Does anyone else find it incredibly difficult to decide which bike is best for you? (Hands up if you agree). Well imagine if you were indecisive and had a deadline looming over you, otherwise known as snow.
In the seasonal blog series we have already talked about what cycling clothing is best for the unpleasant aspects of winter weather and how to deal with all the nay-sayers who think you are a bit off your rocker for riding a bike through *gasp* the snow! However, I admit I have been procrastinating with writing about actually choosing which bike would be my stallion for this winter. This is not because I couldn’t find one; contrary I found too many and have been going back and forward with a slew of different bike option. Yet after weeks of debate the decision has been made!
To start my investigation I asked 5 Schwinnies from work to help me figure out which bike would be best for not only the winter, but also best suited for me. Now having 5 opinions was both a blessing and a curse. Each person I asked has experience with winter biking and are great people to go to when you are looking for the best bike fit, but all have different opinions on which bike is best. The following are the suggestions I received from each guy and their reasons why their choice would be an excellent winter commuter bicycle.
Steve K. – The Traveler:
Steve, K. also one of the men I interviewed last year about biking throughout the winter months, is an avid winter commuter himself and he readily suggested a bicycle in the similar style of the bike he uses for his year long commute. The Schwinn Traveler is an Urban 7-speed bicycle which already includes fenders and has a pretty convenient rear rack. It is durable and a great bike that can handle all 360 days of the year.
While I love the Traveler, I really wanted the Allston 1. Let’s face it being a female my color options and love of red, matters to an extent; however the Allston 1 had less gear options that made it less ideal for snow. Instead of getting the Traveler and wishing it was my beloved Allston 1 I brokenheartedly decided to move on to my next option.
Ryan S. who has also been featured in winter biking topic posts in the past is also an avid winter commuter. He also quickly came to the conclusion of the Super Sport. The Super Sport is really a pretty ‘sick’ looking bike. It has a 24-speed drivetrain, a metal built in basket, an alloy fork and an aluminum frame so this bike is pretty much a machine. Then you throw on the fact that the Super Sport 2 Disc, has disc brakes and you have just taken it to a whole new level.
Now while disc brakes were on my wish list, I couldn’t help but be intimidated with the idea of going from a lightweight speedy road bike to this souped-up bicycle.
Ryan S. – The Median
Ryan also suggested the Median. Now while these bikes don’t come with fenders there is enough room to add one on. Plus at an affordable price point you aren’t going to cry at the end of the season when you look at your bike and realize how much of a toll the weather can take.
I really couldn’t argue with any of this logic. The Median was a contender!
Steve W. a big bicycle enthusiast, jumped into the discussion with the Vantage. This is really just a beautiful bicycle with disc brakes, an 27-speed drivetrain and aluminum for and frame set. Again it doesn’t come with fenders, but that could be remedied.
All in all, I love this bicycle, I really can’t find anything wrong with it and it took a long time for me to say no to it, but at the price point it stood at I couldn’t justify taking such a gorgeous hybrid into the snow and beating it around all winter long. This was a hard goodbye…
Brian is another guy with strong mountain bike roots throughout the idea that really any mountain bike would do. He liked the idea that a mountain bike would have that stable frame that would make riding over snow a bit more reassuring. He suggested getting one with disc brakes and no suspension because the suspension would basically be killed in the Winter. However he seconded that by telling me if I didn’t care about my suspension anyway it would be okay if I fried it.
Now I can see the logic behind a mountain bike and feel like that would be the a accommodating solution, but once again with hopes to one day ride a mountain bike for actual trail use and having a bike with the suspension to do that I just couldn’t justify using that mountain bike in the Winter before I even hit a trail.
Finally, I spoke to Joe W. a cycling beast by any means. Joe took in my assessment of all the other bikes and we arrived at the Searcher 3 as a solution to fit all my needs. The Searcher 3 has disc breaks to ease my mind for those quick stops I may have and also has ample room for both fenders and studded tires, for when the time comes to put those on. Finally, I felt like the bicycle was stable enough and light enough to make the decision from Roady to winter commuter as easy as possible!
Please share your experience with finding a winter bike or let me know how you winterized the a bicycle you already had in the comments below.