But what is the ‘right’ bike? A good winter bike needs to be made of tough stuff; able to withstand rain, mud, grit and snow. Ultimately, this bike needs to instil confidence that it’s up for the job.
With hundreds of bike brands, models and specs to consider – finding the model for you can be an arduous task. At Cyclescheme, we like to make things simple. We’ve teamed up with 6 leading bike brands to share the top 5 things you should look for in a winter commuter.
When choosing any bike; the route of your commute plays a huge role in determining which model you should get. And in winter this is even more paramount. As well as focusing on terrain type – flat, city, hilly, off-road – you have to consider their condition when faced with salt, grit, snow and ice.
If your route is contained within the heart of a city – a ‘bulked up’ road bike will do the trick. Rather than choosing a sleek aesthetic, choose a model that has sturdy, winter-ready components and parts. If your journey takes on canal paths and city roads; a cyclocross is a great option and will offer great performance on both. Those who live out in the sticks where the gritters never make it will ultimately benefit from a mountain bike. Whilst this is a weighty choice, you’ll be grateful of the power when facing snow covered hills and trails.
By getting the right type of bike from the outset – you will be able to own the road no matter what element you face.
There is a common theme to follow when choosing a winter bike – choose substance over style.
It’s understandable to lust after a carbon or titanium frame at any other time of year, but in winter you’re unlikely to get the performance that you’re paying for (without spending serious ££££s). For the best value, you should look at bikes where the bulk of your spend is invested in solid, winter components and opt for an aluminium or steel frame. These frames are affordable, reliable and tough – perfect for seeing you through winter. Plus, they are more likely to feature mudguard mounts and additional tyre clearance (more on this below…).
As the part of your bike that comes into contact with the ground; your tyres will encounter all manner of grime during winter. It’s understandable then, that you want tyres that are ready for anything.
A general rule for winter tyres is to look at the width – you want wide, thick tyres with a wide tread. These offer great grip in wet and soft snow conditions; and should be the minimum standard for winter commuting.
If you’re more likely to be off the road than on it, tyres that also include lugs are a good option as, again, these increase your grip. Meanwhile, commuters who start out in the countryside should look for tyres that include studs, as these are the best defence against compacted ice.
When you’re tackling wet roads and slush-covered hills – you want a bike that can come to a stop with efficiency and easy. A bike with disc brakes is your best bet.
Previously only found on mountain bikes, disc brakes are now commonplace on models across the industry. The benefit vs. traditional rim brakes is the instantaneous stopping power disc brakes provide. Rim brakes operate by applying pressure to the outer edge of your wheel. During winter your wheels will become coated in grime, grit and mud - all of which can delay a rim brake from slowing you down. Rim brakes also have a varied stopping time each time they’re applied. Disc brakes on the other hand, operate in the centre of your wheel via a protected calliper and offer consistent power and stopping distance. Disc brakes also have the added benefit of requiring less force overall to operate.
As with the right bike, the right accessories can make your winter rides a whole heap more comfortable too. And if there’s one thing you want your commuter to be able to carry, it’s mudguards.
Mudguards protect you, your bike and other road users from the spray. When you consider that spray could be a mix of mud, salt, grit and water – you’ll appreciate anything that keeps that out of your face. Mudguards also do wonders protecting your bike from grime which can accelerate wear and tear.
In an ideal world, you want a winter bike that comes with mudguards included as standard. But if your chosen model doesn’t come with them; then it’s time to look at fitting options. Traditional / full-length mudguards fit via eyelets, whilst clip-on mudguards are ideal for bikes without eyelets – but the usage of both is dependent on how much clearance space you have to play with.
SAVE WITH CYCLESCHEME:
Now you know what you’re looking for in a winter commuter – it’s time to think about how you fund it. Luckily, here at Cyclescheme we have the answer to that too.
Our simple scheme lets you spread the cost of your winter bike (and any cycle accessories you want). You won’t pay a penny upfront or be stung by interest fees. You simply make repayments straight from your salary and pay a one-off Ownership Fee. You get all this convenience and you’ll save 25 – 39% on the cost of your new commuter too. Start shopping today and check out this incredible range of winter bikes that you can save on.
This Bike Week Cyclescheme has two fantastic Trek bikes up for grabs! All you need to do is ride to work
A purpose-built commute bicycle, specifically designed for the modern bicycle commuter.
This is your chance to win a 2019 Contend SL 1 courtesy of Giant.