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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 02-22-10, 07:17 PM   #1
chico1st
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keeping external derailers working?

i notice that a lot of people have external derailers on their winter bikes (like me) but mine start acting crazy in the winter.
Do you guys just accept it? or do you do something about it?
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Old 02-22-10, 07:18 PM   #2
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Crazy? please explain.

If it won't stop calling your phone and randomly "bumps" into you then maybe you need a restraining order.
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Old 02-22-10, 07:43 PM   #3
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i notice that a lot of people have external derailers on their winter bikes (like me) but mine start acting crazy in the winter.
Do you guys just accept it? or do you do something about it?
Go to Canadian Tire and get yourself a can of Rustcheck, it's great stuff for keeping your drivetrain lubed in winter. It really works.
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Old 02-22-10, 07:47 PM   #4
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Crazy? please explain
lol... it randomly changes gears. It happens every winter.. or wont change gears when i want
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Old 02-22-10, 07:54 PM   #5
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Tune it up as accurately as possible... mine still skips when the upper pulley get really jammed with slush and a gentle tap with the boot usually knocks off said slush.

Won't change gears sounds like your cables are contaminated, i'm guessing to a smaller gear is the trouble?

Anyways, sometimes you just have to pick a comfortable gear which keeps the chain line straight and stick with it, impromptu single-speed.
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Old 02-22-10, 10:05 PM   #6
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Generally I have more problems in the front than in the rear but icing can cause problems with both. Usually the back one frees itself after awhile. The front sometimes requires a whack with my boot and a good cleaning.

Ghost shifting can be caused by a number of things including a derailleur slightly out of adjustment or sticking. If you have an opportunity, give your drive train a good cleaning and re-lube to see if that helps. If the loop of cable right near the derailleur is too short, that can cause problems too, as well as a chain being too long.

I think jagwire has some sealed cable ferrules that may help keep the cables from freezing up. I may invest in some for next year.
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Old 02-22-10, 10:51 PM   #7
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For me it's been cleaning & maintenance - some degreaser (like Simple Green) mixed with warm water in a spray bottle, an old toothbrush, and elbow grease. Once dried some teflon spray or some drops of chain oil on the pivot points will keep it working well. Don't forget the cables; a dab of lithium grease between your finger and thumb tips and then run it along any exposed cable. Hold the bike vertically with the front wheel up (or hang it from a hook) and place a few drops of chain oil into the housings and let gravity take it from there. Place your bike on a stand (or get the rear wheel off the ground somehow) and run through all the gears to make sure everything works. Make adjustments as necessary. Do all that and then next year get an IGH or SS and live happily ever after.
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Old 02-23-10, 06:09 AM   #8
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After a couple of years of shifting trouble I "upgraded" to friction shifters for the winter bike. Indexed shifters froze far too easily and too often, it got old pretty quick. Now I spend much less time worrying about adjustments, cleaning and whatnot. I still have an occasional issue with freezing cables and ice/slush accumulating on the cassette. I can live with that.
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Old 02-23-10, 07:56 AM   #9
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I had that problem when I first started riding in winter. I kept adjusting and lubing the RD and it did not help any. It was not until I removed the whole thing from the bike that I realized the problem was that the cable was rusting to the cable housing. I bought some high quality cable+housing and it worked great the rest of the winter.

Then I bought a SS.
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Old 02-23-10, 08:39 AM   #10
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^^ if by "that problem" you refer to my post and freezing shifters, that was not it in my case. The cables and housings were ok, but the shifter mechanism inside the combined shifter/brake lever combo on handlebar froze to the point of being useless. Friction shifter changed all that. The bike still has same shifter cables and housings.
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Old 02-23-10, 11:33 AM   #11
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You can also get into the habit of parking it in a good general purpose gear. If it freezes while parked, you'll still be in a reasonable gear until it loosens up again.
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Old 02-23-10, 12:42 PM   #12
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Put on new cables and housing at least every year, clean and relube, let dry in house. My extra long rear fender keeps a lot of slush off the front deraliuer.
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Old 02-23-10, 01:48 PM   #13
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mine gave me trouble after I washed it and the rear cable seized in the housing due to freezing.
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Old 02-24-10, 01:32 PM   #14
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... Do all that and then next year get an IGH or SS and live happily ever after.
My next year was three years ago and I can report that this does actually work. My maintenance time and expense has been reduced dramatically since I've converted my old Schwinn Continental to a FG.

I have lived happily (so far)!
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Old 02-24-10, 01:49 PM   #15
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I figure for winter im either eventually going to have Drum with IGH or a fixie someday. I dont like the idea that I have to have toe clips/clipless in the winter with a fixie. I think I would prefer platforms.

Also in reference to this post... it turned out it was mainly cable freezing that was causing the problem. Thanks everyone

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Old 02-24-10, 02:28 PM   #16
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I cleaned and lubed the front and rear derailleurs, cleaned and lubed the cables, installed grunge guards,. I replace the cables annually. No issues.
As a matter of fact the only issue I have had in two winters of riding, was that my rear brake cable froze up last winter.
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Old 02-24-10, 03:19 PM   #17
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I cleaned and lubed the front and rear derailleurs, cleaned and lubed the cables, installed grunge guards,. I replace the cables annually. No issues.
As a matter of fact the only issue I have had in two winters of riding, was that my rear brake cable froze up last winter.
Another reason to ride FG in the winter. I have both a front and rear brake, but in a situation like this - a frozen brake cable - a FG has an alternative brake in the drive train.

And in case I'm coming off as one of those annoying tight jean wearing adolescent FG evangelists, this is my twenty first winter of winter commuting.

Last edited by atoms; 02-24-10 at 03:23 PM. Reason: insert old fart cred disclaimer
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Old 02-26-10, 02:32 PM   #18
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I've heard of people installing sealed cables to keep stuff from freezing in the winter, though I'm honestly not entirely sure how well they do or don't work -
http://www.gore.com/en_xx/products/c...eon/index.html (Gore Ride-On Cables)

Seems like a good idea...I personally have an internal hub, and other than getting slow for shifting in the winter sometimes hasn't been a problem. (Though I'm not really suggesting you buy a whole new bike for it or anything)
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Old 02-26-10, 04:39 PM   #19
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Another reason to ride FG in the winter. I have both a front and rear brake, but in a situation like this - a frozen brake cable - a FG has an alternative brake in the drive train.

And in case I'm coming off as one of those annoying tight jean wearing adolescent FG evangelists, this is my twenty first winter of winter commuting.
Now that's funny! Kudos to you, my friend. I would love to try riding FG but I doubt my knees would be pleased with the idea. This my first year of winter commuting and my 43-year-old, Uber-Clyde knees are grateful for my granny gears (and freehub) when needed.
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Old 02-27-10, 03:54 PM   #20
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Everybody's station is different, different mileage, weather, distance , road slop/salt etc.

As others have said, good cables, some maintenance, lubrication, fenders, all can help. Some other things, Chainguard to keep some of the crud from getting on the chain in the first place, ( Most of the crud that gets to the RD gets there by transfer from the chain ) Pogies, or hand covers, in addition to keeping the hands warm, generally cover the shift levers and the cable entry on the bars, that probably helps as well.
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