Winter Maintenance 101
Posted on 30 October 2020
So you just got into cycling over the Spring and Summer to avoid public transit during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been an amazing summer, the rainy days were at a minimum and you’ve found a new sense of freedom by commuting by bike. But all things must come to an end and we aren’t talking about cycling. Across the globe people prepare and continue to bike through the dark, cold months. It is a daunting thought in the beginning and it does require a bit of know how to get the most comfort out of it. Here at Curbside we pride ourselves on helping cyclists feel the most comfort on a bike in the city and it doesn’t stop after Labor Day. So people can continue cycling throughout the worst times of the year, we have an amazing winter package, winter tune up and offer some extremely cool accessories from fenders, lights, POGIES and other apparel as well as our 2020 guide to get you through it!
Or if you just can not wait... Here is a countdown to the FIRST DAY OF SPRING:
Best Bicycle For The Winter
You may already have it but if not we can tell you!
Our shop favorite for a winter bike. Internal Geared, Gates Carbon Belt Drive, Hydraulic Disc Brakes.
Chances are, you MIGHT already have a bike that can take care of winter or you have the means to get a bike that is geared towards low maintenance, which is perfect for winter. If you want to continue riding your current bicycle, we have great recommendations for some amazing winter gear. If you are looking for a bike that can take on winter and save you money on the spring tune up go no further.
The best kind of ride is a bike that can accommodate larger tires, especially winter tires, and fenders. For ultimate stopping power you’ll want hydraulic disc brakes. Water can’t get into the brake line and won’t freeze on you like traditional steel cables. For your drivetrain, something like a Shimano Internal Gear Hub like the 3, 7 or 8 speed. Many bikes also have begun coming equipped with Dynamo lighting systems! They are hub generated so you NEVER have to charge a light ever again and are permanently fastened to the bike! Read more about Dynamo and why it is the best choice for winter lighting! And if you have the option get something with the Gates Carbon Belt Drive like the amazing Rabeneick, which might be the best bike for the winter! If not, a single speed chain is fairly inexpensive to replace in the spring and easy to maintain throughout the winter. Head on over our "What is the Ulitmate Winter Bike?" blog for an in-depth look at the best winter bike you can get.
While these bikes have a bit of higher price point, they are generally designed to last you a lifetime. If you do plan on using that sweet Devinci or bike with a derailleur and non hydraulic disc brakes, we have some excellent strategies to make sure you have the smoothest rolling bike during these cold and dark times and to keep your spring tune up costs as low as possible. For those bikes that are not kept up throughout winter, repair bills can climb very very quickly and oftentimes we see repair bills come to $400 or more! That’s about half the cost of a new bike!
For you and your bike!
Essentials that we recommend to keep your bike clean, oiled and well running: Dish soap with some sort of degreasing agent, a spray bottle of degreaser, the Park Tool Chain Scrubber, Muc-Off Wet lube for your chain and parts and a rag, paper towl, brush or sponge! Photo by Kevin Gebhardt Photography
Winter can seem daunting but it is far from with a little help with our winter guide. We created an amazing Winter Essentials blog with our favorite products ranging from the Continental Top Contact Winter to the amazing 45NRTH Draugenklaw Pogies and even Muc-Off! Lube.
In addition, some of my essentials on all of my bikes during the winter, especially if you are a ride everyday cyclist:
Keeps all that road gunk off your bike and off your back
This is the absolute must have. I don't see why anyone wouldn't want these to keep their bike in much better shape by keeping all the road oils, salt, dirt and mud out of their headset, drivetrain and off the frame. More importantly to me, keeps me substantially clean of dirt on my back, pants and shoes. You can find them in shop or if you know what size you need, right here: EVO Powerguard LT Fender
Adds a little extension to your fender to keep your shoes cleaner or lessen road spray to the cyclist behind you!
The Bibia Classic Mudflap is big enough to keep your shoes shiny and your frame protected. Your old Raleigh 3-speed or maybe the mudflap broke away on your fender deserves an upgrade. Found right here: Bibia Classic Mudflap
Hebie Chainglider (only fits select bikes):
The best chain protector available, the Chainglider fully encases your chain, leaving zero exposure to outside elements.
Chain cases are some of the worst things out there once they get beat up, dirty and rust away. The fine people of Hebie created a modern solution with a lightweight, nearly indestructible chain case. No tools required and can extend the life of your chain! Keep in mind this is only for single speeds and internal gear hubs with specific cog and chainring sizes! Found right here: Hebie Chainglider.
General Maintenance Recommendations
From Day to Day and Monthly tips to keep on rollin'
Muc-Off wet* lube and Tri-Flow are two top must haves all year round. Photo by Kevin Gebhardt PhotographyText
Day to Day should be something you do to prevent buildups and problems down the road; basically getting ahead. Our head mechanic, Eli, HIGHLY recommends using a bit more lubrication than you think. You can also use “chain” lube on nearly all parts that move. The things you should take care of with lubrication, ESPECIALLY ON WET OR SNOWY DAYS, is your chain, derailleur and other moving parts. There is nothing worse than wearing out your parts prematurely or having them seize throughout the winter.
- If it has snowed or wet pavement, do a quick wipe down, including the chain. Use a rag for your chain and a sponge or a clean rag for frame and wheels.
- Apply lubrication to chain and any moving part
- Store your bike inside to dry if you can,
- Get a large mat or large plastic toboggan to put underneath bicycle to collect any slush water
- If left outside and have no indoor storage, water can get into frame and/cables, we highly recommend the Bike Parka. Make sure to wipe off any snow, ice or slush off your bike before covering.
Lubricate all pivot points on your bicycle on the regular after riding in the rain or snow or at least every two weeks to keep your bike in good working order. Photos by Kevin Gebhardt Photography
Bi-Weekly maintenance should be a little more involved but if you took care of day to day wipe downs and applied lube it should be a breeze. One method is using your bathtub or shower stall if you feel comfortable taking your wheels off or a bucket of warm soapy water. A recommendation from one of our mechanics: Go to a coin operated self-car wash to use their pressure hose. After a thorough cleaning, you will want to apply lube to ALL your cables, derailleurs and all other pivot points. Yes, that is including the chain. Other products we would recommend is bike grease. Grease has a much higher viscosity and used on parts that have bearings, your seat post and headset, but we would only recommend applying fresh grease to your seat post as the other parts are better served by an experienced mechanic.
- If you have access to a coin operated car wash, use the hose and spray down your bike completely
- Bring your lube with you so you can take care of all the lubrication needs.
- If you don’t have access to a car wash, take off your wheels and wash your them and frame separately the tub or shower
- Apply lube to all cables and pivot points (derailleurs, brakes, chain)
- Optional but helpful: Use the Park Tool Cleaning System to degrease the chain of all old lubricant, road gunk/salt and foreign oils from the road. This extends the life of the drivetrain and keeps it gunk free so it can propel you smoothly
- Use a strong brush to scrub the cog or cassette
- Be sure to keep a strong degreaser to break through all the old gunk under your kitchen sink
- Take the seat post out and apply liberal amount of great to the seat tube
- Pump your tires to minimum pressure or somewhere between minimum and maximum pressure
- Worst kind of flat is one in the winter, especially if you are the one that will replace it, if you are running minimum pressure to get a little extra grip, watch out for potholes and curbs
Any bit of cleaning can go a long way to make sure your wonderful ride goes all the way to Spring and Summer again. While results will vary due to how much you use your bike in the winter, what kind of snow days or slush days, the best you can always do is giving the bike a clean every so often to keep the gears moving!