It's no secret bad weather can and will ruin your bike. While it's still summer for some, it can be good fun to start collecting parts to make a winter bike that will carry you through the cold and wet months. It's also a great learning exercise working out how to jerry-rig things and gaining some mechanical skills.
Winter bikes are typically made up of used frames, wheels and parts. Be super careful to thoroughly check any equipment you will use - especially forks and steerers - for corrosion or cracks.
No winter bike is complete without mudguards/fenders of some description. As a kid we weren't allowed to ride with ABC in Manchester without mudguards, but times have changed and we see people riding Pinarello F12s now spraying everyone including themselves. While they might not look cool, it's nice to be warm and dry even when riding on wet roads. These days there are many lightweight mudguard options available, and at the very least something as small as an Ass Saver can make a difference – you even see pros using these in some of the early season wet races.
Another trick for winter bikes is to get an old tubular tyre and unstitch it. You can then put these inside your tyres on your winter bike to make a second layer of tread, making your tyres super puncture resistant. The extra weight isn't the fastest thing, but there's nothing worse than puncturing just as it's getting dark, it's cold and raining, and you're possibly going to miss your group ride too!
On that note, make sure you have a comprehensive spares kit with you. We recommend a couple of tubes and patches, tools, chain link, valve extenders and tool, and a pump. Some even like to carry a spare tyre.
Of course, with winter riding usually happening in poor weather with less daylight, no bike should be complete without running front and rear lights at all times. Couple this with bright kit and as many reflective features as you can.
Gravel / CX bikes are perfect these days for a winter bike. If you build one up with disc brakes and Di2 you are pretty much set for whole winter with next to no bike maintenance, just a quick hose after every ride. The downside to this is that you miss out on the fun and experience of setting up your own, unique winter bike. Whether you opt for your own one-of-a-kind winter bikes, or a brand-new gravel option, it's always nice to keep your race bike in good condition and spare it of the harsh winter wear and tear.
We've included a few of our friends' winter bike set ups, and we'd love you to share your winter bike photos with us.