Last week we caught up with Pro-Rider Dave Roberts on why winter riding is underrated, and today he gives us the lowdown on looking after your bike in the unpredictable weather.
Preparation vs Performance
Although the British weather can often take us by surprise, we can thank the seasons for at least knowing what to expect from month to month (ish). Just like our cars, when Jack Frost gets his hands on our bikes, we need to give them that a little more TLC to see us through to summer once more. Whilst you might have encountered a wet ride or two in summer, a quick wash down will see your bike back to its shining best. Whereas in winter, the rain combined with the cold, equals a lot less dust and a lot more mud, leaving your bike at risk of abrasion from grime and grit. So as to keep your bike shining even after the sun, here are some quick tricks you can do at home:
- Grease your pedals using anti seize paste
- Use ant seize paste on your skewers and seat
- Pop your bottom bracket out and add anti seize paste to your bb shell
- Change your normal chain lubrication for wet lube (this helps to reduce wear)
Changes when it’s chilly
The wet and cold generally means your ride will slow you down around the same trail you rode in the summer. There’ll be less traction, bigger holes from trail erosion and less heat for the suspension. With a few simple alterations, you can amp up your winter ride without the risk of slowing down significantly.
- Lower tyre pressure
- Changing to ‘knobbly’ tyres
- Fitting a mudguard to protect from spray
- Suspension set up is most important in winter, with 20-25% sag giving you more traction and a comfier ride when climbing
Getting a grip
As the weather changes, so does the performance of your tyres and their grip on different terrain types. In summer, a wider tyre will grip better, whereas in winter a narrow tyre will dig into the muddy ground producing more grip. A narrow tyre also helps to stoop mud build and clogging around the forks and seat stays.
First things first, invest in a good pair of gloves because you’ll be washing your bike down after every winter ride! Secondly, although it’s tempting to use a jet wash to dislodge those stubborn mud builds, stay away from pressure washers around any moving parts. The force may break the rubber seal around bearings and shock seals, considerably aging your bike. A bucket of warm water and a bike brush is a good place to start, and then add a cleaner you know won’t weaken your carbon or eat away at the rubber on your bike.
We recommend Muc-Offs famous Nano-Tech bike cleaner *****
Step 1 – Use a standard hosepipe on a slow flow to wash away most of the dirt
Step 2 – Spray the bike with your chosen bike cleaner to break down more stubborn build ups
Step 3 – Use your brush and bucket of water to scrub down the frame from top to bottom, repeat dipping your brush in the water to remove excess and avoid spreading
Step 4 – Hose the bike down once more to remove any remaining dirt
For more tips and tricks on bike care during winter, head to our Advice Centre.
Come back next week for Part Three in our Pro-Riding series, when we explore what to wear and wear to go!