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Do you need a dedicated winter bike?

Winter is a hard time of year on bikes. All that rain, salt and mud can induce rapid wear and turn your pride and joy into a creaking rust bucket in no time at all. It’s why many cyclists have long made the switch to a dedicated bike when the winter months roll around, but what are the reasons for a winter bike, what do you want from a winter bike and what’s the best bike for the purpose?

It might seem a luxury to have a dedicated winter bike, but it’s popular with many cyclists. A recent poll of road.cc readers revealed 57% declaring they have a dedicated winter bike. It’s still clearly popular.

Why you might want a dedicated winter bike…

The main benefit is that you’re not going to grind your favourite road bike into a grimy paste from riding it on winter roads.

A cheaper second bike that you’re less precious about, whether it’s bought primarily for the purpose or a bike you upgrade from a few years ago, is the ideal candidate to take up that punishment. Better to wear out cheaper components than the spangly expensive kit on your best bike.

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So it saves your best bike taking a load of punishment. You can store it away for the winter and when you drag it out in the spring it’ll be in pristine condition (provided you washed it before you stored it away!).

- 17 of the best mudguard-compatible carbon fibre road bikes

The other big reason for a bike dedicated to winter riding is that you can spec it to suit the conditions, and the biggest benefit above everything else is the fitment of mudguards. Not all bikes will have space let alone mounts for mudguards, so touring or gravel bikes with space for wide tyres and mudguards are preferable.

Kinesis Fend-Off mudguards-1.jpg

Riding on wet roads, splashing through puddles or dealing with mud and other debris is not much fun when you don’t have mudguards. The front wheel spray saturates your feet and ankles turning them into blocks of ice, and your bum and thighs get pasted from the rear wheel spray.

Wet weather is bad enough without getting a dirty drenching from your own bike. The idea behind a dedicated winter bike then is to fit mudguards. Preferably it’s a bike with eyelets for proper full-length mudguards. These provide the best coverage front and rear. Failing that, clip-on mudguards are much better these days and a decent compromise if your bike doesn’t have eyelets.

- 6 top tips for cycling through the winter

The other reason for a dedicated winter bike, as we’ll highlight in a bit, is that fact it’s prepared and built for the doing those long-distance training rides in all conditions, with a focus on reliability and comfort over aerodynamics and weight. It will be a trusted and faithful companion on those rides through challenging conditions when the urge to stay in bed is strong.

Elements of a winter bike

We’ve already mentioned them, but mudguards are the main thing you want to look for in a winter bike. That’s the reason why metal bikes, steel and aluminium, have long been popular choices - there just aren’t many carbon frames that will take mudguards.

kinesis-fend-mudguards-7

- 6 reasons to use mudguards this winter

The frame material choice also reflects that fact you don’t need to spend a fortune on the bike. Keeping the cost down through careful purchases and recycling older components from the back of the shed are good tactics for a bike designed to be ridden in the winter.

- The best 2019/2020 front lights for cycling — 40-light beam comparison plus how-to-choose guide

Condor Fratello - tyres

Your winter bike needs to be comfortable, reliable and dependable. So fit the widest tyres you can, and choose a puncture-proof tyre to minimise the risk of getting a flat on freezing cold or wet ride miles from home. Don’t worry about weight, in fact adding a bit of weight is no bad thing, it’ll make you train hard and you’ll feel amazing when you jump back on your best bike in the spring. Also consider tubeless, the benefits of the sealant plugging small holes caused by glass and flint and enabling you to continue riding without stopping aren’t to be underestimated when it’s lashing down with cold rain.

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Also make sure to fit a really good saddle that you know will be comfortable for the longest winter rides you have planned. You could also consider double wrapping your bar tape, and bunging a few more spacers under the stem to relax the fit is not a bad idea either. Being comfortable is really a lot more important than being aerodynamic at this time of year.

- Emergency essentials: the 10 things you should take with you on every ride

garmin-varia-smart-bike-lights

Once you’ve got the bike sorted, you want to make sure you’ve got all the spares and essential accessories. A good set of lights is a must, even for day time riding when it’s gloomy and overcast, and a bright main light obviously if your rides must take place after hours. A well equipped saddle bag with two spares tubes, tyre levers, chain tool and Allen keys should be the minimum you want to carry with you. And don’t forget a really good pump that will actually inflate the tyre to a rideable pressure.

- Mudguards are MORE aero: study shows that optimum drag reduction is achieved with mudguards on

Condor Fratello - fork

Given we’re trying to keep the price down for this bike, you might as well leave the fancy carbon aero wheels at home and throw on some cheap aluminium wheels. You don’t really need aero in the winter, and it’s going to be cheaper to wear out some aluminium wheels with easily serviceable spokes and bearings.

What bikes makes a good winter bike?

In the olden days before disc brakes and gravel bikes, touring bikes were the popular candidate. They had the requisite mudguard eyelets, spacer for wider tyres and more relaxed geometry than race bikes. Modern touring bikes with disc brakes and even wider tyre clearances still make jolly good choices.

- 13 of the best touring bikes — your options for taking off into the beyond

Condor Fratello - riding 1

Cyclocross bikes have also long been popular winter bikes. Before disc brakes they offered increased clearances over road bikes so you can fit wide tyres and mudguards, with many having the necessary mounts for full-length mudguards. You could pick up an aluminium cyclocross frameset relatively cheaply and put some older parts on it and have a low cost and practical winter bike.

These days there’s another option: gravel and adventure bikes. These are becoming hugely popular as second bikes because they are hugely versatile. Many have mounts for mudguards and can be ridden with slick tyres, making the fast and comfortable road training bikes. But you can sling on some gravel tyres for exploring bridleways and woodland trails. The geometry is generally better suited to road riding than cyclocross bikes which typically have high bottom brackets for ground clearance.

- 16 of the best mudguards for any type of bike — keep dry when it's wet with guards for race bikes and practical bikes

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Whatever type of bike you opt for, one way to save some cash is to buy a frameset and cobble it together using whatever parts you might have lying around. There are lots of brands that offer very reasonably priced metal frames that could be the basis for a winter bike build. Add some cheap wheels, a low-end groupset and some finishing kit and you can build a decent bike on the budget.

Wahoo KICKR Bike

The even more controversial choice isn’t even a bike. It’s a smart trainer. I’ve had several discussions with people considering whether to spend a lump of cash they’ve saved on a mudguard-equipped bike for the winter or a smart trainer. The top-end smart trainers with all the associated accessories can cost the same as a bike, and that’s before you factor in all the extra accessories like a computer, television, fan etc to get the full experience.

With all that said, any bike is ideal for a dedicated winter bike. It can be anything you want it to be.

You might not even have to buy one. If you’ve bought a new bike recently you could turn your old bike into your dedicated winter bike. Add some mudguards, some tough tyres and the accessories mentioned previously, and you have yourself a bike that is going to suitable for thrashing around the lanes in the rain and cold.

- How to winterproof your bike — protect your ride from the wet, salt and crud

But do you really need a winter bike at all?

There’s obviously nothing to stop you winterising your main bike and using that, and in this article, we go through some steps you might want to look at to ensure it’s going to cope with the winter conditions.

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The other trend in recent years stems from the idea that it’s a bit rubbish to spend such a big chunk of the year on a bike that is inferior to your main bike. Putting all your money into one bike that can be ridden year-round with mudguards in the winter and faster wheels in the summer, and made from a posh long-lasting material like titanium, has become a popular option with cyclists who want the comfort and benefits of a winter bike but year-round.

Personally I wouldn’t be without my winter bike. It’s a trusty partner on long winter training rides in rubbish weather, it’s reliable and comfy and never lets me down.

- 11 top hacks to keep cycling and save money this winter

Five top winter bike choices

We’ve tested many bikes that will do great service as a winter bike and below we’ve picked five we’ve reviewed

Triban RC 520 Disc £729.99

Proving you don’t need to spend a fortune, the Triban RC 520 Disc appeals to a wide range of cyclists from those buying their first bike, to people buying a second bike for winter riding. It’s got a relaxed geometry from the super-tall head tube and compact top tube, and the plethora of eyelets and mounts for mudguards and pannier racks are plain to see, while there's clearance here for 36mm tyres if you choose not to fit guards.

Read our review

Ribble Endurance SL Disc - from £2,199

Ribble's Endurance SL Disc is a bike that we'd happily ride and race all year round. It handles well, remains composed over broken tarmac, climbs quickly, and can hold its speed on the flat too. The customisable spec makes this an easy bike to get right for your riding aims and budget. And it has mounts for mudguards, along with clearance for wide tyres.

Read our review

GT Grade Carbon Expert £2,000

Highly capable, with a performance that shines on any surface as it smooths out bumps with the skinniest of skinny rear stays – and a very competitive price – the new GT Grade Carbon Expert is a top choice in an increasingly crowded gravel bike market.

It’s also a good example of how versatile modern gravel bikes are. This one has space for wide tyres for adventuring and bikepacking, but you can easily fit slick tyres and mudguards for winter riding.

Read our review

Whyte Wessex from £1,998

Fast and sporty, with all the practicality and dependability of hydraulic disc brakes, wide tyres and space for full-length mudguards, the Whyte Wessex is a bike that is up to the task of taking on the roughest roads and toughest weather. It’s available in several builds, including a 1x if that’s your thing, and it can be bought with the company’s own mudguards.

Read our review

Mason Aspect from £5,200

Mason Aspect frameset - riding 4.jpg

The Aspect is the latest titanium offering from Mason Cycles and it's a beauty, not only in the way it looks but also in the way it rides. It’s not cheap, firmly falling into the last bike you might ever buy, but it has mudguard mounts and space for wide tyres and is nice enough that you won’t want to ride anything else, whatever the weather.

Read our review

Do you have a dedicated winter bike? Let’s hear from you in the comments below.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

33 comments

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kil0ran [1769 posts] 3 weeks ago
3 likes

I've got a dry summer days road bike, and a bike that does everything else (Fairlight Faran)

Currently configured with 650B WTB Sendero tyres and full mudguards. The mudguards are another huge benefit of 650B - I get strange looks from mounties (n. opposite of roadies) but they do a great job of keeping the worst of the thick mud off me and the bike. As things start to dry out it will go back to 700c and either Byway or Horizon. Although actually, might just stay with the Senderos because my routes are so sandy and the Senderos are the only thing that get me through those sections.

If I needed to commute it would make an awesome commuter - go anywhere, huge volume tyres, dyno lighting, low risk of puncture, Senderos don't feel draggy on the road.

Having the summer bike as a 1-season bike means it can be a lot more focused - no need for big clearances or light/mudguard mounts, and can have much more aggressive geo and stiffness. If I didn't have a bike I love and self-built (Bowman Layhams) I'd be in the market for a full aero road bike for the summer, as it is I'll stick with the Layhams and Faran for the foreseeable future. Only upgrade I'm considering is switching the Faran to full hydros.

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kil0ran [1769 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

And if you have the shed space, having two bikes is the way to go, otherwise you're playing the game of wondering when to swap over to winter mode. Particularly in the tubeless era as tyre swaps aren't as straightforward. The downside is that when you go from your plush winter bike it feels like your summer bike is massively stiff and you're riding on 21mm tyres...

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Jimmy Walnuts [108 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Genesis Equilibrium frame, rim brake Fulcrum 7s, 28mm tyres, knackered old Athena groupset using the old chains and cassettes from my other bikes, full SKS Blumels. It reliably gets me through the dark and dirty months with no issues. 

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Mungecrundle [1649 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I'm with Kiloran. A bike for best and a workhorse. The good bike stays good for longer and as it represents a £thousands investment I'm happy to only use it when the roads are dry.

The workhorse is a GT Avalanche that I've had since 2004. Not many original parts but it is robust enough for off road abuse, comfortable enough for my short cross town commute and on road tyres is fast enough for the Sunday club ride. I strip it down every Spring, spend about £100 on parts and it's good for another year.

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hawkinspeter [4395 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

My thinking is that if you spend a load of money on your pride and joy, then why not enjoy riding it in winter as well as summer? However, I did ride my old MTB to the station this morning as I didn't want to slip over in the snow (it wasn't settling, so I may have been a bit precious).

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fukawitribe [2947 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

My thinking is that if you spend a load of money on your pride and joy, then why not enjoy riding it in winter as well as summer?

For me, mainly  because the components on the better bike cost more than the other bike, so it makes financial sense not to. I'm not totally sure 'enjoy' is the word i'd use for a lot of the riding in winter either...   3

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handlebarcam [1341 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Get a fixed/single-speed/hub-gear winter bike, with full mudguards and flaps obviously, and you only need to clean it once: in the spring, when putting it away till next winter. Even re-lubing the chain is a rare event, because chunky single-speed chains hold on to a lot of lubricant for a lot of miles.

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henryb [102 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

My winter bike is just my summer bike (Genesis Equilibrium 20) with the SKS full-length mudguards fitted

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Secret_squirrel [73 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

The other option is to swap the years during which you invest in your winter bike and your summer bike. For example  If you keep a bike for 4 years but change your Winter and Summer steed every 2 years you end up with a new toy every 2 years.

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vonhelmet [1562 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Bare minimum: mudguards.

High priority: disc brakes.

Edge case: clearance for studded tyres.

 

I have an aluminium framed bike which fulfils all the above criteria.  It gets used as a commuter when I can't be arsed with single speed, as a weekend ride when I want to go offroad or want mudguards, and as the only bike I'll use if it's icy.  I have two sets of wheels for it, so I can have two out of the three sets of tyres (road, cross, studded) ready to go at any point.

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CyclingInBeastMode [274 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Has to be 4 road bikes as a minimum + one for proper off road which can double as a commute when it's really thick snow on the roads.

Summer/dry day bike is supposed to be the bike that you ride as hard/fast as possible and you have the best kit you can afford, You don't want it getting wet if possible and riding in the nasty weather with a summer bike is burning money by wearing your best kit quicker, there's also the whole mudguard thing, that disturbs the balance of a summer bikes look, for me it's just a big fat no, no to ass savers too, either use a proper wet weather bike or suck it up if it starts raining half way round.

Your commute bike can be used for utility and really anything else, bit of off road, Sunday ride, touring or whatever but uses lower end components that are functional and hard wearing I've found the Tiagra level is perfect and still have a 9 speed long cage that has a lot of miles on it between two bikes since 2001, even older Alivio (when the mechs weren't made of Deore or even older Alivio/ is also

Audax/'endurance' that doubles up as your winter/bad weather racer and if the frame is able can be used as a 'gravel' type bike, mine takes 622-55 or 42 with guards so is more than able to be used off road with gusto. Keep a seperate set of wheels+tyres so you can just swap them out for more off road focused riding.

Retro/Vintage bike, for those days when you want to show off your bit of old bling, have a smooth unhurried ride, reminding yourself of your youth with down tube shifters, cables out the brake levers and a nice set of skinny tubs or even further back some hookless clinchers. 

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hawkinspeter [4395 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:

Has to be 4 road bikes as a minimum + one for proper off road which can double as a commute when it's really thick snow on the roads.

Summer/dry day bike is supposed to be the bike that you ride as hard/fast as possible and you have the best kit you can afford, You don't want it getting wet if possible and riding in the nasty weather with a summer bike is burning money by wearing your best kit quicker, there's also the whole mudguard thing, that disturbs the balance of a summer bikes look, for me it's just a big fat no, no to ass savers too, either use a proper wet weather bike or suck it up if it starts raining half way round.

Your commute bike can be used for utility and really anything else, bit of off road, Sunday ride, touring or whatever but uses lower end components that are functional and hard wearing I've found the Tiagra level is perfect and still have a 9 speed long cage that has a lot of miles on it between two bikes since 2001, even older Alivio (when the mechs weren't made of Deore or even older Alivio/ is also

Audax/'endurance' that doubles up as your winter/bad weather racer and if the frame is able can be used as a 'gravel' type bike, mine takes 622-55 or 42 with guards so is more than able to be used off road with gusto. Keep a seperate set of wheels+tyres so you can just swap them out for more off road focused riding.

Retro/Vintage bike, for those days when you want to show off your bit of old bling, have a smooth unhurried ride, reminding yourself of your youth with down tube shifters, cables out the brake levers and a nice set of skinny tubs or even further back some hookless clinchers. 

What about a shopping/pub bike? (i.e. one that can be locked up somewhere dodgy without much chance of getting knicked)

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BIGWATTS [18 posts] 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Great video, especially the mention of your Surley forks weighing as much as the whole frame!

Got an old '82 Claud Butler tourer, with a reliable setup and some good rubber, it's all you need. Old Suntour downtube shifters are a bit basic, but no indexing issues to worry about. I'm a big fan of modern dynamo hub/lighting, as my commute is long enough to require charging battery lights at least once a day.
Well, discs would be lovely, but this baby thinks 10 speed means a double-5 speed...

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CyclingInBeastMode [274 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

The other option is to swap the years during which you invest in your winter bike and your summer bike. For example  If you keep a bike for 4 years but change your Winter and Summer steed every 2 years you end up with a new toy every 2 years.

2 years, that's so throw away society thinking, my summer/dry weather bikes frameset is 6 years old, last gen Dura Ace (9000/9001) Campy  Bora Ones and some decent spec tubs, the frame I expect to keep as long as it's mechanically sound, I don't race so there's no need for me to 'upgrade' and I can't see me getting bored of it any-time soon. I did have a chance of something really high end this summer (at a silly knocked down price from a shop)

My commute is a 2007 high end hybrid (part alu/carbon frameset) audax/endurance winter racer is a year newer but is essentially same frameset with drops, I expect to have these for at least another decade and just replace components as required.

I won't lose any joy from riding decades old bikes, I won't be less safe and a newer bike isn't going to make me any faster/be able to ride longer in any real measureable way that matters.

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CyclingInBeastMode [274 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:

Has to be 4 road bikes as a minimum + one for proper off road which can double as a commute when it's really thick snow on the roads.

Summer/dry day bike is supposed to be the bike that you ride as hard/fast as possible and you have the best kit you can afford, You don't want it getting wet if possible and riding in the nasty weather with a summer bike is burning money by wearing your best kit quicker, there's also the whole mudguard thing, that disturbs the balance of a summer bikes look, for me it's just a big fat no, no to ass savers too, either use a proper wet weather bike or suck it up if it starts raining half way round.

Your commute bike can be used for utility and really anything else, bit of off road, Sunday ride, touring or whatever but uses lower end components that are functional and hard wearing I've found the Tiagra level is perfect and still have a 9 speed long cage that has a lot of miles on it between two bikes since 2001, even older Alivio (when the mechs weren't made of Deore or even older Alivio/ is also

Audax/'endurance' that doubles up as your winter/bad weather racer and if the frame is able can be used as a 'gravel' type bike, mine takes 622-55 or 42 with guards so is more than able to be used off road with gusto. Keep a seperate set of wheels+tyres so you can just swap them out for more off road focused riding.

Retro/Vintage bike, for those days when you want to show off your bit of old bling, have a smooth unhurried ride, reminding yourself of your youth with down tube shifters, cables out the brake levers and a nice set of skinny tubs or even further back some hookless clinchers. 

What about a shopping/pub bike? (i.e. one that can be locked up somewhere dodgy without much chance of getting knicked)

My commute bike is my shopping/pub bike, I recently cycled into the next town for works drinks as it was the local beer festival, left it locked on the high street for about 4 hours or so, no bother at all. I even use the audax bike as a shopper/commute/utility so I have no qualms about leaving it exposed, that's just me though.

Maybe my commute bike having mudguards/rack it doesn't look like something worth pinching despite the fact it has carbon bars/post/decent framset, maybe I live in a decent area but I've parked it up in some rough places before.

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hobbeldehoy [60 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

2K for a winter bike? LOL! I must be in yuppy land.

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rdmp2 [85 posts] 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Quote "A cheaper second bike that you’re less precious about, whether it’s bought primarily for the purpose or a bike you upgrade from a few years ago, is the ideal candidate to take up that punishment. Better to wear out cheaper components than the spangly expensive kit on your best bike"

Then-

"Five top winter bike choices-

...

Mason Aspect from £5,200"

 

Seriously...!

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hawkinspeter [4395 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:

Has to be 4 road bikes as a minimum + one for proper off road which can double as a commute when it's really thick snow on the roads.

Summer/dry day bike is supposed to be the bike that you ride as hard/fast as possible and you have the best kit you can afford, You don't want it getting wet if possible and riding in the nasty weather with a summer bike is burning money by wearing your best kit quicker, there's also the whole mudguard thing, that disturbs the balance of a summer bikes look, for me it's just a big fat no, no to ass savers too, either use a proper wet weather bike or suck it up if it starts raining half way round.

Your commute bike can be used for utility and really anything else, bit of off road, Sunday ride, touring or whatever but uses lower end components that are functional and hard wearing I've found the Tiagra level is perfect and still have a 9 speed long cage that has a lot of miles on it between two bikes since 2001, even older Alivio (when the mechs weren't made of Deore or even older Alivio/ is also

Audax/'endurance' that doubles up as your winter/bad weather racer and if the frame is able can be used as a 'gravel' type bike, mine takes 622-55 or 42 with guards so is more than able to be used off road with gusto. Keep a seperate set of wheels+tyres so you can just swap them out for more off road focused riding.

Retro/Vintage bike, for those days when you want to show off your bit of old bling, have a smooth unhurried ride, reminding yourself of your youth with down tube shifters, cables out the brake levers and a nice set of skinny tubs or even further back some hookless clinchers. 

What about a shopping/pub bike? (i.e. one that can be locked up somewhere dodgy without much chance of getting knicked)

My commute bike is my shopping/pub bike, I recently cycled into the next town for works drinks as it was the local beer festival, left it locked on the high street for about 4 hours or so, no bother at all. I even use the audax bike as a shopper/commute/utility so I have no qualms about leaving it exposed, that's just me though.

Maybe my commute bike having mudguards/rack it doesn't look like something worth pinching despite the fact it has carbon bars/post/decent framset, maybe I live in a decent area but I've parked it up in some rough places before.

I doubt your commitment to n+1 bikes with comments like that.

I reckon there's a need for an autumn bike (extra grippy tyres to cope with wet leaves), a spring bike (probably a sit up and beg style so you can pootle along listening to bird-song) and probably a decoy bike to park next to your pub bike so that gets taken in preference (maybe don't have it maintained very well so the handlebars may suddenly come loose.

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brooksby [5262 posts] 3 weeks ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:

I doubt your commitment to n+1 bikes with comments like that.

You mean, "I find your lack of faith in the Rules disturbing..." (? )

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kil0ran [1769 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

My thinking is that if you spend a load of money on your pride and joy, then why not enjoy riding it in winter as well as summer? However, I did ride my old MTB to the station this morning as I didn't want to slip over in the snow (it wasn't settling, so I may have been a bit precious).

That was my intention - my Layhams takes 28mm tyres and full mudguards, and if I was still doing most of my riding on the road it would be set up like that and run all year. The workhorse languished in the shed for most of 2018 until I discovered the joys of 40mm knobblies and local trails, and now it's the go-to bike for just about everything. Doubt the Layhams will see tarmac until late-February at this rate, which is a shame.

I think the moral of the story is, have adaptable bikes and the spannering skills to experiment with set ups.

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srchar [1663 posts] 3 weeks ago
1 like

Now that I have young kids and much less time to ride at weekends, I've decided to go n=1. I know, it's sacrilege, but I can't justify the space taken up by a winter road bike, an aero road bike, a towpath bike and a box of bits that was intended to become a fat bike for icy days.

The aero bike has already gone, the fat bike frame will soon be up for sale, the towpath bike will move to my mum's house so that we can go out for leisurely family rides when out in the wilds, and an order will go to Mason for a Bokeh, in green, no orange, no green, no orange... I've settled on Campag H11 (currently a ludicrous bargain on bike24 - £650 for shifters, calipers, chainset and Super Record HO mechs) and also realised that rationalising the number of bikes I own also means I can flog off the several boxes of Campag spares I've built up during the n+1 years. I'll come out of the exercise better off and riding a nicer bike more of the time.

So, no, you don't need a winter bike, but you do need a bike that can handle winter.

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Rick_Rude [493 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Depends on if you want a 'nice' bike or not. Sadly unless you're the sort to immediately get the bucket and sponge out after every ride your pristine ride will look like shit compared to a garage queen of a bike.

If I'd spent serious money on my bike I'd not use it now I saw the salt being layed down on the roads the other night. My motorbike is now living in the garage until spring. Can't be arsed with washing every nook and cranny to spot rust and aluminium fuzz.

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Shades [514 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Definitely disc brakes; I have a 'do it all' hybrid with multiple mods/upgrades.  The front wheel with a disc brake is pristine clean whilst the rear wheel, with an ancient Magura hydraulic rim brake (awesome stopping power!), is filthy.  Kind of see a winter bike as a 'do it all' (eg bit off-road, commuting, touring etc) bike for all year use.  There's some really well put-together bikes in that category in our rack at work; usually built around a steel or titanium frame.

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LastBoyScout [664 posts] 3 weeks ago
0 likes

My commute/winter bike is my old road bike with mudguards. Have a cheap set of wheels for commuting and, a slightly better set for average club rides and a good set from when it was my best bike for long rides.

I bought a CX bike to replace it and rode that over the summer, but haven't got round to getting mudguards for it and I'm tempted to keep it on knobbly tyres and dabble in CX, until I can justify a second set of wheels - the spare ones off the commuter don't fit.

Best bike probably not coming out again until next spring.

I've got a hybrid as the pub/shopper/errand bike, fitted with rear mudguard and brackets for the kiddy seats. Have cycled to work on it, but not ideal for that job, for various reasons.

And then there's the mountain bike for proper off-roading.

 

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srchar [1663 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Rick_Rude wrote:

Depends on if you want a 'nice' bike or not. Sadly unless you're the sort to immediately get the bucket and sponge out after every ride your pristine ride will look like shit compared to a garage queen of a bike.

If I'd spent serious money on my bike I'd not use it now I saw the salt being layed down on the roads the other night. My motorbike is now living in the garage until spring. Can't be arsed with washing every nook and cranny to spot rust and aluminium fuzz.

I thought like this, but I clean my current winter bike (a Kinesis T3 with Veloce) approximately twice a year; the only rusty bits are the front and rear mech limit screws, and it's a cheap frame with a cheap groupset.

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fincon1 [14 posts] 3 weeks ago
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I have a GT Grade Carbon which I bought a couple of years ago. I fitted mudguards and 35mm tyres on it, and use it as my year round commuter. Your note about spending a big chunk of the year on a substandard bike exactly describes my thought process when I bought it. It's light enough that I don't really notice the extra weight of the winter kit, and it soaks up pretty much anything the British winter can throw at it. I also have a dedicated road bike which I save for dry days and sportives.

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iandon [25 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Yes you may just benefit from a good Winter bike.  And It doesn't need to cost much either. 

Bought a practically unused 2009 second-hand Kona Dew Drop in 2012 for £240. 

Its solidly built  aluminium frame and steel forks helps to make your legs strong. 

I bought mine for the 32 mile round trip commute and rode it for 6 years, three - four times a week.  I've crashed out a few times in the depth of winter on black ice yet the frame remains solid to this day.

The bottom bracket is still the original square drive OEM one supplied and has clocked up 38,500km!

The Avid BB7 mechanical discs are brilliant and have saved me from injury on many occasions where normal callipers would have surley failed.  I run the long lasting puncture resistant Continental Gatortskin tyres.

  Its now 2019 and even though I have changed jobs this bike is the first one I grab for my local Pendle Hill wet winter training rides.  
 When the weekend comes around there will not be many other cyclists overtaking you!

  If you’re thinking of commuting to work through the winter then can highly recommend searching ebay for one. You will be surprised how little you will pay for such a good work horse.
 

 

https://www.strava.com/athletes/2617122

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TheBillder [73 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Any thoughts on prepping the summer bike for its hibernation? I had thought of lubing the chain generously, making sure it's in a gear where the cable tension is low & the chain straight, and pumping the tyres a bit harder so that I don't return to a rusty saggy mess. Though in that case, bike and rider would match.

More wisdom?

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Dingaling [136 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Get the bike ready as if you were going out in the summer and then put it away in the spare bedroom. That will keep it dry and fairly dust free. Some may advise putting the wife in the spare bedroom and putting the bike in your bedroom. Stroking it each night before settling down may improve your overall wellbeing. I keep mine indoors.

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CyclingInBeastMode [274 posts] 3 weeks ago
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hawkinspeter wrote:
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
CyclingInBeastMode wrote:

Has to be 4 road bikes as a minimum + one for proper off road which can double as a commute when it's really thick snow on the roads.

Summer/dry day bike is supposed to be the bike that you ride as hard/fast as possible and you have the best kit you can afford, You don't want it getting wet if possible and riding in the nasty weather with a summer bike is burning money by wearing your best kit quicker, there's also the whole mudguard thing, that disturbs the balance of a summer bikes look, for me it's just a big fat no, no to ass savers too, either use a proper wet weather bike or suck it up if it starts raining half way round.

Your commute bike can be used for utility and really anything else, bit of off road, Sunday ride, touring or whatever but uses lower end components that are functional and hard wearing I've found the Tiagra level is perfect and still have a 9 speed long cage that has a lot of miles on it between two bikes since 2001, even older Alivio (when the mechs weren't made of Deore or even older Alivio/ is also

Audax/'endurance' that doubles up as your winter/bad weather racer and if the frame is able can be used as a 'gravel' type bike, mine takes 622-55 or 42 with guards so is more than able to be used off road with gusto. Keep a seperate set of wheels+tyres so you can just swap them out for more off road focused riding.

Retro/Vintage bike, for those days when you want to show off your bit of old bling, have a smooth unhurried ride, reminding yourself of your youth with down tube shifters, cables out the brake levers and a nice set of skinny tubs or even further back some hookless clinchers. 

What about a shopping/pub bike? (i.e. one that can be locked up somewhere dodgy without much chance of getting knicked)

My commute bike is my shopping/pub bike, I recently cycled into the next town for works drinks as it was the local beer festival, left it locked on the high street for about 4 hours or so, no bother at all. I even use the audax bike as a shopper/commute/utility so I have no qualms about leaving it exposed, that's just me though.

Maybe my commute bike having mudguards/rack it doesn't look like something worth pinching despite the fact it has carbon bars/post/decent framset, maybe I live in a decent area but I've parked it up in some rough places before.

I doubt your commitment to n+1 bikes with comments like that.

I reckon there's a need for an autumn bike (extra grippy tyres to cope with wet leaves), a spring bike (probably a sit up and beg style so you can pootle along listening to bird-song) and probably a decoy bike to park next to your pub bike so that gets taken in preference (maybe don't have it maintained very well so the handlebars may suddenly come loose.

I know you're saying it in jest/poking fun however to play the game I never actually said that that was the limit of my bikes, just what the bare minimum is from a practical and enjoyment POV. Extra wheels can mean you don't require another bike as that can transform a bike to be capable on other terrain/routes.

Bikes are my only vice and sometimes I find it hard not to buy them because they're shiny/drop  dead gorgeous (like the Alchemy I almost pulled the trigger on), however I have to put the sensible hat on from time to time. I'm lucky enough to have the space to keep them indoors, I just wish I had more time to ride them all more often but work and other stuff (incl health) gets in the way and tbh I'm not the type (anymore) to want to aim for 10k+ every year as there's a balance for me in life though cycling is a huge part of it and has been since the early 80s.

I'm sure you appreciate the lure of n+1, a bit like having multiple 1:72 airfix  'armies' as a kid, save all your pocket money and buy them at the toy shop despite already having loads of themheart

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