The Best Bikes for the Canadian Winter

Best bikes for the Canadian winter

Canada is known for its beautiful winters with plentiful snow, crisp air, and great mountainous trails for adventure bike riders. Electric bikes are popular with individuals that are not looking for adventure but just for use in everyday activities. Adventure riders, on the other hand, can live for the winter months, and the more challenging and snowier the trails, the more adventure riders love the experience. The choices of bikes that can take on all kinds of Canadian weather conditions are rather large but this article will provide a summary. Since each rider is different it is best to check with a verified dealership about the pros and cons of each style of bike.

Hands down, for versatility, is, of course, a “fat bike”

  1. For decades now, “fat bikes” have been dominating the scene of Canadian winters as the tires, which are much larger than a regular commuter or pleasure bike, lend stability and traction when on a snowy, slippery trail. Most seasoned bike riders who are seeking to keep their fitness level and endurance intact over the winter do own at least one fat bike. This does not mean that there are not different styles of fat bikes though either, as hardtail bikes with their tensile strength also remains popular. There is also flexibility to a hardtail that does not exist in other models. Titanium is most often also preferred because it is lightweight, easy to store, and easy to transport.
  2. Geometric hardtail bikes are quickly becoming even more trendy with very serious bike riders. With a geometry-based design that pushes the upper tires slightly more forward; this design is meant for seasoned riders who are looking for traction on trails that might contain snow and ice and many curves and narrow paths. The geometric hardtail bikes also are, of course, usually purchased with the fat bike tire leaving these open to all kinds of adventures no matter what the weather might be like during the winter.
  3. Electric fat bikes, also known as “off-road” electric bikes, take on the ease of riding that is traditional with an e-bike and combine it with the durability and strength of a traditional self-powered bike. In other words, a customer can have the adventure yet, take a break from peddling when needed without sacrificing any of the experiences that are sought. The electric bikes with fat bike features are popular amongst couriers and those that need speed, traction, and great handling on slick icy, or snowy city streets during the winter months.
  4. Beginner fat bikes are both electric and non-electric. For someone new to biking some models are fat bikes, either electric or non-electric but are suggested by dealerships for their ease of riding. Many fat bikes can seem overwhelming to beginning riders and good dealerships usually suggest models that are as safe as the higher-end ones but less likely to overwhelm a new rider. E-bikes for kids that are built for the winter allow children to keep up easier with the adult riders as there is less pedaling that needs to be done.

There is more to choosing a good bike for Canadian winters than the model

Every human alive has a different arm length and different leg length, where the choice of steering, the choice of gears, depending upon strength, and of course, the choice of the saddle all come into play. Even gender can make a difference, especially in the choice of the saddle, as women “sit” a bike slightly differently than do men. Children are another concern, as their needs in a bike are different from those of adults. Children’s bikes are of course smaller in height, with a difference in the saddle, the gears, and the length and breadth of the handlebars. There is much to consider when purchasing a good winter bike for Canadians, especially if families ride together which is common. Putting a child who is new to biking on a bike that is too powerful and complex for them can be dangerous.

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Some additional facts when choosing the best bike for Canadian winters

  • Tire stability matters. Studded tires are available as are bikes that can be switched from one type of tire to another when the conditions change during a ride. For example, clear and sunny one minute, and icy the next. Some fat bikes and e-bikes are also fat bikes that offer the interchangeability of tires.
  • Pack gear when going out for a ride no matter if it is a short ride, especially if it is a family ride. Canadian winters are such that the change in climate and trail conditions can change rapidly. Having an extra set of warmer clothing or dry clothing as well as extra gloves and hats in case gear is lost, should be added to a carrier on a bike or to a knapsack depending upon preference.
  • Always make sure that all cellphones are fully charged. If there is no reception at all, most knowledgeable bikers will carry flares, extra water supplies, and light food in case of becoming lost or encountering a mishap due to weather or trail conditions.
  • Helmets should be worn. The rougher terrain is, the more this should be a necessity, especially with children who are riding. Most seasoned riders do appreciate the protection a helmet offers, especially when using an e-bike. Head injuries can be the most serious, as are spinal injuries and a helmet can prevent both.
  • This might not make sense to those that do not ride, but sunglasses can be more important in the winter months than in the summer. The glare from snow can cause blind spots, double vision, or the inability to see all together. This is a recipe for disaster and two pairs should be carried in case one pair is lost.
  • Plan the ride and the trail as carefully as possible. While many riders prefer riding alone it is also good to have a partner during the winter months. Map out the whole ride geographically and avoid trouble trails where visibility and stability are poor.
Fat bikes at Silver Star Resort, photo by Terry Lankstead

Conclusion

Even the best bikes for winters in Canada should be chosen carefully and all rides planned as Canadian winters are exciting but harsh.

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