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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    18

    Winter Commuting

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    Hi Everyone,
    I live in Buffalo, NY and am trying winter commuting for the first time (I've ridden in winter before, but only when the roads were free of snow). Even with deflating my mtb tires to 20 lbs, I'm fishtailing and nearly falling every two seconds. I need to have a safer ride - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! More details : I weigh 110 lbs, the bike has disc brakes, I'm keeping the gearing low.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    Studded tires are a must in places like Buffalo. You can either get a beater winter bike and put studs on it, or just put studs on your current bike and take them off come spring.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    YES! You need studded tires. If you're fishtailing, you're out of control and could land under a car or in a ditch very fast. Don't ride without.

    Studs make the going a bit heavier, and you need to keep your bike a little more upright, minimal leaning over in corners. But once you have the hang of it, you can ride up hills so icy people can't walk up them. Studded tires rock. And they last a long time if you just break them in carefully (no hard braking the first 50 km or so). And you don't have to deflate your tires to very low pressures either.

    You also need a good bright light in front and a red blinky in back. I'm a big fan of the Magicshine lights, great value for money.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    18
    Looks like I have confirmation - I think I already knew that I would have to get the studded tires, but I was trying to avoid buying them before the holidays. I have friends who are commuting on cyclocross bikes with regular tires and saying it's fine, but then I find out that these are people who are not riding through the city (where the very slippery salt crap is). I wish Buffalo would not use salt and just let the snow pack with sand, but that's not going to happen, so out comes the credit card. I'm getting the Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires, by the way, for anyone who's interested. I use front and rear lights all year round, rear light on always, even during the day. Thank you for the replies!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    With all that salt, be sure to clean your bike regularly. Even if it's not steel, salt and sand corrode metal.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    18
    It's funny you mention that - I just read recently where someone puts his bike in the shower after riding (can't wash it off outside or it will freeze). We have a shower we don't use and I tried it - worked great!
    2012 Seven Axiom SLX w/105, WTB Shadow saddle
    2014 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 26
    SE Draft Lite beater w/Gatorskins and stickers

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Well, not to point out the obvious, but you can wash it off outside, you just have to take it in to dry
    (assuming you have an outdoor water supply that works below freezing, we don't)

    I hose my bike down at work, then take it into the warmest part of the underground parking to dry, sometimes bring it into the building too. Getting the salt off really will help. I know people like disc brakes for their braking power, but I'm not a fan. I find the maintenance much harder to keep up with in winter, while old-style v-brakes I can completely disassemble, clean, lube and put together again easily.

    Other tips - lube often, and expect shifting etc to be a bit slow. There are lots of tips here on TE about clothing for cold-weather riding too.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    I love my schwalbe winter marathons.

    They are great on ice or packed snow. Deep snow is for those new fat tires. Slushy snow, or a thin enough layer that it's bare to the road right there but ground up gray snow right there, that's just a pain.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    983
    Had a great ride yesterday, although I'm reminded that I need to make some studded tires for the FATBIKE. We have lots of ice on the edges of the road that somehow seem to jump up and grab your tires just as you get into a rhythm HA!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Buffalo, NY
    Posts
    18
    Just an update for anyone coming to this thread for winter tire info - the directions on my Schwalbe Winter Marathon tires specifically state, "Tires need to be run-in for approx. 25 miles/40 km on hard-top road(my emphasis) to ensure spikes are permanently fixed." As lph above stated also, no rapid acceleration or hard braking during this period. It might seem counter-intuitive to ride on clear roads to break them in, but those are the directions. I'm about 15 miles into my break-in period, and it's just loud with more friction - no problems with handling or cornering, but I'm also going slower to avoid hard stops.
    2012 Seven Axiom SLX w/105, WTB Shadow saddle
    2014 Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 26
    SE Draft Lite beater w/Gatorskins and stickers

 

 

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