using it in the Winter mess?

Then there’s a Bridgestone MB-5. It’s a beater – disassembled and unused. No fenders. Wouldn’t be a big deal to push it through the slop. It’s already kind of ugly. Slap it together?

These are the ideas I'm toying with. Plenty of time to decide.

How about you? Got a winter bike plan? Gonna hibernate?
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Old 08-11-19, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
I know! I know! Summer's still here!
Reported.

Do I just dedicate the Peugeot UO-8 to year-round duty? It’s got lights, fenders, rack, bag, covered in BLO…but skinny tires (28). Too narrow for winter?

...

How about you? Got a winter bike plan? Gonna hibernate?
Lighting and fenders are a big deal. You could probably squeeze in wider tires, up to 35c maybe? I'd get a specific winter tire like the Continental Top Contact.

The salt will kill things. I ride my aluminum MTB with fenders and lights, plus I have a chemical sprayer ready to hose my bike down after the ride.

I don't ride my LeMond until the spring rains have thoroughly washed away the salt.
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Old 08-11-19, 06:19 PM
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If you're from the southwest, you'd consider the PNW to have cold, wet winters. In reality, they're cool and wet - it's almost never too cold to ride if you bundle up appropriately. In addition, it rarely "rains" all day - we consider mists and showers riding weather. If it's sunny out, it's great riding weather, even if the morning starts in the mid to upper 20's, as we proved out in the Last Winter Tour of the Willamette Valley. I'll ride enough to be ready to ratchet up the training for Eroica 2020. If my MIL decides to do another extended visit after Christmas, there's a good chance I'll do a repeat of my semi-annual WCPGW? Bay Area mini-tour.
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Old 08-11-19, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
If you're from the southwest, you'd consider the PNW to have cold, wet winters. In reality, they're cool and wet - it's almost never too cold to ride if you bundle up appropriately. In addition, it rarely "rains" all day - we consider mists and showers riding weather. If it's sunny out, it's great riding weather, even if the morning starts in the mid to upper 20's, as we proved out in the Last Winter Tour of the Willamette Valley. I'll ride enough to be ready to ratchet up the training for Eroica 2020. If my MIL decides to do another extended visit after Christmas, there's a good chance I'll do a repeat of my semi-annual WCPGW? Bay Area mini-tour.
You know, this is true for much of the winters here too. I just need to convince the inner voices of that.

But we do get some vicious single-digit cold snaps with sub-zero wind chills. And snow. Sometimes lots.

I just need to decide which bike I don't mind subjecting to the mess, and whether or not I'll get my butt out on it.
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Old 08-11-19, 07:33 PM
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Also a great time to hit the gravel. No worries about frost or light snow.
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Old 08-12-19, 06:30 AM
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A front studded tire is necessary for icy roads so make sure your Pug has room and brake reach for a nice 700c Hakkapeliitta front. A knobby cyclocross style rear usually works. I find mtn bikes are just a little more winter friendly because of clearances and lower centre of gravity when it's slippery. You've covered bags, racks, lights. The other thing you'll need is layers of cold weather clothes. Ear covers, neck gaiters, merino wool stuff. You'll probably spend more on gear than the bike. Enjoy it.

A steel bike can and will go years through winters as long as you repack the bearings annually, and wipe it down once in awhile so ride something you like. One C&V members sig line says it all, life's too short to ride crappy bikes, or something like that

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Old 08-12-19, 06:53 AM
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Ride about the same (not like June/July/August, though...) I have plenty of winter gear.
Wrench a bit: Basso, Cinelli Centurion, Raleigh International, build another Ironman...


Different this winter? Running. I'm going to start again, try to build up to an hour a day on days I don't ride. More convenient, not so weather-dependent. Easier to shed and keep off pounds.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:24 AM
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I ride until they start applying salt, and the roads get narrow because of the snow banks. Also, drivers who do not know how to handle winter conditions scare me. But, since I've got the clothing, winter riding can be great.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:30 AM
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The MB 5 will make a fine winter bike. I'd take it over the UO 8 as it can take a fatter tire. My winter commuter for the past few years was an inexpensive Bridgestone (a BB 1). I have a surly 1 x 1 frame that I plan to finish building this fall that will replace it.

Yeah the salt is tough and the bike will need a major clean up after the winter.

You'll need fenders, a lighting system, and a pair of studded tires. Schwable makes a decent relatively inexpensive set.

Do you need gearing for your commute? If not, there is a lot to be said for a single speed in the winter.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:34 AM
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I'll probably go for the minimum time investment and put the studs back on the single speed Diamond Back Ascent I built up for last winter. I got a bunch of good blizzard ridws in last year. It fork was kind of wracked. I got it straight enough to ride with no hands, but I think its lost a little rake. I was given a Raleigh Technium Mountain bike this spring that I have thought about transferring the parts to, but am keeping an eye out for a decent 1 1/8 threaded fork.
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Old 08-12-19, 07:55 AM
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Encouraging responses, all. Kudos @RobbieTunes for adding running to the agenda.

@bikemig, I am leaning towards the Bridgestone here, but may also end up using the Pug on drier, milder days. I shouldn't need much to get the MB-5 ready to go. And yes, I'll stay with gearing. My town is hilly enough that I'd prefer it. What's the build plan for the Surly?

@clubman, I hear you about the "crappy bike" quote. I won't enjoy winter riding if I ride a bike I don't enjoy.
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Old 08-12-19, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Encouraging responses, all. Kudos @RobbieTunes for adding running to the agenda.

@bikemig, I am leaning towards the Bridgestone here, but may also end up using the Pug on drier, milder days. I shouldn't need much to get the MB-5 ready to go. And yes, I'll stay with gearing. My town is hilly enough that I'd prefer it. What's the build plan for the Surly?

@clubman, I hear you about the "crappy bike" quote. I won't enjoy winter riding if I ride a bike I don't enjoy.
Yeah if running the PUG on milder, drier days, take a look at continental top contact winter tires. They're not studded but they are excellent tires for winter. I run them on a stumjumper comp that I use on similar days and save the studded bike for the tough days.

I'm building the Surly cheap. I have some ugly cheap wheels I picked up from nashbar a while back and the other parts just came out of my parts bin. I'll need to decide whether I want to invest in disc brakes or not. I've been fine with cantilevers but you do need to make sure you don't get snow/ice build up on the rim. The disc brakes will be an improvement.

I'm building that 1 x 1 cheap. I have some really ugly, cheap heavy wheels I picked up a while ago from Nashbar as well as a single speed kit. The tough choice is whether I want to sink the money into disc brakes or not.

I've been fine with cantilevers but you do need to make sure that snow/ice doesn't build up along the rim.
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Old 08-12-19, 08:51 AM
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After a series of ice related wipeouts I decided I’m too old for that ****.
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Old 08-12-19, 10:45 AM
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I will likely still ride the Trek 716 as much as I can. Here in a few months I'm planning on having some minor modifications done to it, as well as a fresh powder coat. A tight finish and framesaver should keep things in good shape. It's my only bike with fenders, so that will help.

The chrome SLT 12.2 will likely get ridden up until the first salt.

The Motobecane Grand Jubile...I really don't know. Maybe it will get some fenders.

I also have a Schwinn Tempo with a crack part way along the BB-downtube lug that has held together fairly well. Currently it's set up as a fixed gear, so that may get some use outside this winter. I definitely have plans for it on my rollers.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:14 AM
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I have basically been off my bike for the last six weeks waiting on my stupid knee to quit hurting and it looks like I am at least a couple more weeks from being ready to do light riding. So, my winter biking plans are to ride at this point. Being unable to ride means I have rebuilt hubs, headsets and bottom brackets, adjusted brakes, moved parts around, revived a mothballed frame and made a million plans. I normally do all of that in the Winter.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:16 AM
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I've tried to make a dedicated winter bike several times. I will share my experience, which differs somewhat from the mainstream. My commute is several miles and pretty flat. Back when I started the project, it was longer, about 5 miles, and very hilly. Both were urban so plowing was fairly good, but parked cars and narrow streets do make things harder. My conclusion from both commutes was the same.

The winter bike project I tried from 2013-2015 is one of my failures. On paper it looked great. It had studs, mountain bike clearances for slush, sealed drivetrain, fenders, and a drum brake. Even when I lived in Burlington Vermont, there were only a handful of days each year when the snow and ice were bad enough to warrant these features.

The studs and sealed drivetrain really slowed me down the rest of the time, while the drum brake provided mediocre performance and frequently filled with melt water and condensate that then froze and rendered it completely useless until I heated it up by braking while pedaling.

The biggest beef I had was with studs. I found that they would give me loads of grip until a certain lean angle, and then I'd have none, and the bike would slide out from under me. It depended on temperature and ice thickness and salt levels, so I never really knew how much I could lean over and still trust the studs. This made them effectively no more useful than an ordinary rubber tire. The worst thing happened in very cold conditions (0F and below), when the tire's rubber would get stiff and not deform enough for the studs to push in, so I was effectively only riding on the carbide studs, with no rubber touching the road. This was very dangerous and resulted in my only ever faceplant in decades of cycling. The phenomenon was present in both Schwalbe Marathon Winter and Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240 tires. In opposite conditions, hard lake ice such as was present on Lake Champlain in 2014 (I think?) when it froze completely over and I tried to ride the 6mi from VT to NY on the lake, the studs barely worked well enough for me to stay upright.

I ended up selling it (and all that specialist equipment was hard to sell!) and now I use a randonneur style bike for commuting year-round. It's what I use to this day, and I do not skip days. In heavy snow it's kind of a drag, but that happens only a few times a year, and I just deal with it. The brakes don't work well in the snow but I plan ahead and go slower to stop safely. The fenders pack up with slush so I kick them a bit to free things up. The drivetrain gets covered in salt, so I re-cover it in large quantities of Fluid Film or spray lithium grease or motor oil. I replace my chain and cassette yearly in the spring after the winter has taken its toll.

In the snow, the faux-randonneur commuter is just as slow and difficult to use as my dedicated snow bike was. In all other conditions, it is faster and easier to use. Maintenance is somewhat higher, but that's a price I'm willing to pay. The one good thing that came out of the project was a preference for Shimano dynamo hubs and Busch/Muller standlights. They are really useful in the dark winter months and have given me no trouble through years of use in all conditions.

Edit: Another good thing to come out of this project was metal fenders! I found them to withstand being kicked (accidentally due to toe clip overlap or on purpose to clear salt-slush) in subzero temperatures without cracking like my SKS ones did.

Again this is my experience from relatively short (≤5mi) urban commutes. In a rural area with worse plowing and longer distances, the optimal solution may well be different.

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Old 08-12-19, 11:23 AM
  #17  
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While not very vintage, I'm building up a 2005 Trek 1200 frame I lowballed on the Bay, with scrounged parts and a groupset from a-baba.

More in line with this part of the forum, I've managed to find most of the old parts that came with my B'stone 200, and with the arrival and pending assembly of the aforementioned bike, I'm tempted to return the latter to its former glory, or some semblance of same.
Now... with friction shifters, I don't guess it matters too much about what's on the rear wheel, just that I'm shifting within the derailleur's range. I can adapt the cogset (currently singled out with spacers) for that, and while I do have a perfectly fine LX crankset, it wouldn't quite look the part. I may swap it with the Sugino on my Kona JtS. They have the same size big/middle rings, and I'd just leave the small one off. Stem shifters... while I think DT would be more elegant, I already have these, and my budget's already kinda suffering, so I may give 'em a try.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:35 AM
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Narrow tires aren't necessarily bad for winter. It depends on the particular ground cover. Some kinds of snow and slush are fine with narrow tires, perhaps even better than with wide tires.

I'm also not very eager to ride on slippery surfaces. I've had falls and near falls. If the surface is bad, I tend not to ride, but sometimes I'll ride Citi Bike. Those bikes weigh 50 lbs, and the riding position is upright, adding to rear-wheel traction. The bikes have drum brakes which are unaffected by moisture. And I don't care about the bike if it gets dirty or if I wipe out. I've found it to handle pretty well in slush.
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Old 08-12-19, 11:46 AM
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X/C skiing and snowshoeing when I can't ride and there is enough snow.
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Old 08-12-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Different this winter? Running. I'm going to start again, try to build up to an hour a day on days I don't ride. More convenient, not so weather-dependent. Easier to shed and keep off pounds.
My wife runs when possible right through the winter.

No small adventure, that.

I'm going for cross country skiing and snowshoes.

edit: Will rebuild the Bilenky for summer touring, but I'll put new tires on my Blackborow.

Studs this year.
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Old 08-12-19, 12:38 PM
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When I first started biking to work, about ten years ago, I decided that I needed a beater bike to ride in rainy weather. The problem is that it's rainy here much more often than not. So eventually I realized that I wanted a nice bike to be my rain bike. That was before I got into vintage bikes. Vintage bikes gave me a bit different perspective. I've got a lot of vintage bikes now that I simply won't take out when the roads are sloppy because I have other choices and I want to keep those bikes nice.

My "winter" bike is tailored for PNW winters, which mostly means a lot of rain and temps in the 35-45 Fahrenheit range. That means, in roughly this order of priority: comfortable to ride, puncture resistant tires, fenders, wide-ish tires (30+ mm), a rack for my cargo needs, disc brakes. If I were in a place that had actual winter with snow and ice, I expect wider tires with studs would be near the top of the list. This is my winter bike in its natural habitat:



Yeah, not vintage. If the weather is a bit nicer I'll take one of my fender-equipped vintage bikes -- usually this one:

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Old 08-12-19, 01:40 PM
  #22  
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@scarlson, good post. Outside of really extreme conditions, I think what I've already got will do just fine.
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Old 08-12-19, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gomango View Post
My wife runs when possible right through the winter.

No small adventure, that.

I'm going for cross country skiing and snowshoes.

As for a bike project, I'm starting over again with the Bilenky.

I just bought a Shimano XT rear derailleur and a White Industries crankset.

We'll see where this thing ends up!
Interesting.
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Old 08-12-19, 01:50 PM
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I built a bike for winter commuting a few years back--a Bridgestone BB 1. I found the frame for $15 and built the bike up with parts on hand (cantilevers, 26 x 2.0 studded tires, 2 x 6 gearing, rack, fender). It worked great as a winter bike.

That was 6 years ago. https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting...ter-build.html

I may resuscitate that bike or I may build up the surly 1 x 1 frame I have hanging up on the hook.

I do think the BB 1, which in many ways is a sort of an updated version of a British roadster, made a fine commuter for crappy weather. I may just deal with the rust and build it up with workable, cheap parts.
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Old 08-12-19, 02:56 PM
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ryansu 
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Seattle WA
Posts: 1,960

Bikes: 2009 Handsome Devil, 1978 Motobecane Grand Touring, 1987 Nishiki Cresta GT, Former bikes; 1986 Miyata Trail Runner, 1979 Miyata 912, 2011 VO Rando, 1999 Cannondale R800, 2012 Soma Smoothie, 1986 Schwinn Passage

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I would say build the MB-5 get some nice fat city tires for it, fenders and lights and a rack if it needs one and ride it all winter. For myself I will probably tear down and refurb the Trek 520 I got for the clunker challenge this year and put some fenders on my Cresta GT so I have something to ride in the wet.

Last edited by ryansu; 08-12-19 at 03:18 PM.
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