Winter Cycling is Fun

By October 17, 2016Bike Reviews, News

Winter Cycling can be fun

As winter approaches, we tend to find ourselves facing a key question. How do we enjoy winter cycling on the roads when the weather (and the salt) conspire against our continued enjoyment? Well, preparation in terms of clothing and lights is vital and we will cover that in a future blog post. However, the bike choice is important and one option is to consider a winter bike.

We know this isn’t for everyone, but the cost of a winter bike does not have to break the bank. And of course, there are savings to be had by not subjecting your lovely spring / summer road bike to the specific challenges of winter. If you decide to opt for the winter bike approach, then a bike such as the Trek Crockett featured here may be well worth considering. In fact, bikes such as the Trek Crossrip or the Trek Crockett are equally good as an all year round bike. Maybe something like this is just the thing if you are looking to buy one bike that suits all your needs?

The Trek Crockett

The Crockett is technically a Cyclocross bike in Trek’s model range. However, it can be equally considered a Gravel bike depending on how it is set up. What is the difference you may wonder? Well, Cyclocross is really a race format. It involves racing on a closed off road circuit and usually involves obstacles. The off road nature of cyclocross (and the attendant mud!) means the bikes have been designed accordingly to cope. A cyclocross bike will usually be fitted with wide tyres, usually 33mm or 35mm, for extra grip. Tread patterns are designed for the more challenging conditions and disc brakes are becoming commonplace.

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Trek Crockett 7 in Autumn / Winter specification

However, the geometry and set up of a cyclocross bike is focused more on stability and handling than comfort. Yet in recent years, demand has grown from people wanting a road bike that can be used for an all day adventure. The challenge has been to do this without compromising too much on road performance. Welcome to the Gravel Bike.

Features on our staff bike

It is worth noting that in this particular blog we have focused on the Trek Crockett 7. However, there are plenty of bikes in the Crockett range to suit all budgets. Furthermore, the Trek Crossrip is an equally capable Gravel / all round bike that should be considered. Plus, many of the accessories featured in this article are interchangeable between the various Cyclocross / gravel bikes in the Trek range.

Frame & Fork

The frame on this Trek Crockett 7 is Trek 200 series aluminium. It’s light and strong, whilst not being the higher investment that carbon would represent. The fork is a Trek IsoSpeed carbon fork with an E2 Carbon Steerer. It too is light, strong and responds brilliantly to every steering input giving you confidence whatever surface you happen to be riding over.

Drivetrain

For our staff bike, we opted for a SRAM Force CX1 1×11 drivetrain. The rear cassette here is 11-28t so you have plenty of gear options but the 1 x 11 means no front derailleur. That in turns means nothing to have to maintain and one less set of moving parts to go wrong, get salt or mud in and then have to replace.

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SRAM Force CX1 (1 x 11) Drivetrain

Brakes

Our Trek Crockett 7 has TRP RevoX Alloy cantilever brakes and they are perfectly adequate for the general kind of riding we will be doing. A disc version with SRAM Force hydraulic discs is also available. This suits those who like the progressive, confidence inspiring braking that does come with hydraulically operated discs.

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Close up of the TRP RevoX Alloy cantilever brakes with the SKS Raceblade 2 clip on mudguard clearly visible

Wheels & Tyres

We opted for Hope wheels, laced to 32 spoke Mavic Open Pro rims shod in Continental 4 season winter tyres. The benefits of this combination are a robust rim, which is light and strong to cope with the rough winter roads. Brass nipples resist corrosion and the Hope hubs give excellent performance in wet and grimy conditions, The winter tyres have a high Silica compound that activate around 7 degrees or colder. Whilst summer tyres are designed to work from 7 degrees upwards, a winter specific tyre offers greater grip on cold, wet roads..

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Continental Grand Prix 4 season tyres. Perfect for the wet autumn / winter riding conditions

Mudguards

These can offer big benefits on wet and muddy roads but we all know they can bit a bit fiddly to fit and remove. Sometimes, you may want to ride without them. These SKS Raceblade 2 Clip On Mudguards are the absolute business. Very strong and light, they are perfect for bikes that do not have mudguard mounts on the frame. Unlike some clip on mudguards however, the Raceblade 2 has very strong and adjustable arms . These have a long mount that can be quickly mounted with the rubber straps. This can be made even more secure with the addition of zip ties. Either way, they feel very secure and rattle free.

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Close up of the front SKS Raceblade 2 clip on mudguard

Summary

This is a bike that even with the extras set out here still only tips the scales at just over 8kg. So it’s light, fast and will cope with pretty much anything you (or our lovely roads) can throw at it.

The Trek Crockett range starts from £1,350.00 for the Crockett 5 Disc and the Trek Crossrip starts from £900.00 for a Crossrip 1.

The Hope wheels shown here are £380.00 and the SKS Raceblade 2 mudguards are £49.99. Continental 4 season tyres are normally £54.95 each though we currently have a special offer on them.

We’ll post the occasional blog on how this bike is to live with over the Winter period. But if you are thinking of a winter bike for 2016/2017, then definitely give one of these bikes a serious consideration.

 

 

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