When the winter months come in, and the road get gradually wet, dirty and generally not pleasant, especially when you are cycling on minor roads, it can sometimes we a bit emotional when your nice racing bike gets filthy top to toe, requiring a full clean down after every ride. Admittedly I try to clean my bike after every ride to keep it in the best condition possible, however during the winter time, especially when commuting on the local towpath, I find my bike get very dirty very quickly.
This year I have taken the decision that I want to put my lovely Giant TCR Advanced 2015 in to hibernation and buy a winter bike. Now I know the general rule of thumb is the most number of bikes you can have is n+1 however is it only after commuting more that I realise how beneficial the winter bike can be.
Once making the decision, I had to make the decision what type of bike I wanted, easier than it sounds, and how much was I willing to spend. The timing of this was quite good as my employer has just re-opened the bike to work scheme. I decided my budget was £1,000 based upon looking at a Giant Cyclocross the previous year, however the joys of brexit put paid to the Giant, as they price of their bikes has all gradually increased. Anyway, back to the main point what did I want? I wanted a bike I could use for commuting, riding during the winter on longer rides but also use for cycling on family day outs without my full cycling gear on. I realised I wouldn’t get a carbon frame, however I wanted a good frame with carbon forks, a 105 group set, the ability to put panniers and mudguards on the bike and good clearance so I could put a 28 tyre on with good clearance to make for easier cleaning, which probably mean disc breaks rather than callipers.
After reviewing a lot, and I mean a lot, of bike websites I discounted a hybrid due to the losing the road bike capability and discounted a race bike as it wasn’t going to always offer the options of panniers, comfort and clearance. Also a lot of videos were watching including the usual good content from GCN:
I then decided to go for a cyclocross as most cyclocross offered good clearance, disc brakes, ability to use for a variety of uses including the commute, long Sunday cycle and family use as I could put mountain bike pedals on the bike, with cleats on one side and flat pedals on the other.
Finally I settled on a Cannonade Caadx 105 2016, with the advantage being that the bike also came at 2016 prices, discounted to £850 compared to the 2017 model with basically the same specification nearly £200 more expensive.
The bike finally arrived on the 1st of November, after a number of delays from Evans cycles, however first impressions are very good. The bike handles well on 32mm tyres that came with the bike. There is a feeling of control compared to the race bike, and this is in the short term using my old 105 spd pedals prior to transferring to mountain bike spd next week. I haven’t noticed a massive difference in speed however I will update later this week when I cycle to work on 28mm tyres compared to 25mm.