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Thread: Wet Bike

  1. #1
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    Wet Bike

    I ride a Trek 7.2 FX, and bike roughly 6 miles a day. I'm thinking about riding in the rain when it happens, but my question is if it's a good idea to invest in a "rain bike", or should I just be modifying my bike (ie fenders, proper rain clothing) and just do routine cleaning after the rain.

    If investing in a second bike is the way to go, what should I be keeping in mind when buying said bike, or if not, then how does one properly care for a bike after it has been rained on?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Bring it inside and let it dry. touch up rust as you see it.


    My favorite kit is a Rohloff hub. the sequential shift
    has 1 gear ratio follow another no thinking of the pattern sequence and double shifting.
    like derailleur mechs.

    But my favorite brake is hubs with drum brakes, as they hardly need adjustment.
    and drum friction material lasts for generations .

    Rohloff has Disc brake mounts, to make excellent powerful stoppers in all weather.

    Add a Dynamo hub up front for lights..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    I'm fairly sure it would be cheaper if you just added fenders to your current bike than adding a "rain bike" to your staple. You'd likely add fenders to what ever rain bike you bought anyway. Just take care of your chain after a good rain and enjoy.

  4. #4
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    I don't know much about care of bikes after they've been in the rain, but here I go:

    I'd say keep the Trek - there seems little point in investing in another, expensive bike only to use it when it rains.

    Whenever I ride my bike in the rain, I always leave it in the shed to dry, then go to it later with some 3-in-1 oil (I'm too tight to buy chain lube!) and do all the derailleurs, chain and rear sprockets. It's usually a fairly good system, and any rust that's on there is just surface and comes off in the next ride (which is usually the next day).

    The only other problem I've had is the adjusters on the calipers for my disc brakes - I'm not sure what it is that makes them rust, but I just have a bit of touch up paint kicking around to counter it when it comes.

  5. #5
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Trek 7.2 is cheap enough to use as a rain bike.

    I'd only consider getting a specific rain bike if my "main bike" had a $100+ rear derailer, $100+ cassette and/or $200+ crankset on it. (or any other expensive wear items.)

    I ride my Pinarello in the rain all the time. Replacement cassette = $20, replacement chain = $15, replacement cranks = I dunno, maybe $50.

    Just take care of it, get at the very least a backscratcher fender and some good rain clothes.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 04-10-11 at 04:00 AM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    i wish I could ride in the rain, but not going to try since I'm unable to mount fenders. After a ride, since it is wet anyways spray some wax as you dry product on the bike and a soft rag and wipe the frame down. Then you can use the same rag with some oil added now to wipe your cables and other metal parts and finally your chain. Should be an easy process.

    I' d probably focus on eyewear. Something that will protect your eyes from debris and 20mph raindrops as well as not fog up or lose visability when water forms on the lenses.

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    Put fenders on the bike and ride it in the rain.
    I dont bother cleaning after every wet ride otherwise i would spend more time cleaning than riding. If the chain lube has been washed off I usually wait till the next morning to re-apply on a dry chain.

    I winterize my everyday bike: wax the frame, exposed cables and bolt-heads, keep my bearings full of lube and grease all metal-metal contacts such as seatpost, stem, pedals, bolt threads.

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    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjoekingz28 View Post
    I' d probably focus on eyewear. Something that will protect your eyes from debris and 20mph raindrops as well as not fog up or lose visability when water forms on the lenses.
    Weird. I usually take my glasses off when it rains.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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    Rinse off the mud and dry the bike. Get fenders and ride. The bike is not that delicate. This is the only time I lube a dirty chain, but it is ususlly a good idea.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by funtimesKD View Post
    ...my question is if it's a good idea to invest in a "rain bike"...
    No. First off, it's not an investment unless there is reasonable expectation of capital gain so it would simply be an expense. Second you should definitely buy another bike, but not a rain bike. Buy a really nice new high-end bike and so that your current Trek then becomes your beater rain bike.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    OTOH, I still have a bike for when it's not raining , it sees a day or two of use,
    per year.

    Here, 'summer' has a shutter speed...
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-10-11 at 11:48 AM.

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    If the bike is properly lubed it'll survive rain pretty well with no special help from you. How you do determines if you'll want fenders or not. I commute daily rain or shine, and do absolutely nothing after riding in the rain.

    I used to bring the bike in immediately, but have recently made a small improvement. Now if when I get home the bike is mud splattered or covered in glued on leaves and twigs (I ride home through a park) I leave it outside a while in the rain which rinses it off fairly decently. I figure if Mother Nature got it dirty, it's her job to get it clean again.

    This may sound neglectful, but isn't because the bike is kept waxed and lubed, and bare metal parts have a protective film that prevents rust. Water doesn't enter the bearings because it's repelled by the grease film. (no sealed bearings)

    I don't think I could leave it outside long term without worry, but so far have never seen even the least hint of rust or mechanical failure. I also keep two bikes in Cozumel, Mexico where the air is both humid and full of sea salt. It's been 5 years and both of these are 99% rust free. (only some steel hardware here and there).
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    I do have a rain bike because my "good" bike is a Litespeed with all-Campy components. It does get caught in the rain occasionally but I don't want to make a habit of it. Also, there is no room for fenders or a rack of any kind.

    My rain/snow/beater is a Surly Cross Check with fenders, a rack, 700-32 treaded tires and built up with a combination of parts box leftovers and "Anything On This Table...." closeout specials. I did treat the frame and fork internals very thoroughly with Frame Saver when I first got it so there is no problem with internal rust.

    It's heavy as an anvil but worry free. I hose it down after a particularly dirty ride as long as it's not so cold the water will freeze on my driveway. I do take care to wipe off and relube the chain after each wet ride but that's the only routine care it gets.

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    I agree with FBNY, my commuter stays outside year round as I"m in a 5th floor walkup and already have mine and my gf's road bike hanging on the wall with no more room for another. it got pretty muddy a couple weeks ago, but the rain washed her pretty clean once I had her parked. I do have a front fender on it which keeps the grime from getting up into the headset. be advised that full on fenders are what you need if you really want to protect the parts of the bike from the elements, clip on or cheaper fenders may help keep you from getting splattered but usually don't have enough coverage to keep the water and road grime out of your bottom bracket and other parts.

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    funtimesKD, Your Trek is as good a rain bike as anything else, unless you just want another bike I'd just add some fenders. As a side note I had my touring bike on a trunk rack through a mother of a thunderstorm lasting about an hour and a half... 10-15 MPH on the interstate kind of bad. I expected to find H2O contaminated grease and a ruined chain. None of that after disassembly .
    Brad

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    Thanks for all the input guys, I really appreciate it. Hopefully I'll accumulate a vast amount of knowledge around here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by funtimesKD View Post
    Hopefully I'll accumulate a vast amount of knowledge around here.
    Indeed you will. Some of it might even be helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Indeed you will. Some of it might even be helpful.
    Most definitely, and some might even be accurate.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    OTOH, I still have a bike for when it's not raining , it sees a day or two of use,
    per year.

    Here, 'summer' has a shutter speed...
    Now THAT's a line that just about made me spit out my coffee! I refer to our more or less common corner of the continent as the Pacific NorthWET...

    Funtime, like someone above this post mentioned the bikes are just not that fragile. When I was commuting regularly in the rain where at least one of the to and fro trips each day was in some form of rain and the non rainy rides still had wet streets and puddles for weeks at a time I'd pretty much ignore the bike other than for its once a week washings and chain cleaning. For these the wheels were taken off and washed with particular attention paid to the rim braking surfaces. The frame was washed and dried as well with extra attention for the brake calipers or arms and the pad faces to get out the grit. Once the bike was back together a clamp on chain cleaning gizmo was used with mineral spirits to clean the chain. Typically I'd switch the solvent about 3 and sometimes 4 times until it was only coming out a light grey which I called "good enough". The solvent being blotted off with paper towels between each solvent switch and after the last one to dry it well without going nuts. The lube of choice for such mucky conditions is up to you but it MUST be an oil or grease of some sort. The dry wax lubes won't do squat for protecting the chain from rust. For my part I used a thick honey like chainsaw bar oil thinned for easier spreading with a little mineral spirits. I applied the mix then blotted away most of the excess to avoid leaving too heavy a coating which would just hold the grit all the moreso. The somewhat heavy application applied to the spinning chain aided in getting good penetration into the links and pins and mixed with the last of the cleaning solvent which was then blotted away with the paper towel used to dry the chain. All in all this took less time to do than to write this up.

    Other than that I used a good set of full coverage fenders. On the front the fenders for the bikes were never long enough to avoid a rooster tail that showered my shoes. I made extensions for the lower rear edge of these fenders from pop bottle plastic attached with small zip ties to "sew" the extensions on. This helped a lot for keeping my rain boots and the BB and crankset area cleaner. WIthout the extension the mud and grit would cake up pretty quickly.

    On the rear a set of full coverage fenders that wrap right down to the chainstay bridge just behind the BB also aids in keeping the water and mud out of the crankset and front derailleur. Without something to protect these the muck cakes up pretty quickly on these parts as well as the chain.

    My riding was shared between three bikes that were my regular commuters. Due to this I would go about 3 to 4 years between having to replace the chains and rear cassetes one one bike or the other. Not all three at the same time. And I only ever wore out one chainring. But if all your riding would be with one bike there's no reason why a chain and cassete would not last a good solid years worth of riding even in frequently sloppy weather. And if the rain isn't as frequent as fietsbob and I "enjoy" then there's no reason why you can't get a couple of years and 4000miles of daily riding out of one drive train using the same cleaning frequency as I was using.

    As a side note I've often thought that if I were dedicated enough to put my bike on a stand and squirt on the oil and mineral spirits mix and blot it off after every day of riding in the rain and dry that I would never have to actually clean the chain. The oil and mineral spirits mix applied generously and then blotted away has some pretty good cleaning properties as well as being a decent lubricating oil. By appling more than needed and blotting away the excess the tendency would be to carry away the grit and worn metal after each ride. But it'll have to remain as a theory since I never got around to doing it on a regular basis with any consistency. And now that I'm retired I tend to only ride in the rain if it is light or if it starts while I'm out already and just need to get home.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member spiker's Avatar
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    Pray tell where you live & if you're going to include any winter riding. Starting in Nov. they start sanding & salting the roads if there is a threat of freezing. We had a winter of slush storms & there is still a ton of sand along the edge of the road. I picked up a cheap yet decent CL bike because these conditions will chew up a bike petty quick.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ZManT's Avatar
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    My commuter bike is a 7.2 FX - aluminum frame so there's no risk of rust there. It's pretty dry here but I still manage to find myself in the rain/sleet/hail/snow a lot. The bike can handle it. Get some fenders and ride off. Just drop it on its tires from 3-4 inches a few times to shake off the H20 when you get home and keep it in a dry place - do some regular drivetrain maintenance and you'll be fine.

    One note of caution - try to keep the bottom bracket dry. I had to replace the BB in my bike a couple weeks ago, most likely because it got wet and I never hung the bike up to drain the h20 out - A $30 lesson for me. This is good advise regardless of what bike you have - but I did have to replace the OEM BB.

  22. #22
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    One point to bring up for foul weather riding is that when washing the bike you do NOT want to use a hard pressure spray from the hose nozzle. Doing so will cause a sheet of high velocity water to slide along any shafts or axles and this can shoot in past any grease or fork seals and you end up with water in where it should not be. Cartridge BB's for example are tough components. I think I've only had issues with one ever. And that came on a used bike so I don't know how it was treated. All the rest have been washed using a hose nozzle setting that produces a gentle rain like spray that woudl be suitable for even delicate outdoor garden plants. That way there's not enough pressure to push any water past any seals or shields.

    For the same reason I don't spray the side of the freehub or freewheels on my bikes. There's no seal on that side other than the shield which isn't a seal so much as a deflector. When I wash and rinse the rear sprocket cluster the rinsing is always done from up beside the tire so only the sprockets receive the direct gentle spray.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  23. #23
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    Thanks for all the info so far you guys. I've put on fenders and rode it in light rainy conditions, and puddles and the after care clean up wasn't too bad. Just a wipe down, brushing out gravel and dirt, and re-lubing the chain.

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