A Mechanic’s Guide to Winter Bike Maintenance

By October 15, 2020 No Comments

Whether you’re living in sunny Girona or facing wet, windy & cold weather for the next 6 months, every cyclist should take some steps to prepare their bike for winter. If the latter sums up the conditions you’re facing, the best bet is to simply buy a second bike prepped for harsh conditions, wrap your summer bike up in a blanket & store her away for winter. If you’re lucky enough to be able to ride the same bike all year, our mechanic WillemJan shares his 10 recommendations for prepping your bike for the winter months & tips for how to keep it running smoothly.

  1. Change Your Tyres

Selecting tyres that cope well with wet & dirty conditions is the most important thing to do to prepare your bike for winter. Switch your summer tyres for something more durable & with more grip on the side. Also look for a tyre that is heavier & more dense, many tyres come with an anti-puncture layer which is perfect for riding on dirty roads & avoidng fixing puctures in the cold!

Vittoria Rubino Pro Control are my favourite winter tyres for cycling in Girona. Continental 4 Seasons are great for countries like the Netherlands & the UK.

2. Go Tubeless

Another good way to avoid puncture is to set your tyres up as tubeless (if your wheels are tubeless ready!) This makes a big difference to your ride expereince.

3. Tyre Pressure

Selecting the right tyre pressure for your set up & the conditions can transform your cycling experience. A lower tyre pressure gives you more traction & is more comfortable. It’s a myth that lower pressure can lead to more punctures – this is not true! Read our Guide to Tyre Pressure for more info.

Mechanics-Guide-To-Winter-Bike-Maintenance-Eat-Sleep-Cycle-Wash-Wax4. Wash & Wax your frame

After every ride clean your bike straight away – wet mud is easier to wash off than dry mud. Hose your bike down & dry it off. Applying a wax layer to the frame makes this part much easier & also protects the frame from damage.

5. Maintain your chain

Wipe & clean your chain after every ride & use a good chain lube. I don’t recommend the normal ‘wet’ chain lube. This gets messy & makes the chain collect dirt. The oil can also spray onto the disc brake. It’s much better to use a high valeu chain wax. If you know you’ll be riding in the wet, add an extra layer the night before your ride.

Smoove makes a great wax lube & the Muc Off Ceramic lube is also a good option.

6. The details count

Before the winter kicks in, grease all the small bolts on your bike, these are the first things to rust in the wet.

7. Safety First – check your cables & brake pads

Before the winter season check all the cables on your bike & replace them if they’re worn. Check your brake pads for wear & check with type you are using. There are two types of brake pads – Resin pads are soft/organic & offer great braking power but wear quickly in wet conditions. Metal brake pads are made from a much harder compound and wear much more slowly. These can squeak when they are wet though!

8. Accessories

Consider adding mud guards to your bike – you’ll have lots of friends on group rides if you fit full mudguards! Mudguards also help to protect rim brakes from extra wear.

9. Spring Clean

Riding in wet conditions usually means everything needs to be stripped down & regreased – check the headset & the bottom bracket & re-grease everything! Replace worn brake pads & replace stretched cables & treat yourself to some summer tyres!

10. Stay Safe & Light Up the Road

Keep riding this winter wherever you are! Remember to add a set of lights to your bike & stay safe out there!

Need help with your bike?

If you’re in Girona feel free to visit WillemJan & our team of mechanics! We service all kinds of bikes – those belonging to World Tour Pro rider & 20 year old Bromptons alike!

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