Winter cycling types, please weigh in...
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  1. #1
    xxl
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    Winter cycling types, please weigh in...

    A fixed-gear studded-tire bike for riding on snowy bike paths--yes or no?

    (Note: I would've posted this in the Fixed Gear sub, but I wanted an answer.)
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  2. #2
    Adorable Furry Hombre
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    I wouldn't do fixed. Studded tires are much harder going than anything else.

    If the snow isn't hard packed you'd probably be OK with knobbies. Studs aren't cheap, and do their best at low pressures on icey surfaces...but BEWARE traction sand on roads, it fouls studs and can make them useless.
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    I commute daily in the winter. Depending on how much snow you get (and how wet the snow is) and your gearing, a fixed gear bike might be very hard going. I'd run gears (and I do).
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  4. #4
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    I wouldn't do fixed. Studded tires are much harder going than anything else.

    If the snow isn't hard packed you'd probably be OK with knobbies. Studs aren't cheap, and do their best at low pressures on icey surfaces...but BEWARE traction sand on roads, it fouls studs and can make them useless.

    I already have the studded tires (you know how it is, you buy some bike toy, and then figure out how you'll use it). I'm wondering more about the "fixed" part of things, specifically handling and traction. I've dealt with studded tires enough to know that I'll not be setting any speed records, which is fine; I figure I'll only be doing short rides in cold temps (for me, that's the high 20s). I've ridden fixed-gear, but never off dry pavement. As I mentioned, it'd be used almost exclusively on a bike path that sees little winter travel (so it's often a surface that offers combinations of pavement, snow, and ice in the winter), so gears are simply an unnecessary complication.

    After a casual search of the internet, I've found a number of folks who swear by fixed-gears in winter, e.g., https://gearjunkie.com/fixed-gear-winter-bike
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  5. #5
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    I'd build it with a flip-flop hub. I did that years ago on my first fixie, and ended up preferring the freewheel side.
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  6. #6
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    I'd build it with a flip-flop hub. I did that years ago on my first fixie, and ended up preferring the freewheel side.
    That's what I'm thinking, too (my current fixie has flip-flopability, but 27" wheels, so no studded tires for it!)
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    The studs are only good on ice, all other applications they are not so good.
    IMO, riding on anything that has ice is CRAZY! ...even with studs unless your ice racing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesupra View Post
    I commute daily in the winter. Depending on how much snow you get (and how wet the snow is) and your gearing, a fixed gear bike might be very hard going. I'd run gears (and I do).
    THIS. Nothing to add because it's all here.

  9. #9
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    That's what I'm thinking, too (my current fixie has flip-flopability, but 27" wheels, so no studded tires for it!)
    How are you planning to keep your @ss crack warm? That would be a big issue with the hipsters I see in and around DC who commute 3 miles to work on their single speeds (which differs from fixed gear).

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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    I already have the studded tires (you know how it is, you buy some bike toy, and then figure out how you'll use it). I'm wondering more about the "fixed" part of things, specifically handling and traction. I've dealt with studded tires enough to know that I'll not be setting any speed records, which is fine; I figure I'll only be doing short rides in cold temps (for me, that's the high 20s). I've ridden fixed-gear, but never off dry pavement. As I mentioned, it'd be used almost exclusively on a bike path that sees little winter travel (so it's often a surface that offers combinations of pavement, snow, and ice in the winter), so gears are simply an unnecessary complication.
    If there is going to be any snow accumulation to deal with, you might really want some gears. Riding in actual snow is similar to, though not as hard as riding in sand. When the front wheel digs in and the back is sliding around, fixed gear would not be my choice. Also, the best tactic to deal with ice is a light hand on the bars and coast through it. A lot more of a challenge on a fixed gear. But if you're out to prove something to yourself (or others), have at it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    A fixed-gear studded-tire bike for riding on snowy bike paths--yes or no?
    Yes, if you post pics of your injuries after they happen.
    .
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  12. #12
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    I think itís time to enact n+1 and get a fat tire bike

  13. #13
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    How are you planning to keep your @ss crack warm? That would be a big issue with the hipsters I see in and around DC who commute 3 miles to work on their single speeds (which differs from fixed gear).
    I plan to wear my winter cycling duds.
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    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    If there is going to be any snow accumulation to deal with, you might really want some gears. Riding in actual snow is similar to, though not as hard as riding in sand. When the front wheel digs in and the back is sliding around, fixed gear would not be my choice. Also, the best tactic to deal with ice is a light hand on the bars and coast through it. A lot more of a challenge on a fixed gear. But if you're out to prove something to yourself (or others), have at it.
    There's not going to be much in the way of accumulation, as we don't get that much snowfall (and if there is, I'll not be out in it), but there'll be patches of snow, mixed in with icy parts, often rutted up from previous riders (these are actually the worst hazards, IME). I've ridden it before, but on regular knobbies, and it was doable, but I had to pay attention.

    I'm not sure how often the front wheel would dig in and not the back (but better that than the other way around), since both F and R would be studded tires and the rear is usually loaded more. Some people even try to cheap out with only a studded tire upfront, but this seems foolhardy to me. Some winter biking folks online have advocated the fixed gear as better for these situations (obviously, I have no direct experience, or this thread wouldn't exist ), as they say one can slow the bike by "engine braking," i.e., backing off pedaling.
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    There are over 13 million covid cases in the United States (as of Thanksgiving), eleven months after Donald Trump said it was "totally under control," and that "it's gonna be just fine."

  15. #15
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre View Post
    I think itís time to enact n+1 and get a fat tire bike
    In truth, as much as another bike appeals to me, with the snowfall around here I'd probably not be able to drag it out all that much.
    Donald Trump has never had a wife he didn't cheat on.

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    There are over 13 million covid cases in the United States (as of Thanksgiving), eleven months after Donald Trump said it was "totally under control," and that "it's gonna be just fine."

  16. #16
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    In truth, as much as another bike appeals to me, with the snowfall around here I'd probably not be able to drag it out all that much.
    Bingo!

    Three years ago there was a big snow storm headed for the DC area. I bought a huge snow blower at Home Depot the week before. The storm came and blower worked great -- I even did the neighbor's drive ways. I haven't used it since. Best purchase I ever made. I rode 400 miles last January.

    Get the fat tire bike.

  17. #17
    KWL
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmf View Post
    ...Get the fat tire bike.
    The nice thing about a fat bike is you can ride the snow & ice or single track or sand. I am having fun cruising the gravel alleys in my 1920's neighborhood. Throw some studs on it and it is perfect for rutted, iced up MUTS. Another vote for n+1.
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  18. #18
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    fixie in snow and studded tires?
    Wow here I am thinking I need to HTFU during the Socal winter when temps can drop into low 50s high 40s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    temps can drop into low 50s high 40s.
    OMG, that's freez'in!!! NoWay!

    If it's really patchy this and that, I would go fat tire for sure!
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  20. #20
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    https://media.giphy.com/media/slbQo8QFOUi1W/giphy.gif

    For God's sake man! Get a new bike!

  21. #21
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    No answer on the fixed studded winter bike.

    But I think it mildly amusing a Moderator has to justify posting in the wrong(?) Forum to get replies.

    Carry on.
    Lots of bikes - vintage steel w/ friction thru modern Ti and CF w/ brifters.

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    Yea, where is CX? Hump!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    I'm not sure how often the front wheel would dig in and not the back (but better that than the other way around), since both F and R would be studded tires and the rear is usually loaded more.
    It doesn't seem like you've ridden in snow much. Studs won't keep the front wheel from digging in to partially packed snow. I commuted year round for 30 years in Michigan and experienced this all the time.

  24. #24
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    It doesn't seem like you've ridden in snow much. Studs won't keep the front wheel from digging in to partially packed snow. I commuted year round for 30 years in Michigan and experienced this all the time.

    Perhaps to you it seems that way, but growing up in the Snow Belt, I've ridden in plenty of snow.

    What I haven't done is ride a fixed gear bicycle with studded tires in snow.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at regarding the traction of the front wheel; my experience (though not with studded tires on a fixed-gear bike, as I said) has been that if the front wheel is maintaining traction, rear-wheel skittishness is something I can handle (particularly at the lower speeds of winter biking). I'd much prefer that problem over having a front wheel that slides around.

    As I said, a number of winter cycling enthusiasts advocate fixed-gear bikes for winter (cf. https://www.sheldonbrown.com/winter.html).

    See also:

    Donald Trump has never had a wife he didn't cheat on.

    Donald Trump has never won a popular vote in a governmental election.

    There are over 13 million covid cases in the United States (as of Thanksgiving), eleven months after Donald Trump said it was "totally under control," and that "it's gonna be just fine."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post

    As I said, a number of winter cycling enthusiasts advocate fixed-gear bikes for winter ...

    See also:
    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?
    .
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