It is when the snow temp and humidity are in the -6 to -8 degrees celsius range with a humidity of 65% to 70%.... it doesn't make snowballs but it does stick to itself (and your tires) but not enough to stay stuck there for long. So when I pull my myself uphill with my 24speed I am glad that I have those to use. I've tried the SS thing during the winter and stopped in Febuary because of the snow quality (as mentioned above) stayed the same for weeks....
The lower the gear, the greater the torque, the greater the chance of spinning out. If you're a standing climber, a higher gear might help reduce the chances of slipping the rear wheel. I run an 82" gear all winter for commuting, partially because at 65" I was spinning out on slick spots even with studded tires. My knees didn't like me for the first two weeks, but they're getting better.
I don't even wanna think about snow. Here we only really get enough of it to turn the streets into ice rinks when they've been walked on enough. And I live on a steep hill as well. I generally have to walk to the bottom holding on to the front of houses for dear life. :-x 29er Kenda Kinetics and I had about as much traction as a greased snowboard when I stepped out of my front door.
Its definitely tougher to ride a SS in the snow but there are some good reasons to trust your SS this time of year.
- Easy trails become good training rides
- Tougher trails, when rideable, make you feel like Hans Rey
- No gearbox issues to deal with when ice/crap gets frozen in your cogs
- If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger
Did my first SS snow commute a couple weeks ago. I thought it was easier in the snow than geared. I didn't seem to spin the wheels starting out as much. Of course, the 29x2.1 tires might have been a factor...
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