It’s November, which means Winter is well and truly here for most of us, in the Northern Hemisphere at least. It’s also winter week here at Cyclingnews which means some extra content to help you with everything related to winter riding this week.
We all know wet and mucky winter road conditions are harsher on road bikes than dry summer ones. Bikes will often get a lot dirtier on a ride and water, salt and mud can all accelerate wear on various components.
Some riders diligently look after their winter bike/s and others will coax the machine through to the spring as its condition slowly deteriorates until it gets flung into the garage and forgotten about for the summer. As a mechanic I’ve worked on my fair share of both and my advice would be that maintenance little and often is the key to a properly maintained and safe bike. Don’t let things go too far before tackling an issue or taking it to the bike shop, ensuring your machine is properly maintained is part and parcel of being a cyclist.
Below is some advice, as well as tips and tricks that will help maintain your bike and keep it running that little bit smoother, they should also crucially help you avoid any key servicing bills if an issue goes too far. They are all things I’ve done to mine or customers’ bikes, I hope you find at least one useful. Check out gravel bike tips and tricks if you ride off-road too.
The less water the better
I’ll risk sounding like a broken record here to stress the point that generally the less water your bike sees the better. If you’re not stripping your bike semi-regularly then water from lots of washing will work its way inside the frame and contribute to corrosion, accelerated bearing wear and just general mess.
Below is an example of a headtube where water was present after lots of washing, I’m talking droplets of water and plenty of moisture on the steerer tube and in the bearings seats and on the bearings. A lack of grease as can be seen on the upper bearing cup or seat below is a good example of how corrosion can start to occur.
If you get back from a ride and your bike is filthy, a quick, gentle blast with the hose is a great way to clean it up fast, I do it myself sometimes. But I would recommend using the least amount of water you can. Ignore the videos of bike washing you see online…