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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A fixed-gear studded-tire bike for riding on snowy bike paths--yes or no?

(Note: I would've posted this in the Fixed Gear sub, but I wanted an answer.)
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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I wouldn't do fixed. Studded tires are much harder going than anything else.

If the snow isn't hard packed you'd probably be OK with knobbies. Studs aren't cheap, and do their best at low pressures on icey surfaces...but BEWARE traction sand on roads, it fouls studs and can make them useless.
 

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I commute daily in the winter. Depending on how much snow you get (and how wet the snow is) and your gearing, a fixed gear bike might be very hard going. I'd run gears (and I do).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I wouldn't do fixed. Studded tires are much harder going than anything else.

If the snow isn't hard packed you'd probably be OK with knobbies. Studs aren't cheap, and do their best at low pressures on icey surfaces...but BEWARE traction sand on roads, it fouls studs and can make them useless.

I already have the studded tires (you know how it is, you buy some bike toy, and then figure out how you'll use it). I'm wondering more about the "fixed" part of things, specifically handling and traction. I've dealt with studded tires enough to know that I'll not be setting any speed records, which is fine; I figure I'll only be doing short rides in cold temps (for me, that's the high 20s). I've ridden fixed-gear, but never off dry pavement. As I mentioned, it'd be used almost exclusively on a bike path that sees little winter travel (so it's often a surface that offers combinations of pavement, snow, and ice in the winter), so gears are simply an unnecessary complication.

After a casual search of the internet, I've found a number of folks who swear by fixed-gears in winter, e.g., https://gearjunkie.com/fixed-gear-winter-bike
 

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Russian Troll Farmer
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I'd build it with a flip-flop hub. I did that years ago on my first fixie, and ended up preferring the freewheel side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'd build it with a flip-flop hub. I did that years ago on my first fixie, and ended up preferring the freewheel side.
That's what I'm thinking, too (my current fixie has flip-flopability, but 27" wheels, so no studded tires for it!)
 

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The studs are only good on ice, all other applications they are not so good.
IMO, riding on anything that has ice is CRAZY! ...even with studs unless your ice racing.
 

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That's what I'm thinking, too (my current fixie has flip-flopability, but 27" wheels, so no studded tires for it!)
How are you planning to keep your @ss crack warm? That would be a big issue with the hipsters I see in and around DC who commute 3 miles to work on their single speeds (which differs from fixed gear).
 

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I already have the studded tires (you know how it is, you buy some bike toy, and then figure out how you'll use it). I'm wondering more about the "fixed" part of things, specifically handling and traction. I've dealt with studded tires enough to know that I'll not be setting any speed records, which is fine; I figure I'll only be doing short rides in cold temps (for me, that's the high 20s). I've ridden fixed-gear, but never off dry pavement. As I mentioned, it'd be used almost exclusively on a bike path that sees little winter travel (so it's often a surface that offers combinations of pavement, snow, and ice in the winter), so gears are simply an unnecessary complication.
If there is going to be any snow accumulation to deal with, you might really want some gears. Riding in actual snow is similar to, though not as hard as riding in sand. When the front wheel digs in and the back is sliding around, fixed gear would not be my choice. Also, the best tactic to deal with ice is a light hand on the bars and coast through it. A lot more of a challenge on a fixed gear. But if you're out to prove something to yourself (or others), have at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
How are you planning to keep your @ss crack warm? That would be a big issue with the hipsters I see in and around DC who commute 3 miles to work on their single speeds (which differs from fixed gear).
I plan to wear my winter cycling duds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If there is going to be any snow accumulation to deal with, you might really want some gears. Riding in actual snow is similar to, though not as hard as riding in sand. When the front wheel digs in and the back is sliding around, fixed gear would not be my choice. Also, the best tactic to deal with ice is a light hand on the bars and coast through it. A lot more of a challenge on a fixed gear. But if you're out to prove something to yourself (or others), have at it.
There's not going to be much in the way of accumulation, as we don't get that much snowfall (and if there is, I'll not be out in it), but there'll be patches of snow, mixed in with icy parts, often rutted up from previous riders (these are actually the worst hazards, IME). I've ridden it before, but on regular knobbies, and it was doable, but I had to pay attention.

I'm not sure how often the front wheel would dig in and not the back (but better that than the other way around), since both F and R would be studded tires and the rear is usually loaded more. Some people even try to cheap out with only a studded tire upfront, but this seems foolhardy to me. Some winter biking folks online have advocated the fixed gear as better for these situations (obviously, I have no direct experience, or this thread wouldn't exist :) ), as they say one can slow the bike by "engine braking," i.e., backing off pedaling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think it’s time to enact n+1 and get a fat tire bike
In truth, as much as another bike appeals to me, with the snowfall around here I'd probably not be able to drag it out all that much.
 

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In truth, as much as another bike appeals to me, with the snowfall around here I'd probably not be able to drag it out all that much.
Bingo!

Three years ago there was a big snow storm headed for the DC area. I bought a huge snow blower at Home Depot the week before. The storm came and blower worked great -- I even did the neighbor's drive ways. I haven't used it since. Best purchase I ever made. I rode 400 miles last January.

Get the fat tire bike.
 

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...Get the fat tire bike.
The nice thing about a fat bike is you can ride the snow & ice or single track or sand. I am having fun cruising the gravel alleys in my 1920's neighborhood. Throw some studs on it and it is perfect for rutted, iced up MUTS. Another vote for n+1.
 

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fixie in snow and studded tires?
Wow here I am thinking I need to HTFU during the Socal winter when temps can drop into low 50s high 40s.
 
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