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Is winter riding bad for the bike?

Old 02-05-13, 05:57 PM
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nickmarchese
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Is winter riding bad for the bike?

This time of year temps are usually around 35 F and sunny. However there's often some faded salt on the roads from some snow showers. Will this damage a carbon road bike?
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Old 02-06-13, 10:32 AM
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If you do proper maintenance you should be fine. My biggest issue is the salt/grit getting into the seals and damaging the bearings.
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Old 02-06-13, 12:48 PM
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Not sure about the carbon bike, but winter riding hasn't bothered my alluminum one. I try to clean off residual salt if it accumulates though.
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Old 02-06-13, 02:35 PM
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I was questioning this myself today. I have 150 winter miles on my winter bike this season. I am not as knowledgeable as everyone else here seems to be, I don't even know what the names of all the parts are. That is why the LBS is on speed dial. Yesterday I called the bike :mechanic and asked what I should be doing to care for the chain in this nasty weather. Clean and white lightening he tells me. Today I hop on to go 25 miles in the slush and snow and made it 5 miles, had to make a turn to the bike shop. The chain was sagging or something. He tells me to drop the bike off and give him the afternoon to clean/fix it (bearings I think). I ask, how long will this repair last. Through winter if I keep up with the cleaning. SO next I say I try very hard to keep the bikes in good shape and this happens. He says well Winter is very hard on bikes. I say, What about all these hobos around town that ride the old crummy bikes??? they seem to keep rolling along. He says, Yeah I know I am surprised too.
Now I am wondering if it is better to not ride in the snow and slush, is it just going to destroy the bike?
This is an older Trek navigator that I use only in crummy weather. This is the first year I am riding in snow.
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Old 02-06-13, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
Not sure about the carbon bike, but winter riding hasn't bothered my alluminum one. I try to clean off residual salt if it accumulates though.
Salt isn't going to hurt a plastic bike, at least not the plastic bits. (There are some experimentation using carbon fiber reinforced plastics for structural elements in highway bridges, instead of steal, just because the plastic resin is largely imune to salt corrosion. It's not universal because the upfront costs are very high.) It'll damage the lubricated bits, same as on any other bike. I wouldn't worry about. Clean it if you care, lube the chain.
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Old 02-06-13, 05:16 PM
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On any bike, in any season, everything on the bike except the frame and fork is a consumable. Stuff gets consumed faster in winter than in summer. You can defend yourself against things going wrong and a lot of expense by learning how to clean, lube, and adjust your bike. Bike clubs, REI, and some shops have classes. Take one. If that's not an option, you can learn how to do most stuff off the web. Use Google and the Park Tool website.

The only thing that can really go wrong is that a steel bike can rust on the inside from condensation caused by temperature changes. There is a treatment for that, but it involves completely disassembling the bike.

It sounds like you are riding carbon, which will be fine. I have seen corrosion problems between aluminum brake cable stops and a carbon frame, but this is rare.
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Old 02-06-13, 09:30 PM
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If there was salt on the roads, I use a gardening watering can of water to rinse the bike off after the ride. I rinse the drive train, the wheels and the brakes. I try not to get any water down the seat tube at the seat post junction. An old towel gets most of the water off, and the bike dries fast indoors.

When the chain has been dried, I'll lube it more often than I do in the summer.

Last edited by rm -rf; 02-07-13 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 02-09-13, 10:04 PM
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Rinse off the road salt from EVERYTHING and re-lube. If you've got the discipline for it you should be fine.
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Old 02-10-13, 06:26 AM
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A spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Does it all, removes salt, removes the rust from salt and is cheap as dirt. Also removes dirt.
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Old 02-10-13, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Snowman219 View Post
A spray bottle filled with white vinegar. Does it all, removes salt, removes the rust from salt and is cheap as dirt. Also removes dirt.
I'm going to have to give this a try...thanks for the suggestion.

Your carbon or aluminum frame/fork will not rust. Only steel frames, parts and components will rust and road salt is sort of a catalyst for rust. Also, anything that is dirty or gritty will certainly cause moving parts to wear if not cleaned. It is sort of like having a piece of sandpaper constantly rubbing on your parts. I also use the watering can rinsing method previously mentioned. This is why a lot of riders have a separate winter bike.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:59 AM
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salt will get at all the metal bits. pedals, crank, screws, nuts, etc. It takes alot of time and patience to truly clean it. I prefer to let it rust and replace parts as the disintegrate. A separate 'winter bike' that can be abused is sometimes the best option
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Old 02-14-13, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ctg492 View Post
...What about all these hobos around town that ride the old crummy bikes??? they seem to keep rolling along. He says, Yeah I know I am surprised too....
Your "mechanic" was humoring you, he knows exactly why us hobos keep rolling along.
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Old 02-14-13, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by fettsvenska View Post
...like having a piece of sandpaper constantly rubbing on your parts...
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Old 02-19-13, 09:47 PM
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Mag-chloride will pit and stain aluminum and cause the self welding (post to frame) to be more severe.It will also eat the nickel finish off the chain and then the chain.
At the very least the chain should maintained religiously if you come in contact with that stuff.
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