How To Prep Your Bike For Winter
As the winter rolls around, the evening starts to draw in, the temperatures drop and the weather takes a turn – but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ride your bike. In fact, riding through the winter months can be some of the most satisfying days on the bike, knowing that you were able to persevere even when all the odds were against you. However, harsh conditions can be hard on your bike, and the last thing you want is to be hit with a big maintenance bill when you take your bike in for its spring service. Treating your steed with the love and care it deserves will save headaches and cash down the line. We’ve put together this guide to help you minimise the impact of the winter weather on your bike.
Guard Against Grit
The drivetrain is the core of your bike. Taking care of it is pivotal to its functionality, not to mention riding with clunky gears accompanied by a variety of creaking and squeaking noises isn’t exactly fun. Heavy rainfall results in runoff finding its way onto the roads, taking a healthy dose of grit, sand and salty water with it – neither of which is good for your bike. Once they find their way into the components, they essentially create a grinding paste that will rapidly increase the rate of wear if left to its devices.
All hope is not lost – there are ways to mitigate and prevent the onslaught of road spray! Mudguards are a popular choice for roadies and off-roaders alike, and for good reason: they’re cost-effective, easy to install, prevents soggy bottoms and stops spray in its tracks by intercepting the muck as it aims directly at the drivetrain components. You’ll also be infinitely more popular with your riding partners when they don’t get a muddy face from being sat on your wheel.
Protection sprays like Juice Lubes' Frame Juice would be a great addition to your bike cleaning routine. Sprays such as these create a microscopic corrosion-resistant film to your components – doing so prevents muck and grime from the road sticking to your frame or drivetrain components. This reduces the effects of the grinding grit and makes cleaning your bike next time around significantly easier – just try to avoid getting it on braking surfaces.
The Devil Is In The Details (Or The Bearings)
Bearings are an often overlooked part of bike maintenance, but they are an integral part of your bike and are quite literally what keeps the wheels spinning. It’s worth checking these from time to time, as this could prevent unnecessary problems down the road – bearings throughout the bike are subject to the same grit and grime as your drivetrain. Over time this will cause some serious wear and could result in the bearings collapsing if left – not ideal in the middle of a winter training ride…
Before the winter riding season kicks off, simply check the surfaces of the sealed bearings (bottom bracket, headset and hubs etc.), and give them a fresh layer of grease. This will do your bike a world of good, preventing any water ingress to keep the components spinning smoothly.
Removing cranks and headsets can require a bit of technical know-how, which may seem daunting to the untrained mechanic – if you’re unsure of what to do or simply don’t have the time, why not book a service in our workshop? Our trusty mechanics will take care of it for you.
Save the racing rubber for summer, you’ll lose more time repairing a puncture on the side of the road than through the increased rolling resistance of a harder-wearing tyre. Puncture resistance is never more important than in winter with all sorts of sharp debris spread across the roads – no one likes fixing a puncture in the cold depths of winter in the pouring rain. Not only will a tougher set of tyres simply protect you from punctures where a lightweight summer tyre might perish, but they’ll also give you the confidence to head out when the roads are a bit boggy.
Tyres can be expensive, so if you don’t fancy shelling out on new rubber when your current tyres are perfectly fine, it’s at least worth checking them over them regularly to ensure there’s no surprise flint lodged in there.
Light Up Your Life
Perhaps an obvious tip, but lights are undeniably important when it comes to winter riding – as the nights draw in, the light can quickly change and will catch you off-guard if you’re not careful. If you’re heading out in the evening, chucking a spare light in your saddle bag or jersey pocket will pay dividends if you encounter any unexpected delays. Whether it’s a mechanical, puncture, or deviations on your route (we all get lost from time to time – right?) you could end up out later than expected.
Bike lights aren’t only useful for low light situations – daytime running lights are incredibly useful whether you’re in the city or out in the sticks during the winter. Pouring rain and mucky roads can obstruct visibility for road users, so installing a bright flashing light on your bike will help you stand out so no one will miss you.
Whether you’re looking for nighttime or daytime running lights, or all of the above, check out our website or head in-store to check out our range of bike lights.
Book A Service
Deep cleaning your bike for the winter can be a time-consuming process and it’s not always easy to know what needs to be done, and that’s if you’ve even got the tools for the job – this is why many of us tend to neglect our bikes over the winter months!
Booking your bike in for a service with one of our mechanics will save you the headache and stress. Starting your winter with a bike service will put you in good stead for the months ahead, and you can always get advice and pointers from our mechanics on the best practise for your bike going forward. If you want to book in, either head in-store or give one of our three locations a ring!
Farnham: 01252 448836
Petersfield: 01730 263370
Walton on Thames: 01932 221424
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