Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Lowell, MA
Bikes: I just ride them, they own me.
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It's a crap-shoot here.
Steel and New England winters are not two concepts that enter into long term harmonious relationships.
That being said: I have an 83 steel frame that I have ridden year in-year out since, well 1983. It is frequently broken down, religiously cleaned and regreased.
So, since Salt and Sand and Salty-Sand are the two absolute worst enemies to anything bike, you cannont store your bike for any period of time while salt remains on it. Likewise you cannot ride your bike for any period of time while sand grinds away at the moving parts.
-Strip the bike/frame (everything off - and I mean everything, down to the seat post screw and any small cable guide screws)
-give it a complete and thorough cleaning, note the trouble spots if any.
-You may need to treat surface signs of rust, broken paint etc., and sand and seal those areas. They are ripe for salt and rust.
-Treat the interior of the frame with Weigle Frame Saver IT IS A MUST. Not optional. Follow the directions and take your time to do it correctly.
-Get all new cables, and make sure they are stainless. I like the treated Dura-Ace Cables. IMHO, they are the best.
-when reassembling your bike, use water proof grease on everthing that has threads. I like Phil Wood waterproof, but any good quality waterproof grease will work. (I am not sure that all grease is not waterproof, to me it seems by its very nature it would be, but I am not an expert there), Don't forget to grease the seat post area, the cable ferrules, and the barrel adjusters on your brake calipers. These are all points of entry for water.
-Now for riding. I avoid cleaning my winter bikes if the roads are clear and dry, even though you get that fine white salty dust. I figure the roads will be wet soon enough, and that will be the time to clean them. They are always cleaned after a ride in wet conditions, as this is the most likely time to accumulate salt and sand.
-The bikes are stripped about once a month, or as needed and given a more thorough cleaning and regreasing.
-To be fair I ride only single speeds on bad days in the winter. This makes stripping them much simpler.
-I ride cheaper chains and wheels in the winter too (Mavic CPX22s or something similar with stainless spokes and alloy hubs). The chains are essentially disposable in the spring (just no way you are ever going to clean out the grit that penetrates the rollers), and the wheels see corrosion at the nipples, so I am not going to cry over a set of cheaper wheels that will get me through a couple of winters, maybe. (I ride the cheaper wheels as it is just harder to clean them.)
Last edited by zac; 10-28-10 at 10:18 AM.