Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Atlanta, Georgia southside
Bikes: Lemond Buenos Aries, Gary Fisher Tassajara, Trek 4500, plus many more
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I don't think it is a dumb question, Tricia. Ideally, a bike would be cleaned and stored inside after each ride. Certain components do not work well with water, ice, etc. The chain is the first thing that comes to mind. Most likely, even if well oiled, the life of the chain will be shortened by the elements. Some of the frames you mention are made of aluminum and are probably quite capable of holding up to the elements, but any steel components are probably going to degrade. Spoke nipples and rims are known to rust and break, especially on the lower cost equipment. That being said, I know there are many bikes that keep on running even after spending their entire lives outside. At minimum, a much more aggressive maintenance cycle would be necessary.