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Winter riding on an “old school” bike.

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Winter riding on an “old school” bike.

Old 02-05-21, 07:42 PM
  #1  
sovende
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Winter riding on an “old school” bike.

For the most part, I consider myself to be a “fair weather” cyclist. November is usually the latest that I’ll be out for a ride (but I did get a ride in this year on an unseasonably nice early December day!) Since Punxsutawney Phil managed to see his shadow on the 2nd of February, meaning 6 more weeks until Spring, I started thinking about what I could be riding in the waning days of Winter. At the encouragement of my daughter to implement the Scandinavian concept of “friluftsliv” (open air living or perhaps enjoying the outdoors regardless of the weather) I’m going to try a little Winter trail riding.
While a “fat tire” bike might be best for this activity, I’m not really in a position (on many levels) to invest in one. My plan is to dust off my Bike NASHBAR Terra XT mountain bike. For all intents and purposes, it is pretty much the bike discussed in this thread:
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...knock-off.html

I purchased it back in the mid- nineties for ~$50. I swapped out a few things (handlebar, now flat, Yeti grips and a different saddle) but as stated, it’s nearly a dead ringer for the bike in the older thread. I’m hoping that it will suitable for some mostly flat, groomed trail riding.
We’re expecting single digit high temps (Fahrenheit) and sub-zero lows overnight over the next few days and that’s wit(out factoring in the “wind chill effect” so I’m pretty sure I won’t be taking a whack at Winter cycling this weekend !
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Old 02-05-21, 07:53 PM
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Last Saturday... 24* with windchill in the mid teens. Other than the tips of my fingers and toes I was toasty.

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Old 02-05-21, 08:15 PM
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Go for it. Any which way you can extend your riding season is good, in my books. Your old school bike should be fine. Any bike should be fine, for that matter, for winter riding. Might take you a few tries to get things dialed in--clothes, tire pressure, route, etc. But once you got it figured out it can be quite invigorating to be out in the mid-day sunshine, even if it's -15*C out.

Since working from home for the last four weeks I've been going out every day after work for a short spin. Granted, the weather has been good, so road conditions are good. Temperature range in the 0 to -15*C for the most part.




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Old 02-06-21, 12:14 AM
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It will be fine after you lower the stem down to the max height line.

John
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Old 02-06-21, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
It will be fine after you lower the stem down to the max height line.

John
Just checked, Max Height line is NOT exposed (no lines are exposed). But now, on General Principles, I'm going to pull the stem for personal verification. While I'm at it, I'll clean, relub and adjust the headset bearings . I have to say that having the front brake housing stop as part of the stem seems to be an engineering design oversight. The stem height directly impacts on brake pad position. I'll probably get a housing stop that replaces the spacer between the cone adjusting nut and the locking nut. We'll see.

Last edited by sovende; 02-06-21 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:18 AM
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That’s good. I only mentioned it because of a pic of the Nitto stem in the thread you referenced. I didn’t read the contents of the thread, but that pic caught my eye.

John
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Old 02-06-21, 10:26 AM
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As someone who started winter commuting in ‘88 on an ‘87, lemme just say that, yeah, while it’s do-able, modern bikes are way, way better. The demands of commuting are wholly different from periodic rec riding, of course, and I don’t mean to discourage the OP at all, but rather just to set the table for understanding that there might be challenges and frustrations to riding a vintage bike in the winter which are particular to vintage bikes, and not endemic to winter friluftsliving.

Grime and maintenance are the big ones for me. Rim brakes and winter slop make a stinking mess of things, and the steel bits on bikes of that vintage and pricepoint would corrode like crazy and frustrate and inhibit proper operation and easy maintenance.

Again, I was riding (and continue to ) in snow and salty slush here in MI, and I needed to be out regardless of weather, so the OP won’t face those same conditions and demands, but the generally poor performance of old bits will be there, and it’s important to not let that stuff put you off cycling, because it can be fixed. You don’t need a new, $3k fat bike to fix it, but nust a $300 investment in a 15 year old bike could make a big difference: disc brakes, all alloy bits, better lubes in BB and freehub, etc.
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Old 02-06-21, 10:55 AM
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Am I the only one who read that the OP is intending to ride flat, groomed snow trails? They’re not typically salted and/or grimy (or grimey) and usually are considered as a fun ride vs a commute. I guess my internet serves up different words than everyone else gets. Weird. To the OP: have fun, stay warm, don’t get too sweaty if you’re going to be out longer than an hour plus.
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Old 02-06-21, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Any which way you can extend your riding season is good, in my books. Your old school bike should be fine. Any bike should be fine, for that matter, for winter riding. Might take you a few tries to get things dialed in--clothes, tire pressure, route, etc. But once you got it figured out it can be quite invigorating to be out in the mid-day sunshine...
Watch for ice.

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Old 02-06-21, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Grime and maintenance are the big ones for me. Rim brakes and winter slop make a stinking mess of things, and the steel bits on bikes of that vintage and pricepoint would corrode like crazy and frustrate and inhibit proper operation and easy maintenance..
While your points are valid, the bike in question was not a low end bike at the time.
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Old 02-06-21, 11:11 AM
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Keep your digits warm. Wear a thin balaclava under your helmet. Ride in the sun.....
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Old 02-06-21, 11:46 AM
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Invest in good boots, mittens, and goggles.

I weigh 165-170, too heavy for 2.125” tires to float on top of even well hardpact snow. My winter riding is relegated to streets/roads with old road frames and thin slush-cutting tires.

A fatbike is likely to be a worthwhile investment for you unless you’re under 100lbs.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AdkMtnMonster View Post
Am I the only one who read that the OP is intending to ride flat, groomed snow trails? They’re not typically salted and/or grimy (or grimey) and usually are considered as a fun ride vs a commute. I guess my internet serves up different words than everyone else gets. Weird. To the OP: have fun, stay warm, don’t get too sweaty if you’re going to be out longer than an hour plus.
I addressed that specifically, and called out the factors behind generally poor performance of old bits in winter weather.

Also, since it isn’t obvious to everyone, grime is generated by rim brakes in the wet.
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Old 02-06-21, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
While your points are valid, the bike in question was not a low end bike at the time.
Kinda...there were higher end bikes at the time, and It seems Nashbar was always the bargain source. I bought a new ‘87 Bridgestone MB4 in April ‘88– well, it was a birthday gift from my folks!— and it was $400 something and there was still MB3, MB2, MB1 up the price range. To your point, though, there wasn’t a lot of distinction between components in those days in terms of materials, and it was more about surface finish quality and bearing seals; tubesets were the big price factor.

This bike is fitted with about as good as you could get then drivetrain-wise, so your point is taken.
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Old 02-06-21, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by sovende View Post
I’m going to try a little Winter trail riding.
Your bike will do just fine. Fat tires really help with deep and loose powder but I've been riding 2" tires (170 lbs by the way) all winter on about two feet of snow on packed trails and it's been great. I'm running Schwalbe Marathon Winter Plus 26x2 studded tires at about 25-30 psi and haven't had any issues with traction or float. After also being a fair weather rider, I've really become a convert to winter riding this year. The one thing I might recommend, since it's a steel bike, is refrain from bringing it into a heated space after you ride. It'll condense everywhere, even inside the frame tubes and has the potential to lead to rust over time. Now, layer up, get out there and have fun.
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Old 02-06-21, 07:11 PM
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Even in 1986 the NASHBAR line would hardly be called “high end”! Nevertheless, $500 was still a chunk of change for the average person to spend on a bike. The depreciation was pretty severe since I picked it up for $50 <10 years later. Perhaps I got a much better deal than I thought .
I’m happy that the general consensus is that my ‘86 NASHBAR will work just fine. As I mentioned and others referred to, I will be riding relatively flat, groomed trails BUT I will have to get to the trail and unless I load the bike up in my truck, I’ll be riding city streets to get to the trail. The City does salt/sand our streets in the Winter, so that’s an issue. Post ride clean up will be necessary. JW in AK’s comment RE: condensation was something I hadn’t considered but now will.
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Old 02-06-21, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
That’s good. I only mentioned it because of a pic of the Nitto stem in the thread you referenced. I didn’t read the contents of the thread, but that pic caught my eye.

John
I didn’t notice that until you. mentioned it ! When I get mine all Winter “prepped” I’ll snap some pics and post them . There won’t be a lot of difference tho.
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Old 02-10-21, 09:26 AM
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Here's a vote in favor of winter riding on an old school bike.


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Old 02-10-21, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by DHPflaumer View Post
Here's a vote in favor of winter riding on an old school bike.


Handsome!

Here’s a vote in favor of actually old bikes for winter riding. I think this is its 16th winter of use!:


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