I had built a set of snow stud tires a few years ago after a particularly long spell of snow in Seattle. I hadn’t gotten a chance to use them in last year’s mild winter, and put them away. In the meantime, I got a new “old” frame that I swapped out all my MTB components on and made a new winter bike. The problem is that my new bike wouldn’t fit the snow stud tires. I ended up rebuilding the old mountain bike frame into a dedicated snow beast. I finished it earlier this year, but too late to test it in the early winter snow we had.
Well – I got my chance on Wednesday. It was forecast to be a rough commute home with 2-6″ of new snow. Needless to say, I rode the bike in, and home on dry pavement (figures), and discovered a few things I had learned a long time ago.
- Commuting on a mountain bike is no fun.
- Thin handlebars with plain old cotton tape is not too comfy – I prefer cork tape overwrapped with cotton for a added girth.
- I really like thumb shifters and v-brakes!
- A non-leather hammock seat (in this case a WTB) modern seat is not comfortable to me – I developed hot spots on the “cushy” seat after only a few miles. I’m sticking with Brooks.
- Studded knobby tires are a waste of time unless you are on deep snow. I went through more snow on Schwalbe Big Apple road tires with little problem earlier this year, and they were definitely less work.
I hate to say it, but this bike will quickly be sold, or just become a dedicated mountain bike again. Sometimes what appears to be bitchin’ is really just lame…