Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Best winter bikes 2022 — do you really need a bad-weather bike?

The best winter bikes can stand up to all the bad weather this time of year throws at them

Winter is a hard time of year on bikes. All that rain, salt and mud can cause rapid wear and turn your pride and joy into a creaking rust bucket in no time at all. It’s why many cyclists have long switched to a dedicated bike when the winter months roll around. Let's take a look at the best winter bikes, and just why you'd want one anyway.

  • The key attribute of a winter bike is that it has mudguards to protect both you and your bike from water and crud thrown up by the tyres; your riding pals will thank you as they won’t get a face full of grit either
  • The easiest option is to buy a bike that already has mudguards fitted, but sporty road bikes with mudguards are quite uncommon, so if you like to ride whatever the weather and prefer a dry bum we've done the work and found some for you
  • Bikes with mudguard clearances and mounts are rather easier to find; we've listed some of our favourites here
  • If your riding style is more sedate, consider a touring bike; for a start they're far more likely to come with mudguards as standard
  • Winter also means you're more likely to be riding in the dark, so some of the bikes here come with dynamo-powered lighting systems already installed
  • On average across the UK it rains on 133 days of the year. It's amazing that it's not easier to buy a bike designed to cope

Contents: the best winter bikes

13 of the best winter bikes

Triban RC 520 Disc — £849.99

Btwin Triban RC520 -3.jpg

Proving you don’t need to spend a fortune, the Triban RC 520 Disc appeals to a wide range of cyclists from those buying their first bike, to people buying a second bike for winter riding. It’s got a relaxed geometry from the super-tall head tube and compact top tube, and the plethora of eyelets and mounts for mudguards and pannier racks are plain to see, while there's clearance here for 35mm tyres with mudguards.

Read our review of the Triban RC 520 Disc

Ribble CGR AL — from £1,024.00

2021 Ribble cgr al tiagra

The Ribble CGR AL combines traditional frame design with modern disc brakes for a compelling winter bike. As the name suggests, the frame is made from aluminium, complemented by a carbon fork and it’s designed as an all-round bike (the TLA stands for Cross-Gravel-Road) so comfort is a top priority. Ribble has been aggressive with new bike launches in recent years, and it also offers easy bike customisation via its website, so you can build a bike up with Ribble's own-brand mudguards from £1,024.

Tifosi CK7 — £1,199.00


The British bike brand with an Italian sounding name offers the reasonably priced CK7 Disc (there’s also a rim brake version) which is sold complete with a set of full-length mudguards. The CK7 uses a 6061 aluminium frame with a carbon fork and uses the now common 12mm thru-axles with flat mount brake callipers. The spec on this bike includes a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset with a wide range 11-34t cassette and Tektro mechanical disc brakes.

Genesis Tour De Fer 10 — £1,399.99

2021 Genesis Tour de Fer 10

One bike category that traditionally comes with mudguards (and a rear rack) is the touring bike, built for eating up the miles while carrying luggage from guest house to campsite and beyond. The Genesis Tour de Fer 10 is a  modern light tourer with disc brakes and wide-range double transmission that'll keep you dry (or at least get you less wet) whether you're commuting or riding Land's End to John O'Groats.

Lapierre Crosshill 3.0 — £1,499.00

2021 Lapierre Crosshill 3

Lapierre classes its Crosshill line as gravel bikes. The do-everything nature of gravel bikes means they lend themselves brilliantly to winter riding thanks to their ability to take fat tyres, space for mudguards and all-weather disc brakes.

Dolan GXA — from £1,499.99

Dolan GXA

The aluminum GXA gravel bike is the spiritual successor to Dolan's Dual, one of the original mudguard-compatible carbon fibre frames. However, that bike was showing its age with limitations like a maximum tyre size of 25mm thanks to the rim brakes, so it's good to see a similarly-versatile new ride popping up on the Dolan website.

The GXA will take 45mm tyres, so should go up to 40mm rubber with mudguards. You do have to remember to specify the guards in Dolan's bike-ordering system.

Ribble Endurance SL Disc — from £1,899.00


Ribble's Endurance SL Disc is a bike that we'd happily ride and race all year round. It handles well, remains composed over broken tarmac, climbs quickly, and can hold its speed on the flat too. The customisable spec makes this an easy bike to get right for your riding aims and budget. And it has mounts for mudguards, along with clearance for wide tyres.

Read our review of the Ribble Endurance SL Disc

Bergamont Grandurance RD 7 2022 — £TBA

2022 bergamont Grandurance RD 7

The clue is in the name with the Grandurance, it’s bike designed to do it all, from commuting, touring to exploring. This model pairs an aluminium frame with a carbon fork with clearance for the 35mm Schwalbe G-One tyres and full-length mudguards. There’s a rear rack for load lugging and front and rear lights powered by a Shimano dynamo.

Cube NuRoad Race FE 2021 — £1,999.00

2021 Cube Nuroad Race FE

If you were putting together a winter bike from scratch you'd struggle to do a better job than Cube have done with the NuRoad Race FE; our only significant criticism is that the front mudguard is a bit short, easily fixed with a bolt-on mudflap.

Tester Stu Kerton was pleasantly surprised by the NuRoad Race FE, writing that it was "loads more fun than I originally envisaged, and it is pretty much the ideal winter commuter or trainer – especially if you want a bit of variety in your riding. I loved the ability to just dart off down a rough track to see where it goes, or being able to string different routes together by linking them with the various byways that criss-cross the Wiltshire, Somerset and Dorset landscapes to create some properly epic rides."

What makes it such a good year-round bike is the extras. Cube makes five bikes in the NuRoad line but only two – the Race FE and the Pro FE – come with a few extras to make the Cube even more versatile as a year-round workhorse. The Race FE has a Supernova E3 Pure 3 dynamo headlight powered by the front hub and paired to an E3 Tail Light 2 to complete the package.

At 205 lumens the front light is bright enough to be used as a daytime running light and the beauty is that it is always on, so you never need to worry about charging batteries for the commute or if you get caught out in the dark.

Read the our review of the Cube NuRoad Race FE
Find a Cube dealer

Whyte Wessex 2021 — £2,249.99

2021 Whyte Wessex Di2

Fast and sporty, with all the practicality and dependability of hydraulic disc brakes, wide tyres and space for full-length mudguards, the Whyte Wessex is a bike that is up to the task of taking on the roughest roads and toughest weather. It’s available in several builds, including a 1x if that’s your thing, and it can be bought with the company’s own mudguards.

Read our review of the Whyte Wessex

Focus Paralane 2021 — from £2,299.00

Focus Paralane Ultegra.jpg

The Paralane is the German company’s endurance focused road bike, and it’s the only bike in this market we know that is sold with mudguards. They don’t quite offer the same amount of coverage as some full-length mudguards, but there’s nothing to stop you adding flaps (stop tittering at the back).

The two-bike range starts at £2,299 for the Shimano 105-equipped version; the Ultegra model is £2,799. As well as taking mudguards, the Paralane takes up to 35mm tyres, there’s a carbon seatpost that provides more comfort, and the geometry offers a balanced and stable ride.

Read our review of the Focus Paralane

GT Grade Carbon Expert 2021 — £2,300.00

2021 GT Grade Carbon expert

Highly capable, with a performance that shines on any surface as it smooths out bumps with the skinniest of skinny rear stays – and a very competitive price – the GT Grade Carbon Expert is a top choice in an increasingly crowded gravel bike market.

It’s also a good example of how versatile modern gravel bikes are. This one has space for wide tyres for adventuring and bikepacking, but you can easily fit slick tyres and mudguards for winter riding.

Read our review of the GT Grade Carbon Expert

Mason Aspect — from £5,450.00

Mason Aspect frameset - riding 4.jpg

The Aspect is the titanium offering from Mason Cycles and it's a beauty, not only in the way it looks but also in the way it rides. It’s not cheap, firmly falling into the last bike you might ever buy, but it has mudguard mounts and space for wide tyres and is nice enough that you won’t want to ride anything else, whatever the weather.

Read our review of the Mason Aspect

The case for winter bikes

It might seem a luxury to have a dedicated winter bike, but it’s popular with many cyclists. A poll of readers revealed 57% declaring they have a dedicated winter bike. It’s still clearly popular.

The main benefit is that you’re not going to grind your favourite road bike into a grimy paste from riding it on winter roads.

A cheaper second bike that you’re less precious about, whether it’s bought primarily for the purpose or a bike you set aside when you upgraded a few years ago, is the ideal candidate to take up that punishment. Better to wear out cheaper components than the spangly expensive kit on your best bike.


So it saves your best bike taking a load of punishment. You can store it away for the winter and when you drag it out in the spring it’ll be in pristine condition (provided you washed it before you stored it away!).

Read more: the best mudguard-compatible carbon fibre road bikes

The other big reason for a bike dedicated to winter riding is that you can spec it to suit the conditions, and the biggest benefit above everything else is the fitment of mudguards. Not all bikes will have space let alone mounts for mudguards, so touring or gravel bikes with space for wide tyres and mudguards are preferable.

Kinesis Fend-Off mudguards-1.jpg

Riding on wet roads, splashing through puddles or dealing with mud and other debris is not much fun when you don’t have mudguards. The front wheel spray saturates your feet and ankles turning them into blocks of ice, and your bum and thighs get pasted from the rear wheel spray.

Wet weather is bad enough without getting a dirty drenching from your own bike. The idea behind a dedicated winter bike then is to fit mudguards. Preferably it’s a bike with eyelets for proper full-length mudguards. These provide the best coverage front and rear. Failing that, clip-on mudguards are much better these days and a decent compromise if your bike doesn’t have eyelets.

Read more: 6 top tips for cycling through the winter

The other reason for a dedicated winter bike, as we’ll highlight in a bit, is that fact it’s prepared and built for the doing those long-distance training rides in all conditions, with a focus on reliability and comfort over aerodynamics and weight. It will be a trusted and faithful companion on those rides through challenging conditions when the urge to stay in bed is strong.

Elements of a winter bike

We’ve already mentioned them, but mudguards are the main thing you want to look for in a winter bike. That’s the reason why metal bikes, steel and aluminium, have long been popular choices - there just aren’t many carbon frames that will take mudguards.


Read more: 6 reasons to use mudguards this winter

The frame material choice also reflects that fact you don’t need to spend a fortune on the bike. Keeping the cost down through careful purchases and recycling older components from the back of the shed are good tactics for a bike designed to be ridden in the winter.

Read more: The best front lights for cycling — 40-light beam comparison plus how-to-choose guide

Condor Fratello - tyres

Your winter bike needs to be comfortable, reliable and dependable. So fit the widest tyres you can, and choose a puncture-proof tyre to minimise the risk of getting a flat on freezing cold or wet ride miles from home. Don’t worry about weight, in fact adding a bit of weight is no bad thing, it’ll make you train hard and you’ll feel amazing when you jump back on your best bike in the spring. Also consider tubeless, the benefits of the sealant plugging small holes caused by glass and flint and enabling you to continue riding without stopping aren’t to be underestimated when it’s lashing down with cold rain.


Also make sure to fit a really good saddle that you know will be comfortable for the longest winter rides you have planned. You could also consider double wrapping your bar tape, and bunging a few more spacers under the stem to relax the fit is not a bad idea either. Being comfortable is really a lot more important than being aerodynamic at this time of year.

Read more: Emergency essentials: the 10 things you should take with you on every ride


Once you’ve got the bike sorted, you want to make sure you’ve got all the spares and essential accessories. A good set of lights is a must, even for day time riding when it’s gloomy and overcast, and a bright main light obviously if your rides must take place after hours. A well equipped saddle bag with two spares tubes, tyre levers, chain tool and Allen keys should be the minimum you want to carry with you. And don’t forget a really good pump that will actually inflate the tyre to a rideable pressure.

Read more: Mudguards are MORE aero: study shows that optimum drag reduction is achieved with mudguards on

Condor Fratello - fork

Given we’re trying to keep the price down for this bike, you might as well leave the fancy carbon aero wheels at home and throw on some cheap aluminium wheels. You don’t really need aero in the winter, and it’s going to be cheaper to wear out some aluminium wheels with easily serviceable spokes and bearings.

What bikes makes a good winter bike?

In the olden days before disc brakes and gravel bikes, touring bikes were the popular candidate. They had the requisite mudguard eyelets, spacer for wider tyres and more relaxed geometry than race bikes. Modern touring bikes with disc brakes and even wider tyre clearances still make jolly good choices.

Read more: 13 of the best touring bikes — your options for taking off into the beyond

Condor Fratello - riding 1

Cyclocross bikes have also long been popular winter bikes. Before disc brakes they offered increased clearances over road bikes so you can fit wide tyres and mudguards, with many having the necessary mounts for full-length mudguards. You could pick up an aluminium cyclocross frameset relatively cheaply and put some older parts on it and have a low cost and practical winter bike.

These days there’s another option: gravel and adventure bikes. These are becoming hugely popular as second bikes because they are hugely versatile. Many have mounts for mudguards and can be ridden with slick tyres, making the fast and comfortable road training bikes. But you can sling on some gravel tyres for exploring bridleways and woodland trails. The geometry is generally better suited to road riding than cyclocross bikes which typically have high bottom brackets for ground clearance.

Read more: 16 of the best mudguards for any type of bike — keep dry when it's wet with guards for race bikes and practical bikes


Whatever type of bike you opt for, one way to save some cash is to buy a frameset and cobble it together using whatever parts you might have lying around. There are lots of brands that offer very reasonably priced metal frames that could be the basis for a winter bike build. Add some cheap wheels, a low-end groupset and some finishing kit and you can build a decent bike on the budget.

Wahoo KICKR Bike

The even more controversial choice isn’t even a bike. It’s a smart trainer. I’ve had several discussions with people considering whether to spend a lump of cash they’ve saved on a mudguard-equipped bike for the winter or a smart trainer. The top-end smart trainers with all the associated accessories can cost the same as a bike, and that’s before you factor in all the extra accessories like a computer, television, fan etc to get the full experience.

With all that said, any bike is ideal for a dedicated winter bike. It can be anything you want it to be.

You might not even have to buy one. If you’ve bought a new bike recently you could turn your old bike into your dedicated winter bike. Add some mudguards, some tough tyres and the accessories mentioned previously, and you have yourself a bike that is going to suitable for thrashing around the lanes in the rain and cold.

Read more: How to winterproof your bike — protect your ride from the wet, salt and crud

But do you really need a winter bike at all?

There’s obviously nothing to stop you winterising your main bike and using that, and in this article, we go through some steps you might want to look at to ensure it’s going to cope with the winter conditions.


The other trend in recent years stems from the idea that it’s a bit rubbish to spend such a big chunk of the year on a bike that is inferior to your main bike. Putting all your money into one bike that can be ridden year-round with mudguards in the winter and faster wheels in the summer, and made from a posh long-lasting material like titanium, has become a popular option with cyclists who want the comfort and benefits of a winter bike but year-round.

Personally I wouldn’t be without my winter bike. It’s a trusty partner on long winter training rides in rubbish weather, it’s reliable and comfy and never lets me down.

Read more: 11 top hacks to keep cycling and save money this winter

Do you have a dedicated winter bike? Let’s hear from you in the comments below.

About Buyer's Guides

The aim of buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

Our guides include links to websites where you can buy the featured products. Like most sites we make a small amount of money if you buy something after clicking on one of those links. We want you to be happy with what you buy, so we only include a product in a if we think it's one of the best of its kind.

As far as possible that means recommending equipment that we have actually reviewed, but we also include products that are popular, highly-regarded benchmarks in their categories.

Here's some more information on how makes money.

You can also find further guides on our sister sites and ebiketips. buyer's guides are maintained and updated by Mildred Locke. Email Mildred with comments, corrections or queries.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

Latest Comments