I'm a French student going to Sweden for one year and I would like to know if I could use a bike to go to school even in winter for less than 150€ (or 1500 SEK).

Is it possible without having a bad time when riding and or will I fall every five seconds due to icy roads?

If it's possible I would like to know which type of bike should I use and if I have to add accessories like studded tires or tire chains.

Here's an average weather of the city:

And some details about my route:

Start altitude:                  102 metres
End altitude:                    111 metres
Maximum altitude:                129 metres
Minimum altitude:                93 metres
Distance:                        5.1 km
Total ascent:                    54 metres
Total descent:                   45 metres
Maximum gradient ascending:      5% at 1.7 km
Maximum gradient descending:     6% at 0.6 km
  • 5
    Ask the students when you get there. They'll know whats normal and probably can find you a better used bike than what you'll find by asking SE if you intend to do this.
    – Batman
    Jul 7 '17 at 16:08
  • 1
    @Paparazzi Yeah I've seen some second hand mountain bikes near Jonkoping on blocket.se for less than 100€ so I was planning to take one after my arrival and add things that could have been necessary for winter.
    – DasFranck
    Jul 7 '17 at 16:26
  • @Batman I was planning to do that anyway but I thought than SE opinion could be interesting too.
    – DasFranck
    Jul 7 '17 at 16:29

As long as the bike paths and roads you'll be traveling along are reasonably well cleared of deep snow, this would be no big issue.

You can order basic Schwalbe Winter studded tires cheaply (around 40euro a pair) from Bike24. You should probably be able to find a basic used bike for 110 euro.

Studded tires aren't strictly necessary for winter riding, but they do provide peace of mind on days with a freeze-thaw cycle.

  • Using studs on hard pavement is not a good idea and the bike would need 2 tires.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 7 '17 at 21:07
  • @paparazzi those schwalbe winters say run at 85 psi for paved roads with occasional ice patches, softer on snow. I run them in the UK winter though we can go a few years without snow - for a couple of spots prone to black ice. They're noisy but the grip is similar to marathon plus and the wear acceptable
    – Chris H
    Jul 8 '17 at 16:58
  • @ChrisH I meant the noise but if you are gutting it out for a year then not a bad option. If the used bike had good rubber I might give the existing tires a try.
    – paparazzo
    Jul 8 '17 at 19:33

If you do a google image search of "sweden january bicycling" you do get images of people bicycling even in the middle of winter. The roads are icy and snowy.

Sweden bicycling january

A couple of thoughts:

  • Tricycles are more stable than bicycles

  • Studded tires are a must for icy roads, but not if they are well salted. You could wait to get them until it's clear to you that you need them.

  • Your bike is so cheap ($150) that it doesn't matter what it's made of.

  • A good hat and gloves will be a must. Helmets are optional. If you're going to fall, fall into a snow drift.

  • Children are optional

Sweden bicycling


You could certainly commute most of the year.

Look for a used single speed. Gears is OK but single speed is less maintenance and less cost. Look for something that will take 32mm tires and prefer 35mm. It could even be a mtn bike but you don't need (or want) suspension.

That budget limits your options. At 300€ you get more options. Used you will get most of that back if you take care of the bike.

A low quality bike may be cheaper up front but cost you more on the long run. You only need it to last a year but still not BSO (bicycle shaped object).

A second set of studded tires is a pain to swap out and you don't have budget for a second set of wheels.

Hopefully you have bike paths as road in snow and ice is dangerous.

Get a good lock!

  • Luckily it's bike paths all the way!
    – DasFranck
    Jul 7 '17 at 16:46

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