To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

The Perfect Winter Training Bike: CX to Road Conversion

As cyclocross season comes to a conclusion my attention is naturally shifting from CX racing (where my season was somewhat aborted by real life stress and a bad back) to the start of training for the 2019 road season. With that in mind I am preparing to convert my Garneau Steeple bike from CX race mode into an all-weather winter road training machine. In the coming weeks and months I’ll review some of the products involved in that conversion but until then I am starting things off with a straight forward shopping list…

The CX-to-Winter Road Training Bike Conversion Shopping List

From our initial discussions with the Garneau Dream Factory I knew that as soon as cyclocross season ended I wanted turn my Steeple into a winter training bike. For that reason I skipped the 1x chainring options and went with a full fledged and road-friendly 2x Ultegra Di2 build. Sure 1x works fine on the road but I didn’t want to make sacrifices with either gear-range or gear-spacing and Di2 is just so good (including with shifting while wearing thick winter gloves) that it is almost a default option for me at this stage. But to go from cyclocross race machine to full fledged all-weather winter training bike there were a few additional items that I needed.

  • Portland Design Works Fenders - after years of messing around with SKS Raceblade and similar fenders on road bikes including all of the mediocre mounting styles, the current generation Garneau Steeple provides something I have always wanted on a winter training bike: fender mounts. So I just placed an order for the solidly built all-metal PDW Fenders. I am going with the ‘City Size’ model to provide plenty of tire clearance for the jumbo rubber that I am mounting but I’m not 100% certain how frame clearance is going to work on these (stay tuned!). But when it comes to overall fit and finish it doesn’t get much better than PDW so fingers crossed they fit.

  • Road Runner Burrito Bag - Road Runner is a go to handlebar bag option for several fellow TBD’ers so why mess with what works? For variable winter weather the Burrito bag is perfect for packing a spare rain cape or a second pair of gloves without overloading your pockets. And I have been caught out by unexpected weather enough in the past that I know it’s worth the extra weight/packing to have options when a storm blows in.

  • Compass Bon Jon Pass (700x35) - do I need 35’s for the looming long and cold days on 9W? No, definitely not. In fact 35’s are probably sub-optimal when it comes to paved road speed. But winter is coming and with the slushy/wet days that inevitably come with it I decided to go with a super-cush set of tires. I may toss some 28 or 32 tubeless tires on a spare wheelset for the days when the weather is particularly cooperative, but otherwise I am going for maximum comfort with the Compass Bon Jon Pass tires.

  • Zipp Service Course 30 - as with tires there are a plethora of choices when it comes to wheels but I have found the Zipp Service Course 30’s to be a somewhat reasonably priced and highly durable all-around wheelset. They have performed well during cyclocross season (which I spent more on the trails than at the races) so I am putting the fancy carbon Rovals pictured on the bike in this post away until Spring in favor of the Service Course 30’s.

  • Silca Seat Capsule Premio - I reviewed the Silca Seat Capsule on the TBD Journal a few months back (link). My conclusions from that review hold true after additional months of use. The Premio may be a bit on the ugly side but it packs a TON of equipment in a stable package that isn’t going to rock and roll no matter how hard you throw your bike around. And there is nothing worse than getting stuck without a spare tube in 30 degree weather - better safe than sorry.

Once I get some miles in with all of these items I’ll circle back with thoughts on what worked and what didn’t work - stay tuned.