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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 01-11-05, 07:18 AM   #1
Hhowdy
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Salt Sand and Water

Howdy,
I ride year around here in Utah, the other day when I got back from my morning 20 miler, me and my bike were covered with wet sand and salt, the kind they use to defrost the roads. I cleaned my bike up and washed my riding gear but I had to wonder, is all of this nasty stuff bad for my bike? I know the chain is probably getting the worst of it but what about the wheel bearings and the derailers and stuff like that? Are there precautions I can take to minimize the damage?
Damn I'm learning to really dislike Utah winters.

M.R.
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Old 01-11-05, 07:33 AM   #2
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Yea, winters are rough on bikes. Clean and oil your chain as often as you can. The sand and salt will wear it out faster. Your bottom bracket should have some sort of seal to keep out salt/sand.

Some members on the forum go as far as finding a thrift store beater for winter riding/commuting. Not a bad idea, really.

Each year, after winter and just before spring, I completely dis-assemble my bike and clean it up. I usually end up replacing rusty cables and my chain.

This year, I think I might get my frame painted. It's getting pretty bad. Lots of racing rust!
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Old 01-11-05, 08:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jharte
Some members on the forum go as far as finding a thrift store beater for winter riding/commuting. Not a bad idea, really.
And convert it to ss or fixed to eliminate cable/derauller worries.
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Old 01-11-05, 03:28 PM   #4
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I find a winter of commuting will essentially trash my entire drivetrain. New chain, rings, cassette, and possibly rear deraileur are usually required come spring. If you tighten up your maintenance schedule you can extend component life significantly, and make your stuff last WAY longer. For me, I would need to repack pedals and hubs every 2 months, and probably replace the chain twice, if not more. What I do instead is run really cheap wheels, and turn my bike into a single speed with an old, seized from salt rear deraileur. A winter beater is a good idea.
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Old 01-11-05, 04:13 PM   #5
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Do you have fenders? Ones with a long mud flap on the front fender keep a lot of stuff off of the drivetrain. Most of the dirt on the chain is from the front wheel, that's why a long mud flap helps so much.

I finally made a single speed coaster brake bike with good 700c wheels. No cables, the brake is enclosed.
With full coverage fenders and a good mud flap. It beats anything so far for ease of cleaning and low maintenance. Except a fixie with fenders.

Last edited by 2manybikes; 01-11-05 at 04:18 PM. Reason: incomplete
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Old 01-11-05, 04:45 PM   #6
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Out here in the NE I'm also finding out how tough the winter is on the drive mechanism. It's hardly even snowed here! But the salt and sand is definitely corroding the chain and front derailler. I can't see it yet, but I'm sure it's doing a job in the rear derailler, too. Oh, and the rear cogs are also getting corroded.
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Old 01-12-05, 04:02 AM   #7
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All serious riders in the UK have a "Winter" bike and keep their good bike for summer use. These winter bikes always have mudgaurds (fenders) but then touring bikes do in the UK. The amount of salt or similar substances play havoc with wheels and transmissions so it makes good sense to have a hack bike for the winter. George.
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Old 01-12-05, 05:18 AM   #8
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If you pack the wheel bearings full of grease, so it oozes out, then its very hard for any crud to get in. My wheels are not sealed and I use it in all weather but I dont have any serious problems.
There are some hubs designed for grease injection, you just squirt some clean grease in and all the crud comes out.
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Old 01-12-05, 08:05 AM   #9
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When the weather's foul & there's salt and sand on the roads I clean my bike a lot more, sometimes after every ride depending on the conditions. Even if it just means a quick wipe down & relube. It helps a lot and doesn't really take that much time.
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