DIY Winter Bike Maintenance Tech Tips

Keeping on top of your winter bike maintenance will help ensure you have a safe, smooth and enjoyable ride plus you’ll also save time and money getting the most life out of your bike. These few simple do it yourself jobs will allow you to keep riding through the wet Winter months without any nasty surprises come Spring.
Washing Your Bike

During winter dirt and road grime gets splashed up from puddles and wet roads. When this grit gets in between metal surfaces it will rub and cause premature wear, washing your bike regularly will help dramatically reduce this.

You can use either a regular rose or a pressure washer to rinse down your bike however always take special care not to spray closely at bearings in particular your bottom bracket, headset and hubs. Once wet, spray your bike down with a bike cleaner and use a sponge or brush to help remove any stubborn dirt and rinse off. Ensure you wipe down your chain with a rag to remove any water.
Cleaning Your Drivetrain
One of the main areas you want to keep an eye on during winter riding is you chain, cassette and chainrings. With more grit getting into your chain you’ll experience more wear. If cleaned regularly your chain will last a lot longer and you’ll also experience a smoother and more efficient ride.
There are many different types of drivetrain and chain cleaners available however a simple spray like Muc-Off’s Bio Drivetrain Cleaner works well with a brush. Simply spray down your chain, cassette, chain rings and derailleurs paying attention not to spray your disc rotor (or use a disc cover). Scrub down your drivetrain and remember to get your jockey wheels. Hose off, then wipe down with a microfibre cloth or rag to remove any moisture.
Chain cleaning devices are another option for a tidier job which encase your chain, alternatively for a really through clean you can remove your chain, cassette and chain rings.
Lubricating Your Chain
Once your drivetrain is clean it’s essential that you re-lubricate your chain. There’s many options of chain lube with specific products for use in wet weather. To apply slowly rotate the pedals backwards by hand and apply chain lube to the inside of the chain.
Checking Parts For Wear
With water and grime putting more wear on parts keeping a particular eye on a few components is critical, firstly being your brakes pads. Both rim brake and disc brake pads will wear much quicker during winter so you should keep a close eye on how much life they’ve got left and replace them if they’re getting too low. Rim brake pads have grooves in the rubber which help indicate wear, if these are shallow or flat it’s time to replace your pads. If you have disc brakes once your pads reach 3mm of brake pad material it’s time to start thinking about replacing them and once they’re down to 1mm of pad material they need to be immediately replaced.
It’s also a good idea to check your rim or disc braking surfaces for wear and replace them when they get too thin. Rim brake rims will usually have a hole or groove on the rim. Once this is shallow or flat your rim will need to be replaced. Discs will need to be replaced when there is a deep ridge in the braking surface. You can check for this by running your finger over the outer edge of the disc where the pads make contact.
As we mentioned previously your chain experiences a lot of stress during winter and keeping an eye on how much your chain is wearing and stretching is vital to avoiding wearing out your cassette and chain rings too. Using a chain checker is the easiest way to do this. Drop a checker into the top of your chain. For chains up to 10-speed, replace the chain just as the 0.75% side fits flat into the chain. For 11 and 12-speed chains, replace as the 0.5% side fits. If your chain is excessively worn or you’ve already replaced a chain before you’ll want to also replace your cassette and possibly chain rings.