With winter on our doorstep, those wet and dirty rides are fast approaching… Everyone you speak to about getting a winter bike has varying opinions, so we are setting the record straight with our guide to Winter Bikes.
There is a huge range of differing set ups out there – from frame materials to tyre sizes. The below information will be sure to help you make sense of all of this so you can get a bike that is right for you!
First up is the ever contentious frame material…
Aluminium – A great starting point. It is relatively light, usually very affordable and there are loads of different options out there. The only slight down side is that eventually it will corrode as will the other metal components in the frame and with our typical wet and salty winter roads it maybe isn’t the best option if you are looking for longevity. Don’t let this put you off fully though, as with correct and regular maintenance you will certainly have a trusty winter bike for years to come with out breaking the bank.
Steel – Although there are some lovely steel frames out there, it perhaps isn’t the most practical of winter materials due to how easily it will rust. As a pretty Sunday bike? YES. As a practical winter mile muncher? Maybe not.
Titanium – One of our favourites for a go-to winter steed. As Metal bikes go it doesn’t get any lighter, stiffer or harder wearing. We just love the properties of Ti, with it’s super strength it allows the manufacturers to thin out the tubes thus giving us a more compliant ride with added bonus of less weight! Pair that with it’s super hard wearing rust-free properties and you certainly have an unrivalled Metal frame. The only slight downside is the cost, but given it’s bomb proof construction and great ride quality we think it is worth every penny.
Carbon fibre – The ultimate material – with limitless alterations to a frame’s quality, compliance, weight, stiffness, tyre/mudguard clearance and even tube profile it certainly offers something that will work for everyone. Paired with no chance of corrosion, lifetime frame warranties and affordable prices, it’s a no-brainer for us.
Then there is tyre size!
With most winter bikes are now coming equipped with 28 or even 30mm tyres it is obvious that the wider tyres are certainly coming into fruition. We certainly wouldn’t suggest anything less than a 25 and if your frame allows it then a 28, 30 or even 32 are all good options! It now allows for a seamlessly comfortable ride on the rougher roads, not to mention the extra puncture protection. Most winter bikes will also come with a tubeless ready rim so pinch-flats from road debris are no longer a problem and the comfort will be improved even further. We certainly think making a full tubeless upgrade is a very worthy investment.
Finally, it’s the age old rim vs disc brake debate.
Rim brakes – For the traditionalist who perhaps has a few old sets of wheels they want to be able to interchange between bikes or for the weight conscious climber then they certainly aren’t a bad option. The maintenance does require less specific tools but is generally needed more regularly.
Disc brakes – An obvious choice, especially for winter riding. With reliable, powerful braking in all conditions they certainly will instil you with confidence when riding on any surface, whatever the weather. You have the added bonus of no rim wear, a previous issue that winter riding used to present. You can now have as fancier winter wheel and not have to worry about it’s live span. It is an obvious choice for us.
Below are some of our favourite go to winter bike options!
Both the Enigma Escape and Etape are amongst our favourite titanium winter bike options. We have different frame-sets in stock so you can start a custom build today or we can supply their UK assembled full bikes starting at just £3,499 with full hydraulic discs and mudguards! If you want to know more about the range or have any queries please get in touch!
The C2 from Cervelo is a great all rounder, featuring a full carbon frame, hydraulic disc brakes, endurance based geometry and even enough clearance for gravel tyres. It also features hidden mudguard eyelets which will house a full guards whilst still being able to run up to a 28mm tyre! Priced at just £2,399 it is a lot of bike for the money.
The C3, the older brother to the C2, it has all the same great features with added bonus of a lighter weight, tubeless ready DT Swiss wheel, full Ultegra R8020 hydro groupset and the higher quality Cervelo handlebar and stem. The C3 comes in at just £3,259
Focus offer the Mares as a race pedigree Cyclocross option but make no mistake that as a do it all winter bike these are also a great option, with a 1 x setup you’ll have no front shifting issues and less weight to carry round too. And should the temptation for some off-road riding get the better of you, you’ll be more than prepared. With 700c tubeless compatible wheels, you can have it set up for on-road miles or off-road playing. The Aluminium variants will also house a full rear Mudguard.
Focus Mares 6.9 (Aluminium frame with a full Carbon fork equipped with SRAM Apex 1 x) – £1,849
Focus Mares 9.7 (Full Carbon frame/fork with SRAM Apex 1 x) – £2,289
We hope that has cleared up some of the questions you may have had on the many different options available. If you do have any further queries or would like some advise on any of the above then please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 01423 503000.