Author Topic: An alternative to my road bike for the winter  (Read 10127 times)

COguy

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An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« on: August 15, 2012, 10:16:10 AM »
I have a question for all of you biking experts out there.  I live in Colorado and I have a road bike that I ride to work every day.  It is my favorite part of my day.  Right now everything is great.

In the past however, I would always just hang it up from late November through February as my slick tires have a tough time in the snow. 

So, I am thinking of getting something on craigslist to conquer the winter months.  What type of bike do all of you full time riders ride in the winter?

ThatGuyFromCanada

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galaxie

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2012, 10:53:27 AM »
I live in MA.  My bike has moderately knobby tires, which work pretty well for biking in bad weather.  I think in deep snow I'd drive or stay home because it'd be really inefficient, like running on sand.  Usually the roads are plowed before I get out on them, so that's not a big deal.

I think these are the same tires I have: http://www.jensonusa.com/!!Yvh9j3E34VJDFigsbXmZw!/Ritchey-Speedmax-Cross-700C-Tire

Does your bike have enough clearance to put a wider (32mm-ish) tire on for winter?

spamcatcher

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2012, 04:02:53 PM »
A decent second-hand hard tail mountain bike can be your best friend in the winter if you can rationalize a second bike.  They accommodate wider tires which you would normally scorn in the summer, but are great in light snow (less than 2 inches) and in rain.  Here in western Washington we get more rain than snow, and our snow is usually pretty soggy.  Big fat fenders keep most of the road muck off of you, but you'll still get spray -- so rain gear and glasses are essential.

It also feels so good to get back on the summer bike on those days with good weather. Two bikes may seem excessive to those of you with serious mustaches -- but for me it was the difference between riding a bike and sitting in a car.  A second bike attached to those knobby tires allows you to only ride the knobby tires on the days that you need them.

-M


jawisco

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2012, 05:04:06 PM »
A lot depends on your roadbike as far as options go - especially what size tire it is and whether it is more racing or touring frame geometry.

Fenders are a great thing for inclement weather and so are studded tires.  Unless you have a real racer, you should be able to add those things and be on the road most of the winter and be safe.

Russ

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2012, 05:23:22 PM »
If you're bent on getting a new bike, cyclocross bikes are literally made to ride through snow, sand, mud, ice, or anything else you throw at them, while still being nearly as efficient as a road bike. Find one used on craigslist as late in the year as you're comfortable with, since cross season is about to start and high demand = higher prices until October at least. Or if you think mountain biking might be fun to try, you could pick one up to ride in the winter then hit the trails next summer.

If you're cool with cramming some knobbies in your road frame, CX tires come as small as 30mm which should fit in darn near all brake calipers. Air them up to max pressure on dry days, and you can probably drop it down to 35-40 psi on the snowy days if you want more traction.

Also, this site is pretty cool and informative, and always reminds me how easy my winter commute is, compared to some.

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TheDude

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 06:05:39 PM »
I live in Longmont and I think there were only about five days last winter that the road bike couldn't handle. On those days I used my mountain bike. I am currently building up a cyclecross bike but I still think I will need the mountain bike a few tiimes this winter.

Russ

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 08:02:12 PM »
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/use-cable-ties-to-bike-through-137299

I know it says this in the article, but it's worth repeating: don't do this if you have rim brakes! unless, of course, you like ripping off your pads and pulling a sw8 endo when you try to stop. Interesting idea for discs/fixed though.

yyc-phil

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 09:12:09 PM »
I lived in the Northwest Territories (Canada) and Nunavut for almost 3 decades and used an old hard-tail mountain bike in winter whenever the temperature was bearable (-20 C and above, or even colder on clear sunny days). In my experience, the biggest problem is not the cold or the snow, but the ice. On icy roads or where there is a hard-snowpack, the key to control and traction is the front tire. I have a Schwalbe Ice Spiker 26 x 2.10 with 300 tungsten-carbide spikes (about $100) as my front tire, but in your area, you could do with a cheaper 100 studs. There is no point investing in a studded rear tire. Riding in the lowest gear is also better for traction and control. It is a good idea to replace your brake pads with pads that have curves in them because they are better at scrubing away mud and slush. Also, aluminum rims are better than steel because they don't ice as much. Instead of the usual close-fitting fenders which tend to clog with snow and slush, use those that clip on the down tube and seatpost for more clearance. Also, despite what the "experts" say, WD-40 sprayed liberally on all moving parts (except brakes) as well in all drainage holes and seatpost will be your saviour and will make winter biking a piece of cake. If you have money to spare, you can get bike aerosol lubricant. I never did. Before you use your bike in cold weather, it is also a good idea to repack your bearings. I never did, and my old bike still works...

As I now live in hip Calgary, I now use a single-speed road bike that I bought for $20, with the same 27" tires all year long. Works fine as is without studs.

As for clothing I'd be happy to offer some tips if you wish. Happy riding!

COguy

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2012, 07:24:03 AM »
Thanks for all the responses everyone.  My road bike is fairly nice, so I want to avoid taking it out in the snow and serious rain.  But, like The Dude said it doesn't snow that much in Longmont anyway.  So I would probably opt on the side of getting a second bike off craigslist that I can ride on the bad days.

mindaugas

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2012, 09:30:05 AM »
Hey, I live in CO as well. Winters are pretty mild here. When it does snow it melts pretty fast and it doesn't really snow that much. The real issue is the cold and ice.

Here is what I did a while ago. Bought an older department store bike on craiglists (less than $100). Put 700cc wheels on it that allowed me to fit a 32mm (?) tire from a hybrid commuter on it. Rode all that winter without any issues, had a blast in the snow! Only fell a few times :)

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/115711192356050024180/albums/5317612795405529201

You can also look into hybrids, which have a road bike body and a fork with shocks. they can fit bigger tires and are usually pretty cheap even new. $300 sometimes at performance. Personally, I really want a 29er for both commuting and to start trail riding. I've been debating whether to just go really cheap and buy one at walmart for $200 or less. They even have some with disc brakes. It's cheap enough that I don't have to worry about destroying it commuting. My commute would be up and down kipling over sidewalks and intersections so my road bike commuter isn't an option :( I did that on another commute for a while and destroyed it. Cracked both wheels, the crank, destroyed by shifters crashing, etc. I ended up paying as much for repairs as I paid for the bike when I got it used. 

Since we're on the topic, what do other bike riding mustachians think about the walmart bikes? Is it better to just wait until a nicer used mtb pops up on CL?

TLV

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2012, 10:21:27 AM »
Since we're on the topic, what do other bike riding mustachians think about the walmart bikes? Is it better to just wait until a nicer used mtb pops up on CL?

If you don't have a bike at all and can get the walmart bike for free, then get it and ride it until you can get a nicer one. When you upgrade, you'll wonder how you could stand it.

mindaugas

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2012, 10:27:39 AM »
By free do you mean steal it? Is that mustachian approved? hehe. No, I would have to pay for it, but it's cheaper than what I have found on CL (at least for 29ers) and definately a lot less than new Trek/Specialized/Giant. I have road bikes now, no mtb.

*sorry for stealing yer thread coguy

elindbe2

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2012, 10:41:08 AM »
Generally, it's best to stay away from Walmart, Target, and other discount retail chain bikes.  These bikes are often poorly manufactured and unsafe.  If you need a cheap bike, it's better to get a used one off of craigslist.  Inexpensive old mountain bikes are often fairly easy to come by in my experience.

TLV

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2012, 11:13:44 AM »
By free do you mean steal it?

No, I meant freecycle or the "Free" section on craiglist. I got a walmart bike from freecycle about a year ago, when I first started reading ERE/MMM, and then gave it away again after I bought myself a nicer bike a few months ago.

Oddly enough, even though it was one of those $80-when-new bikes, it still had a 3-piece crank and proper brake calipers (1-piece cranks and calipers are the two things Bakari said to watch out for in his guide to used bikes).

Bakari

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2012, 01:49:32 PM »
Since we're on the topic, what do other bike riding mustachians think about the walmart bikes? Is it better to just wait until a nicer used mtb pops up on CL?

A walmart bike is not worth the price even if its free.

I worked in a bike shop for about 6 years (still work there part time) and imho they should be illegal.
They are built of the cheapest crappiest parts they China and Taiwan can possibly make, and put together by people who have no idea how bikes work.  Even when tuned optimally by a real bike shop, they still are prone to having random parts fail for no apparent reason, and the brakes are still barely adequate (at best).
Avoid all bikes from department stores like the plague.
This includes (but is not limited to) the brands: Huffy, Murry, Magna, Next and Roadmaster.

I have a couple pictures of components on my buying guide to identify these bikes with a different brand
http://biodieselhauling.blogspot.com/2012/01/buying-bikes-from-craigslist.html

Said guide also has some other tips for buying used, but not much specific to snow. 
The only time I really tried riding in snow was when I was a bike messenger in NYC, and rather than figure out the best way to handle it, I just quit that job after my first month of sliding around in the plowed refreeze on my road bike with (relatively) fat knobby tires.

mindaugas

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Re: An alternative to my road bike for the winter
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2012, 02:00:17 PM »
Quote
Avoid all bikes from department stores like the plague.

You have convinced me sir! Really, I'm not being sarcastic.