Winter is officially upon us! So, we thought we’d share a few of our favourite winter bike maintenance tips to ensure your steed stays in prime mechanical condition all winter long.
Water Don’t Wash!
Although it’s highly satisfying blasting dirt off your bike with a pressure washer, believe it or not your bike doesn’t enjoy it. The best way to wash your bike is to water it. That’s right, just like Mama’s prized petunias.
- Set your hose to pretty much any setting but the Jetstream.
- Water your bike like the beautiful flower it is, removing as much excess dirt as possible.
- Grab your favourite bike wash and get it soapy. Now give it a scrub down! I like to use a long-bristled paint brush; it gets into those hard to reach places. A brand-new dust brush with soft bristles works wonders too, or you can grab yourself a dedicated set of brushes here.
Some of our favourite bike washes include:
- Degrease your drive train with your favourite bike-friendly degreaser. Use a tooth brush to scrub it down.
- Water your bike again to rinse it off. Bounce it on the ground to remove the excess water, then dry your chain with a clean rag.
- Apply a fresh coat of chain lube as directed by the chain lube manufacturer.
* If you prefer to use your pressure washer, you can, just use it from at least a metre away. Your bearings will appreciate it.
Wet VS Dry Chain Lube
Yup, they have specific applications.
- Wet Lube has a much higher viscosity – this helps the lube to ‘hold’ onto the chain and rollers, preventing moisture from penetrating through. This is great for wet weather but terrible for dry, dusty conditions.
- Dry Lube comes out of the bottle ‘wet’ but the ‘wet’ carrier fluid evaporates leaving only a dry finish. Perfect for dry, dusty conditions.
Grease – LOTS OF GREASE
Grease repels water and makes a terrific weather barrier. Generally speaking, grease is your bikes friend. In the winter it’s your bikes BFF!
- Remove your fork, clean out your headset, grease appropriately and re-install the headset bearings. With the bearings installed in the frame, apply a thick layer of grease over the entire top and bottom bearing. Re-install your fork and wipe away the excess grease.
- Remove your cranks, clean the bottom bracket area and BB bearing covers (if applicable). Set the bottom bracket bearing covers aside. Apply a thick layer of grease over the bearings and re-install the BB covers. Wipe away the excess grease.
- Remove the wheels from your bike and then the end caps from the hubs (if applicable). Clean up the hubs and end caps. Set the end caps aside. Apply a thick layer of grease over the wheel bearings. Re-install the end caps and wipe away the excess grease.
- Before re-installing your wheels, clean your axles and apply a thin layer of grease over them as well. Wipe away the excess grease upon re-installation.
- Shift down into the smallest cog and disconnect your shift cable from the rear derailleur. Trim the end of the shift cable and remove it (take the necessary steps to ensure ease of reinstallation if it’s internally routed). Remove your shift outer caps and inspect the ends. Are they frayed? If yes trim 5-6mm off or replace the outer. Take your end caps, clean them out and then fill them with grease. Re-install the greased end caps and re-install the shift cable (if the shift cable is kinked replace it), connect to the rear derailleur and tune the gears. If you are installing a new outer housing, replace the inner cable as well.
Have me missed anything? What are your tricks for winter bike prep? Let us know on Facebook!