It may seem like a needless luxury to buy a bike just to use in winter. But if you love your “main” two-wheeler and want it to last as long as possible, it may be worth the money to protect it from the many cold-season hazards by using a different bike in winter.
A winter bike is one that resists the hazards of wintry weather: rain, mud, grit and salt strewn onto potentially icy roads. It will have wide tires (for the inevitable potholes), disc brakes (which are great in slippery conditions), and mudguards (to keep the rider dry and clean). And by the way, winter is not the only season with bad weather, and you may get some use out of your winter bike year-round.
So here are a few bikes for winter that have been well-reviewed.
Decathlon Triban RC 520
Bikes from the mega-chain sports outlet Decathlon have, surprisingly, an excellent reputation, and the Decathlon Triban RC 520 disc brake road bike will do nothing to tarnish it. It offers an aluminium frame fitted out with Shimano 105 shifting and TRP hydraulic disc brakes. The frame is designed to offer a comfortable ride, and the fork comes with carbon blades to lessen the weight and reduce road vibration. It also offers mounts for mudguards (though many can now be added without them).
The bike goes for an affordable £849.99.
You have money to burn? Then try the Synapse from Cannondale for about £2,200. It’s equipped with hydraulic disc brakes and wide 28c tires. The SAVE’ micro-suspension in the frame, fork and seat post is great at reducing vibrations and helps provide a cushy ride, but Cannondale says the bike still has the stiffness of some of its WorldTour-level products.
The Synapse comes with a Shimano Tiagra hydraulic brake disc groupset, but there are higher and lower-priced versions, such as aluminium models for less cash and more ambitiously specced models for more.
Dolan Titanium ADX Disc 105
The similarly priced Dolan Titanium ADX Disc 105 is made – as its name implies – of state-of-the-art titanium, and sells for ‘only’ £2,299. Titanium is light and resistant to corrosion, so it will resist all of winter’s evils, and with a good post-winter cleaning, will look like new year after year.
The bike features audax geometry, which means that the frame dimensions and seated position are more relaxed and less aggressive than a racing bike. It also has room for big tires and mudguards, which can be ordered before delivery via Dolan’s online bike builder.
Ribble Endurance 725 Disc
The Ribble Endurance 725 Disc is priced in the middle, selling for £1,299 at Ribble Cycles. It’s a sensible choice for winter because its steel frame provides solidity and support for extra weight from common-sense winter additions, such as a frame-mounted pump, a saddle pack for spare tubes and a decent set of lights – and also for the extra post-Christmas-feast weight riders will be carrying.
This bike provides riders with Reynolds’ mid-level 725 tubing, along with disc brakes, a carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra shifting. Mudguards and racks can be added, and the gearing can always be tweaked. And, as it’s finished in sharp racing green, it will be a constant reminder that spring is coming – eventually.