Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19

    New question here. Ideal Fat Bike Configuration for a Dedicated Snowy, Icy, Salty Winter Application?

    I am looking for a winter bike solution and a fat bike seems to be the answer for my commuting & training. Where I live in Canada we get quite a lot of snow and ice, but there is also an insane amount of salt used on the roads. Most of the time the temperature stays around -5 C (23 F), but it can also go down to about -35 C (-31 F) for a while in February. I would be interested to know what could be the ideal setup for snowy bike paths, icy paths and salty roads (e.g. Ti frame, Rohloff hub, Gates' CenterTrack belt drive, 4.8" wide tires with studs, BB7 disc brakes, minimum amount of aluminium, brass nipples, etc).

    I guess want I need to know the most is related to the drivetrain. I will not have much opportunities to wash that bike during the winter besides rubbing it with snow (live in an apartment, no close manual car wash) and I my commuting ride might include about 1 km where I will have to ride on a wet salty road, so I have some concerns about derailleurs and cassettes in these conditions (is it justified or not?). A single speed hub with a stainless steel cog and chain might be an option, but this might not be ideal for deep snow conditions I guess, unless I start swapping cogs, so this is why I was looking at a Rohloff hub and CenterTrack belt drive, although I am not sure if it would involve any drawback besides the price. For the frame I really like the Ti Twenty2's, so I was thinking of going with that...

    So it would be great if you could give me advices or ideas!
    Last edited by kreyszig; 12-12-2012 at 04:02 PM.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Schott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    586
    Pretty much good thinking on the drivetrain, except for the belt drive. To my knowledge, nobody is making belt dive compatible fat frames (you have to be able to split the frame in the rear, since you can't split the chain)...I could be wrong though.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: nvphatty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    5,292
    Quote Originally Posted by Schott View Post
    Pretty much good thinking on the drivetrain, except for the belt drive. To my knowledge, nobody is making belt dive compatible fat frames (you have to be able to split the frame in the rear, since you can't split the BELT)...I could be wrong though.
    repaired

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Schott View Post
    Pretty much good thinking on the drivetrain, except for the belt drive. To my knowledge, nobody is making belt dive compatible fat frames (you have to be able to split the frame in the rear, since you can't split the chain)...I could be wrong though.
    About this Twenty2 has experience building some and their frame was tested by Gates: w w w . twenty2cycles . com/news/view/titanium-rohloff-belt-drive-fatbike

    Schlick makes them also, but they are not certified by Gates yet:
    fat-bike . com/2012/12/schlick-cycles-northpaw-rohloff/

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mochunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    113
    Invest in cases of WD40. Just spray down the drivetrain after every ride. Shrug...

  6. #6
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,532
    Cassettes, chains, chainrings, and derailleurs do surprisingly well in the salt, but you do have to keep it lubed. Plan on replacing the bottom bracket after a tough winter, though.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: druidh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    670
    907 already make a belt-drive compatible frame.

    I do think you are over-analysing this though. An aluminium frame will cope just fine.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    93
    I ride my 9 zero 7 aluminum frame in near identical conditions you describe and commuted every day last winter in those conditions. I brought the bike in once a week with a pail of soapy water and washed down as best I could inside with no drain and plenty of old towels on the floor. I used chainsaw bar and chain oil on the drive train. After 14 months it is not pristine. But no worse for the wear. I also made homemade fenders out of a barrel that held soap for a car wash

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    93
    Let me add that I found studs are not needed and possibly dangerous in some situations on bare pavement

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    I ride my 9 zero 7 aluminum frame in near identical conditions you describe and commuted every day last winter in those conditions. I brought the bike in once a week with a pail of soapy water and washed down as best I could inside with no drain and plenty of old towels on the floor. I used chainsaw bar and chain oil on the drive train. After 14 months it is not pristine. But no worse for the wear. I also made homemade fenders out of a barrel that held soap for a car wash
    I doubt it would go too well if I attempted that at home. I think I might be allowed to leave it outside on the balcony during the whole winter, but that's about it. I might be able to oil a chain outside, but it is unlikely that I will be able to wash it, unless I ride to a manual car wash. What seems to be affected the most by the weather on your bike? The bottom bracket was mentioned ealier. What else?

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Let me add that I found studs are not needed and possibly dangerous in some situations on bare pavement
    Yes I knew it might be the case... Wide tires must be the worst on black ice though?

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    Cassettes, chains, chainrings, and derailleurs do surprisingly well in the salt, but you do have to keep it lubed. Plan on replacing the bottom bracket after a tough winter, though.
    Are there bottom brackets for fat bikes that are more salt resistant? For example, made of anodized aluminium or titanium with sealed bearings?

  13. #13
    Human Test Subject
    Reputation: Volsung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    596
    Quote Originally Posted by ishpeming View Post
    Let me add that I found studs are not needed and possibly dangerous in some situations on bare pavement
    The only time studs have caused me to slip was on wet brand new concrete that was oddly untextured. Asphalt or any aggregate would be fine.

    I know a lot of the UK beach riding folk rock Hope hubs/bb/etc because they have sealed bearings. Sounds like they'd be good for salt. I only have a hope front hub on a cx bike so I can't attest to their salty slop durability.

    Also, don't use wd40. Use an actual lubricant, preferably one designed for bikes in the winter.

  14. #14
    Human Test Subject
    Reputation: Volsung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    596
    EDIT- double post

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    93
    For me black ice, white ice, and just plain slippery conditions have not been much of an issue. You will find that tire pressure has a huge influence on traction with as little as a pound or two different pressure making the difference between safe and slipping. You just can't believe that a pound or 2 makes that much difference. Also I have not experienced bottom bracket issues......yet. and the drive train is the biggest maintenence issue.

  16. #16
    will rant for food
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2,929
    My opinions:

    Chain vs belt: if you're going to use a penetrating oil, I'd pick Kroil over WD40 any day. But as Volsung said, don't go that route in the first place, it doesn't last. As far as belt, if you have the coin to drop on full custom / Ti / Rohloff, why are you even asking after that part?

    That said, look up some of mikesee's beach adventure posts - you can see the crazy amount of surface rust a chain can endure and still be usable.

    I have noticed that when it is cold and dry out (20F or less, very low humidity), the belt can squeal - or more like chirp. I've heard some discouraging things about getting snow in the belt and making other weird sounds, but I won't know until the snow here stops being wet slop.

    It was mentioned that 907 makes a belt drive frame - "there are no belted fatbikes" is expired info. Fatbikes.com 9:ZERO:7 Tusken Nuvinci Bike

    If it works out, I do like the fact that I haven't touched the belt since I installed it. Now if I could get my brakes to shut the **** up...

    Studs: you said you're doing commuting? Do you experience thaw/freeze cycles? One commute can offer me a mix of dry pavement, textured ice, glare ice (low spots in a trail exposed to sun in the day), and poorly consolidated snow (foot traffic). Not having studs can be a serious pain, for me, where I ride. People who can get by without must be riding all on textured ice, that's the only possibility I can rationalize. And in that case, they're right, you'd be surprised what low pressure rubber can do on rough ice. If that's all I had to deal with, I wouldn't be dorking around with studs either.

    With that in mind, 4.8" tires with studs do not exist. Only pre-fab fat studded tires are the Dillingers, so you're going to have to stud some BFLs or what have you, on your own. It's doable, and incredibly boring to put together, but the result is pretty good. I patched up some DIY studded Larry tires last night after finding that my first attempt at lining the inside of the tire casing had come unglued from salt water.
    Latitude: 44.93 N

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Saul Lumikko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,167
    Chain vs. belt: I'd go for chain with a casing to protect it from the elements. (I do have a belt drive street bike so I'm not biased against it, I just think a chain w. casing is a better option for harsh environments.)

    Instead of looking at frame materials and special bottom brackets I'd also lean against protecting the parts in the first place instead of choosing more resilient ones. Even if you opt for materials that resist corrosion, protecting them is a good idea. Long fenders, additional plate at the BB to protect it against direct spray and so on.

    If you roughly know the conditions of your commute for each day in advance, single speed could be an option. Keep a chain whip, lockring tool and a few cogs handy so you can change the gear ratio in just a few minutes. One option is a "dingle" setup with two chainrings and two cogs, for example 32 and 34 in the front and 20 and 18 in the back. 34/18 for easier days and 32/20 for worse conditions. This way you can change the gearing without tools in less than a minute, yet you gain almost every positive aspect of a SS drive train. (You only add the weight of the additional chainring and cog, that's the only drawback.)

    Cheers,
    Sauli

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    256
    If I was commuting in Ottawa or the vicinity, I would get a Pugsley or 907 (offset) aluminum and put some Dillingers on it, or better yet, stud the outside holes of some Escalators. I would grease the chain weekly and I would put fenders on the bike. I would use an Alfine or Rohloff hub for the drive train but I think that belt drive is a very expensive solution to a $10 per 10 000km problem.
    I have ridden studded tires for 15 years, and in that time, I have never has a situation in which I thought they were a problem on dry pavement. Yes, they have less traction than pure rubber on pavement, but at the same time, good quality studded tires have more traction than the junky tires that come on department store BSOs. Ice is so much easier to deal with when you have studded tires that I cannot see why a commuter in a place with ice would even have to think about it, the choice is clear.
    I have destroyed BBs, but I find that good fenders can keep a lot of krap off of them and make the BB last longer. Also for commuting, fenders can keep the slush enema at bay.
    I like the looks of the Ti twenty2 frames, but I haven't ridden them. My top contenders were the Ti Mukluk and Ti Fatback, but my criteria were frame fit (for me) and bikepacking.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    My opinions:

    Chain vs belt: if you're going to use a penetrating oil, I'd pick Kroil over WD40 any day. But as Volsung said, don't go that route in the first place, it doesn't last. As far as belt, if you have the coin to drop on full custom / Ti / Rohloff, why are you even asking after that part?
    Well, mostly because I am not sure about how weather proof is the Rohloff and how well it responds to temperatures below -30 C...

    That said, look up some of mikesee's beach adventure posts - you can see the crazy amount of surface rust a chain can endure and still be usable.
    I do not mind too much to see surface rust, as long as it does not affect the performance of the drivetrain...

    I have noticed that when it is cold and dry out (20F or less, very low humidity), the belt can squeal - or more like chirp. I've heard some discouraging things about getting snow in the belt and making other weird sounds, but I won't know until the snow here stops being wet slop.
    I though ice and snow was mostly a problem with the non-CenterTrack system?

    Studs: you said you're doing commuting? Do you experience thaw/freeze cycles? One commute can offer me a mix of dry pavement, textured ice, glare ice (low spots in a trail exposed to sun in the day), and poorly consolidated snow (foot traffic). Not having studs can be a serious pain, for me, where I ride. People who can get by without must be riding all on textured ice, that's the only possibility I can rationalize. And in that case, they're right, you'd be surprised what low pressure rubber can do on rough ice. If that's all I had to deal with, I wouldn't be dorking around with studs either.
    Yes pretty much anything falls from the sky here. I wish there was less icy rain and more snow, but the weather is quite impredictable. It varies also a lot from one year to the next one.

    With that in mind, 4.8" tires with studs do not exist. Only pre-fab fat studded tires are the Dillingers, so you're going to have to stud some BFLs or what have you, on your own. It's doable, and incredibly boring to put together, but the result is pretty good. I patched up some DIY studded Larry tires last night after finding that my first attempt at lining the inside of the tire casing had come unglued from salt water.
    Yes I was thinking about getting a set of Buds and installing studs on them

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Saul Lumikko View Post
    Chain vs. belt: I'd go for chain with a casing to protect it from the elements. (I do have a belt drive street bike so I'm not biased against it, I just think a chain w. casing is a better option for harsh environments.)
    Are there good chain casings for drivetrains with derailleurs?

    Instead of looking at frame materials and special bottom brackets I'd also lean against protecting the parts in the first place instead of choosing more resilient ones. Even if you opt for materials that resist corrosion, protecting them is a good idea. Long fenders, additional plate at the BB to protect it against direct spray and so on.
    Yes I was planning to get a good set of wide fenders as I am not fond of eating the crap that comes off the road. Are BB plates available for purchase of they are home made parts? Are BB's with sealed bearings difficult to find?

    If you roughly know the conditions of your commute for each day in advance, single speed could be an option. Keep a chain whip, lockring tool and a few cogs handy so you can change the gear ratio in just a few minutes. One option is a "dingle" setup with two chainrings and two cogs, for example 32 and 34 in the front and 20 and 18 in the back. 34/18 for easier days and 32/20 for worse conditions. This way you can change the gearing without tools in less than a minute, yet you gain almost every positive aspect of a SS drive train. (You only add the weight of the additional chainring and cog, that's the only drawback.)

    Cheers,
    Sauli
    The weather is very unpredictable here and every morning is a surprise, so it might not be ideal, even if I like working on my bike. Starting to disassemble a bike at -30 F on a balcony of a high rise bulding with winds up to 90 km/h might not be the funniest thing though...

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by coldbike View Post
    If I was commuting in Ottawa or the vicinity, I would get a Pugsley or 907 (offset) aluminum and put some Dillingers on it, or better yet, stud the outside holes of some Escalators. I would grease the chain weekly and I would put fenders on the bike. I would use an Alfine or Rohloff hub for the drive train but I think that belt drive is a very expensive solution to a $10 per 10 000km problem.
    Well I understand your statement about the belt, but a Rholoff is a bigger chunk to swallow. If the only remaining thing to get for an almost maintenance-free bike is a belt, it might be worth it from my point of view...

    I have ridden studded tires for 15 years, and in that time, I have never has a situation in which I thought they were a problem on dry pavement. Yes, they have less traction than pure rubber on pavement, but at the same time, good quality studded tires have more traction than the junky tires that come on department store BSOs. Ice is so much easier to deal with when you have studded tires that I cannot see why a commuter in a place with ice would even have to think about it, the choice is clear.
    Thanks, this kinda confirms what I thought. Oh man, sometimes I miss the winters in Quebec city along with their more targetted usage of salt...

    I have destroyed BBs, but I find that good fenders can keep a lot of krap off of them and make the BB last longer. Also for commuting, fenders can keep the slush enema at bay.
    I like the looks of the Ti twenty2 frames, but I haven't ridden them. My top contenders were the Ti Mukluk and Ti Fatback, but my criteria were frame fit (for me) and bikepacking.
    I will look at these as well. Ideally I would like to be able to use this bike as a touring bike as well during the summer, since is something I am not equiped for right now and I do not want to have 4 bikes...

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    312
    I have commuted in similar conditions for the past 10 years or so where my bike gets almost a daily spray of salty crud. Chains usually last one winter and deraileurs last a couple. Sram X7 derailleurs and the $20 chains work well. Brakes seem to last a couple of years too. I have never had any unusual wear on bottom brackets from the winter.

    I agree with the need for fenders but dont think they do much to preserve components. I think you just get used to replacing the rusty parts. No matter what you run, the winter will ruin it.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Traktor View Post
    I have commuted in similar conditions for the past 10 years or so where my bike gets almost a daily spray of salty crud. Chains usually last one winter and deraileurs last a couple. Sram X7 derailleurs and the $20 chains work well. Brakes seem to last a couple of years too. I have never had any unusual wear on bottom brackets from the winter.

    I agree with the need for fenders but dont think they do much to preserve components. I think you just get used to replacing the rusty parts. No matter what you run, the winter will ruin it.
    This isn't too encouraging to read... Could you give a bit more details about the type of disk brakes you use and what fails? What about the frame? Titanium should last, even if used in such conditions, right? Also, since anodizing is effectively oxidation, anodized aluminium should be much less sensitive to salt, isn't it?

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    312
    Quote Originally Posted by kreyszig View Post
    This isn't too encouraging to read... Could you give a bit more details about the type of disk brakes you use and what fails? What about the frame? Titanium should last, even if used in such conditions, right? Also, since anodizing is effectively oxidation, anodized aluminium should be much less sensitive to salt, isn't it?
    BB7s for brakes. They are so cheap now. For a little mort than $100 you can get a new set. The last set that failed on me was from the worn out pad falling out of the caliper. I think the salt and grit wears the pads out quick. Im sure there are things I could do to maintain my brakes better but I just look at them as replaceable, almost disposable.

    I have never had a frame show any winter wear except for little rust spots on steel frames.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Schott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    586
    Quote Originally Posted by kreyszig View Post
    I am not equiped for right now and I do not want to have 4 bikes...
    Skep...;-)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •