Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    179

    First winter riding. Tips?

    Hi guys,

    I started riding in April, after not being on a bike for 15 years. I've been traveling for the last several weeks and haven't managed to get out. What tips do you wish someone had given you re: riding in the winter/snow/ice? Currently running Ardent 2.4 front/2.25 rear on a 29er. Will that work for most winter stuff? A fat bike is out, but I could go studded if necessary. Any weird technique things around winter conditions? I primarily ride Willowdale, but have ridden LLF several times recently.

  2. #2
    Sun Devils
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    290
    I moved here from Arizona about 3 years ago. It really wasn't too hard to get used to winter riding, it still takes 2-3 good snow rides to get used to it, especially since last year we had 0 snow riding. The biggest up grade I made was 100% wool socks, ski gloves, and no cotton clothing. I pretty much run ski gear when I'm riding below 20 or so degrees.

    Otherwise have fun and try to avoid riding on days when you'll do a lot of trail damage.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: dirtdan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,612
    I think the name of the game for snow riding is to keep your momentum as even and smooth as possible. Accelerations and decelerations need to be kept to straight and flat sections and all other areas you want to keep pedaling, but with just enough force to keep the rear wheel at a pretty constant speed. You can take a corner a little too hot, but don't consider braking in the turn. Either put a foot down and slide around or explore a new off trail section as you come to a straight stop...
    That seems to work for me. I'm running the same tires as you (except a 2.2 in front) and they've handled pretty well. They wouldn't be my favorite pick as they have held on to some of the stickier snow and a friend with Trail King's seemed to fare much better, but they are capable. I've never tried studded tires. I like the slickness a little bit as it really forces me to ride smoothly and plan my lines better...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Notaskitrail's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    172
    Don't try to turn on ice.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    214
    for winter riding, I dress light enough that I am cold at the start of the ride and warm up as I go as to avoid sweating. Unzip and zip as you go. If you are using regular xc style clipless shoes, shoe covers I would rate as almost mandatory ( although in years past I had excellent success with SealSkinz socks. Waterrpoof/windproof and warm. Good gloves...I have found ski gloves too thick and too warm for riding. Harder to hold the pars and brake. But experiment. I have a couple of different winter cycling gloves I use depending on temps. Run your tire pressure as low as you can...you should be able to go a fair bit lower than dry trails would allow. In the slick corners you are less likely to get enough traction to burp a tire ( if running tubeless) or feel alot of squirm. Plus the snow will smoothe alot of the trail out.
    I just rode LLF this past friday night and we were able to get around pretty well if we kept our momentum, stuck to the center of the trail where it was at least semi-packed, rode a lighter and consistent gear and stayed very loose. The more you fight the bike the worse it was. I rode 2.25 tires...with the tires you said you have, at lower pressure you should do well in all but the deepest/softest snow. I find with snow, the colder it is, the easier it is to ride on. Its the semi-melted stuff thats the most difficult.
    rise above

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    921
    I run flat pedals and insulated hiking boots, YRMV. Studded tires too.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    59
    lots of brandy

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    179
    Thanks for the tips everyone!

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: woodsguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    502
    Here is what I wear winter riding.

    -Powerstreatch top with a windblock vest. Plenty of warmth without much threat of overheating since the PS breathes so well.
    -Fox Launch Pads over windbreak tights over roadie shorts (the pads add a little warmth and protect the pants).
    -Windstopper gloves
    -Ski/snowboard helmet with a powerstreatch balaclava or hat. Much more comfortable and effective than a hat under a cycling helmet. If it is really cold I wear my Gorilla Balaclava which has a removable face guard with a plastic mesh mouthpiece.
    -Neoprene booties over my regular shoes. Someday I will get winter shoes.

    This set up will keep me comfortable down into the low 20's. I usually start the ride with a windbreaker as well and remove it once I get warmed up and put it back on for extended stops or descents. If it is colder than 20 then I wear a softshell jacket over the powerstreatch and maybe the vest over that. Anything below 15 and I find it nearly impossible to keep my hands and feet warm.

    Another thing to note is make sure your bike is in tip top shape. There aren't many things worse than trying to do trailside repairs with frozen hands! Sometimes I pack my puffy mittens and hand warmers for such an occasion.
    Last edited by woodsguy; 01-12-2013 at 08:19 AM.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    250
    There's plenty of good advice here, especially about layering. Proper dress is probably the best thing you can do to make sure you have fun. If you aren't a little cold when you step out of the car, expect to be either sweaty or need to shed layers.

    The other thing that's going to give you a bad time is ice. You always need to be on the lookout for the dull grey shadow under the snow, because a bad fall on ice can be season-ending. If you're aware, you can certainly ride on ice without studded tires. You just can't lean, turn, accelerate, brake. It's like riding a skinny until you get back into the crunchy stuff. Also, remember that fire roads get icy more often than trails.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    17
    Careful crossing ice that may have been recently been broken, I once hit a frozen low spot on a snowmobile trail and stuck my front tire through the ice resulting in an endo and a soaking-funny in summer, possibly life threatening in winter. Everything else on the trail had been rock solid.
    Snomobile trails can be fun, tho, and open up the possibilites of new terrain.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: crunky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    30
    Should there be any concern for fork seals getting cold, or shock oil viscosity ?
    I notice when the temps get into the 30's my fox forks make a slight clicking noise when they compress or drop out.

Posting Permissions

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