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Riding the nice bike during the winter time

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Riding the nice bike during the winter time

Old 11-20-21, 04:28 PM
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2bridges1bike
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Riding the nice bike during the winter time

Hi All

I sold my alloy road bike this year to upgrade to a carbon fiber road bike with SRAM axs. Everything on the internet says like salt will immediately corrode and destroy my new bike, but its my only bike and Id like to keep riding it through the winter when it relatively dry out. tThere will likely be a lot of salt on the roads too. Would my bike and drivetrain be ok if I put clip on fenders and washed the bike down after each ride? Anyone else ride your nice bike during the winter?
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Old 11-20-21, 04:31 PM
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I do. But, there are only a couple weeks a year with appreciable road salt where I live so it is not that hard to keep it clean. If I was in Minnesota I would have a special winter bike. Either that or hose down after every single ride. Which isn't a lot of fun when it is really cold out.
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Old 11-20-21, 04:55 PM
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I ride my nice road bike outside in the winter if the roads are dry; dusty, salty road grit hasn't been an issue. If there's snow, ice, slush, etc, I'll ride a bike with studs.
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Old 11-20-21, 05:09 PM
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Ride it, clean it, don’t worry.
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Old 11-20-21, 06:45 PM
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I ride mine outside, but.....I live in Florida, so I guess it does not matter what I say.
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Old 11-20-21, 06:49 PM
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You violated the N+1 rule. but ride what you got. Then clean and lube when the weather is nasty.
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Old 11-20-21, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 2bridges1bike View Post
Hi All

I sold my alloy road bike this year to upgrade to a carbon fiber road bike with SRAM axs. Everything on the internet says like salt will immediately corrode and destroy my new bike, but its my only bike and Id like to keep riding it through the winter when it relatively dry out. tThere will likely be a lot of salt on the roads too. Would my bike and drivetrain be ok if I put clip on fenders and washed the bike down after each ride? Anyone else ride your nice bike during the winter?
​​​​​​The chain will wear out faster, but it'll wear out anyway. They're cheap and easy to replace. Cogs too, and rims if that's the kind of brakes you have. Worn rims can be more of a pain but that will take you years.

Versus not riding when it's nice, which just sucks. Definitely ride. 🙂
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Old 11-21-21, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by 2bridges1bike View Post
Hi All

I sold my alloy road bike this year to upgrade to a carbon fiber road bike with SRAM axs. Everything on the internet says like salt will immediately corrode and destroy my new bike, but its my only bike and Id like to keep riding it through the winter when it relatively dry out. tThere will likely be a lot of salt on the roads too. Would my bike and drivetrain be ok if I put clip on fenders and washed the bike down after each ride? Anyone else ride your nice bike during the winter?
here in Central NC it doesnt get that consistently cold, but they salt the roads whenever a hard freeze is forecast. The first salting forces my old car off the road until a few good rains in the spring, but I ride my good (only) road bike through winter. Just need to be a bit more assiduous about cleaning, lubing and routine maintenance.
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Old 11-21-21, 03:11 PM
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I won't risk crashing if the roads are wet or black ice might occur. Dry winter roads only. In Colorado there's certainly some salt or magnesium chloride, but not that much. I use a damp rag after each ride.
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Old 11-21-21, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Ride it, clean it, dont worry.

^ Basically this. I'd only add that you should clean it shortly after any rides where it gets covered in loads of salt and grime. Don't let it sit dirty for days.

Look after your bike and it'll look after you. After all, it was made to be ridden! 🙂
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Old 11-21-21, 10:39 PM
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I’ve ridden both aluminum and steel frames through decades of Michigan winters, and based on that experience, I can tell you that there is not much to worry about, regardless of how often you clean it.

The biggest consideration, I think, is to let the bike thaw and have the slush melt off. Next is to use stainless steel and aluminum hardware for bolts. Next, lube the chain. At the bottom of the list is washing. My commuter of 15 years was an alloy Novara Buzz, and yeah, while I’d wash it periodically, I was never obsessive or even habitual about it, and only bothered to wash it when it looked bad.

Depending on your storage circumstances, washing in the winter can be a real pain in the butt. My advice nowadays— and I never thought of this or did it before last year— is to get a garden sprayer from Home Depot, put some warm water in it, and rinse the bike down as needed. Sometimes I even do a two step thing, where I put soap in and suds it with the sprayer first, and then do another fill of clean water to rinse. It’s a bit of a PITA rinsing soapy water out of the tank, so if you have a bucket and brush, I’d probably just do that and use the sprayer to rinse it off. The nice thing about the sprayer is that it’s a very fine spray that can be precisely targeted, so you’re not slinging water all over the garage, driveway, or wherever, which then turns to ice.

But, since we’re in the Road forum here and not the Commuting forum, I don’t suspect you’re going to be riding through slush, and are instead dealing with light, salty spray and salt dust, so just rinse that stuff off, lube your chain, and you’ll be fine…for many, many years.

EDIT: this is my winter/spring trainer. This is it’s seventh winter, and it’s had no major overhauls, not even bottom bracket. It did get one new BB, but it was a misdiagnosis chasing a squeak which turned out to be a missing chainring bolt. Whic reminds me: grease your threads! All of ‘em.


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Last edited by chaadster; 11-21-21 at 10:51 PM.
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Old 11-22-21, 06:04 AM
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I ride my nice bike if its dry-ish. If its wet with slush etc. Ill ride the gravel bike
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Old 11-22-21, 09:50 AM
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Dry roads are no problem. The challenge I have is once snow is on the ground, even if it's dry and sunny there are often puddles and roadway moisture that is unavoidable. Hit a few of those and you'll find salty grime all over your bike. No big deal if you wash it off - but also washing bikes in the winter is a bit more challenging too.

I have a few bikes that I ride in really gross conditions (cyclocross and winter road riding). At the end of the season, I'll have my LBS overhaul these bikes. They strip the bike down to the bare frame, clean everything, replace cables, replace or repack/grease bearings, overhaul the rear hub, install new bar tape, etc. This service is usually around $200 and my bikes come back looking and feeling brand new.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post

I have a few bikes that I ride in really gross conditions (cyclocross and winter road riding). At the end of the season, I'll have my LBS overhaul these bikes. They strip the bike down to the bare frame, clean everything, replace cables, replace or repack/grease bearings, overhaul the rear hub, install new bar tape, etc. This service is usually around $200 and my bikes come back looking and feeling brand new.
That’s awesome, but should be total overkill for anything near modern, by which I mean any quality bike made in the last 20 years or so, and which isn’t left outside, particularly not for freeze and thaw cycles. If it’s merely a question of why not do that, then yeah, do it, but it shouldn’t be necessary to keep a rig in top running condition (which I understand you were not saying).

I keep my bikes on fleek, no doubt, and think they’re quieter and better performing than most, so we share that standard, however, as I said, I don’t do much more than basic maintenance and keep the bikes garaged. Component quality is a big deal; some bits are not as robust as others, e.g. cheap cables compared to performance sealed cables.
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Old 11-22-21, 11:24 AM
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Everything on the internet says like salt will immediately corrode and destroy my new bike
I wonder why it's just new bikes? Maybe you go to read crazy sites on the internet or take too literal their cautions. <grin>

How did your old bike fair in the winter? I expect your new bike will experience it pretty much the same way.
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Old 11-22-21, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by 2bridges1bike View Post
Hi All

I sold my alloy road bike this year to upgrade to a carbon fiber road bike with SRAM axs. Everything on the internet says like salt will immediately corrode and destroy my new bike, but its my only bike and Id like to keep riding it through the winter when it relatively dry out. tThere will likely be a lot of salt on the roads too. Would my bike and drivetrain be ok if I put clip on fenders and washed the bike down after each ride? Anyone else ride your nice bike during the winter?
the worst salt damage I've had has been from sweat on the trainer destroying one of my STI/brifters. That was before I learned to cover my bars with a thick towel.
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Old 11-23-21, 08:15 AM
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I think that many over think the fragility of carbon. Heck, they make race cars and airplanes out of the stuff. Bike are meant to be ridden.

That said, I don't ride mine when it is cold and slushy. It's just not fun. I hate winter.
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Old 11-23-21, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
I ride my nice road bike outside in the winter if the roads are dry; dusty, salty road grit hasn't been an issue. If there's snow, ice, slush, etc, I'll ride a bike with studs.
Good to know. I live in the Twin Cities too but I've been riding my fat bike in the winter when it's slushy. It's got a carbon frame but there has been really no issues with salt damage on the bike. That said, I was hesitant to ride my gravel bike on the roads (stainless steel frame) that has couplers. Since it could accept studs, this seemed like a reasonable idea. So when the roads are dry with dusty dried salt on them, it's ok?
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Old 11-23-21, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
So when the roads are dry with dusty dried salt on them, it's ok?
Yeah, I haven't had any issues and I'm not particularly fastidious when it comes to cleaning. I mean, realistically, that crap is on the roads through spring until the street cleaners come out in, what - April? May? It's always particularly gross when, after a long ride, I forget, lick my lips and get a huge dose of salt.
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Old 11-23-21, 08:09 PM
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I bought my bikes to ride them, not sit in the house and look at them.
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Old 11-24-21, 06:12 AM
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I'm still riding in November, but only if the roads are dry enough. I sometimes ride at a local state park which is basically a sandy peninsula that extends out into Lake Erie, with roads on it. If I ride on partially wet roads there, my frame gets a good bit of sand on the frame in some places. After the ride, I use a water bottle to squirt and remove the sand from the affected areas and then wipe it down with a damp faux chamois that I carry in my car. It only takes a couple of minutes. It gets dried and windblown on the rooftop rack on the way home, which is only about 5 miles.
No salt yet to worry about. I hope to take my new Emonda out today, tomorrow or both days. I'm leaving for our winter residence in a couple of weeks and taking my old Klein with me. It's geared better for the flat roads there. I won't have to worry about salt there either.
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Old 11-25-21, 04:42 PM
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Only if it's a dry roads day. I built up an inexpensive rain bike, alu frame, cheap carbon fork, cheap wheels, other spare parts, but new drivetrain with the same cassette and similar crankset to my nice bike, except that instead of expensive brifters and derailleurs, I used unindexed bar-end shifters and cable derailleurs, I built it maybe 20 years ago, still rides great. The frame and fork have fender clearance, so the bike has them. You could start with something used and go from there.
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