Winter cycling help?

by mr-andrew   November 3, 2012  

I really want to cycle through winter this year but keep reading that I need a winter bike. Although this makes a lot o sense, it's a reality that I can't afford. Are there any tips to save my Ultegra groupset? I guess things like mudguards and regular chain changing make sense but am I missing anything important? Should I be riding my only bike through winter or just sitting on a trainer?

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you don't *need* a winter bike, you can ride what you like. certainly i'd fit some mudguards. they'll benefit your bike, your arse, your feet and anyone riding behind you. if you can't fit a full mudguard take a look at sks raceblade longs or crud roadracers.

also look at getting some winter tyres that are a bit more hardy, not many things are less fun than changing a tube in freezing rain, miles from home...

getting your bike wet and muddy isn't fantastic for it, but it's road salt that does the real damage. make sure you clean it properly if there's any salt at all on the roads.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7476 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 7:33

3 Likes

In addition to Dave's recommendations, you can protect your bike to keep it in 'good health' and here are a few tips that have kept me going though more winters than I can remember.
Tape up the seatpost to frame cut out (stops salty water getting in the join and seizing everything up).
Use a good car wax and cover the frame (not so much for the shiny look but to repel as much brine as possible - also makes it easier to wash down after).
Ensure a good quality wet lube is on all mechanicals (especially the chain and clean the chain regularly).
Clean brake surfaces regularly (brine and debris turns the brakes into grinders on the wheels).
Keep tyre pressures up (to try to reduce the risk of p********s).
A good GT85ing of the STI's regularly and any bare cabling.
Get as much reflective tape on as you feel comfortable with (gets you seen and protects on forward facing items).
Keep lights clean and keep spare 'emergency' lights and batteries.
Get into a routine with rechargeable lights (put charger near where you get off bike at home so don't forget).
I also ensure I have clean water with me too - salty water in the mouth, or worse in the eyes, can be quickly washed out with a squirt.
This just leaves you to be protected, the most important bit of the bike. Nerd

Hope this helps.
Regards

Trikeman. Wink

Grunt, puff, pant and groan goes the old man - but he gets there in the end. ;o)

trikeman's picture

posted by trikeman [386 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 9:03

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as above, i've never had a 'winter' bike, i just look after the bike i have, you can buy a lot of kit for your normal bike for the price of a winter bike

posted by VecchioJo [766 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 11:06

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1. Grease everything in advance. I apply copper grease to all threads.

2. Frequent washing and relubing, which is even more crucial after the council have been gritting. I found that leaving the salt residue on for a few days is worse than a month of riding in the wet. Even though I really don't feel like washing the bike after a cold winter commute I still try to do it.

GT85 > WD40 for cables and mech pivots.

For the drivetrain: hot, soapy water (degreaser first with a toothbrush if caked). Dry it off then clean the chain with a squirt of WD40 on an old t-shirt. Also rub well between cassette cogs. Dry chain completely then relube (I use Green Oil).

Replace your chain more frequently to extend the life of chainrings and cassette.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2037 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 11:17

1 Like

get a cheap fixed gear? I sue one for the daily commute with full mudguards and it comes out at he weekend when it's truly horrible weather. I only own one "proper" road bike and the just gets a set of crud catchers put on in October. As it's steel I'm super anal about cleaning it if it gets wet, especially once they start gritting. Make sure your seatpost doesn't seize, tape or a bit of inner tube over the clamp stops too much cack getting in there...

I use dry lube throughout the year on my nice bike & here's my logic, whilst wetlube does stick to the chain & it also means that grit sticks & then everything turns into a nice grinding paste & that destroys expensive alloy chainrings pretty quickly. downside is that it doesn't stay on as long. But seeing as I clean my drivetrain after most rides that not a major issue (yes I know I'm sad). I'm pretty sure that someone, somewhere on the internet did a very unscientific study & came to the conclusion that dry lube was better... or not!

Carpe Diem ab absentis: seize the day off

Coodsta's picture

posted by Coodsta [99 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 20:20

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There is an even easier solution. Only go out when its dry.
I dont know where you live but even here in rainy old Manchester during the winter its as dry as many days as it is wet - especially recently with our wet summers.
Im not one of these macho types who goes out all weathers - i only like it dry but ive noticed im getting in as much cycling in the winter as i have done in the summer.
Probably not good advice though to someone who has a busy lifestyle and who works Mon-Fri 9 to 5 (which i dont!)

posted by Some Fella [817 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 21:40

1 Like

Mudguards a definite. Weekly cleaning and lubing of your chain. Regular washing if no time hose down and dry followed with a squirt of GT85/WD40 especially the moving parts - levers, callipers, mechds. Your guards though will provide plenty of protection. For tyres get a set that will prove bombproof (I go with conti 4season) and drop the pressure to about 90 or so (better traction in wet).

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1064 posts]
3rd November 2012 - 22:19

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I was in the same position a few years back. I got hold of an old 1960's steel road frame for peanuts, turned it into a fixed wheel, raided the spare parts bin and scoured forums/flea-bay for the rest. Total cost 55GBP!
Its used most days for commuting duties and training if the weather is totally garbage.
As already stated cleanliness is next to godliness if any bike is to make it through the salt and grime and winter tyres and full guards are a must.
After a so called summer riding a Carbon frame for fun and sportives and full suspension off road and for enduro events there is something very pure about getting back on the bargain basement fixie! There is nowhere to hide when the road goes up or the wind is in your face but on those quiet frosty mornings as you spin silently along on a bike that has no pretentions of granduer remember to smile at those wrecking expensive components knowing your bike cost less than a chain and cassette Big Grin

olmo fixed.JPG

Riding the road to nowhere

Gepin's picture

posted by Gepin [62 posts]
4th November 2012 - 11:57

1 Like

One other comment - buy some acf50. If this can stop a large motorcycle from rotting thru the winter then I'd reccommend for it for your road bike.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
4th November 2012 - 12:49

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Thanks for all the comments. Everything seems to point in the same direction, keep her well looked after. Sadly I don't have space for another bike, as the SS beater seems to be a winning plan.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [299 posts]
5th November 2012 - 11:06

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