Marathon XRs – Sold!

9 08 2012

XR’s for sale…

Update – these tires are sold.

I’ve got two Schwalbe Marathon XR tires for sale. 700c x 35mm – folding bead. The classic expedition touring tire that’s no longer available for sale from Schwalbe. One tire is new in the box. The other has been mounted and rolled less than 100km. The molding nubs are still fresh on the tire. They’ve been stored in my cool/dark garage.

I was keeping them for a big tour, but I haven’t needed them and it looks like I’ll either be touring on 26″ wheels or knobbies in the future.

Tread on slightly used tire…

Cost is $50 + $20 shipping for both anywhere in Canada/USA.

Stan’s NoTubes Tubeless Setup

10 02 2012

Stan's ZTR 29er Flow rim and Schwalbe Racing Ralph tire...

I’ve been tubeless curious for a while. I was thinking of setting up my Surly Pugsley and Santa Cruz Nomad tubeless, but I’ve heard both really positive and really negative tubeless experiences which made me hesitant to start my tubeless career with a ghetto tubeless setup. In case you don’t know – ghetto – refers to a setting up a rim/tire combo tubeless that wasn’t designed to be run that way. So being a bit cautious I decided to try tubeless on a rim/tires combo designed from the get go to be run without a tube.

Stan's Sealant - click here for some home brew recipes...

My first opportunity was the wheelset for my 29er hardtail mountain bike. I used a set of Stan’s Flow 29er rims because they are wide and strong – plus they have bead seats designed to lock in a tire easily when run without a tube. Some 2.35″ wide Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29er tires offer a nice wide supple rubber carcass without being terribly heavy and they are also designed to be run tubeless.

Here are the things I gathered to do the setup:

Steps I used:

  • I followed the first video about how to install the yellow Stan’s rim tape.
  • I installed a 29er MTB tube for ~2hrs at 40psi to ensure the tape sealed to the rim well before installing the tire tubeless.
  • Deflated the tire and pulled the tube out.
  • Then I installed the Stan’s valve stem and the tire – inflating to 40psi to seat the bead using glass cleaner as lubrication.
  • Once I was happy tire was holding air and seating well I deflated and added 3oz of Stan’s sealant by removing the valve core.
  • Tire was re-inflated to 40psi and rotated slowly to plug any leaks.
  • I had to re-inflate and spin wheels several times and left them overnight then more air + spinning in the AM.
  • I rode the bike the following day with no issues.

The “Help” articles and videos on the Stan’s website are worth checking out before you start.

We don't need no stinking tubes!

Overall the process was fairly painless although I probably spent 3-4hrs spread out over an evening and the next morning doing the setup. I did take my time and checked twice before each step so I’m sure that will be the longest it ever takes me. Using a full tubeless designed setup definitely helped everything click together for me with no problems. I was particularly surprised that I could easily seat the beads and inflate the tire with just a normal floor pump. Sweet!

Benefits of Tubeless:

  • puncture resistance for both sharp objects and pinch flats
  • ability to run low pressures without pinch flatting
  • very supple tire with low rolling resistance and improved traction
  • possibly lower weight depending on specific setup

I like running wide rubber at low pressure and I ride in terrain with poor traction, Being able to use soft tires that really conform to the terrain is awesome and I don’t have to worry about pinch flats. I’ll write up a review after I have a bunch of riding on these wheels and let you know what I think of Stan’s NoTubes tubeless products.

Going Ghetto

My buddy Scott reports having no issues with a ghetto tubeless setup so you don’t need to buy new wheels/tires if you want to try out tubeless. I’ll try my hand at ghetto tubeless on my Nomad next since I’m not spending $$$ on new wheels. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Schwalbe Marathon XR is back!

2 09 2011

Welcome back XR!

My favourite touring tires are back! Thank God! I haven’t worn out my existing XRs so I can just get some Schwalbe Marathon Mondials when they do. The new name it a stupid mouthful compared to the simplicity of the previous name – XR, but that’s a small price to pay…=-)

Click on the image above to read the press release. Thanks to Richard for letting me know…=-)

How Schwalbe Tires and Tubes are Made…

13 07 2010

Fastolfe posted this video on BROL…very interesting…I run a lot of Schwalbe tires and Schwalbe USA HQ is located in Victoria, BC, Canada!  Makes me appreciate what goes into my bike tires.

I posted this video about how Rohloffs are made a while back, but in case you missed it they make a fun double header for the bike tech geek…=-)

Fast comfy tires and setup…

1 07 2010

Grand Bois 30-622...

I copied the text below from a post I made on BROL…rather than rewrite it this is good info to spread around. Let me just say that good tires that are setup well are the best and cheapest way to upgarde your bike for better performance and more comfort…the fact one leads to the other is the beauty of cycling…=-)

“The best [ie. fastest & comfy] tires I know of are:

– 349 [16”] GS Scorcher – 5 stars
– 406 [20″] GS Scorcher – 5 stars
– 559 [26″] Schwalbe Kojak & Specialized Fat Boy – both 4 stars
– 622 [700c] Grand Bois Cypres – if I’m allowed I’d give these 6 stars!

I’m not a racer, but I like to ride fast and effortlessly for long distances. To do that you need a tire that is supple and has enough volume to support your weight at moderate pressure so it acts like suspension. In the 16″ & 20″ sizes I run 40mm width because they don’t contain as much air. In the 26″ size I go down to 35-38mm and in the 700c size I use a 30mm width.

I then inflate each tire so I get approx 15% of the width as a vertical deflection when I’m sitting on the bike at rest with all my gear. So for the 30mm 700c tire I’m shooting for a 4.5mm vertical drop. This will give you optimal comfort and efficiency.

I’m amazed how well people like their old bikes when they let me set them up for them this way. I just swapped in some Grand Bois tires on my GF’s city bike….she is not into bike tech, but as soon as I made the change she started raving how much she loved the ride…fast and like she’s floating on air. She’d never let me take those tires off her bike now. Keep in mind she had to pay $100USD for a set which seemed highway robbery to her as she has never upgraded tires before…now she sees it as money well spent.

BTW – if you inflate both tires to the same pressure and/or you are inflating to the max pressure on the sidewall…you are not getting the best performance you can from your rubber. Max pressure doesn’t equal fast and may actually be slowing you down. Since both tires support different weights they need different pressures.”

Karate Monkey Big Apple Monster

7 05 2010

Surly Karate Monkey in lovely Chum Bucket red...

I stopped in at Fairfield Cycles [Victoria, BC] this week…very cool shop….Ortlieb, IGH bikes, folders, bents, cargo bikes…sweet!  Anyways not being in the market for a bike I was just browsing when I saw this nice 20″ Surly Karate Monkey with monster 2.35″ Schwalbe Big Apple 29er tires and fenders…the bike looked perfect and ridiculously huge all at the same time so I had to take a test ride.

Fat rubber and fat fenders do fit fine...

I was amazed that there was so much clearance in the fork for huge rubber and fenders to match.  I was also surprised that I liked the Chum Bucket red colour of the frame…I hadn’t been too stoked based on pictures I’d seen, but it looks quite nice in person. The 20″ frame fit me great and the bike was built up as a useful about town ride.

Single speed simplicity...

The KM was light and nimble despite the big wheels.  I would have lowered the pressure in the Big Apples quite a bit to take advantage of their suspension potential if it was my bike.  As it was the BAs rolled great and I was able to slalom around the neighbourhood with a big grin on my face.

I’m used to riding a fixed gear now so it felt strange to be on a single speed bike that let me coast…it almost felt wrong…=-)

Fenders...disc brakes...bring on the wet...

I gotta say this was a fun bike to bomb around on and setup like this would make a great all weather commuter.  As it turns out this bike is slightly used and priced at $1100.00cdn…somebody is going to have a big smile on their face.  Thanks to Max at Fairfield Cycles for the test ride…=-)

Thanks Kurt!

2 04 2010

Yeah for big tire clearance!

Sean’s pre-Y2K Santa Cruz Heckler was designed for 2.1″ rubber.  I managed to slip in 2.4″ Schwalbe Fat Alberts into the new Fox Float fork, but at the rear there was some light rubbing on the seatstay brace.  Thanks to Kurt and a grinder there is clearance at the rear for the fat rubber and it doesn’t look too DIY!…=-)  The 2.4″ rubber gives the bike uber traction and can be inflated a bit less than a 2.1″ tire without fear of pinch flats…this adds a nice bit of really compliant suspension to the bike.

1998 Santa Cruz Heckler Redux

30 03 2010

Heckler Redux

My friend Sean wanted a new mountain bike, but the sticker shock of a new full suspension ride was putting him off.  He had access to a 1998 Santa Cruz Heckler frame so we decided to upgrade it a bit so he’d have a sweet rig at a reasonable cost.

New LX dearailleur...

I put a new LX derailleur on back as well as a Schwalbe Fat Albert 26 x 2.4″ tire. I kept the existing 8 speed cassette since it was in decent shape.

New V-brakes and existing rear rim...

I replaced the beat up v-brakes for a set new of Deore stoppers.  I kept the old rear wheel after tensioning and truing it.

Robust single pivot suspension...

The robust single pivot suspension design of the Heckler was in good shape with no play.  The rear shock was working fine.

Race Face Turbine LP cranks...

The cranks, BB and front derailleur were all serviceable so I just cleaned off the crud and adjusted them.  I put a new SRAM 8 speed chain on.

Nice paint job...

The paint was in good shape so I cleaned off the bike and polished it with some Pedros Bike Lust.  I pulled the cables and housing at first, but ended up reusing everything, but the brake cables.

Fox Float RLC 100

The old Marzocchi Bomber came off and a new Fox Float RLC 100 fork went on…mmmm…buttery smooth suspension travel.

Avid BB7

The Fox fork won’t accept v-brakes so I binned the old ones as well as the old front wheel.  A new Sun Ryhno Lite/Deore disc wheel shod with a Schwalbe Fat Albert took its place.  An Avid BB7 and 160mm rotor will handle the braking duties now.

Ergon Grips and a Salsa Moto Ace riser bar...

The cockpit got a complete upgrade with a Salsa stem and bars.  Ergon grips and Avid brake levers.  I kept the old 8 speed XT shifters.

One nice ride!

I was amazed how well the bike rides now.  I used to own a Heckler of the same vintage and it did not ride this nicely.  I’m giving most of the credit to the Fox 100mm fork which jacks up the front end an inch slowing down the steering and providing some excelent suspension action which seems to be a good match for the ~3″ of travel in the rear.  The Schwalbe Fat Alberts are light for a big tire and roll nicely adding a welcome dose of traction and even more plushness.  The wide riser bar and Ergon grips are really nice on the hands and give you lots of leverage for precision steering.

This bike rides so sweetly I’m sad to give it back to Sean….=-)

This is why you buy quality – not many FS frames from 10 years ago would be worth upgrading and even fewer would give you such an amazing ride compared to modern FS bikes.  Nicely done Santa Cruz.

406 Marathons for Sale

11 02 2010

Marathon 20" x 1.5"

These are spoken for…

I’ve got 4 Schwalbe Marathons in 20″ [406] x 1.5″ with wire bead size for sale.  They are new although they have all been used for 4-5kms.  No wear at all, but some minor dust/dirt in tread.  This is a great touring/commuting/utility tire for a folding bike or recumbent.

Schwalbe sells them for $35USD each + shipping = $155USD for all 4 shipped.

I’ll ship them to you anywhere in North America for $110USD – or you can pick them up for $90USD.

Winterizing my Thorn Nomad MK1

8 02 2010

Schwalbe Snow Stud

The roads around here are crusty snow and ice.  Not much new snow, but several warm cycles combined with a few deep freezes has made things treacherous.  My Pugsley works pretty well, but some studded tires would be better and I had a set Anna left me when she headed to California so I mounted them on my Thorn Nomad Mk1.

Carbide studs - the other winter weapon!

I do like the fact this bike has full coverage fenders so I can wear some decent clothes and go out after a ride across downtown.  The Rohloff means no maintenance which appeals to my lazy side…=-)

Shimano Dynohub

Additionally I had a 26″ dynohub wheel I wasn’t using that would be really useful on a winter bike due to the short amount of daylight available each day.  I’ll be mounting the Solidlights 1203D from my Bike Friday NWT.  I can just leave it on 24/7 and not worry about my batteries running out.

Two lights are better than one...

I like having multiple lights on my bikes at night – especially in the winter as snow/ice/fog can make visibility worse than ever.

Zipties - cheap and effective...

I don’t have any mounts for my Thorn’s rear rack, so I just zipped tied a Planet Bike Superflash on.  Not the most elegant solution, but it works just fine.

My Nomad looking the business!

Schwalbe Marathon Extreme Tires For Sale

28 10 2009
Schwalbe Marathon Extreme

Schwalbe Marathon Extreme

Update: tires are sold.  When I get back from Baja I’ll invest in some new rubber for my Thorn Nomad.  At the moment I’m thinking of some Marathon Supreme 26 x 2.0″.

I’ve been using a set of Marathon Extreme tires [26 x 2.0″ folding bead] on my Thorn Nomad this summer.  I’ve got less than 500kms on them most of which is unloaded about town mileage.  I’m keen on trying some 26 x 2.0″ Marathon Supremes to see how they compare.  I’m trying to avoid stocking a huge number of expensive tires so I’d like to sell these and buy some Supremes with the cash.

The MSRP for a new Extreme is $77.75USD + shipping.  I’ll sell these for $50.00USD each with free shipping anywhere in North America. That’s a savings of 30% when you factor in shipping costs.

These tires are in perfect shape with no wear visible and no flats or other damage.

This is Schwalbe’s flagship expedition touring tire and would be my choice for a dirt/gravel road tour.

26 x 2.0" Extreme on my Thorn

26 x 2.0" Extreme on my Thorn

If you happen to have some Marathon Supremes [26 x 2.0″ folding bead] in decent condition [say less than 1000kms mileage] I’d be happy to do a no cost trade.

RIP XRs…=-(

17 10 2009
Schwalbe Marathon Dureme

Schwalbe Marathon Dureme

Well I’m sad to report that Schwalbe seems poised to terminate the Marathon XR which has been a favourite tire of mine for a few years now.  I’ve got ’em on my Surly LHT and my Surly Big Dummy.  I think I have a spare XR in 26″ and one in 700c so I’ll be good for a while longer given how hard wearing these tires are, but sooner or later I’ll wear out my last XR and it will be the end of an era.

On the positive side Schwalbe has three new touring tires in the Marathon line up which seem like they will be able to fill the shoes of the XR capably:

  • Marathon Supreme: is a semi-slick touring tire for those paved road only rides where you want durability and puncture protection in a faster tire.
  • Marathon Extreme: is a knobbier and lighter cousin of the XR that can handle dirt and gravel roads.
  • Marathon Dureme: seems to be somewhere in the middle with more tread than the Supreme and less tread than the Extreme.  It’s supposed to be very long wearing.

We may be looking back in a couple years and not missing the XRs at all.  The new Schwalbe touring tires may be better and we’ll be happy they made the switch.  Of course it’s possibly we’ll be looking back wistfully at the XR wishing they still made it….only time will tell.  The thing the XR had going for it was a long history of working well for the hardcore bike tourist.  That’s a reputation Schwalbe’s new rubber will have to earn.

If you are a Schwalbe XR fan there is still stock of this tire at many vendors so grab some while you can.

Sharon’s Urban MTB

4 06 2009
Sharon's Upgraded City MTB

Sharon's Upgraded City MTB

Like a lot of people my girlfriend Sharon owns a decent mountain bike and his no interest in mountain biking.  Living in the middle of a large city she has many cycling opportunities, but the slow uncomfortable mountain bike doesn’t encourage her to try and use it to get around.  I’m a big advocate of getting the right bike for the job, however, there is no point investing $1000+ unless you have validated you have a serious desire to actually incorporate cycling into your life.  Since Sharon’s Burning Man bike was stolen I figured it made the most sense to upgrade her mountain bike for use as a city bike this summer and then make it her new Burning Man bike at the end of the summer.  If she uses it a lot over the next few months that would justify the purchase of a new city bike and all the mods we made are useful for cruising the playa at Burning Man.

Jandd Grocery Panniers

Jandd Grocery Panniers

In an earlier post I mentioned buying some Jandd grocery panniers for Sharon’s bike.  These have turned out to be an excellent choice for her cargo needs.  They fold flat when not in use and with open tops are super easy to simply drop stuff in and then grab it as needed.  They offer no security or weather protection, but this bike is not going to be ridden in the rain and the panniers detach so easily they can come in with her if she locks up the bike for a while.

Jandd Panniers Top View

Jandd Panniers Top View

I mounted the Jandd grocery panniers to a Filzer PR-2 rack I bought at MEC.  You can also see in the photo above a Planet Bike Superflash rear blinkie for night riding.

Terry Ladies Cite X Saddle

Terry Ladies Cite X Saddle

Not surprisingly the skinny hard racing saddle that came stock on the bike didn’t make her butt happy so I replaced it with a wider ergonomic Terry Cite X saddle.  So far she has been happy on rides up to 1hr.  As her range expands we’ll consider trying out a Brooks or some other saddle as needed , but for shorter trips the Terry seems to work quite well and needs no attention.

Revised Cockpit and QR Wicker Basket

Revised Cockpit and QR Wicker Basket

The cockpit need some work to make it more comfortable so I replaced the flat MTB bar with an ergonomic Thorn Comfort Bar MK2 and added Ergon Grips.  For style and utility I installed a quick release wicker basket – which is great for holding items that need easy access or for a fashionable run to the market.

Typically I would have installed some BMX platforms to round out the contact points on this bike, but it already had some decent platform pedals installed that we’ll wear out before upgrading.

Fat knobbies aren’t useful when cruising around town so I swapped in some Schwalbe Big Apple tires in the 26 x 2.15″ size.  Inflating them to a moderate pressure yields a reasonably fast and comfortable ride.  I saved the knobbies and will reinstall them for Burning Man and possibly move the Big Apples over to her new city bike if she gets one and it has 26″ wheels.  I wouldn’t mind trying these Big Apples on my Surly Big Dummy at some point if Sharon doesn’t need them any longer…lol…don’t tell her I covet her tires!…=-)

2.15" Schwalbe Big Apple Tires

2.15" Schwalbe Big Apple Tires

I’ve tried to be low pressure about biking.  I ride to her place 99% of the time rather than drive since it’s only 15 blocks or so.  I also ride to appointments, parties etc… and walk as much as I can.  I figure being a positive example is more effective than nagging someone.  So far I’ve been pleased that she’s used her bike a fair bit…including climbing the steepest hill in downtown without stopping as well as some fun night rides home from parties.  She has even decided to store her bike in the front lobby so it’s easier to grab on the way out rather than haul it up and down to the basement.  Sharon has talked about commuting by bike and I’ve offered to ride with her all the way to work in the mornings for company and to provide encouragement & mechanical support!

It will be interesting to see what happens now that she has a bike that is both comfortable and useful.  As Mugatu says…”…girls on bikes are soooooo HOT right now!…”….=-)

New Schwalbe Touring Rubber

4 02 2009
My favourite touring tire - Marathon XR

My favourite touring tire - Marathon XR

For the longest while Schwalbe’s touring tire line up consisted of the standard Marathon and the Marathon XR. I quickly became a fan of the XR as a very tough tire that rolled well on asphalt, but could handle gravel/dirt roads as well as off roading well.  I’ve got them on my Surly Long Haul Trucker [35mm x 700c] and my Surly Big Dummy [26″ x 2.0″].  To date I haven’t had a flat on an XR even in Baja. It was a given that if I was headed off on a tour I’d be running these tires.  However, Schwlabe has now released a few more touring oriented models that make choosing the right tire a bit more complex.

Marathon XR 26″ x 2.0″ [folding bead] is 790g & $70USD.

Here is what Schwalbe says:

The ultimate expedition tire! An extremely versatile tread with a incomparably friction resistant rubber compound. The TravelGuard protection belt offers excellent puncture protection at an extremely low weight. A special chafer around the bead prevents the tire scrubbing out on the rim under extreme loads. Made as a folding tire to pack easily in luggage.”

Marathon Extreme

Marathon Extreme

The Marathon Extreme offers similar performance to the XR, but is lighter.  It should roll as well and the more open tread pattern should work well off paved surfaces.  I’ll probably give these a shot next time I would have bought some XRs to see how they stack up.

26″ x 2.0″ Marathon Extreme [folding bead] is 570g & $78USD.

Here is what Schwalbe says:

Designed for expedition and rough terrain. Only by riding can the easy rolling ability of the Marathon Extreme be experienced. The light, yet at the same time, solid construction is made possible by the all-around SnakeSkin fabric layer. The HighDensity belt protects against punctures and is made even more efficient in this latest version with the addition of ceramic coating.

SnakeSkin + HD Ceramic Guard = Double Defense

Additionally the tire uses the latest compound. Triple Nano Compound ensures safe grip on wet roads, low rolling resistance and remarkable durability.”

Marathon Supreme

Marathon Supreme

The Marathon Supreme is a road oriented touring tire that is faster rolling than the models above it while maintaining the durablity and puncture protection of the Marathon line up.  I’ve been using a 26″ x 1.6″ version for a few months and have enjoyed it so far as a city tire.  I’ll write a proper review at the end of this riding season when I’ve got more mileage on them.  I would suggest these for paved use only due to the semi-slick tread pattern.

26″ x 2.0″ Marathon Supreme [folding bead] is 595g & $70USD.

Here is what Schwalbe says:

Exceptional. Outstanding. The best. A touring tire that can do everything. That was the goal of our development team. For 2009 we have completely revised our : HD Ceramic Guard, Triple Nano Compound, LiteSkin side wall. The Marathon Supreme is now even lighter and faster. Puncture resistance has also been improved and its grip on wet roads remains outstanding!”

Marathon Plus Tour

Marathon Plus Tour

The Marathon Plus Tour combines the fast rolling tread of the XR with the durability and puncture protection of the Marathon Plus.  Frankly I’ve never seen a need for a harder wearing or more puncture proof tire than the XR, but perhaps in goat head country or some big cities the amount of debris you ride through may justify the weight???

26″ x 2.0″ Marathon Plus Tour [wire bead only] is 1100g & $55 USD.

Here is what Schwalbe says:

The new Flat-less tire. A heavy-duty trekking tread for asphalt, or offroad allows this versatile tire to always feel at home, whether in everyday use, or on long tours. The robust structure is an effective damage defense that is twinned with SmartGuard, the most effective puncture protection belt for bicycle tires.”

The Standard Marathon

The Standard Marathon

The standard Marathon has been around for a long time although they have recently updated it with the latest rubber technology.  I can’t really see a reason to use these over the XRs as they are heavier and don’t offer any benefits other than a lower price.  One exception is that they don’t make XRs in small sizes like 349 [Bike Friday Tikit] or 406 [Bike Friday NWT] so these tires get the nod in those circumstances.

26″ x 2.0″ Marathon [wire bead only] is 840g & $39USD.

Here is what Schwalbe says:

The legend lives on. Developed over 20 years ago, at that time it was a quantum leap in performance. The first high-quality tire suitable for reliable touring and everyday use. These characteristics quickly made it popular and today it is still Europe’s most ridden touring tire. In the newest version with KevlarGuard and Allround tread compound it can fulfill everything that is expected of a Marathon tire: Effective puncture protection, durability and excellent handling characteristics.”

Winter Tire Test – Pink Bike

30 11 2008
Pink Bike

photo: Pink Bike

Pink Bike did a winter tire test back in 2005 that may be of interest to any winter bike warriors out there.  Most of the tires in the test remain unchanged so the results should still be valid.

My [old] Winter Bike

29 11 2008


I posted this in Nov 2006 to my personal blog.  I’ve just stripped down this bike and cleaned up the frame before putting it into storage.  I’ve got a new winter bike project in mind for this year, but I’m still waiting on bits to arrive…=-)

Schwalbe Snow Stud

Schwalbe Snow Stud

It’s hard to believe November just started and the streets are already covered with ice and snow. I have been bracing myself for winter I just didn’t expect it to start so soon and with such vigor. Oh well such is life in the Great White North!

My Schwinn mtn bike (AKA the Urban Assault Machine) got the nod as my winter ride. I slapped a Schwalbe studded tire on the front and a Schwalbe Marathon XR on the rear – both 26″ x 1.9″. Studs aren’t really needed on the road, but the bike paths are not well cleared and without automobile traffic they don’t stay ice free the way well traveled roads do. We actually had a debate a few weekends ago, at the start of the LOTR marathon, whether or not studded tires were a benefit or hindrance for a Calgary winter cyclist. Dwayne and Nick felt they were not useful and I think they are – especially a lightly studded tire like the Schwalbe. My thinking is the studs add a bit of weight and might be less desirable on dry roads/paths, but the first time you hit a stretch of ice on the bike paths you’ll be glad you had a studded tire. I only put studs on the front because if your front wheel slides out you crash in two seconds. A sliding rear tire can be controlled and can even be fun. Bottom line I’ll be able to test out my hypothesis and report back at the end of the winter.

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

Fenders are essential in the winter – at least if you want to stay reasonably clean. I’d prefer full coverage fenders, but I had these clip on SKS fenders kicking around so I’ll use them for now. I am also feeling a bit lazy and setting up full coverage fenders on a front suspension mtn bike with disc brakes is “do able”, but it would take a lot of fiddling.

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

The Schwalbe Marathon XR isn’t the ideal winter tire, but I already had it in my inventory and it is more aggressive than the semi-slick Continental Travel Contact tire it is replacing.

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

I ditched my Time platform clip-in pedals for some studded Wellgo BMX pedals. Secure footing with any shoes or boots and it is easy to put a foot down when the inevitable sliding starts. I just have to try and keep the studs from engaging my shins!

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

I mounted a Cateye TL-LD1000 rear blinkie to my seatpost. I’ll use a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie on my seatbag and a Planet Bike white front blinkie on my handlebars.

Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp

Giro Helmet, Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp & Planet Bike Blinky

No I am not finished with the lights! I’ll use a Planet Bike rear helmet blinkie and a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp attached to my helmet. The EOS can be set to flash to be seen or set to steady light to illuminate the road.

I know this seems excessive, but when driving to work in the AM I am constantly amazed at cyclists cruising around in busy traffic with minimal or no lights and dark clothing. I am a cyclist so I should be more aware of bikers than most drivers, but in many cases I only see them at the last minute. So I’d rather look a little over cautious than be dead or seriously injured.


If you want more info on winter biking check out the Ice Bike website.