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Riding during off season.

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The ride home again was awesome... it has been snowing all day, most of the ride  home was in 3" deep snow, poor little wheel really had to do a lot of work. Absolutely spanked the few bikes out tonight.

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Coming from a background of riding motorcycles in sub zero temperatures, I wanted try winter riding on my EUC.  I bought a motorcross dirt bike tire and studs (don't worry, I'm receiving a much needed upgrade today, a KS18XL :D ), but unfortunately, the inner shell fender clearance was an issue.  I would have either had to modify the position of the shell by lifting it, or cut away at it.

We had -37C wind chill temperatures and 25+cm of snow which fell within a 48 hour period recently  That brought riding to a hault for a few days. Bike lanes were burried under 60-75 cm of snow from snow plows.... GRRRRRR.... making riding in the middle of car lanes the only option.   

I use a full face helmet, thermal gear and the experience of riding a motorcycle in the cold to help keep me rubber side down, but it's challenging depending on one wheel for all your traction.  I have fallen down because snow clogged the fender of my X3.  It just wassn't powerful enough to over come it during hard excelleration.   Every so often I have to stop and bounce the wheel to shake loose the snow inside. 

I find most drivers are polite.  They slow down, give me space and a thumbs up, or have a this complete confused/amused look on their face :P

Edited by ShadowWheelin'
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36 minutes ago, ShadowWheelin' said:

Coming from a background of riding motorcycles in sub zero temperatures, I wanted try winter riding on my EUC, so I bought a motorcross dirt bike tire and studs for my Airwheel X3. (Don't worry, I'm receiving a much needed upgrade today, a KS18XL :D )  Unfortunately, inner shell fender clearance prevented me from installing the nobby tire on the X3.  Modifing the position of the shell by lifting it, or cuting into it would have been required. 

While while in Canada, we had -37C wind chill temperatures and 25+cm of snow which fell within a 48 hour period.  That brought riding to a hault for a few days as the bike lanes and side walk were burried under 60-75 cm of snow from plowed roads.... GRRRRRR.... leaving riding in the middle of car lanes the only option.   

Motorcycle gear, a full face helmet, thermal gear and the experience of riding a motorcycle in the cold certainly helps, but when depending on one wheel for all traction is a eye opening experience.  I have fallen down because snow clogged the fender and my X3 just isn't powerful enough to over come it on hard excelleration.   Every so often I stop and bounce the wheel on the ground to shake loose the snow inside. 

I find most drivers are polite.  They slow down, give me space and a thumbs up, or have a this complete confused/amused look on their face :P

Welcome to the club! Amazing and awesome to find out other people giving winter riding a go.

I have the same issue at times -- the road is clear and bike path is one long snow drift. One of the reasons I commute at 5:30-6:30am on the really bad days is so that I can use the roads when I need to without too much fear of traffic at that time of day. 

I think you'll find that a more powerful wheel will do much better. I hammered through a clean stretch of about two kms of 2" deep, relatively heavy snow on the ACM2 yesterday, running at about 30km/hr through much of it (gotta show those bikes we're here to play). I'm pretty confident the V8 would have handled it as well, but much more slowly.

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Yesterday I rode to work in -2C and it was totally fine. Not too many people out at 06:30. Rode back in 0C and it was snowing. So much fun I extended the trip home. When I got home I bounced the wheel to get snow out of it before bring it into my apartment. At one point I think I went down all the way to the rim. I was lucky I didn't damage the tube.

Today it was 0C as well so most of the snow melted into slush and I knew the bike paths would be free of snow. I figured I should pump the tire a bit so I pumped it to 21-22 PSI. Before that it was so low PSI that my bike pump couldn't really get a riding. I could definitely feel that 20 PSI was a lot harder than what I had been riding. I prefer the very low PSI so that the tire can deform better around snow and ice and also for the wider contact. Today I almost fell a couple of times because there was half frozen slush and brown snow on the roads causing my tire to shift and slide. Also I hit a couple of snow/ice patches and felt the tire lose traction. I did get better mileage though. 36km ride and the battery was at 60% when I got home. 

For snow and ice low PSI definitely is better. I will no longer bounce my wheel to clear it from snow anyway. I will just bring it home as is and put it in my trusty bucket as it is. Maybe design a mudguard with a brush so snow doesn't get trapped in the top of the wheel.

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On 2/2/2019 at 6:38 PM, Mike Sacristan said:

Yesterday I rode to work in -2C and it was totally fine. Not too many people out at 06:30. Rode back in 0C and it was snowing. So much fun I extended the trip home. When I got home I bounced the wheel to get snow out of it before bring it into my apartment. At one point I think I went down all the way to the rim. I was lucky I didn't damage the tube.

Today it was 0C as well so most of the snow melted into slush and I knew the bike paths would be free of snow. I figured I should pump the tire a bit so I pumped it to 21-22 PSI. Before that it was so low PSI that my bike pump couldn't really get a riding. I could definitely feel that 20 PSI was a lot harder than what I had been riding. I prefer the very low PSI so that the tire can deform better around snow and ice and also for the wider contact. Today I almost fell a couple of times because there was half frozen slush and brown snow on the roads causing my tire to shift and slide. Also I hit a couple of snow/ice patches and felt the tire lose traction. I did get better mileage though. 36km ride and the battery was at 60% when I got home. 

For snow and ice low PSI definitely is better. I will no longer bounce my wheel to clear it from snow anyway. I will just bring it home as is and put it in my trusty bucket as it is. Maybe design a mudguard with a brush so snow doesn't get trapped in the top of the wheel.

21-22 PSI! I ride with about 38 PSI/2.6 Bar, in summer I plan to go all the way to 43-45 PSI. Maybe I should do some experimenting with a bit lower pressure? Doesn't the tracking suffer?

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Commute was 6.5km in -27c this morning, with some rough patches of new snow in some stretches, but no issues. I took the video camera along for this one so I'll have a video of the full ride out tonight or tomorrow.

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22 hours ago, Scatcat said:

21-22 PSI! I ride with about 38 PSI/2.6 Bar, in summer I plan to go all the way to 43-45 PSI. Maybe I should do some experimenting with a bit lower pressure? Doesn't the tracking suffer?

The only negative effect I noticed was reduced range. It's the same like when i'm out with my mountainbike. If I am only going to hit a nice road then I go a little higher. If i'm doing offroad I prefer as low as possible without squirming or bottoming out.

The wheel was a bit more responsive at higher pressure and low speed. Try 25 PSI and see. But for riding on snow and ice that's way to high for me. I just went across the street to buy some stuff and I was sweating bricks just thinking about riding on that compacted snow on the street with 20+ PSI.

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2 hours ago, winterwheel said:

Commute was 6.5km in -27c this morning, with some rough patches of new snow in some stretches, but no issues. I took the video camera along for this one so I'll have a video of the full ride out tonight or tomorrow.

Saw your vid. Very cool (no pun intended). I would need to level up my winter clothes game to handle that kind of cold.

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9 minutes ago, Mike Sacristan said:

Saw your vid. Very cool (no pun intended). I would need to level up my winter clothes game to handle that kind of cold.

Especially for the distances you ride. My commute this morning was pretty much the same temperature but being less than half an hour I don't actually have to change much, just ensure nothing is exposed (harder than you might think.)

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5 hours ago, Mike Sacristan said:

The only negative effect I noticed was reduced range. It's the same like when i'm out with my mountainbike. If I am only going to hit a nice road then I go a little higher. If i'm doing offroad I prefer as low as possible without squirming or bottoming out.

The wheel was a bit more responsive at higher pressure and low speed. Try 25 PSI and see. But for riding on snow and ice that's way to high for me. I just went across the street to buy some stuff and I was sweating bricks just thinking about riding on that compacted snow on the street with 20+ PSI.

My experience with low pressure is less balance and bad tracking. Basically a wheel that wants to follow every crack in the road it can find, and amplify every steering input because of deformation. But the latter, of course, is mainly a problem with really low pressure.

OTOH I haven't tried low pressure with the MSX. The tire has pretty rigid sidewalls, and is pretty hefty overall, so the low pressure problems might well be a lot less.

But at last I got my snow tire, a knobbly CST MC-tire, and that has a MAX recommended PSI of just 32... I suspect I will run that tire at lower pressure. It is clearly a tire for motocross, with the stiffness and super-deep thread that comes with it, so I foresee no squirrelyness even at low pressures. If the slush keeps coming down here, which it certainly looks like it will, I'll go for the change pretty soon. I rode on Mad Mikes last winter, and these are somewhat alike - just scaled way up.

They'll easily accept my best-grip studs too, so I'll screw those in as well while I'm at it.

Edited by Scatcat
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16 hours ago, winterwheel said:

Commute was 6.5km in -27c this morning, with some rough patches of new snow in some stretches, but no issues. I took the video camera along for this one so I'll have a video of the full ride out tonight or tomorrow.

-27C you are brave :) -13C is max I rode EUC so far.

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Commute this morning -33c, my new record. Definitely feeling the cold by the end.

Edited by winterwheel
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33 minutes ago, winterwheel said:

Commute this morning -33c, my new record. Definitely feeling the cold by the end.

Nice!  That is awesome winterwheel. 

Wool socks, winter boots, thermal wear and a snowmobile one-piece over-suit helps me.  From the motorcycling/snowmobile accessory world, battery powered heated gloves, heated vest, and helmet visor defroster help emmensly on rides longer than 20 minutes under -15 C.   

Edited by ShadowWheelin'
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1 hour ago, ShadowWheelin' said:

Nice!  That is awesome winterwheel. 

Wool socks, winter boots, thermal wear and a snowmobile one-piece over-suit helps me.  From the motorcycling/snowmobile accessory world, battery powered heated gloves, heated vest, and helmet visor defroster help emmensly on rides longer than 20 minutes under -15 C.   

The most important consideration is the footwear, because your feet are basically immobile for the duration of your ride and they can get quite cold without your realizing it. On super cold rides it's probably a good idea to stop every fifteen minutes and walk around a bit just to be sure they're okay and get the circulation going.

Edited by winterwheel
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2 hours ago, winterwheel said:

The most important consideration is the footwear, because your feet are basically immobile for the duration of your ride and they can get quite cold without your realizing it. On super cold rides it's probably a good idea to stop every fifteen minutes and walk around a bit just to be sure they're okay and get the circulation going.

Absolutely great suggestion.  This happened to me once, where I didn't realise my big toe went completely numb from the cold.  I thought it was frost biten.  Luckily it wasn't.  I'm always thinking about frost bite now when I ride and the need for circulation.

Edited by ShadowWheelin'
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22 hours ago, Scatcat said:

My experience with low pressure is less balance and bad tracking. Basically a wheel that wants to follow every crack in the road it can find, and amplify every steering input because of deformation. But the latter, of course, is mainly a problem with really low pressure.

OTOH I haven't tried low pressure with the MSX. The tire has pretty rigid sidewalls, and is pretty hefty overall, so the low pressure problems might well be a lot less.

But at last I got my snow tire, a knobbly CST MC-tire, and that has a MAX recommended PSI of just 32... I suspect I will run that tire at lower pressure. It is clearly a tire for motocross, with the stiffness and super-deep thread that comes with it, so I foresee no squirrelyness even at low pressures. If the slush keeps coming down here, which it certainly looks like it will, I'll go for the change pretty soon. I rode on Mad Mikes last winter, and these are somewhat alike - just scaled way up.

They'll easily accept my best-grip studs too, so I'll screw those in as well while I'm at it.

So I put it on. a CST C-803 2.5-14 tire. In reality it is just about as wide and high as the original ChaoYang. At least counting the full span of the knobs.

I have a hard time balancing the tire though, as it (as usual) came from the seller slightly off-round. The beads were stiff as all h*ll, and required some manhandling to wring on, but still seem to sit a bit loose against the rim. The result is that the tire is a bit wobbly, when you let it spin. I use the correct tube, a 2.5x18 tube, so that isn't the problem.

As a motocross tire the max PSI is just 32, and the typical PSI on a dirt-bike would be just 18-20 or so. I've been pulling on the tire to make it settle better and it's almost good. But I suspect I'll have to ride it with the remaining wobbliness for some miles before it will fully regain its supposed shape. I do wonder however what would make for the fastest way to make it settle, running it on a bit higher pressure 25-30, or lower 18-25? I'll have to try it out tomorrow, and see how much of a problem it is in reality.

I've screwed in a total of 34 studs. The treads have 17 repetitions in pattern, so each got a stud per side. I rather start out with fewer studs and add more as needed, than the opposite. The racket if you go full bore and add 85+ studs would be unbelievable on hard ground with no ice. Last year I used 48 a lot less powerful Schwalbe studs on a 16" Mad Mike tire, and that made all the difference - so 34 best-grip studs should be a very good start.

Given my experiences with the Mad Mike, I foresee this tire will have a lot better grip and handling on slush and packed snow. But it will affect range some, and be a bit more awkward at speeds above 35-38kph, especially if I ride with really low pressure. But the goal was not to set any speed records. I'm totally happy if I can ride 30-35kph in reasonable safety.

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4 hours ago, Scatcat said:

34 studs was plenty, and the grip in snow, slush and ice over expectations. Even packed snow is now a lot more relaxed and actually quite a lot of fun. I drove over ice patches, packed snow, slush, concrete, cobble stones and asphalt today without a single slip. Speeds were moderate, about 25kph or so, as I tested the limitations and balance of the tire.

I have almost fixed the wobble, the method turns out to be inflating it to a v.e.r.y low pressure, less than 0.7bar/10psi, and then pull/push it to correct how it sits - then inflate it to target pressure. In my case that is about 1.9bar/27.5psi or so. I suspect the very fat knobs would allow for good comfort and traction all the way up to the nominal max for the tire: 2.2bar/32psi. And going too low on this tire will make for an awesome rolling resistance on a hard surface, especially with the studs in it. I could probably add another 17 studs to make it grip on wet ice without any slip, but that would make it more uncomfortable where there is no ice or snow.

 

My improvised mudguard works better than I hoped too - no splatter on me whatsoever.

Great report :efefae4566:, I'm really looking forward to having a proper wheel setup for next winter now, although I have a hard time imagining riding with tire pressures that low.

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1 hour ago, winterwheel said:

Great report :efefae4566:, I'm really looking forward to having a proper wheel setup for next winter now, although I have a hard time imagining riding with tire pressures that low.

Oh! This tire is made for a max pressure of 32psi. It is stiff as a board, and almost doesn't deform under the EUC weight even when there is no pressure at all in the tire. Even at 27psi, there is no real tendency to deform when turning.

It's basically a whole different animal from the standard street tires.

Edited by Scatcat
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2 hours ago, Mike Sacristan said:

@Scatcat that sure turned out to be one sexy wheel!

I want one!

Oh, you can't belieeeve the racket when you go on clean asphalt... :roflmao:

Like a whole hive of angry wasps underground. But OTOH the grip is magnificent.

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My cold weather battery life test results:

  - started with 100% on the ACM2 on Tuesday morning 
  - six commutes since then, about 6.2 km per.
  - ambient temperatures for each were -33, -29, -29, -27, -25, -19 (all in C).
  - after the final commute battery was down to 48%, so I used 52% of capacity to go about 38km.

I don't expect that I would have been able to ride 38km at one sitting, but in my use case which is keeping it warm when not riding it, and riding 6km at a time, the battery life isn't much different than in the summer. Temperature reported by the wheel at the end of each commute ranged from 10C (coldest days) up to 15C tonight, warmest day. For the sake of completeness, the wheel has 3550km on it, so the batteries are not new by any means, the riding weight with winter gear, backpack etc is around 245-250 lbs, and there were lots of very slippery surfaces but not much heavy snow to deal with over these three days. (Monday was the snow day, and that is not counted).

I should add the each commute was 18-20 minutes in length.

Edited by winterwheel
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So now that I own a KS-18XL, I'm looking for a winter tire much like yours @Scatcat   Would anyone happen to know where I can find such a tire?  I know the EUCs don't use "rim" sizes, but overall width tread to tread.  Also, which studs do you folks prefer?

Edited by ShadowWheelin'

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