I have made a few comments as of late, as well in the past, about not understanding the point of having a bike dedicated to winter riding only, the "winter beater".
Now I can fully understand the idea behind having a beater bike for riding to the pub or when you are traveling somewhere that requires you to leave your bike locked to something or locked somewhere that is "undesireable", but is a bike devoted to nothing but the wintery season necessary? I'll give you my point of view.
I do not belive, at least for me, and likely for a large group of commuters that a winter-only bike is necessary, practical, or the "best" route to go. I use my only mountain bike. The same bike that I use March thru November to rip up the local dirt trails and pound the double/single track. Now I'm not very "skilled" when compared to most other mountain bikers but I am more skilled on this bike than any other I own. I am quite comfortable taking it down long, steep decents of terrain ranging from gravel over hardpack to mud, roots, rocks, ruts, and sand. So riding this bike during what is probably the most dangerous time of year for commuting only makes sense to me, after all, I'm more comfortable and skilled on it. So if I had a different "winter only bike" that I only rode when it was snowing or icy out then I would be depriving myself of alot of comfort and skill that is required to ride in that terrain and conditions safely.
Now if I had a second "identical" bike to my mountain bike then I guess I could see using "it" as my winter bike. But then again, I'd be depriving myself of alot of joy on that second bike. as far as the extra damage done to a bike in winter I have just not noticed it to be all that bad. A few corroded bolts here and there is all that I had from last years winter.
so maybe I am missing something, or maybe I just take way too much care of my mountain bike in the winter. would anyone care to comment on what they do and why? I'm not being cynical here, I'm seriously wanting to know why people have a bike devoted to winter only riding and if they do, do they feel that they are depriving themselves of some necessary comforts and skills that might aid them better.