Winter Bike waffles

As winter approaches I always find it very interesting how people often discuss on the various cycling forums how they need a specific bike for winter use .

Some of these discussions centre around people buying brand new bikes that have mudguard mounting points front and rear , others want the option of having wider tyres fitted whereas others want disc brakes, the list goes on and on .


To me the idea of a winter bike is no different to any other retro road bike I ride throughout the year apart from being able to fit full length guards front and rear to help me try and keep as dry as possible when it’s raining  whilst I am out riding . Whilst my old faithful Marin Bear Valley is up to the job of doing the daily commutes, it would not be my first choice of bike for doing a few more miles on , mainly down to the gearing fitted which normally means I end up with my legs doing a silly cadence speed without actually obtaining a good average mph figure .

 Marin Bear Valley

Over the last few years I have tended to keep one bike with guards fitted front and rear at all times. Last years machine was the blue Soen’s road bike and the year before it the Pollard specialite. The current bike this year is the blue R.E.W. Reynolds machine which seems to be relishing the job of being ridden in all conditions .


Some people tend to look at cyclo cross bikes as the answer for their winter commuting bikes and I must admit on paper they do look ideal , i.e. large clearances so wider tyres can be fitted and they are normally geared somewhere between a road bike and a mountain bike and a lot of the newer ones are being supplied with disc brakes for good all round braking performance and other ones are often fitted with cantilever or vee brakes due to extra clearance required for wider tyres .


A lot of people also tend to replace their road bikes half way through the season for the latest models and retain their previous bike for when the winter comes round, then adapt it as best as possible for winter use by fitting clip on guards like sks race blades. Other people go and buy an older style steel bike just to do their winter commuting on and then sell it on once the winter months have gone thus saving their Sunday best bike for the dry weather as much as possible,  we can all get caught mid ride by a rain shower that appears out of the blue .

 Ridley xbow

At the moment I have no intention of selling the blue R.E.W , as it was always earmarked to be my winter commuter , waiting in the wings I have a slightly scruffy Raleigh type 8806 frameset that was originally sold as a winter training frame . My intention for this is to build it up as a cheap single speed bike that would be ideal in the winter months ahead as there are less moving components to go wrong or get affected by the winter weather .


So if anybody fancies a project act quick as once the Lee Cooper “Bromwich” is finished I will be starting on the build process with most of the parts left over from the sale of my Aende time trial frame that I had built in single speed mode .

 Raleigh Type 8806

Enjoy your winter riding.

Raleigh Type 8806 Deliberations

I am contemplating what to do with the Raleigh Type 8806 winter frameset I picked up a while back. The original blue and white paintwork has been touched up in quite a few places and the vast majority have been done in what looks like house paint of some description . The main area of concern is around the bottom bracket shell and the underside of the down tube , I have no doubt it would all come off ok and reveal nice clean metal .

 Raleigh Type 8806

I am more than happy that the actual bike is worthy of a refinish but just can’t decide what type and by whom. In previous rebuilds I have used a local bead blaster and powder coating company but the last frame they both did for me failed to come close to my expectations in a number of ways so will not be using either of the firms again .


I have been told about another local firm that have done work for a friend of mine to a satisfactory level at a fair cost , he claims to have used them a few times . But they only offer a single colour option and as the type 8806 came in a dual colour finish I would prefer to keep that style . Another option is to strip all the paint off around the bottom bracket and do a local repair myself .

 Raleigh type 8806

The other option is to have the frame professionally refinished by a frame refinishing company but as you can imagine the cost of this is a fair bit more than either of the above options and we don’t have a local one so if I decided to go this route I would have the added cost of getting the frame to and from them as well .

 Raleigh type 8806

My thoughts on what to do with it once the repair is complete vary. If I do a local repair then I will just build it to the same spec as it is at the moment and sell it on . If I decide on a refinish then I am contemplating fitting a complete shimano “ Claris” group set mainly because I have one sat unused in my parts bin and ok they are fairly basic but I have always found them very reliable and ok to use .

My thinking is that this would make a nice retro bike with a modern twist that would equally be at home as a training or commuting bike . Seeing as it has guard and mounting points front and rear it could also be used as a light to medium duty touring bike .

If and when I make a decision on what I decide to do with this bike I will no doubt write a separate blog about it .