Help with a wet weather strategy

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Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Rhubarb » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:52 pm

Hi there,

I've been commuting for about 15 months on my MS Oppy C5 (CF Roadie, 105 group, Mavic Aksium wheels). I love riding my bike and enjoy the regular exercise etc that comes with bike commuting.

Of late though, the Brisbane weather is driving me insane. Up until now I've taken the bus on days when its wet, but of late it seems every day is wet.

So after getting caught in a heavy shower on the way home on Wed I realised that riding in the rain is actually quite enjoyable. So Wed night, I pulled the old clunker (15 yr old Mongoose hybrid) out of the shed with the idea of setting that up as my wet weather bike. Rode it in on Thursday and remembered why I bought a new bike shortly after starting commuting. The old one is a shocker to ride, even worse since I've had a decent bike for 14 months. So Friday I rode my roadie in the rain. I didn't mind that at all (quite enjoyed it actually) but I had to clean it yesterday and apart from the usual filth all over it, parts of chain were showing some signs of rust as well as some spots on the cassette.

If I was going to continue with the old Mongoose, I'd really need to spend some money on it as it needs a new seat, new tyres, and the gears have problems changing and can't be fixed without full replacement.

So what to do for a wet weather strategy? The options I see are as follows:

1) Continue riding Oppy in the rain and just clean it more often, perhaps wiping down and relubing the chain after each rain ride.
2) Spend some money on the old hybrid, so I don't worry about ruining my good bike in the rain.
3) Ditch the Mongoose and buy a 2nd hand bike on ebay for say $200 with disc brakes, low maintenance gears (do they exist?) etc
4) forget riding in wet, continue to take the bus.

I currently don't have any wet weather gear either, so whilst thats not an issue for me now (warm enough in Brisbane) it will be in winter.

I like riding to work, even in the rain, and hate taking the bus, but starting to wonder if all the extra cleaning, maintenance and extra gear purchases are worth it. The rain will eventually end, won't it ????

Ultimately I'd love to find a wet weather bike solution that I could live with. I still have a dream that one day I could totally commit to bike commuting and be able to go back to 1 car.

What does everyone else do?
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by BNA » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:57 pm

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby il padrone » Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:57 pm

Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Rhubarb » Sun Jan 09, 2011 3:16 pm

Thanks IP,

I did read that thread but that deals mostly with gear for wet weather, as opposed to a 2nd bike strategy. Does help with what sort of 2nd bike may be needed though.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby clarinetcola » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:06 pm

I had a similar problem,
I built up a really sweet dedicated commuter bike, and I had enough spare parts for a wet weather bike, so I built that up as well. But whenever I rode the ww bike it just wasn't as good as the primary commuting bike: different saddle, different handlebar shape, shifting was not as good, clipless pedals weren't as good, geometry was different etc. etc... it just drove me nuts after two rides. So I just ride the primary commuting bike now, wet or dry, and my wet weather bike is just gathering rust. Bikes are made to work in the rain afterall. I would go for the Oppy-for-everything option.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Max » Sun Jan 09, 2011 6:50 pm

I'd go option 1 or 3.

Option 1: You like riding it. So you should ride it! Don't let it sit unused and unloved just because of some rain. Give the chain a wipe and a lube when it needs it.
Option 3: So long as you like riding the commuter/beater, why not? But you gotta like riding it. Because if you don't like riding it, you won't, and it'll be a waste of money.

I wouldn't go for option 2 because you'd probably be spending good money after bad. And option 4... c'mon, really? ;)

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby ruscook » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:07 pm

Option 5 buy a single speed (freewheel not fixed) so there's less cleaning... Then you have a better bike than an old hybrid for when the good ones in for a service :wink:
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Oxford » Sun Jan 09, 2011 8:42 pm

Max wrote:I'd go option 1 or 3.

Option 1: You like riding it. So you should ride it! Don't let it sit unused and unloved just because of some rain. Give the chain a wipe and a lube when it needs it.
Option 3: So long as you like riding the commuter/beater, why not? But you gotta like riding it. Because if you don't like riding it, you won't, and it'll be a waste of money.

I wouldn't go for option 2 because you'd probably be spending good money after bad. And option 4... c'mon, really? ;)

Max

ruscook wrote:Option 5 buy a single speed (freewheel not fixed) so there's less cleaning... Then you have a better bike than an old hybrid for when the good ones in for a service :wink:

Agree with Max and ruscook here, but I'm really leaning towards ruscook's option 5. however if you want/need gears then consider an internally geared hub for the SS low maintenance drive train such as an Alfine, though to set that up will cost up to $400 excluding the bike (assuming you're addding it to an existing setup).

here is what I consider to be the perfect commuter for me:
Image
for me disk brakes are a minimum requirement as they offer very predictable braking in wet and dry conditions.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby TheShadow » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:05 pm

I'd love a front disk setup. You can hear the gritty stuff grinding away at your rim in wet weather when braking. Not too sure how fast it is to remove/replace a front wheel with a disk brake though..

As noted, water-borne grit in your chain & gears is the most expensive issue (then maybe waterlogged/damaged seat). As a very rough guide, I think maybe 1km ridden in rain is equivalent to 2-3kms in dry weather. If you're using relatively cheap cassettes, chains & rings (I bought 9spd stuff online for $100 total) then it's not such a huge deal, imho. Particularly if you're doing maybe 40km/day total, at most? If you were spending $300+ on 10speed titanium Durace clusters and gold-plated chains...that would expensive to ride in the rain.

A couple bottles of water over the chain and derailleur at either end of your commute can help get the worst of it off. I secretly yearn for a cheapish pressure washer to blast the chain, rings and cluster when I get home - and No, I wouldn't blast it into bearing seals of hubs & BBrackets. It would just be a whole lot faster than getting out the chain cleaner and degreaser which simply aint gonna happen on a daily basis. Frankly, I'm not sure I would be so diligent even if I did own a pressure washer. A quick hose off when you get home is pretty good, and some more chain lube in the morning when it's dried off. You could go for several weeks or a month like that without a proper clean. :mrgreen:
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Comedian » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:15 pm

Well this is my wet weather bike/commuter bike.

Image

IMHO mudguards are essential. There is a difference between getting to work wet and getting to work wet and covered in road grime. :shock: My tioga panniers keep everything dry and as people have said at least I can still stop in the wet. The drive train for the alfine hub seems pretty hardy and apart from wiping and lubing the chain after riding in the rain seems to be low maintenance. :)

As the bike shop said to me the other day, it's expensive riding your good bike in the rain. They were alluding to the extra wear on rims and drive train and cited the example of a customer who trashed a set of carbon durace rims by riding that bike in all this wet weather. :shock:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Mulger bill » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:09 pm

Another advocate of the dedicated commuter...
Image
Stops in the wet without fuss or shredded rims. I loves my mudguards 8)
(@TheShadow, undo skewer or bolt as required and the wheel drops straight out, no faffing about with brake QRs.)
If you use Purple Extreme as a chain lube your drivetrain will stay cleaner and quieter for longer, I haven't found any rust either.

Yes this option is prolly the most expensive but shredding rims or dumping the bike because the rim brakes and skinny rubber weren't up to the job is even more exxy.

It also means yer Oppy stays looking and running smick for the after work and weekend blasts :mrgreen:
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby TheShadow » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:01 am

Comedian wrote:IMHO mudguards are essential. There is a difference between getting to work wet and getting to work wet and covered in road grime. :shock: My tioga panniers keep everything dry and as people have said at least I can still stop in the wet. The drive train for the alfine hub seems pretty hardy and apart from wiping and lubing the chain after riding in the rain seems to be low maintenance. :)
...the example of a customer who trashed a set of carbon durace rims by riding that bike in all this wet weather. :shock:


I'm already heading Back to the Future :lol: ...the last week have been my first rides with bags strapped to the rear of the bike which I last did going to high school on the 10spd Malvern Star (way back when that's what you bought if you spent a bit of dosh on a road bike) which ALSO had FULL size mudguards (I took ém off ..to look fast ).

I'm not sure I need bigger, 27" style tyres now, but I'd still consider it. They were definately *vital* for my school-days shortcut over greasy clay and thick wet grass. I almost bought your pedals recently, but went for some cheaper "Commuter" ones designed specially for non-SPD sandals. :wink: ...almost went BMX-style but thought the sharp studs might chew up my footwear, or shins.

Mulger Bill: thanks for the tip on front disk wheel removal. So they drop out, and require a presumably quite small amount of care to slot the disk back in between the pads again. That sounds pretty good. I'll look into the Purple Extreme stuff. I have several small bottles of Tri-Flow to exhaust yet. :) This business of shredding (primarily) front rims is very annoying and a little expensive, even if it does generally take a few years to get that bad.
Last edited by TheShadow on Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Mulger bill » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:11 am

On the front, refitting is simple as. On the rear, you'll need a bit more care as the chain and mech tend to get in the way a bit.

Of course, if you run hydro discs and squeeze the lever while the wheel is out then you are truly up that creek.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby TheShadow » Mon Jan 10, 2011 12:24 am

Okay, thanks. Yes, the rear would be more tricky. You should see me mess around with the rear sometimes as it is. :roll: Anyway, the rear would require a purpose designed frame anyway, which is not really in the budget right now, but something to think about. (excuse the little edit after you replied - thought I should try & cut down on my novelettes :lol: )
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby mikedufty » Mon Jan 10, 2011 1:09 am

I use my old bike for wet weather commuting, it has internal gearing, full mudguards, very robustly built, it weighs about 200kgs, but has a 600cc engine which more than makes up for the weight.
If it rained more than twice a year in Perth I'd consider setting up my push bike better for wet weather, but generally find the hassle of cleaning up not worth for the odd wet day, I have clip on mudguards for days when it might rain, or dry in the morning/wet in the afternoon, which definitely help.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby il padrone » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:19 am

mikedufty wrote:I use my old bike for wet weather commuting, it has internal gearing, full mudguards, very robustly built, it weighs about 200kgs, but has a 600cc engine which more than makes up for the weight.

Should be posted in 'The Excuses' thread :P
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby lethoso » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:49 pm

Oxford wrote:here is what I consider to be the perfect commuter for me


A single (crap) mudguard, no rack and only one brake is the perfect commuter? Comedian & Mulger are on the right track though.

Personally I'm happy with rim brakes - replacing rims every couple of years isn't a big deal, and my cantis seem to have adequate stopping power even in the wet. They have been squeaking in an annoying manner though (anyone got some tips for stopping this?). That said, I would like to try disc brakes out, see what I'm missing.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Oxford » Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:31 pm

lethoso wrote:
Oxford wrote:here is what I consider to be the perfect commuter for me


A single (crap) mudguard, no rack and only one brake is the perfect commuter? ......
you must haved missed the "for me" at the end, I did not say it was the perfect commuter for everyone, just for me. although I am considering full mudguards, I don't think they are absolutely necessary, but potentially a nice to have.
lethoso wrote:That said, I would like to try disc brakes out, see what I'm missing.
Then maybe you'll understand why I am happy with one front brake on a fixie. The fixie allows me to modulate most of my speed in most situations and the front brake is used only when absolutely needed. Sort of puts your first comment in context where you rubbish my setup yet have no idea why someone might choose a single disk brake setup. I suggest you try it out, you might surprise yourself.
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Comedian » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:17 pm

Oxford wrote:
lethoso wrote:
Oxford wrote:here is what I consider to be the perfect commuter for me


A single (crap) mudguard, no rack and only one brake is the perfect commuter? ......
you must haved missed the "for me" at the end, I did not say it was the perfect commuter for everyone, just for me. although I am considering full mudguards, I don't think they are absolutely necessary, but potentially a nice to have.
lethoso wrote:That said, I would like to try disc brakes out, see what I'm missing.
Then maybe you'll understand why I am happy with one front brake on a fixie. The fixie allows me to modulate most of my speed in most situations and the front brake is used only when absolutely needed. Sort of puts your first comment in context where you rubbish my setup yet have no idea why someone might choose a single disk brake setup. I suggest you try it out, you might surprise yourself.

I'd love to try a fixie! They are supposed to be super good for your knees and give you a really good work out. Plausibly not for everyone but very interesting bike.

I've found the rear disk brake on my bike tends to pick up road grime and so on which is interesting. The jury is out for me on whether they are worth it on the maintenance side of things
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby lethoso » Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:34 pm

Oxford wrote: Sort of puts your first comment in context where you rubbish my setup yet have no idea why someone might choose a single disk brake setup. I suggest you try it out, you might surprise yourself.


settle down princess, I'm sure your bike is very lovely, even if your mudguard setup is subpar.

And no, I don't need personal experience to comment on something, this is the internet, everyone's an expert 8)
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Oxford » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:39 pm

lethoso wrote:
Oxford wrote: Sort of puts your first comment in context where you rubbish my setup yet have no idea why someone might choose a single disk brake setup. I suggest you try it out, you might surprise yourself.


settle down princess, I'm sure your bike is very lovely, even if your mudguard setup is subpar.

And no, I don't need personal experience to comment on something, this is the internet, everyone's an expert 8)
as usual the last gasp of someone who has no actual argument, a personal insult. all power to you.Image
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby il padrone » Mon Jan 10, 2011 9:42 pm

Go easy! This is the first time I've heard a criticism of a bike set-up classed as a personal insult :?
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby lethoso » Mon Jan 10, 2011 10:16 pm

Oxford wrote:as usual the last gasp of someone who has no actual argument, a personal insult. all power to you.Image


well of course I have no actual argument, I made a throwaway comment and was amused by your overreaction so I stirred the pot a little. Relax, it's all good 8)
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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Max » Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:02 am

I think overreaction is a symptom.. too much rain makes us go crazy. Yes, even you folks who are riding through it anyway.

I would like to add that I am also waiting for my mudguards to arrive in the mail. And hey, if me buying mudguards is what it takes for this rain to stop.. well, that's a small price to pay. 8)

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Comedian » Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:29 am

Max wrote:I think overreaction is a symptom.. too much rain makes us go crazy. Yes, even you folks who are riding through it anyway.

I would like to add that I am also waiting for my mudguards to arrive in the mail. And hey, if me buying mudguards is what it takes for this rain to stop.. well, that's a small price to pay. 8)

Max

Yes lets all sit around in a circle holding hands and invoke the Wiggle gods of on-line shopping! :mrgreen:
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Help with a wet weather strategy

Postby Oxford » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:16 am

lethoso wrote:
Oxford wrote:as usual the last gasp of someone who has no actual argument, a personal insult. all power to you.Image


well of course I have no actual argument, I made a throwaway comment and was amused by your overreaction so I stirred the pot a little. Relax, it's all good 8)
ok so you have nothing to offer, and you're stirring, at least you're being honest about it, that's at least admirable. so do you want to post a pic of your bike so we can all pick on it?Image
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