A guide to defending your ride through the icy months.
Keeping your bike pristinely clean through a “real” winter is a little unrealistic. Simply maintain the parts that suffer most from messy roads and wait until spring for the non-essentials. Here’s what to fix—or forget—when it comes to winter maintenance.
Fix it: Clean the chain before grease starts to clump. Scrubbing it after every ride, though, is overkill.
Forget it: Road grime is going to seep into your housing and degrade shifting accuracy, so save your new set of housing until the roads clear.
Stained Bar Tape
Forget it: It’s just going to get filthy again. Wait till spring.
Fix it: Road salt is corrosive, and bearings are particularly sensitive. Wash it off with water.
Fix it: Use a chain-checker to measure its wear and swap it after it reaches its limit to preserve your cassette, chainrings and shift quality.
Forget it: Dirt will collect on your bike nearly every time you ride outside through the winter. It’s unsightly, but a little dirt won’t hurt.
Fix it: Riding on wet, sandy and icy roads is difficult enough with fresh rubber. Swapping tires will help maintain traction and prevent flats.