I wouldn't say that I do "commuting" but I definitely ride in winter barring heavy snow and temps below -10C. Duration of rides is often limited to hours of sunlight and temperature, shortest being about 3 hrs around the winter solstice. Last winter seemed to go on forever - 6 months of hats and gloves - unlike the usual 4 to 5 months. Anyhow, to cut a long story short with these conditions I've been constantly searching the kit up to the job that is reliable without heavy maintenance and cleaning (as I simply can't be arsed).
It basically comes down to:
- titanium where you can
- thick black anodized alloy components
- lashings of waterproof grease literally everywhere except the freehub and chain
- good quality chain that will not rust
- studded tyres (I use two types for ploughed roads and unploughed off-road)
Lastly, I try to build the bikes as light as possible without penalties on reliability. It can be such a slog so it's best to ride on something that is really enjoyable and fun - I would go crazy being indoors on a Turbo trainer. Fortunately, winters tend to be dry here rather than damp.
Chopper, putting rubber tubes around things is just asking for trouble in my opinion if (when) water / ice / condensation get's underneath it.
Oh, and another point. I skip the bottle cage as the drinks freeze in them.....I'll leave you guessing the solution to hydration while riding
Favorite quote on Retrobike:
Not worth the petrol to take it to the tip so it's down to the angle grinder to make it small enough to put in the wheely bin.