I'm considering some Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires so I can continue commuting to work during the UK winter ( -3°C to +8°C, with some snow and ice). However, I only have V-brakes. Are those brakes going to be acceptable in sub-zero temperature, occasionally while snowing?

  • You may want to buy some wet weather or winter-specific pads to cut down on squealing, but otherwise you'll be in fine shape!
    – WTHarper
    Aug 28, 2012 at 20:45

4 Answers 4


Yes. They will be fine. Plenty of people use them in the Minnesota Winters without problems. Just make sure they are always in good shape, which is something you have to do with all brakes.

  • I find that my pads get burned through at 4x the speed but otherwise they work acceptably. Dec 9, 2012 at 1:11
  • Yeah, I no longer do winter biking, but I did for several years (in southern MN) with cantis, with no difficulties attributable to the brakes. V-brakes are functionally similar to cantis. Dec 9, 2012 at 1:47

I've had some horrible experience with v-brakes in snow - it was like having no brakes at all.

I was lucky to find out the ineffectiveness of the brakes in a relatively safe situation, but that was like a revelation about the shortcomings of v-brakes. (Otherwise they've been quite reliable for me - even in the mountains.)

Keep in mind, the snow may come onto the rims unnoticed and breaks is a sort of things which tend to take you by surprise.

So, in my opinion - this is risky.

  • 1
    If you lightly feather the brakes periodically, the rims should remain remain reasonably clean, if the rim / pad surface is the issue. Having well greased pivots and cables in good condition makes it less likely for them to lock on in this case as well. Winter biking is inherently risky anyway!
    – Batman
    Jan 24, 2014 at 0:07

From my experience when it's around zero wet snow sometimes clamps up in v-brakes so they malfunction (don't brake). But when there is no wet snow or there is only a little -- it is ok.


Absolutely V-Brakes will work just fine in cold and snowy conditions. Check the pads often, they tend to wear much quicker. We ride in the snow in Utah all winter

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