Sunday, February 6, 2011

Skinny, Wide, or Stay the Heck Inside?

Okay, I promise not to make this another post with deep thoughts inspired by the snowpocalyptic weather in Boston. Because at this point, my bikes have reached a state that clinicians like to call "learned helplessness": The individual, convinced that no action on their part can alter their fate, just gives up and stops trying, possibly curling up in the fetal position and gently rocking back and forth. The snow won, dear readers. Oh yes, it won.

Yesterday, this was "the road" outside my house. Perhaps not surprisingly, last night I had a dream about this fellow. Though I am normally drawn neither to Surly nor to mountain bikes, I've had the hots for the Surly Pugsley since the first time I saw one a couple of years ago. I have no intention of getting one, honest. But part of me wishes I still lived in Northern NH, so that I'd "have no choice but to get it," you understand. I have seen pictures of that bicycle ridden through waist-deep snow, through soft sand, and crossing medium sized lakes. And something about the proportions seems just right to me, making the Pugsley an "ugly, in a handsome kind of way" type of bike. The Joe Viterelli of bikes, if you will.

But whenever I bring up the Pugsley with its 3.8" tires as an example of a dream "winter bike," someone inevitably replies that "bikes with skinny tires are actually better in the snow" - which, no matter how many times a proponent of that concept tries to explain it, does not make a great deal of sense to me. While I understand that skinny tires can supposedly pierce through the snow, I am skeptical. Doesn't that mean the bike could easily get stuck? And why do I see only mountain bikes when there's significant snow on the roads?

There is no doubt that my massively heavy, long wheelbase, 38mm tire Gazelle handles better when going over snow than the lighter and sprightlier 35mm tire Bella Ciao. But neither of them is sufficient when things get really bad. And oddly, on the worse days I actually find myself favouring the Bella Ciao, only because its easier to wield when acrossing enormous snowbanks. Poor bike, I look forward to seeing what the chain will look like under that nearly-but-not-quite-full chaincase after the winter is over...

If anybody out there is riding on streets that look like this, what bike are you riding and how is it working out for you? And if you say "skinny tires," I want pictures! As for me, I stayed indoors all day today - drinking tea, catching up on work, and daydreaming of crossing frozen rivers on a white Pugsley.

48 comments:

  1. Weather patterns are currently insane. You guys have dreadful snow, and we in Australia have been having incredibly high humidity (hovered around 90% for a week), heat waves, flash flooding and all that sort of nonsense.

    I just haven't been riding my bike in it. I did try on one of the hot and humid days, but when that combined with an empty stomach I had to get my fiancé to pick me up and drive both me and the bike home because my brain and body just decided that enough was enough.

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  2. A bike is not a car.
    IMO, the idea that skinny tires are bette for snowy conditions come from rally cars. Their studded tires slice through the snow and grip the ice underneath. A good non studded snow tire is wide and has a deep thread.

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  3. I ride the 37-590 (26 1 3/8) on my beater.
    The tires do pierce the loose slush and fresh snow well. But when the cars/plows pack the snow down the tires do this sink/slide/plow/jerk thing that could throw you off balance and is very annoying. As for pictures do want to see the roads or riding?

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  4. Your sidewalk pictures look just like where I live does from December until March. Sometimes it's just nice to stay in and read your favorite bike blog.

    I don't have studded tires but the winter commuters around here say they are a must have.

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  5. 'Cutting through' snow is generally a disaster. I used to run skinnies, but out of helpless frustration during the blizzards last year I bought balloon tires and the positive difference was like night and day. If naked asphalt is not available to you it is best to float on top of the snow. As for slush, with skinny or ballon tires your weight will cut through with either, and the fatter tires will give you better traction. Anecdotal accounts of skinnies being better in snow be darned, there's a reason why snow tires are fatter.

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  6. I ride right through the winter in Ct. A while ago I took a beautiful Panasonic Prestige lugged tubed mountain bike that I had for 20 plus years and did a rode conversion (drop bars, rode gearing) I discarded all mountain bike items triple chainrings,long cage derailers(Mr Brown's spelling) etc. It came out great perfect but it has NO SOUL!
    So I went to another 20 plus year bike I had,a Cannodale 2.8 frame, Campy C record and yes 23c tires, added fenders (SKS raceblades or Mudguards)which by the work terrific. I have rode at least once a week on that bike during this really old fashioned winter 5 degrees to slushy slick streets and country roads and each time I return I have smile on my face and a deep appreciation for that road bike. It has become by bad weather goto bike.
    Re pictures: it is about 6:40 and will be leaving for a ride. Have to take advantage of this 36 degree morning.

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  7. I rode in to work on 28c tires in icy conditions. I (and my shoulder) think that my 34c "knobby" tires would have worked better. My narrower tires have lower rolling resistance. What does that imply about ice? There is a reason autos use skinny tires at high pressure for land speed records but REALLY WIDE tires at much lower pressure to corner at high speeds. Those that advocate skinny tires for the ice simply have not thought about the physics overly much. Wide tires at low pressure for slippery conditions rule, just as they do in cyclocross where its mud instead of snow...

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  8. I'd give anything to have a Pugsley...

    But, I find that 38mm tires are good for most things. Otherwise, I like my MTB. I guess, in other words, unless you're talking about freshly fallen snow that's under 3", I'll go wider every time.

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  9. i don't have photos but yesterday i saw two cyclists on their narrow tired road bikes riding on top of, and through, the snow and ice of St. Louis. It was shocking to see how easily they managed! One was on the unplowed street which is covered with a mix of packed ice and fresh snow, and the other pedaling on one of our bike paths which are filled with footprints and packed ice. Both riders kept up a consistent and determined pace and maintained a relatively straight line. And I'm guessing the tires were in the 28-30mm range. So this morning I'm determined to attempt a ride to the coffee shop on my 32mm Surly. Of course, seeing it done doesn't mean I can do it, but who knows ;-)

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  10. On these wintry streets, this is what I'm riding:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/5090530941/

    With 51mm wide Schwalbe Land Cruisers:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7516215@N03/5091108910/in/photostream/

    No studs, so it's still treacherous over icy patches, but in slush and snow they are outstanding.

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  11. I'm in RI. I'm riding my cross bike with Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires in 35 mm width. This is my first winter with studded tires, but not my first winter cycling. I highly recommend them!

    red

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  12. We do not get any snow where I live so I cannot contribute to the conversation regarding tire width and snow. I have been surprised to read that wide tires are supposed to be faster than the skinnier ones. Is this true?
    Today's blog along with yesterdays does strike a chord with me. My first bike was a heavy Dutch bike which I liked very much until I got my present bike, a Sam Hillborne. I always ride the Hillborne now and wonder if I should sell the Dutch Bike...Now, I wonder if there are other bikes that would be even better for me out there? When I read about another bike manufacturer I find myself going to their website and checking them out... Retrovela, Rene Herse (new not vintage) etc. My daughter is a Sr. at Sewanee University located in Sewanee, Tenn. Lise, a friend of mine who is a bike-a-holic says I should get a "mountain bike" for my off road cycling at my Farm. She is into speed and distance. A couple years ago she traveled behind racers in Italy through a bunch of mountains (sounded like torture to me). Somehow I found myself looking at Titanium framed Mountain Bikes by Litespeed located in Tenn. One of their Mountain Bikes is called the Sewanee!
    My point is that there are so many bicycles to choose from I wonder if I will ever get it "right".

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  13. I too have dreamed about a Pugsley this winter. Since the fatbikes are what they ride in Alaska, I would say no way to the skinny tires. It is true, they penetrate to pavement quicker, but only in light snow conditions, when it gets deep, no. The Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires I use are also too skinny to be much use when the going gets deep, especially if there is a frozen crust and I am breaking through to softer snow underneath. I end up pushing it through on foot at that point. Forget the skinny tires, go with a fatbike. If you haven't read the Alaska bike blogs, this is the winter to do it and no, I am not there, I am here in MA. Surly Pugsley here I come! If the price ends up being insurance for no more snow, even better!

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  14. Skinny tires are like razor blades.

    And, to quote another person; "Momentum is your friend".

    Therefore: high speeds.

    Greetings from north latitude 63 degrees.

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  15. I vote for number 3, however I am in a place where snow usually melts by the second day. If I lived in snowpocalypse country, it would be medium width studded tires from first snow fall until the spring thaw.

    Aaron

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  16. JimP: Sam H with 650B Hetre Grand Bois and VO 52mm Zeppelin fenders is pretty close to what I'd call a perfect bike. If yours is one of those, it's really hard to justify anything else, given how perfect it is. You can add or remove front & rear racks to taste, outfit it with different bags for touring or commuting, and it shines at both roles. The Grand Bois are great and fast on dry roads and excellent on fire trails and even quite decent for light off-road conditions as well. V has a Sam H set up like that and loves it. Alan @ EcoVelo loves his, I think. In fact, I haven't read/heard of anyone who got a 650B Sam and didn't absolutely adore it. Maybe the 700c versions are just as nice, too, but I haven't heard much about them. So it may be that you already have a perfect bike.

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  17. MDI - Alan @EcoVelo's Sam Hillborne is 700C, as I believe it's a 58cm frame. But overall I agree with you.

    Jim - The tire thing is complicated, and it's not as simple as "skinny are faster" vs "wide are faster." It's about how the overall wheel diameter interacts with the width, as well as the pressure, the tread, and so on. It has been argued that 650B wheel size specifically, in conjunction with wide tires, is a magic formula as far as speed and comfort go. But by far not everyone agrees with that. I am tempted to agree, but I will hold off until I've tried more bikes.

    As for what bike is right for you... The problem is, that everyone who favours a particular type may try to convince you that their point of view is the correct one, and that you need to get one of those bikes. But that doesn't mean that you will like any of them, or that it is worth your time chasing them. I would venture to say that your Sam Hillborne will handle off road not worse than the mountain bike your friend recommends; off road is one of the things the Hillborne was designed for.

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  18. My personal experience with both wide & skinny tires is that skinny tires do in fact cut through the snow. this is great when the snow is not too deep and there's a solid surface under the snow.

    Wide tires will float over the surface and this works better when the snow is deep and/or when the surface under the snow is not hard packed.

    Having said that, I've found that tread pattern makes more of a difference than tire width. Regardless of width, an open aggressive tread pattern is going to work better than a closed smooth-ish tread in conditions such as your "the road". The huge selection of aggressive knobby tires for MTB's is probably why you see more mountain bikes in winter rather than road bikes.

    For reference, my "skinny" tires are 700x40 Nokian W240's and my "wide" tires are 26x2.1 Schwalbe Ice Spikers. I realize too, that "wide" and "skinny" can be a bit subjective. A 700x40 is freaking huge in the road bike world and downright anorexic in the MTB world.

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  19. I ride good old fashioned 27 x 1.25 on my fixed gear with just a front brake, although I don't use it in the snow. The feedback I get from the road through the drivetrain is lovely...I know i'll never ride a freewheel bike in winter conditions again, i've had too many wheel washouts, front and rear.
    When it gets really bad, i've fastened zip ties around the tire between each spoke, positioning the head staggered to each side, so that when you corner, they dig in and really give you a nice bite.
    Or if you just want to go fast and have fun...grab your mountain bike, sling the seat way down, and air your fat tires down to 25 psi...no worries!

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  20. Though I am normally drawn neither to Surly...

    Oh Velouria, come on over to the dark side! :-)

    I too have lusted over the Pugsley, especially after our group ride/cabin trip over New Years, which headed to a snowy reach. The Pugsley handled the snow beautifully. Of course, there's barely enough snow over the course of the year in Portland to warrant a Pugsley, but I can still dream, can I?

    When we did have snow/ice a few years ago, it wasn't much, and 38mm studded tires handled it well.

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  21. I have an old Peugeot 10 speed (rescued from the garbage)that received sit-up bars, and a 3-speed sturmey hub. The wheels are 700c and the tires are 38c with a general purpose tread, this seems to work fine for our Canadian winters. I started with the bike as a single speed but needed a bit of range. Tight fenders actually slice the slush free preventing build-up. I sprayed the whole frame and drive train with the product that is used for undercoating cars, and that has kept the rust at bay. It's hard not to invest some time and care into a bike that you know will be sacrificed to the salt gods, because you want something that will be pleasant and efficient to ride. My first winter commuting was on an old very heavy Raleigh mountain bike that had studded tires; this was overkill.

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  22. Skinny tires are popular with the messengers around here, but they tend to stay downtown where the roads are plowed first, heavily sanded & salted, and there's an option of hopping on the sidewalk. People see them and say "oh look, those guys are hardcore winter riders who clearly know what they're doing and they're riding narrow tires therefore those must be the best," when they don't realize that a lot of them will leave their speedy messenger bikes downtown and get home on a different bike or other mode of transportation. On the very worst days, I've seen some of them switch bikes (one guy even rides a BMX on blizzard days). I think the skinny tires work fine when the snow is slushy, not too deep, and the ground below it is not frozen. If I lived somewhere much warmer that only saw occasional snow (like Vancouver), I might also be convinced that skinnies are the way to go.

    Myself, I ride 700 x 30something studded tires on one bike and 20 x 1.75 (w/ DIY studs) on my other winter bike. I am happy with both.

    This is my tenth winter riding in Edmonton, Canada, and I see almost as much variety in bikes in the winter as in the summer. I suspect what works in winter has more to do with the persistence of the rider than having the "right" tire. (That being said, I have moments when I want to kiss my studded tires).

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  23. Skinny tires behave like sled runners cutting into the snow whereas wide(r) tires behave like a toboggan staying on top of the snow.

    That said, It's easy to see which profile tire will give the best bite in winters snow as long as the tire isn't bald. I have an old 27" tired bike that is very stable in snow but my much loved Cruisers are like pigs on ice in the snow.:(

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  24. Hmmm, I'm taking a different approach to choosing bikes and tires for this sort of crap weather. Choose the bike you are most willing to just fling into the ditch and walk away from.

    Fat tires, skinny tires, who the hell cares? When you've fallen for the freaking 7th time and your snowpants are full of muddy slush and ice water and hanging down around your knees, when you can't wait for your thumb to thaw to see if it really is broken and you just know you are one horn honk away from throwing a "Basil Fawlty" in the middle of the Bloody street, you want to be able to just drop the son of a bitch right in the crosswalk and stumble into the nearest KFC and order a 20 piece bucket of EXTRA DAMN CRISPY and just sit there like a homeless guy giving everybody the finger without worrying about weather your precious Bruce Gordon fastback is still chained to the bikerack. Bikes you wouldn't ride to a dogfight in June are just PERFECT at this time of year. Why are we even having this conversation! LOOK AT THE ROADS PEOPLE!!! STAY INSIDE, STARE AT THE CAT, PUT ON SOME LEONARD COHEN AND STICK YOUR HEAD IN THE OVEN!!!! SPRING IS NEVER COMING!!!!

    Spinbitter

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  25. http://www.flickr.com/photos/38236150@N06/3515561731/in/photostream/

    Maybe one of these should suffice for these conditions. From what I understand, these were built up more or less around 650b Nokian snow tires, originally to deal with summertime mud, but are more than adequate for snow, or Velouria's alleged road.

    http://www.vimeo.com/17659045
    Here is an example of such snow riding.

    http://clelandcycles.wordpress.com/bikes-1978-2010/

    At the moment, both the bikes and the tires went out of manufacture sometime in the late 80s.

    However, the designer has recently gone back to the drawing board, and is currently securing 100 pre-orders for a spiritual successor to the 80s bikes. These may not be as elegant as the skinny tubed frames of the prior incarnation of these bikes, but they'll be an interesting alternative to the snow bikes currently available.

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  26. I don't have anything to add on fat vs. skinny tires in snow, but I wanted to say this:

    Velouria, you shoud test ride a Pugsley and give us a report! I would love to see those photos. You'd feel like such a bad ass, and surely that would help you get through the snow.

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  27. Those are Pugsley conditions. I have two winter bikes for our harsh Minnesota winters. The Pugsley is my fat tire bike. A cross bike with 700 x 40c Schwalbe Marathon Winter studded tires is my "skinny" tire bike.

    There is no single width of tire that is good in all snow conditions and temperatures. Even a Pugsley can get bogged down in deep snow, or greasy snow when the temp is at or above freezing.

    My general rule of thumb is: The deeper the snow gets, the wider the tire needs to be and the lower the tire pressure. The tires on a Pugsley can go as low as 6 psi.

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  28. I've seen quite a few Pugsleys outside (and on Craigslist) but that's probably because Surly is one of the most popular bike brands around here.

    As for the weather, our streets look exactly the same, so I've only been cycling indoors. I've found that all of my tires are inadequate for dealing with deep snow. I'm also afraid that the strong salts they use on the roads would ruin my bikes. Usually this means no outdoor cycling until mid-April.

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  29. Salts shmalts. :)

    My transport bike looks like a margarita glass.

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  30. Folks.... Up here at 63 degrees north we speak the Finnish language.

    This is a very small point, but it is something that grats on my ears.

    The firm that makes those studded winter tires is NOKIA, named after a city in central Finland. The form NOKIAN is the company name in the genitive form and should be translated "Nokia's".

    Just say "Nokia".

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  31. I haven't ridden much in the snow/ice, but the couple times I did this winter, I was using my normal, 700c x 32 tires. If there was a little more of a tread on them, I think I'd feel fine, but it is a little hair-raising.
    I haven't gotten permission to take my girl's mountain bike out in the stuff yet.

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  32. Anonymous from Finland: As long as the company is called Nokian Renkaat Oyj, or in English Nokian Tyres PLC, you can hardly blame their buyers from referring to the tyres as Nokians.
    Would you order a hamburg from the Big M?

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  33. Whats the plural of "Pugsley"? I think they're adorable in a slobber mouth St. Bernard sorta way...

    Spindizzy

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  34. The "Fat versus Skinny" debate is trumped by the "studs vs no-studs" debate.

    I agree with the person above, who argues that tread pattern is more important than width. For you folks with 700x32+c tires, you can help matters by mounting some cyclocross tires, or something studded would be better. Not "elegant", but neither is falling, right?

    I tend to ride my mtbs in the snow, b/c of the traction from the tires, and the lack of fenders to prevent binding. If i were a "disc" guy, that'd be a factor, too. On a side note, when all i had to ride was a fixed gear with 700x25c tires, I was able to do it. But i fell every once in a while. I don't necessarily buy the "skinny is better" or "fixed is better" arguments.

    When I find myself falling on my mtb in the snow, I can usually get a foot down and save myself. In my trackbike days, i tended to feel myself falling, try to save myself, and fall anyway (even while sober).

    Bottom line: studs are best, knobs are better than slicks, fat may be better than skinny.

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  35. Bicycles are designed for paved or packed surfaces. Improvements have been made, but wider tires on icy ruts is like a band-aid on a bullet wound.

    I run 35s with a schwalbe marathon winter in the front. Studs are nice insurance, but iced over slushy ruts and giant brown-sugar-sand-traps just make the commute unpleasant.

    Don your spandex/goretex/balaclava/goggles uniform if you must, and I may join you on occasion, but the rest of the time I'll be watching from the bus.

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  36. MDI: I have this (admittedly irrational) fear that after one winter in the salt, the metal bits on my bike will look like the underside of a junkyard car.

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  37. I put on Nokian "Mount and Ground" (26x1.9) inflated to 35 psi on my Big Dummy and away we go (rural southern MN)....Day, Night, Ice, Snow. What takes it toll isn't the road conditions but the impact of sub zero temperatures and bitter wind on the operator, still managed 438 KM in January.

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  38. I have ridden skinny tires (less than 25 C wide), including sew-ups, on four inches of newly fallen snow. The crunched-up snow actually improved traction, I think.

    But I wouldn't ride a skinny tire on deeper, older or denser snow. And I certainly wouldn't ride them on ice.

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  39. MDI: I have this (admittedly irrational) fear that after one winter in the salt, the metal bits on my bike will look like the underside of a junkyard car.

    Not so irrational, and often a true scenario. It largely depends on the quality of the parts and bits that make up your bike. I never worry about the frame, as painted/powder coated frames generally hold up well to salt and it's easy to wash them well in the spring. It's all the hardware like nuts and bolts and brackets that concern me. They're really hard to wash well without using a toothbrush, and salt and sand tend to gunk up in the nooks and crannies. On cheap bikes, these parts are made of galvanized or cheaply plated steel, which WILL rust after just one or two winter seasons. However, more and more better bikes are using stainless steel hardware bits. All of my bike builds use nothing but stainless steel hardware now, except where unavoidable. Also, things like spokes are stainless, and better wheel rims use stainless steel grommets on the spoke holes, so there's little to worry about there.

    Aluminum is also not much of a concern, but it will oxidize and form a chalky white layer from salt. But again, better quality aluminum components will be anodized, and that will hold to much better to salt.

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  40. I too thing the Pugsley would be a good bike in winter conditions like these. I live in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. That's the real north. ;-). The snow banks are so high that you can't see some of the houses when you are bike by them; the snow is deep, really deep. So you would think that I would be riding a Pugsley, but nope I am riding an Electra Amsterdam Royal 8, with an internal hub and skinny tires; be it studded ones (700cx35). I opted at the time for the Amsterdam because I liked the Dutch style, couldn't find any bike shops in my area that would sell me a real Dutch bike and the price was right. That being said, I really like this bike. A lot! It is really hanging in there. Rides well in the deep snow (I can send you pictures) and ice. I do think the Pugsley would be better though and I am thinking of it, if it were not for the fact that I can now buy the type of bike I like at my local bike store. I am pinning over a Pashley Roadster Sovereign.

    -Garret

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  41. Skinny tires may work well on new snow, but try riding uphill or over the packed icy mess left a few days after a snowfall.
    I use the biggest Nokian Hakkapeliittas that will fit my bike, with studs, and am happy with the decision every time I hit an icy patch. It is strange, getting used to the idea that you are not going to fall, when every previous experience tells you you will. But you don't.
    It is still a lot of work, riding in the snow, and a bike requires a lot more maintenance.

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  42. YES, the snow has won....
    sigh (retreats under covers)
    I am planning on riding Gilbert home tonight though!

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  43. The extremely slack head angle of your Gazelle results in handling that is less altered by snow. When calculating trail, which is the single most important factor in how a bike handles, the crucial data point is not the spot directly below the front axle, but rather the point where the tire contacts the road. Or contacts the snow or what you've got when the road is gone. When you ride in snow,your trail varies constantly. Steep head-angled bikes freak out, slack bikes keep going somehow.
    The Gazelle geometry was frozen nearly a century ago, when well-paved roads were scarce. And Dutch cobbles are just as random as snow.

    When the going is really rough it's mostly the rider, not the bike. Unless you have the Pugsley.

    My winter bike this year is a DL-1 clone with 700x40 Michelins that have stretched all the way to 45mm wide. Goes really well until it stops, and then it really stops. Seriously heavy to push.

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  44. I rode to work last week through a freaking snowstorm, on skinny tires. Unfortunately, I don't have a digital camera, and my cell phone is not advanced enough for this "photo uploading" anyway, and quite frankly, even if it were, I wouldn't know how to move the picture from the phone to the computer. But I did it. I promise. There were also points where I thought I was going to die. Not that fatter tires would have helped, mind you, but I live 5 miles from work, and the commute last Tuesday took me an hour...yup...moving at a steller 5 mph.
    The sad thing - still faster than the bus.

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  45. I want a Pugsley, too!

    I've never ridden a bike with particularly skinny or particularly fat tires, but I agree that fatter tires seem to make the most sense. This is backed up with what I've seen out and about, especially on the lakefront. The cyclists with the super fat tires never get off to walk their bikes and the cyclists with the super skinny tires are nowhere to be seen.

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  46. Somervillain: That makes me feel a bit better about the paranoia. All of my bikes are 1970's era or older, which means that the bits and bolts tend to be steel. They're quite resilient under ordinary conditions but I'd imagine that introducing them to liquified road salt spray might be another matter entirely. It would be interesting to know whether Surly designed the Pugsley with this factor in mind?

    It would seem the only solution is to stay off the road altogether or find a $10 Huffy on Craigslist. So far I've kept to the former option but I'm not sure how long my sanity can handle it.

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  47. My usual winter ride is a Raleigh Supercourse with 27 inch wheels shod in Serfas and Kenda tires. They're probably somewhere in the realm of 700x28 or a titch higher when it comes to width. My ANT Club Racer is currently sporting a 700x25 upfront and a 28 in the back. They both do the job, though as I said in an earlier comment, I have a preference for the fixed gear Supercourse for reasons beside the tire.

    The other constant commuter in my building alternates between a singlespeed Surley Crosscheck and a Pugsley. We don't say anything to each other in the morning; though we nod and we make eye contact and we'll see each other the next day.

    To quote Lance: sometimes it really isn't about the bike.

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  48. I have wide tires with studs on a KHS TR 101 http://www.khsbicycles.com/05_flite_tr_101_11.htm on the date of your post, before & since, here in Windsor ON Canada. I have been plowing though the big snow with relative ease. I have no learned opinion on skinny over fat for slicing snow & riding ice other than to say, this has been working for me.

    I've been on this commuter ride for two years, straight through winter but for a few days. I don't bother with summer/winter bikes now. I ride this one, I love it. I change out the tires (a little thinner for spring-summer-autumn) and that's the only change I make. I do regular maintenance. Christmas 2009 I was treated to a Brooks B-17 saddle which has been a boon to my butt.

    An aside but not too unrelated:

    People say, in this auto brained micro (and fast declining) Motown, how can we make this a bike friendly city, how can we raise awareness? At a recent meeting for a group trying to do those things, I was the only attendee of 12 who rode a bike that winter day. The best way to raise awareness is to ride your bike.

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