Winter Bikes: John Findley

This time of year is really grotty weather wise so many of you will have a special bike. Here’s a look at John Findleys.

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John writes… This is my custom built winter bike from Bill Nickson Cycles. I decided I wanted a decent frame, so went for the Tifosi over other cheaper ones that were also available. That meant, however, I had to economise in other areas to stick to my rough budget of £1,000. The groupset was the obvious area to cut costs, as I originally wanted Shimano 105 so I went with Tiagra instead which up to this point has given me no troubles!

I went for a 50/34 chainset to give me the option of touring on it if I so wished (hence the pannier rack) which has since proved a good idea as I’ve just started University in Aberystwyth. Lots and lots of hills, great for training but bad for recovery rides! At the moment it has a Topeak seat pack on, but I have a bag for the rack that I intend to use when it gets properly cold for additional clothing etc – or even shopping trips!

Shimano RS20 wheels are fairly decent for the price, bit heavy but not the worst. Had one major issue with them; I had to get the front trued up back in February after hitting a nasty pothole and whilst being trued one of the spokes sheared in two as the nipple had seized up thanks to all the salt on the roads over the winter. This basically left me with a wheel that couldn’t be trued as it turned out most of the nipples had gone like this. Thankfully Shimano replaced it, but I wait to see if they last this winter!

As I do some night riding, I’ve got two rear lights and one front light on. I’ve had complaints from people riding behind me about the severity of my rear light (which is good to hear) and the front recently came out top in a Cycling Weekly group test. The bike used to have a Brooks saddle on, but that went saggy after a 5 hour jaunt in the rain and has never quite been the same since, so I decided to switch it out for the saddle off my race bike for this winter.
Heavy duty SKS mudguards with the all important mud flap make it the sort of bike people are happy to ride behind at this time of year. The combination of a 140mm stem, long head tube and slightly flexy front wheel don’t make it the best for descending, but with the 25mm tyres and carbon fork, the whole package rolls along nicely when up to speed and soaks up road shocks nicely.

All in all a very good value, well built, reliable (well, ignoring the wheels…), comfortable enjoyable ride that I intend to use for years to come!

My winter bike
• Tifosi CK7 audax frame 60cm
• Deda Blackstorm fork
• PRO LT 140mm stem
• Shimano Tiagra 9sp groupset (+Shimano 105 rear mech and 105 SPD SL pedals)
• Shimano RS20 wheelset
• RSP finishing kit
• Specialized Toupe saddle.
• SKS Mudguards
• Continental 25mm Gatorskin tyres front and rear.

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