We’ll be exploring the accessories and parts that will help you tackle the wind, overcome the rain and blast through the mud this season – so you can keep on enjoying your cycle commute.
This week we’re talking about winter tyres. Winter tyres are a bit of a ‘light bulb’ moment for many cyclists – once you’ve discovered them, you never know how you lived without. Your bike wheels take a battering during the cooler months, so it’s only natural that you want tyres that are tough and up to the challenge.
Why should I swap to winter tyres?
Before we dive into what to look for in winter bike tyres; lets consider why you need them in the first place. There are two key arguments for making the swap:
- To provide better grip, security and stability
- To preserve your ‘best’ tyres
Winter weather inevitably increases the ‘slip factor’ on our roads. And this isn’t always great news for your standard issue commuter tyres. Winter tyres are designed to increase your grip to the ground in adverse weather conditions; meaning you can commute in confidence.
All that stuff that causes the ‘slip factor’ isn’t too attractive either. Cycling in winter means grit, grime and salt builds up on your tyres and frame (and often you too). This coating isn’t bike friendly and can contribute to parts and components wearing quicker - not ideal for those tyres that are your pride and joy. Swap to a pair of winter tyres and not only will you have the rights tools for the job; but you can save your ‘best’ tyres for the better weather.
Choosing your winter tyres:
When it comes to choosing tyres to tackle your winter commute, there are several ways that you can increase your grip to the ground.
Width of tyres – wider tyres mean a great surface area connecting with the ground; ideal for adding extra grip in wet weather.
Tread – again, wider is perceived as better. Tyres with a deep or wide tread pattern will assist in wet and soft snow conditions.
Size – thicker tyres offer more cushioning between you and the ground. The added benefit is they also have a lower risk of being pinched and punctured.
Lugs – the protruding ‘knobby’ elements on your tyre; these increase your all-round ability to grip the ground.
Studs – your only true defence against ice. They ‘puncture’ the compacted ice and frost to reduce the risk of skidding.
It can be easy to look at that list and think you’ll buy a pair of winter wheels with all these features. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. As with many cycle parts and accessories; your bike type determines your choice. And this is definitely the case with winter tyres. Your bike has a pre-determined amount of tyre clearance; which can either limit or enhance the number of winter tyre options you have.
The slick, slim tyres on your road bike are designed for speed efficiency. These tyres can typically handle some surface water, but falter when it comes to frost and grit. The challenge with road bikes is that they have little in the way of spare clearance, so you’re limited in how you increase the grip factor. Optimise your road bike for winter commuting with the widest tyres possible and a decent tread pattern to the sides of the tyre.
The intended terrain for a mountain bike means that the standard issue tyres offer decent traction. But this does tend to favour loose ground, rather than compacted. Swapping to winter tyres makes sense to tackle frost, snow and ice. The good news is that the world is pretty much your oyster when it comes to choosing winter tyres for a mountain bike. Mountain bike tyres are chunky by nature, so there’s lots of clearance to play. Go for the full suite of grip enhancing tactics; wide and fat tyres with prominent lugs and studs; ideal for maximum traction in wet and icy conditions.
Cyclocross & Hybrid Bikes:
The standard issue tyres differ hugely on these models from brand to brand. Some are mountain-esque, whilst others lean more towards the slick approach of a road bike. But one thing that all models tend to have in common – they are made to have winter wheels fitted. Cyclocross and hybrid models typically have a huge tyre clearance meaning you can benefit from the full works. We’re talking wide, thick thread tyres with studs; everything that is going to substantially increase your traction with the ground.
It’s worth noting that no matter what your bike model is; winter wheels always tend to be heavier. This naturally impacts your speed efficiency, but the reassurance and confidence that comes from having tough weather tyres more than makes up for it.
Get your winter tyres with Cyclescheme:
Roll through winter with ease and treat yourself to a pair of winter wheels. Whilst treating yourself in the up to Christmas may seem unlikely – you have Cyclescheme on hand to make it a reality.
With Cyclescheme you save 25 – 39% on the cost of your cycle commuting accessories; including tyres! There’s also the added bonus of not having to pay upfront, but getting to spread the cost across 12 months. Choose your new winter tyres now and you won’t have to pay a penny until 2018 – what’s not to love.
You can find your ideal winter tyres in over 2,000 retailers across the UK. Whether you shop online or in-store; you’ll secure some incredible tax savings.
A set of new tyres isn’t the only cycle part or accessory that will enhance your ride to work this winter. Combat the wet, cold and windy weather with your dream accessory bundle. Choose lights, mudguards, waterproofs, and more – and save between 25 – 39% on the lot. Find out what your Cyclescheme winter accessory package could look like below.
*Cyclescheme Price is the price a lower rate taxpayer will pay when they choose the 'Own it Later' ownership option and pay a 3% fee.
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