How to prepare your bike for Autumn-Winter rides

It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in and the temperature is falling. have you given any serious thought to riding through the winter months? One of the best reasons to ride through winter is that you burn more calories. So it’s a great way to prevent piling on the pounds and ensures that you are faster, fitter, and stronger come the spring. A dedicated winter bike is a great tool for the job, fortunately, all of our bikes are all-season capable and can be adapted for riding throughout the year. How to prepare your bike for Autumn-Winter rides is a guide to help you prepare your bike to cope with the elements.

Those fortunate enough to own multiple bikes will likely have a bike specifically designated for winter rides. Be it that old ‘best bike’ that’s now been relegated to winter duties or a bombproof winter hack bought specifically to keep your best bike, for best.

On the other hand, if you only have one bike, what do you do? Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to make your bike a little more winter-friendly. Consequently improving your riding experience along the way. Here are our top tips for how to prepare your bike for the winter months.

Mudguards

Anyone who has ridden through winter will tell you that the roads can become a little grimy at this time of year. It’s common to experience surface water being sprayed up your back. As a result, you end up with a dirty stripe that seems impervious to most washing detergents. However, there is an antidote for this, mudguards! Love them or loathe them, they are incredibly effective at protecting bike, body, and clothing from the uncomfortable effects of road spray.

If you intend to partake of weekly club rides through the winter months mudguards are absolutely essential. Many clubs will insist on guards being fitted. After all, who wants to be sat behind someone whose back wheel is directing a constant stream of water over them? Moreover, if you do turn up for a club ride without mudguards you could find yourself relegated to the tail-end charlie position. Combine mudguards with waterproof socks and overshoes to experience enough warmth and comfort that you can almost forget about how cold or wet it may be.

The really great news is that if you own one of our current range of bikes almost every single one of them has built-in mounts for mudguards!

Flaptastic protection

Sometimes fitting guards just isn’t enough. A good set of mudguards will provide decent coverage, but they don’t stop all the spray from hitting the unlucky recipient behind. Fitting a rear mudflap takes care of this. They can be purchased online in a variety of designs. Or if you’re feeling thrifty, why not make your own?

Mudflaps can be crafted from many objects, washing up bottles, old water bottles and even worn-out MTB tyres. Simply attach your ‘pièce de résistance’ to the bottom section of the guard using self-tapping screws.

Toughen up

Tyres like Schwalbe Marathon’s or Continental Gatorskin’s offer plenty of puncture resistance.

The tyres, not you! With the additional grit and debris washed onto the winter roads, a good puncture-resistant tyre is your best friend. After all, who wants to be stuck at the roadside checking the tyre with frozen, fumbling fingers in the dark? If the frame has adequate clearance for mudguards and wider tyres opt for a wider tyre. You will benefit from extra grip and comfort. After all, winter rides are about clocking up the training miles rather than going full gas, right?

Check your tyre clearance

Almost every bike in our range is designed to accept mudguards. The Endurance family of road-optimised bikes offer a tyre clearance of 25mm when mudguards are fitted. The CGR/Gravel family of bikes offer compatibility with mudguards and tyres up to 40mm. Should you need clarification of what tyre size you can run with mudguards fitted, help is at hand. You can check out the FAQ section situated at the foot of the main page of each bike or contact us for assistance.

Lights, lights, baby

It could be argued that lights should be fitted year-round to ensure that you remain more visible at all times. What is definitely not up for debate is that with the hours of daylight being shorter, some decent lights are essential. Even if you are not going to be riding in full darkness, having your lights on during those grey days is highly recommended. Another top tip is to have a backup set of lights just in case you forget to charge them. Similarly for the reason that your battery run’s out or is on the blink (pun intended!).

Broadly speaking there are 2 types of lights. Those to be seen by or those to see. If your rides mainly encompass well-lit streets then the former is probably all you will ever need. However, if you regularly ride along country lanes or poorly lit roadways, a high powered front light of at least 800 lumens+ output is the best option. Just remember to dip the beam to avoid burning out other road users retinas!

The Ribble UT300/R25 light set is a great option to be seen. A 300-lumen headlight and 25-lumen tail light improve your visibility on the city streets.

Protect your ride

If the cables on the bike are routed externally they are extremely likely to come into contact with the paintwork. The most obvious spot is on the headtube when turning the handlebars causes the cables to chafe on the paintwork. To prevent damage to your pride and joy add some frame protection. You can purchase ready-made patch kits or apply helicopter/gorilla tape. This will protect your paintwork and reduce any cable rattles over uneven surfaces. While you’re at it, why not apply some to the crank arms to prevent any overshoe from chafing the chainset?

Keep it clean, keep it mean

Damp weather and road grime are a poor combination for your bike’s drivetrain. This is why keeping on top of maintenance after every ride is essential to maintain the bike’s efficiency. It’s a great idea to give the bike a rinse down after any wet ride. A good wash down with soapy water, rinse off, and then apply some lube to the drivetrain should keep everything ticking over nicely.

Frequently degreasing the chain and cassette before reapplying lube as part of your regular maintenance should also prevent ‘ghost shifts’. The occasional squirt of lube down the cables won’t hurt either to avoid them becoming sticky and inefficient.

Top Tip: When lubing the chain, pick the right lube to suit the conditions. Wax or dry lubes are great in summer but attract dirt and debris when the roads are wet. A good quality wet lube is water-resistant and won’t get washed off when riding through puddles etc.

Wash your bike down after any wet or gritty ride with a decent bike wash to get off the worst of the grime build-up that damages components.

Sharing’s caring

We hope you’ve found our how to prepare your bike guide useful and feel a little more motivated to keep up your training through the winter. And remember, winter miles = summer smiles!! Got a handy winter tip of your own? Let us and our fellow readers know in the comments section below.

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10 Comments
  1. Thanks for the tips as I’m usually a dry weather rider only but my new cgr725 has been purchased specifically for winter in mind. Looking so forward to some wet rides this winter.

  2. Which mudguards would you advise for a CGR725, and how do you fit them under the fork crown like with the CGR AL in that photo?

  3. Stick to a routine with your winter riding/training.
    If you say you’re going out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday…go out on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday, irrespective of the weather (unless it’s foggy or icy).
    Clean and lube your bike after each ride, so that it’s ready for your next outing and always give your tyres a once-over after a ride to check for thorns, sharp gravel, etc.,
    as there’s nothing worse than getting ready to set off on a ride only to find you’ve got a puncture.

  4. Thanks for the section on mudguards for Ribble bikes which I would like to order but cannot as they are not listed.

  5. Hi Have requested how do you fit the rear mudguard stays but no response or advice for my November delivered Ribble endurance e bike , disappointed that no one seems interested

  6. Thanks, Paul, we hope you have a prosperous new year and if you enjoy riding your bike year-round there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Best Regards, Team Ribble.

  7. I never found a way of keeping my feet warm… I have been looking at some winter shoes but they’re the best part of £200

    So I bought a turbo trainer and signed up to Zwift for the winter months.

  8. Hi Chas,
    Thanks for leaving your comment. I invested in some Shimano winter boots last winter and it was easily the best cycle shoe investment that I’ve ever made. They cost approximately £130, when I factor in the fact that I’m not ruining my summer shoes and overshoes throughout the winter months it will save money in the long run.
    Best Regards
    [email protected]

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