Set up for winter

Winter bikes appear to be making something of a comeback. Our increasingly wet weather and rapidly deteriorating roads mean that an off-season hack is a good way to go.

Life’s too short to clean your bike after every ride, it’s far better to have a sturdy winter workhorse that requires the very least maintenance. There’s a perverse pleasure in riding a dirty bike at this time of year, it just wouldn’t be right wrecking a pristine top of the range machine on our grit and salt strewn streets.

So whether it’s a downgraded ex-racer, or a newer, specifically purposed machine, the big issue is how important is it to have identical positions on both bikes?

Usually it’s just a question of personal preference. Some riders seem to be able to jump on any bike and be happy but many, including this editor are much, much fussier.

For me, the points of contact have be common across all my bikes. That’s saddle, pedals and bars. I’m particularly finicky about handlebars, I need exactly the same width, shape and drop or I soon get uncomfortable and irritable. I know it’s probably psychological but every rider is allowed to have their idiosyncrasies. I’ve got quite a few.

Crank length is another biggie for me and saddle height and reach have to be consistent to the nearest millimetre.

Bizarrely I’m not too bothered about gear ratios. Whatever the chainring or sprocket sizes, I’m able to adapt, although the lower the better is always desirable, particularly at this time of year!

This article was first published in the November 29 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.