Yes I know it is mid-August and Winter is not here yet, far from it.

I am just thinking way forward on how I will be able to do my daily 18 km commute in the Winter weather of Paris (yes, it's not a very harsh winter, but there will be some negative temperatures some ice etc,...).

I ride on a trekking bike tranformed into a touring one (Trek FX 7.2) with skinny tires (23 mm) which I love for their reactivity when starting and their speed thanks to their low weight (I know skinny tires are debatable but that what I do and love it).

What should I do to ride all winter long? I'm pretty sure I will need spiked tires for ice and snow, however little of it there is in here, but still,..

And since they do those only in fat version (which completely makes sense, obv.) I will need a new set of wheels. I think I will go cheap on that part, a fully built set of 700c wheels for trekking (which will fit my 135mm axle on the rear).

Remaining wonderings are following:

  1. Should I buy 2 pair of tires? one spiked and one non-spiked? changing according to the weather? if so what would be a good choice for the non-spiked tires (the spiked ones would be Schwalbe's Marathon Winter in 700x40c, 35c or 2.00)?
  2. My mudguards are 35 mm wide. Can I keep them on with these changes? I know they will be mostly ineffective but will they leave enough clearance for the large tire?
  3. The brakes will need adjustments, does the fact that the pads will "meet a new rim" against which they have not been worn will reduce efficiency of braking? and can a brake cable be adjusted back and forth between several large adjustments the like of this without the need of replacement?
  4. Any other thought to be had?
  • 1
    you don't mention clothing. Do you have suitable stuff already? If not you should think about it. Good thermal base layers, gloves, socks etc. can be expensive, and you may even find some bargains in August as shops make room for 2014 stock.
    – PeteH
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 11:28
  • Good point! but last winter, I never had to complain about that part, just a few snowy and icy days forced me to leave the bike home. I want to use it every day this year. I may have improvement spots for clothing, but it's not critical compared to what I already have (but I am working on it,... there is a winter jacket being delivered in the coming days, and a pair of gloves in a shopping basket waiting to be ordered)
    – ptpdlc
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 12:16
  • Yeah, I've built my winter clothing up over several years. Mostly Assos these days - its expensive but excellent quality and lasts forever. Plus, smaller items like socks and gloves are affordable. I've gone down to -5C in this gear, but I draw the line at snow and ice!
    – PeteH
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 12:27
  • You only really need studded tires for extended; thick patches of ice like you might see on canals or bridges. In my experience you can get by with a "knobby" tire in light-medium snow pack and a "racing slick" in light (fresh) snow. If you are set on a separate set of wheels I would commit to the schwalbe 700x30 or 700x35 Winter or Marathon Winter on that set of wheels, and I'd put them on at the beginning of winter and grind through until March.
    – skipmcne
    Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 13:37
  • When it gets down around -5C or 23F I break out the ski goggles. Otherwise my eyes water to much to see well. I have a take-a-look mirror attached to the goggles, because I just can't live without it! Fingers may be the coldest part of the body when biking in cold weather as well as the hardest to keep warm. Battery-warmed glove liners with Perl-Izumi lobster claws have kept my little digits warm even on the coldest days. When I got my liners there was only one kind out there, now there seem to be more. I'd like to find something that didn't require the glove over it to work well.
    – plh
    Commented Aug 15, 2013 at 16:26

2 Answers 2

  • I would go for the equivalent Marathon non-spiked.
  • Look online for 'crud catcher' instead of mud guard - offers great tyre clearance
  • During the winter its best to run full length inner and outer brake cables so you reduce the amount of moisture inside. Just readjust to the new rim and make sure that the pads aren't worn out. Otherwises just replace the pads.

When I rode a lot in the winter I used a cheap mountain bike with larger knobby tires. It worked great. I would recommend getting a smaller size than normal. It is much easier to balance and will hurt less when you fall, because you will fall. If you get a lot of ice I am sure studded tires are great but I never used them. If it is that icy out cars flying around out of control are the most dangerous thing and would cause me to find another way to get around.

Also do not forget lights. These are extremely important in winter.

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