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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 10-02-07, 06:55 PM   #1
Chicagoan
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Winter Maintenance

Hi all this will be my first winter of cycling. I have been trying to decide which bike to ride in the winter and right now I am leaning towards my main commuter a Specialized Crossroads Sport with slicks on it.

I am not handy at all and my bike has 4 free tuneups (its only 4 months old). What do I need to maintain it during the winter months?
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Old 10-02-07, 08:18 PM   #2
twobikes
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Keep the tires pumped up and keep the bike clean from grit and salt, especially the drive train. If everything was in order in the summer and fall, it should work pretty well in the winter, too. No matter what you do, riding in the winter will feel like the brakes are dragging. The cold stiffens the tires and the grease in the bearings. Some of this can be frustrating as you watch your speed drop (assuming you live where there is real winter). A lot depends on your purpose for riding. I want to lose some weight, so anything that gets my heart rate up to about 120 bpm is OK, even if I am moving at the speed of a turtle.
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Old 10-02-07, 09:41 PM   #3
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To prevent rust, store your bike out in the cold (not necessarily in the elements) during the week. Then bring it inside when you want to clean it up. This prevents snow from melting into water and either causing rust or refreezing in places that you can't get it out of.
At least this works for me.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:19 AM   #4
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I second the recommendation about cleaning the drive train. I fell down badly in that department last winter, and the price I paid was a whole new drive train (cog set, chain, rings) this summer. This winter I will pay more attention, and keep that drive train cleaner.

Another thing I plan to do is to use a wet-lube on my chain. Last winter I ran a wax-based lube, and I think that was a mistake given the general wetness that results from riding in snow.

Lastly, if snow builds up while the bike sits outdoors, take the time to brush it off. Or just pick up the bike and drop it on its tires a few times. You don't want snow melting into your drive train and causing rust.

I think winter is hard on bikes no matter what you do.

Are you really going to ride slicks in winter? No studs?
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Old 10-03-07, 08:23 AM   #5
jeff-o
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I recommend covering anything that rusts in marine-grade grease. I didn't do it last year, and man did I pay for it.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobikes View Post
keep the bike clean from grit and salt, especially the drive train.
yeah. I fell down in that department, and let my converted winter mountain bike sit for a while once winter was over and I got back on my road bike. when I was carless for a few days, and needed the mountain bike to commute on, I discovered the chain was almost rusted to the cogs.

Luckily, It hadn't been too nasty, and loosened up with some new lube and use. But if I'd waited much longer, it probably would have meant new chain and cogset, at the least.

Have a few surface spots of rust around the locking nuts on the wheels, and various nuts and bolts, but a little cleanup will take care of those. everything else is in pretty good shape.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:36 AM   #7
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Make sure all threads, seatpost, stem and other metal-metal contacts are greased. Make sure your cables are fully greased inside the housings.
Wax is a much cleaner way of protecting exposed metal. I do the frame, exposed cable runs and bolt heads with car wax.
Fit full length fenders if possible.
Protect your lower headset race with a lizard skin (neoprene/velcro) or is you can dissassemble the fork, fit a 2" section of inner tube in place.
New hubs are often poorly greased. I prefer to pack grease in and leave no room for dirt.
Suspension forks need care and feeding too.
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