Switching to a heavier mountain or CX bike during the winter months can be much safer on winter roads. These bikes are slower, but will help you keep stamina as it forces you to keep a high spin cadence just to maintain speed. We also shouldn’t forget that much of the winter is all about keeping a good aerobic base to build on, just in time to build up to prime shape to race. Key points to this theory are to keep a frame that is similar to your race bike. The same size, the same crank length, the same drop handle bars, the same seat height, and for all intensive purposes the same bike, but bulkier. I should also mention by doing this, when you get back on your normal bike, your brain tells your muscles wow you’re much stronger now. In some ways you are much stronger, but some of it is just mental. You will find that while climbing with the winter bike in say your small chain ring (39 teeth) and a cassette gear of 28 teeth will soon allow you to spin (same cadence) up the same hill in a bigger gear. A bigger gear will equate to more power using the same energy. On your lighter bike, you might find yourself spinning in 39/25 or 21. It is a form of on bike resistance training that will improve your pedal strokes and cadence. The tires on a CX bike or MTB also add some resistance.
Some other simple reason why you may want to try on a “winter bike” is to keep your newer, more expensive bike looking good and to keep it in good shape. Just like cars parts bike parts receive wear and tear. Now do you want to tear up a 500 dollar part, or a 100 dollar part? Another reason is that some trainers will put slow wear on some bike parts. You could use this bike on the trainer when it’s just too cold and wet out. In the end this isn’t a new concept, but just a revisited one.
Kevin Lee USAC certified coach