The Chainlink

It looks like we have some proper Bike Fall* weather on the way. . . just in time for next week's Bike Winter kick off/sticker release event!  Come on out next Thursday to the Billy Goat on Madison to meet veterans of all season cycling and folks hoping to tackle their first Bike Winter this year. Pick up (or share) tips and get inspired to get involved.   And, get the first peek at this year's sticker! Thanks to all who designed and voted. Event info here:  http://www.thechainlink.org/events/bike-winter-kick-off-workshop-an...

 

*I usually bust out the gaitors (ear coverings) when the temp gets below 55. What's your cut off?

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Here is what has worked for me in the last 4 winters:

 

A have a bike that I use mainly for winter riding. It's an aluminum mountain bike. I do very little maintenance on it in the winter besides maintaining the brakes, lubing the chain and making sure the derailleur shifts well.

 

Then when spring comes around, i put it on the stand and do a major overhaul: take the wheels, brakes, derailleur, etc. off the bike and clean them and lube them. I also replace everything that may have worn out: brake pads, chain, cables, housing, etc. I also wash down the frame. That work usually takes multiple evenings. At that point it is basically ready again for next winter.

 

During the winter (early/mid December to mid/late March), my other bikes rarely see any use.

 

 

Kind of depends on how wide a tire your bike can take and whether you have 26 or 700c rims.   

 

People will have a lot of different opinions about tires, but I've found a small-tread 700 x 32 cyclocross tire works best for me on my single-speed winter bike.  The side tread helps grip in light to medium snow but the rolling resistance is still pretty minimal (you will ride on clear pavement most of the time).  The 700 x 32 size is still wide enough to ride at low pressure (around 40 psi) when I'm afraid of black ice.  Even on open metal grate bridges I haven't felt the tires lose traction in winter.

 

Specifically, I use 700 x 32 Ritchey Speedmax Cross Tires: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/TI295B01-Ritchey+Speedmax+Cr... 

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?
Thanks for the info.  I am fairly certain that my wheel will take up to a 28 cx tire (or that is what my coworker told me who I bought the bike from).  He was suggesting putting a thicker tire on the back, as the bike is currently a fixed gear and there are no brakes to get in the way, and keeping the front a smaller road tire.  How do you guys feel about that? or should I just switch it back to my freewheel and put the brake on the back too?

ad said:

Kind of depends on how wide a tire your bike can take and whether you have 26 or 700c rims.   

 

People will have a lot of different opinions about tires, but I've found a small-tread 700 x 32 cyclocross tire works best for me on my single-speed winter bike.  The side tread helps grip in light to medium snow but the rolling resistance is still pretty minimal (you will ride on clear pavement most of the time).  The 700 x 32 size is still wide enough to ride at low pressure (around 40 psi) when I'm afraid of black ice.  Even on open metal grate bridges I haven't felt the tires lose traction in winter.

 

Specifically, I use 700 x 32 Ritchey Speedmax Cross Tires: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/TI295B01-Ritchey+Speedmax+Cr... 

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?

I'd say the tire choice depends on the type of commute and distance; will you be riding city streets, bike paths, suburban streets, or side streets?

 

I get by with Panaracer Paselas 700 x 32, they're a wide inverted tread design. I usually stick to main streets in winter because they're plowed and salted. It's actually pretty rare for me to ride through snow, but slush is everywhere.

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?
Fixed can be nice in winter because you get better feedback from the bike traction-wise.  My main worry has always been my front tire, since if that washes out you're much more likely to go down than if the rear washes out.  So with that said, I'm not sure I would worry too much about using a larger rear tire if you can only fit a 28 on the front.  I rode 700 x 28 Conti Gatorskin tires a few winters ago and was fine.  Schwalbe also makes some very nice 700 x 28 size tires, such as the Marathon Supremes, that seem to grip very well in wet conditions.                 

Bliss BT said:
Thanks for the info.  I am fairly certain that my wheel will take up to a 28 cx tire (or that is what my coworker told me who I bought the bike from).  He was suggesting putting a thicker tire on the back, as the bike is currently a fixed gear and there are no brakes to get in the way, and keeping the front a smaller road tire.  How do you guys feel about that? or should I just switch it back to my freewheel and put the brake on the back too?

ad said:

Kind of depends on how wide a tire your bike can take and whether you have 26 or 700c rims.   

 

People will have a lot of different opinions about tires, but I've found a small-tread 700 x 32 cyclocross tire works best for me on my single-speed winter bike.  The side tread helps grip in light to medium snow but the rolling resistance is still pretty minimal (you will ride on clear pavement most of the time).  The 700 x 32 size is still wide enough to ride at low pressure (around 40 psi) when I'm afraid of black ice.  Even on open metal grate bridges I haven't felt the tires lose traction in winter.

 

Specifically, I use 700 x 32 Ritchey Speedmax Cross Tires: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/TI295B01-Ritchey+Speedmax+Cr... 

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?
I don't bust out a gaitor unless it's 10 degrees or lower. I get too hot!
Thanks!

ad said:
Fixed can be nice in winter because you get better feedback from the bike traction-wise.  My main worry has always been my front tire, since if that washes out you're much more likely to go down than if the rear washes out.  So with that said, I'm not sure I would worry too much about using a larger rear tire if you can only fit a 28 on the front.  I rode 700 x 28 Conti Gatorskin tires a few winters ago and was fine.  Schwalbe also makes some very nice 700 x 28 size tires, such as the Marathon Supremes, that seem to grip very well in wet conditions.                 

Bliss BT said:
Thanks for the info.  I am fairly certain that my wheel will take up to a 28 cx tire (or that is what my coworker told me who I bought the bike from).  He was suggesting putting a thicker tire on the back, as the bike is currently a fixed gear and there are no brakes to get in the way, and keeping the front a smaller road tire.  How do you guys feel about that? or should I just switch it back to my freewheel and put the brake on the back too?

ad said:

Kind of depends on how wide a tire your bike can take and whether you have 26 or 700c rims.   

 

People will have a lot of different opinions about tires, but I've found a small-tread 700 x 32 cyclocross tire works best for me on my single-speed winter bike.  The side tread helps grip in light to medium snow but the rolling resistance is still pretty minimal (you will ride on clear pavement most of the time).  The 700 x 32 size is still wide enough to ride at low pressure (around 40 psi) when I'm afraid of black ice.  Even on open metal grate bridges I haven't felt the tires lose traction in winter.

 

Specifically, I use 700 x 32 Ritchey Speedmax Cross Tires: http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/TI295B01-Ritchey+Speedmax+Cr... 

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?

I love the Marathon Supremes. 3 of my 4 bikes are equipped with it, including my winter bike. Traction is excellent on wet surface, yet rolling resistance feels low

However, if money is a concern as Bliss stated, then these are a bad choice. They MSRP at $73 a piece and even online they retail for $60 or more (once you include shipping).

For $120-140 (for a pair) you might be able to find a beater bike that you can use for the winter.


ad said:

[...] Schwalbe also makes some very nice 700 x 28 size tires, such as the Marathon Supremes, that seem to grip very well in wet conditions.                
[...]

Bliss BT said:

I just recently bought a fancy new bike and can't really afford getting a beater for a while, but I am thinking of splurging and getting some different tires to get me through the winter.  Can you guys recommend a brand I should look in to?

Stickers have shipped :-)

Up to the USPS now...

I like Randolph and it drops you pretty close to there. Just watch out for the area west of Clinton where cars enter the Kennedy.
I just called to double check the parking--there is a fence around the parking lot. We have done this event here in the past and I don't think bike parking has not been a problem. Hope to see you Thursday!

It's not really a competition-- it's up to you to decide how much of a challenge you're comfortable with.

I think a lot depends on where you live and how far your commute is.

For my 1-mile commute, the bike is still the superior option to all other available alternatives even in the most adverse weather.

 

Michelle Stenzel said:

For many years, I've bike commuted from mid-March to mid-October, and was feeling pretty proud of myself. This year, my goal was to continue until Thanksgiving. You're all making me think my goal is too wimpy. Hmm, winter biking? Hmmm....

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