We only have a few weeks left of Autumn riding before we’re officially into the winter months. So, what type of mountain biker are you? Do you stow the bike away for the winter, dedicating yourself entirely to snow sports? Or are you a hard-out who rides no matter the season or weather?
Whichever you choose, we’ve got some tips for you to keep your ride in top shape, ready to perform whenever you take to the trails again!
If you’re storing your bike
If you’re planning to store your bike over the winter, there are a few steps you should take to make sure it’s in good condition when you pull it out again in the Spring.
Clean your bike thoroughly
Cleaning your bike before you put it into storage will help prevent dirt and grime from building up and causing damage while your rig sits idle.
After you’ve done a full clean, strip the bike and regrease all your bearings, clean the drivetrain and lubricate your chain. We would recommend using a dry lubricant that’s designed for storage and applying it liberally to the chain.
If you can’t be bothered or you’re not quite confident in your at-home mechanic abilities, bring your bike into the BG Workshop and we’ll get you sorted! We have a full menu of service options, as well as packages so you can decide the service and price that works best for your needs. Check that out here.
If your bike has any electronic components (think: ebike batteries, Bluetooth shifters, etc.), it’s a good idea to remove the battery before storing it. This helps prevent the battery from draining during the winter and potentially damaging other systems.
For ebikes, the battery should be charged to 30-60% and stored in a location where the temperature is over 10 degrees (a cold shed isn’t ideal!)
Tires and quick releases
If your bike has quick-releases on the wheels, it’s a good idea to loosen them slightly before storing to help prevent pressure from building up on the hubs. You should also make sure that you’re tires are properly inflated to prevent flat spots from developing over the winter months.
Keep your bike away from moisture
One of the biggest enemies of bikes in storage in moisture because it causes rust and other damage. Unless you’ve got a storage location that’s climate-controlled and dry-as-a-bone, consider using a bike cover.
The bottom line is, taking the time to properly prepare your bike for storage will save you time and money in the long run. Show your bike some love before you put ‘er away!
If you’re going to ride throughout winter
Good on ya! Winter can be a really challenging time to ride what with the cold weather, ice and snow. But with the right preparation (and the right attitude), you’ll have an epic time winter riding. Here’s some things that will help.
Clean your bike
Cleaning your bike is really important for the winter, even if you’re going to keep riding. Mud is waaay more prevalent in the wet wintery conditions so you should be using bike cleaner and a soft brush to clean all parts of your bike after each ride, including the chain, cassette and derailleur. Make sure your bike is completely dry after each ride.
While you clean, keep an eye out for cracks, dents and other signs of damage. Be sure to get them fixed as soon as you can.
Before you head out, always lube up your chain. Use a wet lube that’s designed for winter conditions and apply liberally.
Switch to winter tires
MTB winter tires are a must-have in the snow and ice. They have a more aggressive tread pattern that provides better traction on slipper surfaces. You’d also do well to adjust your tire pressure. As the temperature drops, the air pressure in your tires can decrease which affects your bike’s handling. Check the recommended tire pressure for your winter tires and adjust!
Get yourself a mudguard
If you’re not already using mudguards, you’ll definitely need one or two in the winter to prevent mud and slush flying up from your tires and into your face.
It should go without saying, but even if you’re pedalling, DRESS WARM. You’ll want some nice baselayers (maybe a little Mons Royale merino) and a waterproof outerlayer. Invest in some warm socks and maybe even a pair of thicker riding gloves. You also might want goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from wind, mud and slush.
Whether you’re storing your bike or riding throughout the winter, it’s always a good idea to book in a professional bike service. This will keep your bike in the best shape possible and ensure that everything is working like it should. Check out Bike Glendhu’s workshop service menu and give us a bell if you’re keen to get your bike booked in.