I’d like to keep riding all year round as I never seem to make the most of the summer, but I really suffer from cold feet and I remember now what stopped me from venturing out in the cold, damp depths of last year.
I haven’t got a huge wedge of cash to spend, so I want to know whether to go for some dedicated winter boots, overshoes, waterproof socks, woolly socks, or a combination of the above. I can’t afford to experiment, so what gives? I want some toasty tootsies, the mud’s calling!
Wayne King, email
Winter foot-warmer choice is pretty much dependent on how cold your feet get. And, to a certain degree, what makes them cold.
If your feet are fine in cold weather unless they get wet, then a good set of waterproof socks may be the answer. Both Sealskins (sealskinz.com), and Gore Bike Wear (gorebikewear.com) make proven waterproof socks. However, you must remember that if it’s really precipitating it down, water can get in the top of the sock, and it can fill with water, so waterproof trousers that come below the cuff of the sock are the only answer. Remember, if your shoes are super snug-fitting, the thicker waterproof socks may actually reduce circulation and make your feet cold, so make sure your feet are not constricted in any way.
If your feet get cold whatever, then some form of thermal footwear could be the answer. You could try an overshoe — these come in waterproof, neoprene (warm even when wet), or windproof flavours. Altura, Endura, Adidas and plenty of other companies make mtb-friendly smurf shoes. Beware, though, if your trips to the hills involve a lot of walking or hike-a-bike sections — they can wear out fast and come off your shoes. If this is the case, a dedicated winter shoe is what’s required. You could go for a trail shoe with no mesh, such as Shimano’s M182N (£99.99), or a shoe with water resistant fabric such as Shimano’s MP66B (£49.95). If you want a true waterproof shoe, Specialized makes the Defroster (£99.99), Northwave the Celsius (£99.99), and Shimano the MW02 Winter Boot (£99.95), among others. There is also the option of Shimano’s Vibram-soled hiking boot-esque MT90L. This rugged, Gore-Tex lined shoe will repel the worst of the weather.
Hope springs eternal
Can you buy Hope pad springs separately? My pads have got plenty left on them but the springs have melted.
Paul White, email
A simple answer to a simple question: like all parts, individual spares are available from Hope. Simply get your local store to
contact Hope and order you a set. Expect to pay less than a couple of quid for a spring.
I bought a Felt Q720 in April and have set about upgrading it. I’ve removed the RST Gila forks and got my local bike shop to fit some Marzocchi Bomber MX Pros. The forks have totally transformed the ride. However, my local bike shop was unable to put the original 180mm brake rotor (Hayes Sole) back onto the bike due to them not having, or Hayes not making, a suitable brake mount that would fit the fork/brake etc. As a result, I currently have a 160mm rotor on board.
While the performance is not unduly affected by the reduction in the size of the rotor, I would, if possible like to have the original rotor fitted back on, as I believe the front brake would perform better.
Any ideas where I could get hold of a suitable brake mount that would allow me to do the above, or is there another way around the problem? By the way, I won’t bore you by telling you what a great mag mbr is. You probably get told this all the time!
Pete Clarke, email
Because your forks have a different type of brake mount, you need a completely different adapter. Previously, the lowers had an international standard mount, with an adapter to upsize a post mount brake to a 180mm rotor.
Now your new forks have a post mount lower, which direct mounts your caliper for a 160mm rotor. In effect, you simply need a post mount to post mount with a step-up adapter. There are plenty of people that make them, but one of the more readily available comes from A2Z components, the home of many such tricky-to-find widgets. Windwave is the UK suppliers, so get your local shop to contact them on 01543 251328, or contact them yourself to find a nearby stockist. The part number you’re after is
AD-PMPM180, at £6.95.
I own a fantastic Yeti 575 but I’d like to get a second bike for commuting, general messing about, training, etc. Thing is, I’m not sure what to go for. Here’s what I think my options are:
Road bike — For: fast for commuting. Against: restricted to roads (er…), ‘roadie’ image.
Cyclo-cross bike — For: fairly fast for commuting; some off-road capability; can use it to race cyclo-cross. Against: not really one thing or the other; still fairly ‘roadie’.
Rigid 29er — For: OK for commuting; some off-road capability; could use it to race cyclo-cross; better riding position. Against: not quite as fast for commuting.
‘Basic’ mtb (possibly rigid) — For: off-road capability; could use it to race cyclo-cross; good riding position; adequate for commuting. Against: not as fast for commuting.
Other points are: I’m 6ft 2in and weigh 85kg. I’m moving house and will have a fairly easy seven-mile on-road commute. I can buy through my company’s Cycle2Work scheme and will be looking for a bike about £600-£800 list price. I’m happy to buy a spare set of wheels to increase the usability of whatever bike I choose. It’ll also have to be a bike I won’t mind leaving locked up in a public place, so nothing overly flashy. Doing some cyclo-cross races is strangely appealing. Any advice will be gratefully received — I’m also open to other suggestions.
Damon Brown, email
We’d avoid mountain bikes for anything that’s going to be locked up. Even at £700 the disc brakes and suspension forks will make them very attractive to thieves. The riding position, while familiar, is not the best suited to riding on the road — single hand-holds and wind-catching upright position are certainly not the best. With a rigid 29er, you’ll have the same issues but to a lesser degree. The upright (mtb) position will have the same disadvantages, while the less educated thief will still steal it, as it’s a ‘moun’in bike’, and you already have a good real bike so why compromise this much for what is essentially for commuting?
That leaves you with two options. The road and cross bikes are both pretty suitable for the task you require of them.
First things first, forget about the roadie image — the sooner people do that, the less stigma is attached to other cyclists who are different, and the better it is for everyone. Don’t sink to the level of other narrow-minded fools.
Now, your choice of cross bikes will be limited at this price compared to true road bikes, but the wider tyres and sturdier rims may be better suited to your ‘manly’ physique. That said, if you’re a smooth rider off-road, you should have no problems even running 23c tyres on a road bike. The choice should really be down to whether you are actually going to do any cross races. If not, we’d err towards the road bike.