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I'd like to hear what helps to get around when the roads are at their worst.

I'm looking to put together a beefier ride for this winter but I'm not sure where to even start.. I know I want a SS, freewheel, and big knobby tires with fenders. Beyond that - kinda clueless.

Should I look at mountain bike frames? Are there any good complete builds on the market?

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Buy a cross bike.
You can get mountain bike and road bike tires with metal knobs which to me seem like they would bee less of a pain than any kind of chains. They are expensive and a lot of them out there are crappy and have knobs that fall out but there are a few good brands ones like these.

700c

26"

They have other styles also.
This is one place that sells them.
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.asp
Ok, back to this winter bike thing.

First up, the Pugsley. At first impression, I feel like this is near perfect. With the Large Marge rims and Endomorph 3.7 tires, it's a beast.









But then there is also their Karate Monkey.
I'm going for utility overall, but it would be fun to have something I can bring off road and really put to work.



thoughts?
that pugsley build will run you $1200+ - those wheels alone will be ~$600.

check out the redline monocog 29er. a singlespeed 9'er that retails i believe under $500. throw some fenders on and you're good.

i'd avoid studded tires. while they're great fun for figure-8 racing on iced-over ponds, they're overkill in the city. if you hit something nasty, it's more about bike handling than the tread on your tires anyway.
oooohh, the monocog could totally work

Get a el-cheapo (but not Leader or Fetish 'cause I've seen 1 too many of their frames mis-aligned) cross frame. Build it up cheap. Put big tires on and buy fenders. If you can afford it get ceramic coated rims and the appropriate brakes.

If its icy enough to warrant studded tires you're either 1) in Minnesota, 2) On the Iditarod course (about to be eaten by hungry dogs) 3) pushing a zamboni or 4) really wanting to do 1-3.

Cheers,
Ronald McDonald
Personally, I wouldn't even bother with knobby tires. In snow I've never had a problem running road tires since they "slice" right to the pavement more effectively. Ice is ice no matter what kind of tire hits it. I just take it more slowly and avoid leaning my bike too much in turns.
Since the side of the road tends to be full of rutted snow and ice, I "take the lane" more.
That's what works for me anyway. The Monocog is a freakin' hot bike though.
And ski googles rule! I found some at Marshall's for around $10 and they're the best bike accessory I have. Keeps the wind, elements and Sun out of your eyes and they won't fog up.
Except for the fenders, the Kona Humuhumu would be a good candidate. Also the Marin Hamilton 29'er. These are both under $500.

I am sure that their are other bikes from other manufacturer's that would be good as well, these are the 2 that I know from building bikes at Rapid Transit.

For tires, look at the Maxxis Hookworm or the Schwalbe Marathon Plus.

I don't think that totally knobby tires really do the job in the city. Traction is dependent on total surface area contact between the tire and the street. Knobs actually reduce the amount of contact, unless they are tightly spaced together. Knobby tires are mostly designed for off road use in mud, dirt or sand - surfaces that are loose material and the knobs sink into. Since the city generally keeps the roads clear in the winter, knobs are redundant. Fat tires are good for the odd icy surface or riding in snow - more contact to roll over these conditions.

I vote for street tires in the city - knobs are for the country.
Yes I would love to have a Pugsly - but it isn't a budget bike. It is a very specialized piece of equipment and the price says it as well.

The Karate Monkey is kind of a Jack of all trades bike, but very good for the commuter, but not a cheap bike (though not anywhere near as expensive as a built up Pugsly). Fenders are problematic on this bike - especially with wide tires - these will probably need to be fabricated. I haven't seen any off the shelf fenders that work with fat tires with these... I am pretty sure the same goes for the Pugsly as well.

Speaking of Surly - the Instigator would be another nice option for a winter bike if their is a budget for it.
Not cheap to build a bike up from a frame and fork though...

root said:
Ok, back to this winter bike thing.

First up, the Pugsley. At first impression, I feel like this is near perfect. With the Large Marge rims and Endomorph 3.7 tires, it's a beast.









But then there is also their Karate Monkey.
I'm going for utility overall, but it would be fun to have something I can bring off road and really put to work.



thoughts?
Hi Root, I've built a few winter thrashers from early Mtn bike frames. Some you will find have long horizontal dropouts and can be had on the cheap. You can build them into a low geared single speed. 42/19 and pull through most anything. Heavy wind, snow and so forth. There's lots of tire choices out there. Naturally for heavy snow knobbier is best.
If you want to actually ride through and over snow, then you will want something with as much clearance as possible, ie a mountain or cross frame of course. But if you just want a cheap bike that's stable in the snow and ice around town, don't overlook your basic and classic and plentiful city bikes. A Raleigh Sprite/Superbe/Sport or equivalent will work just fine, especially if you run the tires at lower pressure.

You want good front tire traction and in the winter, a lot of weight isn't necessarily a bad thing. Last winter, I'd regularly ride my 25kg Dutch roadster from Hyde Park to Evanston and back to get a cup of coffee. It has 28" tires and is absolutely stable and smooth (and surprisingly fast), even when I lose track of the path after a snowstorm and kind of veer into (what would be) the grass.

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