Our bikes struggle throughout the winter months due to poor weather conditions. It’s wet, windy and icy. Poor weather results in more debris washed onto the roads and getting on our bikes. So we have put some top bike maintenance tips to help you both save money and survive the winter.
1.FIT MUD GUARDS
Mudguards are like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them. But no matter your feelings towards them, they are essential for winter riding as they will keep spray and dirt from covering vital components on your bike. The mixture of grit, water and grime increases in the winter months and by fitting mudguards to your front and rear wheel, it will dramatically reduce the amount of wear on your drivetrain and brakes. Studies also show that some mudguards are also aerodynamically efficient, making your commute faster!
CHECK YOUR BRAKES
Remove both wheels and wipe down the contact point on the rim. This will allow for extra traction under braking. A build-up of oils and unwanted grime will decrease your stopping power, which is vital in winter and wet weather. While wheels are removed, check your brake pads for wear as they are only rubber blocks. Metal on Metal friction will cause excessive wear on the rims that will ultimately result in having to buy a new wheelset (which is a lot more expensive than a pair of brake pads). If you are a bit more advanced, look at YouTube tutorials to tighten your brake cables. It’s simple and will save you some money.
Disk brakes are not a lot different in terms of looking for wear. Firstly, remove the wheels and check the discs for wear as they can get thinner riding long distances or riding regularly. Secondly, remove the brake pads and also check for wear. Like rim brakes, check to see if pads are worn down before they are reduced to metal. Again, metal on metal will wear out your disk and could cause serious injury whilst riding should they fail. If you have hydraulic brakes and they are not feeling quite a sharp as usual, we recommend visiting your local bike shop as the are the experts and can quickly help resolve any issues with the correct tools.
KEEP YOUR BIKE UNDERCOVER
It may not sound the best tip for winter cycling but it will certainly protect your bike from the elements. Keeping your bike under shelter will reduce the effect of deterioration such as rust on your frame. In addition to this, the rain and frost will remove chain lube that will cause disruption to the drivetrain and will reduce the mileage of each component.
CLEAN & LUBE DRIVE CHAIN
Regular cleaning of the chain will reduce the amount of wear to the chain and entire drive chain. Rain and snow is particularly bad for chain wear. A simple tip is to wipe your chain dry after a wet cycle home. Have an old rag to hand and clean chain off….even clean the cassette and gears.
There are many lubes on the market to help reduce wear and protect your chain. Try and avoid general oil like WD40 or maintenance oil. Stick to a bike specific product. A simple teflon based lube like TF2 is perfect. Apply generously and then wipe off the excess.
FIT WINTER TYRES
Your tyres are your only point of contact with the ground. You are also trusting that the grip from the tyre is keeping you upright in wet and slippery conditions. In addition to this, roads and paths become littered in unwanted items that can cause punctures. We recommend a harder wearing tyre which will offer better puncture protection. This will help with your confidence and will allow you to relax and feel less concerned about your ride to your end destination.
BUY A BIKE STAND AND CREATE A BIKE WASH AREA
If you have some room in the garden, purchasing a bike stand for a wash area is a great idea as it means the dirt and water can be sustained on one area. A bike stand will allow you to clean and maintain your bike much easier than trying to do it when it’s on the floor or when you are holding it. This will also help you progress your advanced skills such as brake bleeding and bike servicing.
GET A WINTER BIKE
If you do have some spare cash this winter, it is worth considering a winter bike. This will allow your main bike to stay warm and dry during the winter months, especially if it’s going to cost you in the future. A winter bike is a bike that you don’t mind getting dirty, not maintained to a good standard and is ready for any winter conditions. This bike would be an old/second-hand bike that may have cheaper parts but will have winter tyres and mudguards to future proof itself during the colder months. A must if you own a nice summer bike that you don’t want to ruin in the winter.