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  1. #1
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    snow/all-season bike recommendations, please?

    I live in NH, and I'm 48 years old. I'm selling my car and will need a bike for getting around town, going to appointments, etc. Here in NH, we get all four seasons, including winter with a snowy vengeance. My question: What bike would you recommend for my above-state purposes and climate? I'm budgeting around $600 for the bike & necessities (helmet, pump bottle cage, etc.).

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Skip the fatbike for commuting...

    Well... nothing you mention suggests you need a fat bike. I'd be looking for a used, rigid mtb or hybrid with two sets of tires: one set of tough, puncture-resistant commuting tires for the warmer months and one set of winter studded tires. Would be smart to add a light, rear rack and fenders to your list of accessories. It shouldn't be too hard to stick close to your budget. You'll probably get better advice in a commuting forum, for starters try: Commuting

    Beyond that, try google. Many sites and lots of help out there. Good luck going carless. Bike commuting can be very satisfying: good for the planet, good for your health and easy on the wallet.
    The older I get the better I was...

  3. #3
    Location: SouthPole of MN
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    Yeah... $600 wont get you a fatbike and necessities anyway.

    But... I would check out your local bike shop for any clearance bikes as the "new" ones are now coming in. Also... great prices on a website called Bikes Direct... lots of threads all over MTBR on that. Save Up To 60% Off Road Bikes, Bicycles, Mountain Bikes and Bicycles with Bikesdirect.com, New with full warranties

    Are you looking to mountain bike as well... or looking for just a commuter? Either way I would also recommend a couple sets of tires... normal and some with studs for ice/snow.

  4. #4
    Anchorage, AK
    Reputation: Lars_D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHBiker2013 View Post
    I live in NH, and I'm 48 years old. I'm selling my car and will need a bike for getting around town, going to appointments, etc. Here in NH, we get all four seasons, including winter with a snowy vengeance. My question: What bike would you recommend for my above-state purposes and climate? I'm budgeting around $600 for the bike & necessities (helmet, pump bottle cage, etc.).

    Thank you.
    Congratulations! Great decision! I live in Anchorage, Alaska. I sold my car nine years ago and began year-round bicycle commuting and have never looked back. And every year the number of winter bicycle commuters here grows.

    After a lot of experimentation, I firmly believe that less is more when it comes to winter commuting--and its the tires, not the bike that are key. The number of deep, fresh, snow days in most places is pretty small and in general the snow gets compacted pretty quickly after it falls. A set-up that will get you through the deep stuff will be too heavy for the conditions you will encounter 95% of the time in the winter--and frankly even the fattest tires can struggle on new snow. The real focus for a winter commuter should be getting through ice, not snow. Ice lasts longer and can be much more dangerous than snow. So what I use for commuting and strongly recommend to others are the smoother winter commuter tires like the Schwalbe Marathon Winter tire or perhaps the new 45 North Gravdal (should be available later in the winter). They don't really help on soft snow, but they are much better for the conditions you will encounter most of the time and on the longer trips the light weight can be really nice. Unfortunately, good studded winter tires like the Winter Marathons can run up to $200 a pair.

    A helmet can be another $50-75--I recommend a nice snowboard helmet, they're not aerodynamic, but they are warm and comfortable. And they do not look stupid in winter like the summer bicycle helmets I see some people wearing.

    So that leaves you with about $300 for a bike. In my view any style bike will do--I'd actually be somewhat biased towards a road bike, but opinions differ. Whether road or mountain, I'd look for a rigid older bike that has been well maintained. Lift up the wheels and spin them. With a soft spin you should easily get 5 or more full rotations before the wheel stops. If the wheels don't spin freely in the fall, they will be even worse when its -5 outside. You might also be able to get a nice affordable 3-speed comfort bike from your local bike shop at the higher end of your price range--but stay out of Walmart and the big box stores, their stuff won't last one winter.

    Finally, a comment on visibility. Drivers won't see you no matter what you do. Wear an orange vest and put on a blinking light or two to keep people from giving you a hard time about being invisible, but the truth is drivers just aren't looking for bicyclists in the winter and won't see you. I have heard some people say "make sure you have eye contact with a driver before you ride in front of her." Eye contact is worthless. I guarantee that when you think you have eye contact with a driver, that driver is looking at some bird across the street and is preparing to turn into your lane. You can test this by smiling and offering a friendly wave at the person you think you have eye contact with--you will get a wave back or a smile maybe 25% of the time. So ride in such a way that no matter what that idiot behind the wheel does, he can't hit you. The one time I was hit by a car the driver admitted to having seen me, but then said he forgot I was there and turned into me.
    --Peace

  5. #5
    mtbr member extraordinair
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    Thats some great advice right there!
    Grit, spit, and a whole lot of duct tape!

  6. #6
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    If you are selling your car and going to be using a bicycle for transportation 12 months of the year, I disagree with the any bike will do advice. As Lars pointed out, the bicyclist is in charge of their own fate while on the streets. Stop signs were a wonderful idea but often only causes premature break failure and more fuel to be consumed adding little safety to the average cyclist. With that in mind, a bicyclist has to pay a lot of attention to their surroundings, and that is easier on a fat bike. Little things like, which way the slots run on the storm drains, the piece of metal in the road, and the McDonalds bag full of trash, make no difference on a fat bike. Just run over them. There is less of a need to worry about what is going on under the tires on a fat bike which should allow the rider to be more aware of what is happening elsewhere.

    My opinion: you are selling a car so budget a little more for a fat bike, a good lock, helmet if you want, and some winter gear if needed.

  7. #7
    Chronic Underachiever
    Reputation: MauricioB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NHBiker2013 View Post
    I live in NH, and I'm 48 years old. I'm selling my car and will need a bike for getting around town, going to appointments, etc. Here in NH, we get all four seasons, including winter with a snowy vengeance. My question: What bike would you recommend for my above-state purposes and climate? I'm budgeting around $600 for the bike & necessities (helmet, pump bottle cage, etc.).
    As others have pointed out, there are better resources for commuting advice than the fat bike forum, but I would mention that a friend of mine rides winters here in Madison, Wisconsin on a Pugsley with studded tires. His commute is pretty short, but he loves it. Way more than $600 invested in it though...closer to $2000 for just the bike and tires. He rides a different bike the other 3 seasons.

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