Is a dedicated winter bike a luxury? Or a necessity?
What is a winter bike?
Many cyclists will have a additional bike specifically for use through the winter. This bike will be better equipped and set up for safe, reliable and enjoyable winter riding. Also, most people don’t like their shiny super-light pride and joy to suffer the wear and tear of the rougher winter weather.
Why have a winter bike?
One big consideration is that a bike suitable for winter use will have mounting points for full fitted mudguards. Proper mudguards will keep you and your riding partners much drier and therefore warmer and more comfortable. The guards will also keep the corrosive spray, mud and dirt off your bike meaning your components will last longer with less cleaning. Another thing to consider for riding in the off season is the geometry of your frame, some people may choose a more relaxed or ‘endurance’ geometry for increased comfort on those longer steadier winter rides.
Off the peg winter bikes
We have ready to go bikes that are perfectly suited to winter riding but also versatile enough to perform well and be enjoyed year round. Two of our best sellers are the Focus Paralane and the Cervelo C Series. The Paralane is available with an aluminium or carbon frame and comes complete with mudguards. The Cervelo is a high performance ‘all road’ bike available with two different levels of lightweight carbon frame and fittings for full mudguards. Both bikes feature an endurance geometry, disc brakes and ample clearance for wider tyres.
Custom winter bikes
If you’re looking for something a little more exclusive or the option to choose specific components then we can custom build your bike from the frame up. Our brands that lend themselves particularly well to this are Kinesis and Enigma. Kinesis offer a range of great value adaptable frames in aluminium and titanium which are perfect for year round riding. Enigma build beautiful frames in titanium and steel with custom finish and geometry options. Both brands offer frames with disc or rim brakes that will take full mudguards and wider tyres.
What should I look for in a winter bike?
If you are buying a bike for year round use make sure it has mountings and sufficient clearance for proper mudguards with wider tyres. Also consider if the bike has suitable geometry for you and think about the type of brakes to choose.
Disc brakes make a lot of sense for bad weather riding. Among the other advantages of disc brakes they offer more reliable and predictable wet weather performance. Also, braking on the rim in wet and gritty weather can quickly wear out your rims meaning you may end up only getting a season or two out of a set of wheels.
You may wish to consider slightly more durable wheels for winter use as they can take some abuse. All season tyres will tend to have more puncture protection so you don’t get caught out in the cold and a softer compound for more grip in colder temperatures. Wider tyres with more volume will enable you to run lower pressures for increased grip and comfort. Tubleless tyres and wheels are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to self seal minor punctures and because there is no inner tube they are lighter, less prone to pinch flats and give a superb ride quality.
Can I manage without a winter bike?
You probably could but a bike suitable for year round use will make your riding experience much more enjoyable and potentially safer. It will likely end up being a false economy too as you will inevitably suffer wear and potential damage if using your best bike.