In the Northern hemisphere Autumn has well and truly arrived. The clocks have gone back, temperatures are dropping and the roads are getting a bit more slippery now that we’ve had some proper rain.
It’s the time of the year to consider your winter bike and it’s one of my favourite subjects.
My simple definition of a winter bike is that it’s a bike that can fit full length mudguards/fenders on such as the excellent SKS Chromoplastics which keep you, your bike and your riding companions clean and dry compared to no mudguards. It’s an altogether more civilised way to ride in the winter.
The catch is, not many bikes have either the mounting points or the clearance for full guards.
However there are a few out there and I’ve had the chance to ride and review several, so this post is to cover the ones I have ridden and to mention a few others you might want to put on your list.
The good news is that there are some excellent choices even within the relatively small range, so you don’t need to sweat it too much.
Trek 1 series including the 1.5:
Great beginners bikes, good to ride, good geometry and loads of clearance for full mudguards and even rack mounts. From £600 to £800 depending on spec. A fine choice and a perfect bike for anyone getting into road riding. The Trek 1.5 is the sort of bike you ought to buy as a beginner as when you grow to love cycling and want something better, just turn it into your winter bike with full guards. No need to sell it on, like almost all of the beginner bikes we all started riding on. Full review here:
Available to buy from here: http://tidd.ly/1a3c4788
A winter race bike, well actually it’s more than just for winter, which is why it got renamed from the TK3 to the 4S (for Four Seasons). Lots of fun, light and lively to ride but it’s on the stiff side of comfortable … like a race bike. Extremely popular and deservedly a big seller. You can also run 28mm tyres and full mudguards, which is a very nice combination on this bike as it smooths out some of that stiffness a touch.
Full review here:
Genesis Equilibrium range :
A modern British Classic that’s helped re-invigorate steel with British roadies. Comfortable but stiffer than you think. A slightly more relaxed geometry makes the Equilibrium a terrific mile-muncher but not a race bike.
Being steel makes it a bit heavier but it’s a smooth and terrific companion. A great bike for exploring country lanes on any time of the year. No rack mounts but plenty of room for full mudguards. You can run a rack with a seatclamp adapter but it’s for light touring only.
De Rosa Milanino Training
Fancy some Italian lineage for your winter ride? De Rosa have you covered. Italian style geometry with a flatter top tube than most of my other choices. A firm and responsive ride with good power transfer and a hint of that rich Italian cycling history in an affordable package. A mini review here:
Kinesis GF_Ti V2
The Porsche Cayenne of winter bikes – titanium, fast, strong, classic looks and a beautiful tapered head tube that’s almost worth the price of admission alone. However it’s not perfect – it’s a stiff frame and perhaps loses some of the zing titanium is loved for but, but it delivers extra performance to make up for that. This is a quick bike and a real head turner.
A mini-review here:
Kinesis Tripster ATR
The Tripster ATR is another Kinesis home run and is hugely popular. The ATR stands for Adventure, Tour and Race. Personally I’m not sure it’s at home as a racer but Adventure and Touring it really aces – on road or off. The geometry is a bit than a road bike with a higher front end, longer wheelbase and different angles amongst other changes. However some people have got closer to a road bike fit by sizing down. I recently did just that by riding a 54cm ATR compared to the 57cm I reviewed and I felt much more at home on the smaller size. The Tripster is fun to ride and will take up to 40mm tyres and full guards – it’s a really interesting bike for you if you want to ride where the crow flies as well as on roads.
I did a mini review here:
I’ve only had a brief ride on one of these but hope to change this soon. First impressions were very positive though – smoother and more comfortable than the 4S but still lively and pleasant to ride. Again thanks to long drop brakes, the T2 can take full mudguards, 28mm tyres and a rack. Extremely versatile and available as either a complete bike or a frame only.
Trek Domane (and Disc)
I’ve not tried a Domane as yet, but I live in hope that I’ll get the chance soon J These are on the list as right up to the 6 series they come with mudguard/fender mounts and Bontrager make some mudguards that fit the tight clearances.
Part of a new type of British bike we’re starting to see more of: bikes with clearance and mounts for at least 28mm tyres. Disc brakes, rack mounts and a touch more relaxed geometry than a race bike. Very versatile and more brands are bringing bikes like this to market. Again they could make for perfect winter bikes.
I’ve not tried one but I’ve heard good things:
Thanks for reading
Any questions, please leave a comment and yes I know you can fit some guards to race bikes but in my opinion they’re not nearly as good as bikes that allow you to do it properly.
I have some mudguards in to review at present that could be the best yet for race bikes and I’ll report on them soon.
But if you want a “proper” winter bike – you can’t go wrong with any of the above that I’ve reviewed…. If I’ve missed any of your favourites that can fit full guards, please let me know and I’ll see if I can get one in for review.