About a week and a half ago we got the first snow here in town and I had an opportunity to try out the winter bike and my new studded tires. Results?
1) Studded tires are pretty awesome. I never felt unstable or worried about going into a turn.
2) The winter bike needed some work. Shifting really poorly, chain jumping over the cassette, and my fit wasn't very good. The frame is on the small side so I have the seatpost jacked way up which was putting me a bit too over the bars.
To correct these issues, I decided that a nice easy single speed would be ideal for my winter bike. Fewer moving parts, fewer places for ice and salt to get stuck, just makes sense. I also found a riser bar on CL (thanks Terp) that rounded it out. So:
I'll admit the gear ratio is pretty nancy-ish. 22x16. But, it is enough that I can climb the two big hills that I need to fully loaded and well I can always coast. The intent of this bike really isn't to be fast, but to comfortably enjoy the snow!
I am more than ready for it to snow at this point so I can try this bad boy out!