We are a climate positive workforce, thanks to Ecologi!

Essential Winter Bike Tech

Essential Winter Bike Tech

Essential Winter Bike Tech

It’s that time of year again – evenings are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and the weather is, well, wet. But don’t let it take away from your riding! Time on the bike is time well spent, especially in the winter months. It’s far too easy to sit back in the comfort of your own home tucked up nice and warm – we’ve all been there! Some of the most satisfying rides are the ones where you battled through the rain or the freezing temperatures but still made it to the finish. 

Using the right tech will help you get the most out of your seasonal riding, so we’ve come up with our top picks and tips for bike tech that will streamline your winter.

 

Mudguards

No one likes a soggy bottom, but when the rain starts pouring and the roads get mucky it can be hard to avoid. If only there was a simple solution to mitigate that very thing… 

The humble mudguard has been a staple of the winter bike setup for as long as our favourite two-wheeled transportation has existed, and for good reason – they’re simple, effective, and budget-friendly. They’re great at blocking the road spray from whipping off your tyres and up your back to keep your kit as dry as possible – ideal for comfort on a long, cold day in the saddle. The only downside is that your riding partners are much more likely to sit on your wheel on wet rides now since the threat of a mouthful of mud has been reduced.

It’s not all about you and your buddies though, sometimes you have to consider the feelings of your bike – harsh weather is hard on your drivetrain components thanks to the grit and muck that gets dragged onto the road with the rain. A good set of mudguards will stop the spray in its tracks, so your components don’t get caked every ride and therefore significantly increasing their lifespan.

 

Mudguard Options (Road, Gravel, MTB)

 

 

Lights

Bike lights are hands down the simplest and easiest way to improve your visibility on the road. Now that the evenings are drawing in, visibility is more important than ever – both for you and other road users. Oftentimes the light will change faster than you might expect, so it’s worth having a set of lights on your bike at all times during the winter months, just in case. Whether you have a mechanical or get lost, sometimes we’re out for longer than expected – perhaps even throw a spare light in your jersey pocket or saddle bag so you don’t run the risk of draining the battery.

Daytime running lights are also a fantastic option for winter riding, as poor weather conditions could hinder visibility for you and others. Having a bright shining light on your bike will help you stand out and give you peace of mind out on the road.

 

Light Options

 

 

Tyres

For winter riding using the most cutting-edge, lightweight and low rolling-resistance tyre is slightly unnecessary – those 4 seconds you save over an hour at 45km/h will be nullified by the 20 minutes you spend at the side of the road fixing a puncture in torrential rain. 

As we’ve established, increased rainfall means the roads are boggier and grittier. Going for something slightly more robust means you won’t have to stick to A roads all winter just to avoid punctures, not to mention your riding buddies will be delighted that they don’t have to stand around whilst you go at it with your mini-pump.

Fortunately, most manufacturers make some kind of variant or alternative to your favourite summer tyre with a sturdier compound or structure, such as Vitorria with the Rubino or Continental with their popular Gatorskins.

 

Tyre Options (Road, Gravel, MTB)

 

 

Brake Pads

Coming to a stop is quite important, however, it’s not always that easy in winter when your brakes are clogged with mud or the pads have disintegrated. Brakes that you can rely on in the depths of winter will make a big difference to your riding enjoyment and confidence, as not only will they stop faster but it also means they won’t perish mid-hilly ride, in which case you would be in a bit of a pickle. 

The big players for disc brake pads are organic, sintered (metallic) and semi-metallic – all three will bring you to a standstill, but each is better suited to different situations. For winter riding, organic pads tend to be the weakest link – they’re quiet but suffer when it comes to dirty riding and will perish faster than the sintered alternative. 

For mixed-terrain riding in variable weather conditions, sintered reign supreme – though slightly noisier with a longer bed-in period, their ability to withstand mud and grime combined with impressive stopping power under extreme braking is a fair trade-off. 

Anything in between, semi-metallic will do the trick – durable, consistent braking power even in unfavourable conditions makes them a hot contender but they can be on the pricey side, and they won’t last quite as long as sintered.

Rim brake fans, we haven’t forgotten about you. When winter rolls around it can be tempting to keep riding your favourite wheels, but hang up the carbon hoops and save them for next year, you’ll appreciate it in the long run. Grit and grime can be harsh on braking surfaces, and replacing a carbon rim will probably cost you a few bob. Save the stress and switch over to some alloy wheels – they’ll offer you better braking in the wet and peace of mind that you aren’t just burning money!

Also, consider going for some brake pads with a harder compound. They’ll take slightly longer to bed in but will last much longer when subjected to the road spray grinding paste.

 

Brake Pad Options

 

Lubricant

Choosing the right lubricant could be the difference between a good winter ride and quite a frustrating one – squeaky and noisy chains have been the bane of winter cyclists’ lives since the dawn of the bicycle, but thankfully now we have remedies to alleviate the pain. 

Lubricant for your chain is necessary to keep everything running smoothly, preventing the rubbing of rollers and plates so that engagement with your gears remains consistent. However, not all lubricant is made equal and some are suited for different weather conditions. 

Dry lube is ideal for summer riding where downpours are less frequent (perhaps slightly optimistic here in the UK), and creates a waxy residue on your chain that you will apply more frequently. This is great for efficiency, however, the rain will wash it right out and the waxy residue is prone to attracting dust and grime. 

Wet lube, as the name would suggest, goes on your chain and stays wet. Whilst this may still attract dirt over time, if you keep on top of your winter bike maintenance then this buildup won’t be a problem. The primary advantage is that the lube will stay on your chain even in downpours so that shifting remains as smooth as possible whilst reducing the wear and tear of drivetrain components when you’re out on the road.

 

Lubricant Options

 

 

You May Also Like