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Thread: Ice and Vbrakes

  1. #1
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    Ice and Vbrakes

    So I go out for a night ride last night and run into a bit of an issue. It's about 10 degrees and I get to a shallow stream crossing. I walk on top of the rocks and not giving a second thought, I push my bike through the water. Not more than a minute or two after that I'm coming up on a turn and grab the brakes. Nothing. I really grab both of them and just continue on to plow into a tree I figured out that the water that I got on the wheels froze and the rubber pads just slid over them.

    My question is then, if I go on snow rides, will it do the same thing? If yes, then I'd probably have to go with disc brakes, right? Or if it is below freezing then, the snow shouldn't really transfer into ice on my wheels because it wouldn't be warm enough for the snow to turn into water to wet my wheels. And in that case just carry the bike over streams.

    Any insight would be appreciated

  2. #2
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    I had the same issue the other night, except I have disc brakes. I got the discs wet on an unexpectedly deep water crossing then continued climbing for a few more minutes. When I turned onto a twisty downhill singletrack I went for the brakes and, like you said, nothing I kept squeezing the brakes (and turning!) and in a few long seconds the ice melted off and all was well again. I think maybe pumping the brakes for a while right after riding through water probably will squeegee off the water and prevent this. Not using the brakes right away gives the water time to freeze.

    Or avoid playing in water when the temp. is below freezing

    JZ
    It's not about speed, it's about lack of control.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wha-Bam!!!
    My question is then, if I go on snow rides, will it do the same thing? If yes, then I'd probably have to go with disc brakes, right? Or if it is below freezing then, the snow shouldn't really transfer into ice on my wheels because it wouldn't be warm enough for the snow to turn into water to wet my wheels.
    My experience is that snow and v-brakes don't mix. If the snow is at all deep, it'll accumulate between the rim and brakes, rendering them useless. You'll need disc brakes for snow rides.

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    from experience if you ride in snow depth that you touch with pedals, no go for v brakes. even if it is only snow, it still gets packed up between pads and rim. unless u got balls to go brakeless. i have yet to see that happen to discs...
    break that ironhorse, he he...

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    ya, but sometimes hydros at cold temperatures aren't ideal either. I recently had my 08 xts stop working because the rubber seal around the pistons stops them from retracting when it gets cold out. My personal preference is a set of BB7s with nice, teflon coated cables and good seals on the housing.

  6. #6
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    Long time winter riders know to scrub their v-brakes after a water crossing or before a downhill. Most of us have switched to discs now.

    Try a creek crossing with ice on either side, after exiting the water, it freezes on the tires before clearing the ice...

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    I think I'll be....

    dating myself a bit here but.... I've been winter riding since before disc brakes were available for bikes! Yeah I know, I'm an old fart! But it can be done with Vs. It's just a matter of being hyper aware of water crossings and deep snow. Scrubbing the brakes often to check them and keep the rims and pads as dry as possible and keeping your speed down are the keys. Another bit of advice is to always do a brake check just before the crest of a climb. Just a quick tap on both brakes to make sure they're working. If not you can use the incline to stop you before you start the descent. Also frequent brake checks thoughout the ride are a must.

    The advent of disc brakes has made winter riding much more pleasant than it was before. But you still have to keep the deep snow and the water crossings in mind. A thin layer of ice on a rotor can still make for some hair raising moments. And I've seen enough ice build up on mechanical disc calipers to make them stop woriking. Not often but I've had it happen. So regular "brake checks" and the other precautions still apply. Your just not as likely to have problems with discs.

    Anyway, winter riding is fun, and it can be done with what ever brakes that you have. You just have to be constantly aware of the limitations of the brakes and compensate for them.

    Disc brake certainly are better for winter riding, no doubt. But V brakes a "no go"? Nah, you just have to keep much closer track of what's going on with them.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

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    Thanks, for the replies guys! I was waiting for an old fart to tell me that it's still doable to rock the v's in the winter. I just have a Fisher Wahoo that I don't want to dump money into. When I decide to go to disc's I think it'd be time for a new bike (because I'd also be looking for better components all around).
    So with all that said, in an instance that I don't get my wheels scrubbed and they ice up, what would be the remedy to de-ice them? Would riding a straight with the brakes on eventually produce enough friction to thaw them, or would I just be hosed? If I had to go, I could probably pee on them. But let's assume I didn't have anything in the bladder...

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    It depends on how cold it is....

    On days when it's just below freezing continuing to ride in a flat area and scrubbing the brakes often will work. Once you get down much below 20 degrees though it's likely not to help much.

    For sub 20 degree rides I used to carry chemical hand warmers in a pocket somewhere, inactive of course, and a square of cotton cloth or a rag. When you are iced up activate the warmer and wipe around the braking surface on the rim with the warmer in direct contact with the rim and follow right behind it with the rag. You can do the pads in necessary by simply opening the brakes up and laying the warmer directly on the pad braking surface. From there a bit of scrubbing to remove any residual moisture should work. Once your done wrap the rag around the warmer to help it dry out for the next use and place in an outside pocket. The warmer will be good for several hours and the heat it generates will dry the rag. Just make sure it's an out side pocket. Those little buggers get pretty warm.

    There are other methods out there that involve alcohol or water/salt solutions in small spray bottles, etc. But the hand warmer doesn't involve any flamables or corrosives that may give problems.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

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    Sweet. That's simple enough. Again, thanks for the help.

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