Winter-Proof Your Bike

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Jan 7, 2015

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.

Greasy Chain
Fix it: Clean the chain before grease starts to clump. Scrubbing it after every ride, though, is overkill.

Sticky Housing
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.

Road Salt
Fix it: Road salt is corrosive, and bearings are particularly sensitive. Wash it off with water.

Stretched Chain
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.

Dirty Frame
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.

Worn Tires
Fix it: Riding on wet, sandy and icy roads is difficult enough with fresh rubber. Swapping tires will help maintain traction and prevent flats.

RELATED – Road Tested: Winter Cycling Gloves

FILED UNDER: Bike / Gear & Tech

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at

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