Winter is a great time to undertake those maintenance tasks that often fall by the wayside during the warmer riding season. And nothing sparks a mid-winter bike daydream like making a few tweaks to the trusty steed. Anything from changing a tube to chain cleaning and brake pad cleaning can be a worthwhile winter projects.
The first thing that any bike rider needs, advanced or novice, is a basic toolkit – one that is light and versatile and can go with you anywhere. We have several great ones in the shop. The most important part is picking one that is right for you.
Winter offers a great chance to take stock of your bike’s overall condition. Choose several wear prone areas of your bike for observation over the course of a season. Taking note of the rate at which brake pads wear and grime accumulates on the drive-train is a good starting point. Basic cleaning and lubricating goes a long way toward the durability of many parts. As you clean a season’s worth of gunk from your bike’s moving parts, pay close attention to any wear and tear they might be showing.
Clean the chain, chainrings, cassette or freewheel, and derailleurs thoroughly. Warm soapy water, a sponge and a small brush are all you need for this. A chain cleaner tool, like the Park Tool, can make this job a lot easier and less messy, though.
Brakes are another area that can benefit from winter maintenance. Brake pads on rim brakes, like caliper or V brakes, can wear, causing squealing or inconsistent braking. Check the wear on your pads while cleaning them. Disc brakes are becoming more popular, too. These can be challenging to clean at home. A quick rinse after a muddy or snowy ride will make sure that mud doesn’t cake on rotors. Definitely be sure not to touch them with your bare hands. Oils on your hands will contaminate the rotors and cause squealing. If your disc brakes won’t stop making noise, it’s best to bring them to us.
These are just a few of the things you can do to keep your bike happy when the snow melts. A little winter TLC will have you back out on the roads and trails early in the spring. Knowing about the specific needs of your bike and acquiring a couple maintenance habits or at least awareness of what to observe on regular basis is a great start.
Read more about some basic roadside repairs you can practice at home!
And don't forget to check out Marty's Gift Giving Guide for 2016 for all those last minute shopping necessities!