Author Topic: Bike care in the Winter?  (Read 3333 times)

Eric222

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Bike care in the Winter?
« on: November 05, 2015, 11:09:53 AM »
Hi!

Anyone have any suggestions for bike care while commuting around in the rain/snow/salt-slush over the winter?  I'm fortunate enough to store my bike inside.  What else should I do to keep my bike happy?


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Syonyk

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2015, 01:02:08 PM »
Lube your shifter and brake cables to keep water out.

Oil your chain.

Clean the chain, if you care, but I mostly just add oil when it's getting dry.
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Eric222

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2015, 05:50:53 PM »
Thanks!  Figured I'd better know what to do before winter hits...
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Jack

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2015, 06:14:16 PM »
If you can, wash your bike off with a hose every once in a while. In the spring, it probably wouldn't hurt to re-grease the bearings in your headset, bottom bracket and wheels.

yyc-phil

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2015, 06:23:37 PM »
All of the above, plus if the temperature in your area often goes below freezing, use cold temperature grease. Synthetic snowmobile bearing grease by Castrol works for headsets and all bearings, as does any synthetic fine gear oil with a 'Pour Point' below -40C/-40F for your hubs. This being said, I don't do any of this, and I ride my old GT Palomar all year-round in Yellowknife even when hell freezes over at -45 without windchill. Touch wood.
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vhalros

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2015, 05:13:44 AM »
If you don't already have them, install some fenders. That will keep a lot of grime off the bike to begin with (and also you). I'd recommend some with a pretty long mud flap (I like the Planet Bike Cascadia). If you already have fenders, but the mud flap is short, there are a number of DIY directions out there to make a longer one.

Eric222

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2015, 05:45:13 AM »
If you don't already have them, install some fenders. That will keep a lot of grime off the bike to begin with (and also you). I'd recommend some with a pretty long mud flap (I like the Planet Bike Cascadia). If you already have fenders, but the mud flap is short, there are a number of DIY directions out there to make a longer one.

My fenders are arriving today!  Making the back fender longer is a good idea.  Thanks!
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fullpampers

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2015, 09:05:36 AM »
I bike all winter too, I keep the bike inside at home.

Maybe 2-3 times during the winter I take the bike apart a clean/lube/grease everything. Give it a good wipe down when you bring it in.

Keep your chain oiled, like once a week I'll oil it before I go. When I do a cleaning session, ill take the chain off and swish it around in a jar of mineral spirits, give it a good cleaning and than a lot of oil. Generally I change the chain at the end of winter, and keep it on for the next winter. At that point it's completely shot.

You can also use car wax on your frame so all the winter crap sticks less to it. Generally the bottom bracket area, fork and chainstays are the most exposed areas.

And keep some tools and spare tubes/patch kit. And a pump on your bike. Nothing like catching a flat on your way back from work at -15 celsius when all the bike shops are closed....

Keep your tire pressure on the low side, it helps with traction.

When i do my after winter cleaning, I swish some oil inside the frame i case I have rust starting inside.

TrMama

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2015, 09:55:59 AM »
If you have rim brakes, make sure you wipe off the rims as often as you remember. All the wet road grit acts as very effective sandpaper at wearing down your rims.

Syonyk

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 04:06:14 PM »
My fenders are arriving today!  Making the back fender longer is a good idea.  Thanks!

A rear fender that goes most of the way around but doesn't drop that low is fine if you're not commuting in a pack.  A "mountain bike style" fender is worthless, but anything reasonably closely fitted to the rear wheel should be just fine.

The front fender is what soaks your feet with road spray.  That's where a long dangling mud flap is helpful.

Keep your chain oiled, like once a week I'll oil it before I go. When I do a cleaning session, ill take the chain off and swish it around in a jar of mineral spirits, give it a good cleaning and than a lot of oil. Generally I change the chain at the end of winter, and keep it on for the next winter. At that point it's completely shot.

And keep some tools and spare tubes/patch kit. And a pump on your bike. Nothing like catching a flat on your way back from work at -15 celsius when all the bike shops are closed....

How do you pull your chain off that regularly?  I hate those damned quick connects...

As for tires/tubes, I just run a really heavy setup (though my ebike has a motor, so I care less).  Heavy armored tires, thorn resistant tubes, and slime cover an awful lot of flats.  Especially if you get the nice tubes that have a fully threaded stem so you can secure the stem in place from the outside as well.

If you have rim brakes, make sure you wipe off the rims as often as you remember. All the wet road grit acts as very effective sandpaper at wearing down your rims.

Ugh.  Yeah.  Destroyed a set of wheels despite my best efforts.  Disc brakes are awesome for winter commuting.
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fullpampers

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2015, 08:24:53 AM »
How do you pull your chain off that regularly?  I hate those damned quick connects...

I have a SRAM chain I think. The master link is just two plates you pop open with a flat head screwdriver. For the ones with that annoying clip I used to do it with a pair of long nose pliers.

I just take it off when I do a big cleaning session. When I started winter biking I tried to do it once a month, but now I try to do it 2-3 times during the winter. If you don't want to take it off, you can just spray some cleaner on it and wash it with a rag/brush. But since I'm taking the bike apart anyway for those big cleaning sessions, I just take it off completely.

Some people on a facebook group for winter biking in Montreal just run their bike in the shower to remove the slush/salt. But that would go well with my girlfriend.

And If you bring your bike inside, you can get a big cheap plastic sled (or a couple of those boot drip trays) to put your bike in so it drips into it, instead of your floor. Depending on what available space your have.

J-S

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2015, 10:29:08 AM »
Regular winter cyclist here.  Winter maintenance will vary depending on where you live, how often you use your bike, and how the roads are maintained.

Before the winter I take my winter bike mostly apart and grease the following with snowmobile or waterproof marine grade grease:
- Wheel axles
- Seatpost
- All bolts that go into the bike frame
- Headset
- Pedal axles
- Brake pivots

During the winter I just keep an eye on wear for the brake pads, ensure that the wheels are still true, and oil the chain often.  Every time that I come in from a long ride I take a watering can of hot water and rinse the whole bike off . . . this gets rid of the worst of the salt and grime.  Make sure you bounce your bike a few times to dry it off so you don't get stuff frozen up.

During the spring I go over the components and replace:
- Cable housings (sometimes can last two years)
- Cables
- Chain
- Cassette (usually every other year)

Depending on mood I'll also strip down the derailleurs and clean/regrease them too.  I usually do several thousand km of cycling each winter in cold/snowy/salty conditions, and this works well for me.



How do you pull your chain off that regularly?  I hate those damned quick connects...

http://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-Master-Link-Pliers/dp/B00D9NW32I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1447175874&sr=8-3&keywords=chain+removal+tool

You can get sometimes find them for under 10$.
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Jack

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2015, 11:37:38 AM »
How do you pull your chain off that regularly?  I hate those damned quick connects...

http://www.amazon.com/Park-Tool-Master-Link-Pliers/dp/B00D9NW32I/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1447175874&sr=8-3&keywords=chain+removal+tool

You can get sometimes find them for under 10$.

Is there some problem with just removing/reinstalling the chain the "normal way" (pushing one of the pins out with a chain tool, then pushing it back in)?

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2015, 11:53:24 AM »
Many chains don't let you do that . . . sometimes the rivets won't go back in properly, especially with the higher speed chains (9, 10, 11) and you'll end up ruining the chain.  It's also much more of a PITA than simply clipping a link on and off, especially in the dead of winter when you're in a cold garage and your hands are going numb.  :P
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Jack

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 01:40:42 PM »
Oh, okay. I've never owned a bike with more than 8 sprockets on the cassette (my newest bike is probably 15 years old by now), so that explains my confusion.

Reddleman

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Re: Bike care in the Winter?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2015, 06:23:58 PM »
Some great tips here but I'd just reinforce/add:

1. fenders, fenders, fenders!!!!!  Long front one- even if it clips your toes a bit on turns- you'll learn to deal with it and keep your feet out of the way.  Rear should go all the way to the rear stay if possible and below- it keeps grime away from your crank and bottom bracket as much as possible. 
2. If you are in a relatively flat area, switch to a single speed.  You can run a single cog front and rear and no longer need to worry about the derailleurs or their cables.  You can also run a bmx chain- more durable and much cheaper to replace.  And when you finally kill your chainring and cog, you only have to replace one!  I thought it would be a pain, but honestly your top speed becomes limited in snow and ice.
3. Surprisingly if you live somewhere with salt, it's often better not to wash your bike when it is freezing out.  Salt does all it's worst work when it is in solution- if it is below freezing not much happens.  Wet it down without fully washing it off and it just gets salt water into crevices and makes it worse.  Bringing it from cold to warm areas is also a bad idea in general.  It encourages condensation and salt water to stay active and penetrate into places it shouldn't go more effectively.  I generally only washed my commuter in winter if it was going to be warm for a while. 

After doing this for years, I learned that winter commuting is generally hard on equipment, so just learn to live with the fact that things will have to be replaced over time.  Single speed cogs generally lasted a year, and I replaced them every spring, or swapped back to multi-speed if I felt like it.  Wheels lasted a few years.  And after year 1, all this happened on my dedicated cheap commuter- I have other decent bikes for other rides.  Being a certified bike mechanic helps!