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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-17-05, 10:48 PM   #1
MAK
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Effect of Cold Weather on the Bike???

I'm in the Northeast and it's finally getting colder. I see a lot of posts about clothing and nutrition in cold weather but not about care of the bike. In terms of maintenance, should any special precautions be done to keep the bike in shape? Does the cold have an effect on cable strength or make cables, spokes or other parts more brittle? Is there a need for extra lube...etc.? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 11-17-05, 10:57 PM   #2
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The important thing is to make sure you get all the salt off of the bike if riding in areas that salt the roadways.
Take extra care to dry the bike after every ride and keep the chain cleaned and lubed.
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Old 11-17-05, 11:25 PM   #3
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depends on the type of bike and how much use it actually gets too

my workbike is lucky to cleaned once a year, I rarely do anything to it, lubing the chain alot or making a big deal about it has become pointless, it gets replaced 2-3 times a year, and I ride where they salt ALOT, they even salted today and all we got was a dusting of snow

singlespeed and fixed gear bikes dont need much maintenance

with geared bikes clean and lubed pivot points on the brakes are a very good idea, keeping the cable routing clean and taken care of is good too or you wont be shifting at all once it gets real cold and wet

if your derailer cable housing is exposed to spray it will get gunked up and need cleaned periodically--------where it connects to the derailer

both mountain bike and road bike brakes will eat your rims in the salty conditions quickly, typical road race brake pads are good for about 10 days of messenger use in the salt

the cold itself wont hurt the bike at all, makes the bottom bracket a little tougher to spin from friction but thats minor

Salt getting in the rims will corrode the rims and spokes a bit, but thats a slow process. I go thru a new rim about every 8 months on the front of my singlespeed just from it getting eaten away by the brake.

Fenders help keep alot of the crap off the bike but the spray from passing cars and trucks still gets all over everything.

Dont know how bad the weather affects shifters or brifters, just know that when its truly cold and wet, most bikes wont shift gears at all after a few hours, and the brakes will be worthless in heavy rain unless youve got disks. Ive had icicles all over my bike before and ive seen brakes freeze up solid.

one very inportant hint if you commute and lock up outside, lube your lock, coming out to a frozen lock that wont open is a real bummer
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Old 11-18-05, 08:05 AM   #4
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Around here they do not use salt but instead use mag chloride to raise the freezing point of the roads.
Does anyone know how magnesium chloride affects bikes?
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Old 11-18-05, 09:17 AM   #5
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In very cold weather (yesterday and today being well below freezing) I had trouble with the freewheel mechanism on my Ultegra freehub. It would fail to engage at odd intervals, leaving me spinning away... or a half-engagement that would "let go" under increased pedal force.

Ages ago, I saw an article on the web about "winterising" a bike. Specific attention was paid to use of a low viscosity lube for the freewheel to avoid the problem described above. Basically it involved removing the freehub, taking out the rubber seal, flushing old lubricant with solvent/WD40, allowing this to dry and introducing a low viscosity oil.

Cheers,

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Old 11-18-05, 09:38 AM   #6
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as said before, it`s not the cold as much as the salt... i, like many other people here, have a dedicated winter bike. (i buy used bikes and winterize them (wheel, fenders, ...). i use them for a couple years and change it (i park it in a overheated garage at the job and it rusts). i just changed it this year...

and yes, at very cold temp things do not work as well and need more lub. i mean, under -20C. otherwise, regular maintenance is good enough!
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Old 11-18-05, 10:35 AM   #7
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Going below -20c its not the amount of lube, but the type, and unless your willing to repack bearings (if they're not sealed cartridge) everytime it gets cold you just have to grin and bear it.
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Old 11-22-05, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MAK
I'm in the Northeast and it's finally getting colder. I see a lot of posts about clothing and nutrition in cold weather but not about care of the bike. In terms of maintenance, should any special precautions be done to keep the bike in shape? Does the cold have an effect on cable strength or make cables, spokes or other parts more brittle? Is there a need for extra lube...etc.? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
MAK, where in Delaware are you? Judging by your profile, I'm guessing near Newark. Anyway, I rode a decent amount last year in the winter. I'm not the best at cleaning and maintaining my bike but it still survived even though it often got coated with salt spray. I did replace my brake cables this summer which had started to stick from corrosion. I had no problems with anything while riding though (shifting, braking, pedaling) down to 17F. I plan on riding to work every day this winter so maybe I'll learn to either maintain my stuff better or I'll find out just how quickly parts wear out from salt contamination everyday.
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