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Winter Beater Bikes

Updated on October 27, 2011

Please take care when operating a bicycle in wintertime environment. It can be dangerous ride on snow covered or iced up roadways.

Winter Beater Bike

My classic CCM bicycle.
My classic CCM bicycle. | Source
The CCM bike refitted with a new 700 by 38c tire. The old original Dunlop Ranger Made in Canada 28 by 1 1/2" F13 rim size had two small cuts in the tire.
The CCM bike refitted with a new 700 by 38c tire. The old original Dunlop Ranger Made in Canada 28 by 1 1/2" F13 rim size had two small cuts in the tire. | Source
The CCM beside the Vision Orion Road Bike.
The CCM beside the Vision Orion Road Bike. | Source
The steering geometry of the CCM and Vision road bike.
The steering geometry of the CCM and Vision road bike. | Source
Seat/ Front Pedal setup. Included in the drawing is my mountain bike set-up.
Seat/ Front Pedal setup. Included in the drawing is my mountain bike set-up. | Source
Seat, handlebar, pedal in bottom postion set-up only. Note the mountain bike drawing in the set.
Seat, handlebar, pedal in bottom postion set-up only. Note the mountain bike drawing in the set. | Source
Cockpit geometry drawings. Combined imagine of seat, pedal and overall handlebar, seat, pedal set-up.Included is the mountain bike set-up.
Cockpit geometry drawings. Combined imagine of seat, pedal and overall handlebar, seat, pedal set-up.Included is the mountain bike set-up. | Source
Replacement Stem.
Replacement Stem. | Source
The CCM with its used handle bar in place.
The CCM with its used handle bar in place. | Source

Fall/ Winter Beater Bikes

By Steve Robson

When the fall season comes, the weather can be a mixed bag. The temperatures can vary a lot; it can be great out or less than ideal. The thought of using your better bikes can put you off riding it out doors. This is when the beater bike comes into play. What just is a beater bike? It is an older bike that you feel better about using in these less than ideal riding conditions. Depending on what you are looking for, these bikes keep in the saddle year round.

Just what type of bike would you be looking for? Any type can work but the following features are want I look for in a fall/ winter ride. Although the thought of a multi-speed bike sounds good, there some problems related to this type. If you are going to going to see it used in the middle of winter, the problem of dirt and snow will make a mess of the drive train. All of the parts related it get gummed up over the winter time riding. The moisture will get into the cables rusting them up. This caused by the salt content that is mixed in with the water on the roads.

The use of a "fixie" (a single speed) makes for a much better type of bike to be used in these conditions. The design can be broken down a number of different types. The classic design uses a fixed gear. There is no freewheel. It goes as fast as you pedal it. The bike goes back to the original design used on the first "Safety Bike Design". In those days, the freewheel had not been invented. The only way to drive the wheel the use of direct chain drive. The fixie design goes back to these roots.

There is a problem with using this method to drive the bike. Winter time is a very difficult on a bike. Road conditions can be demanding. Since power it applied to the wheel all the time, if it hits ice the bike will come down. The other problem is the braking system. The braking design most often used is either cantilever or side pull type. Either type use the rim as the braking surface. In the winter, freezing conditions and snow can gather around the brake pads. The ice will take away some of the braking abilities of the bike. The cables can be affected the same as the shifters cables. Rust can freeze these up as well.

Bikes’ using the simple coaster brake is one of the better solutions to braking on a bike. You still have problems to deal with as far as ice on the road but with the brake being enclosed in the hub, it is not subject being messed up like the brakes used on the wheel rims. Slippery conditions can be a problem and special care has to taken to protect yourself.

The salt/ ice/ water combination will get everything. This affects just how long the parts on the bike will last. The affects of salt water is great. This affects how well the bike can be fixed down the road. The affects of salt means that the moisture gets into the threads of the spokes and nipples. The threads on the spoke nipples will freeze up over time. The chain is subject this as well. The life span of the chain will be greatly reduced. The frame will rust out as well. Other fasteners will rust as well.

In the end what type of bike can be used? Any type that you like can be picked but I have got a used old CCM women’s framed single speed bike for this function. The coaster brake is very simple and effective. The lower frame design makes for easier getting on and off. The bike can be fitted so it fits the same basic specs as my road bike. Being a classic era bike on e might think twice about using of these. The bike would be used of days when the weather is not too bad out. Although it is nice get out all year round, you have to play it safe. When there is any amount of snow that covers the road, you lose any form of traction on the tire. It becomes unridable. The handling of the bike itself far more relaxed when compared to a road bike. The steerer tube angle set at only 65 degrees. The amount of trail (caster) is 3.45 inches. The seat is set farther back as well. The angles are only off by a few degrees when all is said and done within the driver’s cockpit area.

With autumn weather the way it is, the simpler bike is easier to maintain overall. It also gets you into a simpler riding style. Without any added gearing cycling becomes more about working you pedaling style. I just recently overall hauled the bottom bracket in a very short amount of time. The one piece crank makes for a simple design. The rest of the bike for the most part is in the same league. The only real problem is that with the age of the bike parts can become difficult to get for it. The front wheel has ready been replaced by a slightly smaller 26 by 1 3/8th inch (597 mm) tire. It gives the bike a slight hot rod rake to it.

Riding the old CCM takes one back to the earlier days of cycling. The simpler drive train design and geometry is no longer used most of today’s bikes. I feel that although these bikes are seen as classics in some one’s eyes, they still should be taken out and ridden. After all that there primary function are to be ridden. As long as some amount of care is taken with them, they should last for a while still.

The drawings shown along the article show both the design elements that are the same and those that are different between the Vision Orion road bike and old CCM women’s cruiser bike. I have the article I wrote for bike fit and it explains a bit more about the process I did to work some of this information out. The drawings on this site go into greater detail about some of the geometry differences but show how close they are as well.

Besides the basic measurements taken at the time the bikes where measured up, I took the following specs off the plans that were drawn up. The CCM and the Vision road bike come in very close to each other. The angle from the pedal at its bottom most position to the middle of the seat on the CCM is 73 degrees. The Vision road bike has a steeper 78 degrees. The measurement from same bottom pedal position to the handle bar tips is 62 degrees on the CCM. The road bike has an angle of 58 degrees. The bottom angles of the triangle itself only a difference of only 1 degree. The CCM has a 52 degree angle compared to the 51 degrees on the road bike.

Since the set is back farther on the CCM, the total distance front the nose of the seat to the pedal in its front pointed position is 10.44 inches. This is the farthest out of any of the bikes. The road bike is only 8.09 inches away from the nose of the seat when the pedals on the same location. The greater angle of the seat post on the CM forces the rider to bend over more but not by much. The bottom bracket stays in the relativity same location as the road bike. I also tend to sit a bit closer the front of the seat on the CCM making up a bit of the difference between the two bikes geometries.

The point of the article is to show that two different styles of bikes can be made to match up. The drawings in this article go into more detail both the differences and similarities that come up. It points out that you can have two different bike types that gain the same overall feel. A simple alterative bike makes for a great way to cycle around. You get the connection to the past with old bikes like the CCM. Whatever bike you pick to ride in the winter months, take care to play safe. Try to ride in conditions that allow a safe trip.

The original tire that came with the bike was replaced. The tire sizing used the old Canadian sizing system. It was a 28 by 1 1/2" F13 sized tire. The modern version of this tire is the 700c 622/ 38 tire size. It is the same size and will update an old bike like this CCM into good riding condition. The tire pressure rating on the new tire is 85 PSI. This almost double the pressure of the original tire. It has greatly improved the ride quality.

The next change was to replace the original handle bars with a set taken off an old mountain bike that was used for another donor part as well. It has a different ride quality to it and it feels great. The two handle bars can be changed over very quickly to suit whatever mood I am in when riding this bike. This alters the set-up being shown in the cad drawings. The reach out from the seat is now 22" and is about 1" higher then before.


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