• 09-29-2020
    Jay Strongbow
    No experience myself but I can tell you two very experienced riders I know who commute year round in New England swear by fixed gear with studs when the ground is icy. Both these guys can choose from basically any type of bike because they own a fleet so there must be something to it.

    I am not sure if they like it for the simplicity and lack of chance anything could go wrong or the riding experience.
    I used a hybrid with gears when commuting through winter and had some problems with water getting on the bike then freezing thus icing and fcking up the shifting or brakes.
  • 09-29-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    If you rode across Canada, you are good to go for your commute.

    You are what matters, not others.

    Key word in ice and snow: gentle. Gentle movements, gentle accelerations. Can you do that on a fixed? From a dead stop and fully loaded? When a car or truck sheds a fenderberg in front of you (when you are not on the path)? Can you bunny hop on a fixed? Do you have the skills to not coast at all on a winter ride? Even when a huge pothole or other obstacle is suddenly in front of you that you could not see earlier because of snowfall/snowcover?

    Single speed, sure. Simple is good in the snow. But why do you want to go fixed? Do you need extra hipster points for a coffee discount?

    I haven't ridden across Canada; my goals are less ambitious, perhaps a ride across a county or two, on a bike path. I'm more concerned about rutted, melted-and-refrozen-and-possibly-hidden-in-the-shadow-of-a-hill-icy-parts than potholes, fenderbergs or deep snows. We get snow, just not all that much (about 15" annual snowfall).

    I have not ridden a fixed-gear with studded tires in the snow. I have ridden fixed-gear bikes (and in winter, though on clear pavement), and I have ridden studded-tire bikes (in snow).

    I appreciate the advice given about riding in winter, but I'm fine with my winter riding skills. What I was really after was empirical input from folks that might 'splain to me why they did/did not go with a fixed-gear ride for winter biking, and if they did, how it worked for then. As I noted, there are some who prefer fixies in the winter.

    Pretty sure I blew all my hipster points when I put a brake ( :eek: ) on my fixie.
  • 09-29-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    No experience myself but I can tell you two very experienced riders I know who commute year round in New England swear by fixed gear with studs when the ground is icy. Both these guys can choose from basically any type of bike because they own a fleet so there must be something to it.

    I am not sure if they like it for the simplicity and lack of chance anything could go wrong or the riding experience.
    I used a hybrid with gears when commuting through winter and had some problems with water getting on the bike then freezing thus icing and fcking up the shifting or brakes.

    Thanks for the comment.

    I really like the idea of the simplicity of a fixed-gear in the winter (though we don't get much snow, it tends to be wet and sticky, so icing up on derailleurs and brakes can happen, as it appears you well know.
  • 09-29-2020
    dir-t
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    I really like the idea of the simplicity of a fixed-gear in the winter (though we don't get much snow, it tends to be wet and sticky, so icing up on derailleurs and brakes can happen, as it appears you well know.

    I commuted year-round for a bunch of years but car traffic became a bit too much for me. I would often sequentially lose my highest gears since the small cogs would ice up before the next largest one. By the time I got to work it felt like I was at 300 RPMs and barely moving.

    I thought I would eventually move to an internally geared hub since I liked the ability to have a low gear for deeper snow, hills, etc.
  • 09-29-2020
    SauronHimself
    Don't ride a fixie. Depending on how bad the roads are, you could definitely require the ready torque of a low gear.
  • 09-30-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SauronHimself View Post
    Don't ride a fixie. Depending on how bad the roads are, you could definitely require the ready torque of a low gear.

    I was figuring on a low gear on a fixie. What good would torque be if traction is compromised?

    I probably should've specified trail conditions earlier, instead of saying the overly-general "winter cycling." The trail itself is a Rails-to-Trails paved trail, so ruler-straight and board-flat for the most part. It runs next to a river, so it often has sections that've been shaded by the embankments along it during the course of the day. Typically, it doesn't see more than a couple of inches of snow, but as other intrepid souls take their bikes on it, tire ruts in the snow can and do melt and refreeze into ice ruts. These can be treacherous.
  • 09-30-2020
    duriel
    n+1, perfect trail for an e-bike fattey, go with the flow! SERIOUSLY!
  • 09-30-2020
    QuiQuaeQuod
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    ... tire ruts in the snow can and do melt and refreeze into ice ruts. These can be treacherous.

    Especially when they snake, as they do. Even straight line can be a problem.

    You will have to pedal over those. And if your tire loses contact (like when popping over or off a ridge), then you might end up in a lightening fast fall. The ability to coast over those is really nice.
  • 09-30-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Especially when they snake, as they do. Even straight line can be a problem.

    You will have to pedal over those. And if your tire loses contact (like when popping over or off a ridge), then you might end up in a lightening fast fall. The ability to coast over those is really nice.

    I've thought about that,* and wondered whether "momentum stability" (right term ?) would be much different than simply unweighting the pedals of one's fixed gear. I'm not very good at force/vector analyses, or whatever the engineers who are good at it call it, but it seems to me that both coasting vs. backing off on pedaling would have about the same effect on momentum stability (since there'd be minimal torque being applied by the legs on the fixie).

    Re the ice ruts, the tires are Schwalbe's Ice Spiker Pros, which are about as assertive a studded tire as there is (cf. https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/studdedtires.php). I plan to not ride in ice ruts (and really, there aren't that many of them, rider traffic being down considerably in the winters here), but 2"-wide studded tires should give me sure footing.


    *Actually, on this very same trail, yesterday. A lot of the "serious cyclists" poo-poo the path ("It's boring," or "Too crowded," etc.) but I like it on the days when I can just roll along and let my mind wander, and think about stuff like whether fixed-gears make sense or not in winter.:)
  • 09-30-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    n+1, perfect trail for an e-bike fattey, go with the flow! SERIOUSLY!

    I can just hear my wife: "You want to buy a bike that pedals itself?!?"
  • 09-30-2020
    duriel
    OK 2 things...
    You can get one without -e, ... but if it's to get to work, I would go +e. There was a couple riding FS fatties on the NRim, they didn't have e.

    2. If the trail has ice/snow/dry, the big tires are going to even everything out. Little skinny tires are going to be on only one, and when they hit the ice, just think how your elbow is going to feel hitting the ashalpt. Only good thing is you can start icing immediately!
  • 09-30-2020
    ogre
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    I can just hear my wife: "You want to buy a bike that pedals itself?!?"

    No no no, they're electric assist
  • 10-01-2020
    QuiQuaeQuod
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    I've thought about that,* and wondered whether "momentum stability" (right term ?) would be much different than simply unweighting the pedals of one's fixed gear. I'm not very good at force/vector analyses, or whatever the engineers who are good at it call it, but it seems to me that both coasting vs. backing off on pedaling would have about the same effect on momentum stability (since there'd be minimal torque being applied by the legs on the fixie).

    Even if you take all the torque out of the picture by applying no power, you will still have body weight shifts to deal with.

    Unweighting the pedals means your weight is still all on the bike. If an ice ridge imparts some sideways force AS your front tire goes off the top...

    And very few people have no lateral forces in play at all when coast-spinning, right?

    Unweighting the bike means when you come back "down" you could, and likely will, apply more force to one pedal.

    Worst case scenario, as you are messing with all that and concentrating on applying forces as best you can, your front tire and rear tire get kicked in different directions by overlapping ice ridges. I am sure you can imagine how that would happen.

    These are clearly low frequency events. You will probably be fine. Especially with a brake and those tires. But having ridden in super cold to melty ice conditions a lot in the past, I know how fast stuff happens, and how little it takes to make it happen. Know what can happen when studs come down on a bit of gravel or other solid debris sitting on top of ice? During a turn? At 32f degrees temp?

    If you go down in winter, it will almost certainly happen so fast you won't be able to react, much less react well, before you hit the ground. That's the main thing to keep in mind when making your decisions about winter riding equipment and strategies.
  • 10-01-2020
    bvber
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    If you go down in winter, it will almost certainly happen so fast you won't be able to react, much less react well, before you hit the ground.

    It happened to me a few years ago. In most cases it's on slippery surface so you will slide. At least it will cause less damage to your clothing. The possible downside is that you may slide to some where you don't want to be.
  • 10-01-2020
    velodog
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    It happened to me a few years ago. In most cases it's on slippery surface so you will slide. At least it will cause less damage to your clothing. The possible downside is that you may slide to some where you don't want to be.

    Maybe you will slide. I went down on a slippery surface and didn't slide, breaking my hip. I think there's a difference between a large slippery surface and a slippery patch, which mine was, both of which can put you down while creating a different landing pattern.
  • 10-01-2020
    davesupra
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    OK 2 things...
    You can get one without -e, ... but if it's to get to work, I would go +e. There was a couple riding FS fatties on the NRim, they didn't have e.

    2. If the trail has ice/snow/dry, the big tires are going to even everything out. Little skinny tires are going to be on only one, and when they hit the ice, just think how your elbow is going to feel hitting the ashalpt. Only good thing is you can start icing immediately!

    Air pressure is very important in the snow also. Bigger tires let you air down more, which can help a lot.
  • 10-01-2020
    GearDaddy
    Did the year-round commute for a number of years here in Minn-e-snow-ta. I just used a beat-up mtb with normal 2.1 knobbies and no studs. That worked great 90% of the time, with only some occasional days with bad ice. And yes I crashed hard a few times on said bad ice too!

    I've also done numerous winter CX races. Some courses were on frozen lake surfaces the majority of the time. Really fun! Not possible without studded tires though.

    Overall a fat bike would definitely be the best at handling all situations. With the fatter tires and running low pressure you could pretty confidently handle the icy stuff too.

    Note that whatever you ride it will be more challenging to do upkeep on the bike. Winter riding destroys drivetrains! That's part of the reason I just used a cheapish old mtb. It did the job fine. I was typically only riding in the same 2 or 3 gears, so doing singlespeed is not unreasonable (and less maintenance issues too). I didn't sweat having to constantly clean the crud that would accumulate. Had some interesting things happen like the seatpost fusing to the frame, or when it got really cold the freewheel pawls would stick such that they wouldn't engage (had to kick the wheel to get them unstuck).
  • 10-02-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Even if you take all the torque out of the picture by applying no power, you will still have body weight shifts to deal with.

    Unweighting the pedals means your weight is still all on the bike. If an ice ridge imparts some sideways force AS your front tire goes off the top...

    And very few people have no lateral forces in play at all when coast-spinning, right?

    Unweighting the bike means when you come back "down" you could, and likely will, apply more force to one pedal.

    Worst case scenario, as you are messing with all that and concentrating on applying forces as best you can, your front tire and rear tire get kicked in different directions by overlapping ice ridges. I am sure you can imagine how that would happen.

    These are clearly low frequency events. You will probably be fine. Especially with a brake and those tires. But having ridden in super cold to melty ice conditions a lot in the past, I know how fast stuff happens, and how little it takes to make it happen. Know what can happen when studs come down on a bit of gravel or other solid debris sitting on top of ice? During a turn? At 32f degrees temp?

    If you go down in winter, it will almost certainly happen so fast you won't be able to react, much less react well, before you hit the ground. That's the main thing to keep in mind when making your decisions about winter riding equipment and strategies.

    Thanks, this is more the sort of commentary I was after.

    I thought about the body weight shifting, too, but re your first scenario, the weight is still all on the bike, regardless of fixed- or freewheel-coasting, yes? And wouldn't maintaining the legs' momentum (albeit without applying power, "free-coasting" is an apt term) be more stable than stopping said momentum?

    Don't get me wrong, I'm leaning towards freewheel instead of fixed, but I've run across some respected sources who make cases for fixed, so I'm trying some thought experimentation, turning the idea around in my head. So far, no real conclusions.

    One thing I won't be doing is going very fast, regardless, so I'm not too concerned about crashing, and I'll only be making one turn (for my return trips--the trail being all but arrow-straight).

    If ice ridges present themselves, the amply-studded tires are supposed to catch and claw the tire(s) back up, and they're 2.1" wide, so likely bigger than bicycle tire ruts I'd likely encounter. (But with the rising popularity of fatbikes, who knows?)
  • 10-02-2020
    QuiQuaeQuod
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post

    Don't get me wrong, I'm leaning towards freewheel instead of fixed, but I've run across some respected sources who make cases for fixed, so I'm trying some thought experimentation, turning the idea around in my head.

    In what way is fixed BETTER for winter? I mean, if you always pedal a single speed it's pretty much like a fixed gear in terms of function. In theory a freehub can freeze up (which takes some specific conditions to actually happen, ime.) But other than that?

    BTW, keep your winter commute bike in an unheated space if you can, or let it cool down before riding. A warm bike melts frozen stuff and then refreezes it as it cools off, and you will get way more build up than on a cold bike. Also, snow and wet take lube off fast. If I am riding in serious snowfall, I way overlube the chain. The lube will be gone by the end of the ride.

    Lots of metal will be gone by the end of the winter too, but that's another issue.
  • 10-02-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    In what way is fixed BETTER for winter? I mean, if you always pedal a single speed it's pretty much like a fixed gear in terms of function. In theory a freehub can freeze up (which takes some specific conditions to actually happen, ime.) But other than that?

    BTW, keep your winter commute bike in an unheated space if you can, or let it cool down before riding. A warm bike melts frozen stuff and then refreezes it as it cools off, and you will get way more build up than on a cold bike. Also, snow and wet take lube off fast. If I am riding in serious snowfall, I way overlube the chain. The lube will be gone by the end of the ride.

    Lots of metal will be gone by the end of the winter too, but that's another issue.

    Well, some folks say that the ability to "engine-brake" the wheels is a plus (e.g., https://cycling-passion.com/fixed-gear-winter-cycling/, or https://www.sheldonbrown.com/winter.html). And there's the low-maintenance/simplicity aspect of a fixie (particularly if one is foolhardy enough to run one without brakes--can't scrub the rims away with brakes that aren't there, I suppose). And as at least one poster has provided high-quality anecdotal second-hand evidence.
  • 10-02-2020
    QuiQuaeQuod
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    Well, some folks say that the ability to "engine-brake" the wheels is a plus (e.g., https://cycling-passion.com/fixed-gear-winter-cycling/, ...


    From that link: "How does one break with fixed gear bike in the winter?"

    Freudian typo?
  • 10-02-2020
    xxl
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    From that link: "How does one break with fixed gear bike in the winter?"

    Freudian typo?


    :)



    Alternative facts:

    https://kentsbike.blogspot.com/2008/...er-on-ice.html

    https://www.brooklynfixedgear.com/bl...e-in-the-snow/