My first winter of commuting was in 2012, I had a job at a coffee shop about a mile and a half from our house. I bought an old Diamondback Ascent frame, from the bike shop that I later worked three plus seasons at, and outfitted it for the snow, ice, melt, and debris. The strategy was like a true all terrain bike, the original purpose of these frames, slower but steady, bigger tires and lots of clearance.
Also, since the weather would do an enormous amount of wear and tear, I opted for all used parts. Besides, you don't fell much difference when you are pushing through the snow and ice, and I didn't have that far of a ride, so I wasn't too concerned with longevity.
These were the aspects I focused on for the build:
- Large frame with ATB geometry and lots of clearance
- Wide, knobby, studded tires
- Plastic bolt on fenders
- Sealed bottom bracket
- Large gear ratio/range
- Thumb shifters , easy to use with gloves
- High and close handlebars and stem
- Wide pedals
- Used quality components
I scored a set of used studded tires and popped those on front and back, as I had already slipped out trying none or one. Being in the south for long, I certainly had a hard time staying upright on the half inch shelf of ice that was once our street.