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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    cheap quick snow-bike recipe?

    I have just under 2 weeks to put together an inexpensive bike to ride on snowcovered dirt roads for an approach to an upcoming climb. (If there's good snow, we'll ski-tour in; otherwise, it'll be a bike with a short hike.) At least two of the party are roadies at heart and will be on proper cyclocross bikes.

    Two of us have squishy 6" bikes, which are piggish and far less than ideal. I can replace one with my old rigid steel Mongoose from high school, which "runs good" and is probably up to the trip.

    What's my cheapest, quickest replacement for the other big bike? (Other than a towrope for a skier.) $25-$100 used rigid steel mtb? Comparable road bike, with the fattest tires possible? I don't have much time, and don't want to spend much on this project, so I'm curious to see your creative solutions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Central VT
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    Over the summer I took an abandoned, rigid Mongoose and turned it into a single speed for about $60. I plan on riding it around town in the winter and probably on some XC ski trails. I managed to get some 2.35 inch tires on it. The tires are too skinny for more than a few inches of snow but it'll roll ok on packed snow.

    The build was easy and took me about a day:
    $5 - Rustoleum spray paint/sand paper
    $8 - 16t BMX rear cog
    $10 - 7/8 speed chain
    $20 - moustache bar/tape
    $20 - v-brake/lever/cable


  3. #3
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    Apr 2004
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    ^ First bump and that chain is coming off.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Central VT
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    ^ First bump and that chain is coming off.
    I took that before I adjusted anything, that's why the front tire is flat too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    208
    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    ^ First bump and that chain is coming off.
    I had a buddy who rode an old Specialized with horizontal dropouts like that which he converted into a ss, he rode that thing everywhere and never had any issues with the chain falling off.

    I'd be more worried about the tire pressure up front, I've heard or running less pressure when you're riding on the snow, but that might be a bit EXTREME!

  6. #6
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    Apr 2004
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    Doh! Didn't notice the horizontal drops. Pull that wheel back.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2003
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    I would go MTB w/gears and really fat tires at low pressure. If you can find a pugsley, that's the way to go.

    I rode a 29r SS w/2.35's the last couple of years and pushing too big of gear through deep snow really trashed my knee.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    3rd floor
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    358
    Your best/cheapest bet would be to see if you can beg/borrow/steal a pugsley, especially if this is really a one time thing. Ask around at shops or on CL. Next best IMHO would be to beg/borrow/steal a fully rigid or hardtail 29er with discs and running low pressure.

    If you really want to build/buy something on the cheap, look for canti-posts (snow build-up) and lots of frame clearance. Probably not going to be dealing w/discs at the $25-100 price point.

    I prefer a single speed drivetrain for snow commuting, especially since I don't deal w/any huge hills. Icing/build-up in the derailleur can suck and for your situation it should be pretty easy to find a gearing that will work.

    If you could find an old 3-speed (i.e. w/internal gearing) for cheap, you might be able to throw some biggish tires on and be pretty set. Problem w/this is that it's likely to be 27", so you might end up dealing w/the cost and hassle of a new wheelset and brakes.

    Recent fixie-bashing here aside, I like my fixed-gear for descending on ice/packed snow, since you can have a bit more control of speed w/o locking the tires and skidding (same sort of idea as engine braking).

    Have fun and post pics if you build up a monster!

    (pugsley in action)
    http://arcticglass.blogspot.com/2009...iday-13th.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    land of the free
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    8,244
    All through college I rode a steel fram MTB with homemade snow tires.
    I screwed sheet metal screws from the inside out through the tire.
    Put duck tape on the heads before reinstalling the tube.

    It works friggin awesome.
    great grip on snow or ice.

    I studded front tire sideways and rear tire down the middle for traction.
    YMMV
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”
    Hunter S. Thompson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Salt Lake City
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    I am thinking about doing a build like this for fun snow-play biking around town. I have an old novara frame and 2.35 tires. I would have to agree that single-speed is the way to go on this one, especially nice for slowing down with out locking up.

    Pugsley would be ideal.

    Maybe you could find an old MTB on craigslist, take off the derailleurs and make it a ghetto SS. Find the gearing that works best and don't even worry about taking off the others.

    Edit: Or if you suddenly found $2500 you could get one of these:


    A FatBike from Wildfire Cycles.
    Last edited by monkeywrenchMoose; 12-01-2009 at 10:07 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingleberry View Post
    pissing in a sink? fucking rookies. Shit in an oven, then you'll be pro.

  11. #11
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    Jul 2004
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    I'll inquire around about a Pugsley, as that sounds too weird to pass up. (If snow riding in the woods out back turns out to be more fun than xc touring in the morning...)

    Bikes on CL in Maine are "thinly traded", so I haven't found many hits in the $25-100 category, but what about an Iron Horse ARS 700? Sounds like a bike of the late 1990s, but with a decent reputation. A bit more than I want to pay, but then again I'd end up with something theoretically way better than a clunker. My bigger bike weighs 31 lb or so. What would you expect a butted aluminum hardtail like this to weigh?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    New Hampshire
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    4,113
    What size do you need? I have a Specialized Sirrus in a 56cm with flat bar setup (i've run this frame with drops too) with V's and some clearance. If you can find (or make) some studded CX tires, it's yours to use.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    So. VT
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    2,286
    yeti,

    Where you climbing?


    I might have an old Iron Horse maverick hardtail sitting in my parents basement. I need to ask them about selling it though, I borrowed my dad's bike a couple summers ago and had it stolen out of my apartment and I haven't replaced it yet.

    I haven't ridden it in 5 years, but IIRC it is 21 speed grip shift, needs a seat and probably a new chain.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2003
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    The problem with single speeds, is it's nearly impossible to dial in a gear in snow. Conditions change much to quickly. You'll be fine going through 4-5" of light and fluffy in the woods and then you hit an open meadow and the snow gets crusty with drifts and your f*#ked.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    The approach is about 5 miles over a trail (part of which we'll have to portage, due to rules) and then dirt roads to a trailhead within Baxter State Park. From there we'll climb up, return to our bike cache, and sideslide back out down Abol Hill.

    I'm hoping to do it without screwtires, but that may not be reasonable.

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