Winterizing Your Bike
For riders in the northern states, our road bikes will sadly be seeing the last of their time on the road with winter approaching. This brings into question the necessary steps to keep your road bikes in the best condition to preserving them for your first ride in the spring. After your last ride of the season, you will want to spend a good amount of time inspecting and cleaning your bike.
A general inspection looks for wear and damage. Check your wheels for to make sure the spokes and nipples feel tight, that the wheels spin true, tires have the appropriate tread and show no signs of damage, the rim foe damage and brake pads for wear. As for disc brake service, it is out of my comfort zone, so I take our bike to the local shop. Check all of you cables for wear, your chain for rust and damage. Carefully check the teeth of your rear derailleur pulleys for wear. If anything needs to be replaced or you have been experiencing any mechanical issues, now’s the time to take care of the issue.
There are many ways to clean you bike, however this is how we recommend you give your bike a deep clean. First, begin with disassembling and degreasing the drivetrain and crankset, including pedals. Set your rear derailleur pulleys (making sure to indicate front/back and top/bottom) and bottom bracket to the side. Apply an appropriate amount of degreaser to your everything and let it sit. While the degreaser begins to work, rinse the rest of your bike using soapy water (no power washing). Once the rest of your bike has been rinsed, move back to the drivetrain and rinse the grease and degreaser off. Before reassembling give everything one last rinse down with clean water. After the bike has been thoroughly cleaned, take a towel and dry the bike off. Make sure to remove the seat post and get any water that may have gotten in there during the wash or throughout the season. Take extra care with drying the drivetrain. Any moisture residual moister in the BB shell or on the spindle or chain ring can cause damage to your bottom bracket.
Once the bike is clean, it is time to begin the lubing process. Since the seat post was removed in the previous step, before reassembling, apply fiber grip or grease to the post, then slide it into place. Next move to the stem, remove the necessary bolts to loosen the forks and get to the bottom bearings. Clean, dry, and re-grease bearings according to manufactures instructions. At this point, the front forks can be reassembled. Next, move to your bottom bracket, clean and grease your bottom bracket to the manufacturer’s specification, grease the inside of the shell and reinstall. After working on the bottom bracket, move to greasing and reassembling the drivetrain. Make sure to grease the spindle before reinserting through the bottom bracket. Derailleur pulleys should be greased and reinstalled according to manufactures specifications. Grease the axils on the pedals before reassembling. Lastly, spray a light lube on the chain and cassette.
Now that your bike has been properly cleaned, lubed, and re-greased store it in a dry location. With all these steps done, your bike will be properly prepared for winter storage and in good condition for your first spring ride.