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Low Cost Flat Bar Road bikes -- Winter Spec.

Cyclists who cycle through the winter, especially commuters often use an old or low cost bike, whih catches all the corrosion and erosion from salted roads.
Use of their "summer" bike would result in serious degradation, as well as a hefty bill for replacement of all the parts worn out or seriously corroded.

My experience of winter commuting for many years has shown me that use of a quality bike is out of the question, but this means use of a low spec bike for almost 6 months.

Last year I tried an alternative strategy, I built a lightweight but low cost bike for the winter.

The basic spec was as follows

FRAME---------- 7005 polished aluminium road frame 55 cm with semi integrated headset.
FORK---------- Carbon composite ( love the lightness - and it wont corrode)
REAR GEARS---------- Ultra basic 6 0r 7 speed twistgrip with cheap screw on freewheel*** and cheap rear mech.
CHAINRING---------- Single 46 tooth chainring - no front mech.
WHEELS ---------- Cheap single wall road wheels fitted with 25 or 28 mm road tyres.
BRAKES ---------- Low cost road arches.
BOTTOM BRACKET BEARING---------- Shimano UN26 or similar-- Winter prepared *
PEDALS ---------- Alloy BMX platforms - winter prepared **
H/BAR ---------- Usual alloy flat handlebar with bar ends on an 1 1/8 alloy Ahead stem
SADDLE---------- Sports saddle on alloy seatpost.
ACCESSORIES---------- SMART 3 Super briht LED front light with SMART 3 led rear light. Mountain bike style mudguards.
MISC---------- I intend to fit stainless steel fasteners as replacement for standard ones on all components which will last for more than a single season.

The result was a beautifully lightweight general purpose bike (see pics below) which although has a lower top speed is excellent for hill climbing. The BMX pedals have always been a favorite for me as they are indestructable, have good bearings and are hassle free when in traffic.

I ran this bike through the winter and in Springl overhauld it to use as a general purpose / wet day bike. In Spring 2008 I overhauled the bike as follows.

Replaced - Rear gears, chain, rear mech, the rear wheel due to spoke corrosion. The cables required renewing. (Next year I will fit stainless steel cables). The brake arches required new brake blocks but still worked perfectly thanks to my greasing of the pivot pins prior to winter.

Use of low cost componentsl greatly reduced overhaul costs. Tthe frame and fork showed no significant signs of damage no tarnishing and almost no spotting of the frame lacquer.

For those of you interested in such a bike I could supply the bike for 270 and would overhaul it for component cost only. approximatly 45 including rear wheel.

Footnotes

* Winter preparation of bottom bracket bearing - I always grease the BB shaft and crank location cone. This prevents rust erosion of the grease seal which would limit the bearing life to a few months. Thus prepared the BB bearing will last many winters and the chainring will always be easily removable.

** I add extra grease to the pedal bearings, otherwise they will last only one season, same applies for wheel bearings.

*** I always 100% grease pack the freewheel mechanism with grease to prevent water ingress and subsequent corrosion and bearing failure. I have always found this to be very benificial in bikes with freewheels used everyday in winter.

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