Do I need a new bike for winter? That is the million dollar question. OK, maybe not $1mil. But maybe a few thousand pounds or dollars. I have now come to the conclusion that having a winter bike will definitely cut the excuses and mean you ride more miles outside but it is not essential. Not essential if you want to clean you chain after each ride, and not essential if you have perfectly dry roads this winter where you live. And probably not essential if you go for one ride a week. So it is essential?
Training indoors on a turbo or rollers is perfect to keep you muscle memory and your fitness up. You sweat pounds and it is easy to measure your gains. But if you are riding outside you need to get used to cleaning your bike, or replacing all the moving parts every other year. If you are a weekend warrior then one ride, one clean is not much of a chore. Get home, if it was wet roll out the TLC kit and get to work. If you ride more than once a week then you may have to consider a second set of wheels. The winter bike!
The Commute Bike
Rather than calling it a winter bike, I am calling it a commute bike. Commuting will mean your bike is caked in the road gunk after 1 ride. After 1 week you may forget the original colour of the paint. As you associate it with getting to work you may not have the same love for the bike as your weekend pride and joy. As you ride it 5 times a week, you probably do not want to clean it 10 times a week. So what type of bike can handle gritted roads, wet muddy and leafy roads? All road bikes can. It will not break them after a week of riding, but over time that water and salt will work its way into your gearing and cause problems for you. Think of the commute bike as a case. When you take your bike on holiday if you have a £4k bike and a £500 hard case you have spent nearly 13% protecting your bike. £500 commute bike is not expensive in comparison and with a £4k bike to replace the gears you are looking at £1k (ish). To change the gears on a £500 bike new gears only about £100. Even if you put new gears every year a winter bike will be much cheaper than fixing up your favourite ride. And let's face it. Who is going to clean their bike 10 times a week? If you want a hand cleaning up your bike read on.
Chain Cleaning Kit from Muc Off
Who doesn't like a gadget? This nifty device makes cleaning the chain very easy. If you do it indoors make sure you put your bike on a big sheet of cardboard. It WILL make a mess. You need to buy chain lube and also chain cleaner. And not a aerosol can. After cleaning and lubing I was so surprised how easy the gear changes were. Much better than a quick spray with GT85. Total cleaning time after working out how to open the much off machine (you slide it open, not stamp on it) was just a few minutes.