Ask a Mechanic: Prepping Your Bike For Winter

Craig says: “I’m new to cycling and want to ride all winter, I’m wondering how I can beat the weather.”

Winter conditions are hard on your bike. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or are logging base miles for next race season, you’ll have to ride in bad weather at some point. By taking a few precautions to safeguard your bike and its components, you’ll get many more miles out of your gear than you would otherwise.

First things first: Buy yourself a good pair of fenders, or a MarshGuard for mountain bikes. Although they’re not the sexiest, when rain and grime are your biggest enemy, fenders are worth their weight in gold. Not only do fenders keep your bike cleaner, but they also play a key role in keeping you dry and warm during your ride. They’re also super easy to mount to your bike.

Next up, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your brake pads. Wet weather means muck, so you’ll inevitably pick up more dirt and debris on your brakes and wheels, especially if you have rim brakes. So, for the roadies out there, keep a close eye on your pads, because what might have lasted a year in the dry will only last about a month in the wet—and going metal on metal is never a good thing. Disc brake pads will also wear more quickly in wet conditions.

Don’t forget the grease! Both before and after the winter season, you should pull your bike apart and completely re-grease all applicable parts, especially your bike’s headset, wheel bearings (if you have cup and cone hubs), and bottom bracket. As you pull your bike apart, deep clean and liberally apply Dumonde Tech’s MR Grease. It’s fully waterproof, so it won’t flush out with water and heavy use.

Last, but not least, you’ll want to clean your bike as often as possible during the winter months. Unless you have some seriously heavy buildup of grime and dirt, you can simply dry and wipe your bike down with a clean rag after your ride. Make sure to wipe down and lube your chain after every wet ride. If you want to step up your cleaning game, use some of Maxima’s BioWash as you clean your bike to really make it shine. Although thoroughly cleaning your bike after every ride isn’t necessary, you should get in the habit of re-lubing your chain after every wet ride. If you want a more in depth video about drivetrain maintenance, you can reference it here.

You should also consider investing in a good set of commuter lights. Since Winter days are short and visibility tends to be even worse with bad weather, ensuring your safety on the road is vital.

Cruise over to Art’s Cyclery for all your winter needs. Thanks for watching and we’ll see you next week!