If you aim to keep riding through the teeth of winter.
Winter is beginning to rear its ugly head and the change in weather – short days, falling temperatures, and unpredictable conditions – means it’s necessary to protect both yourself and your bike from the elements. Let’s have a look at how to prepare your bike for the winter.
Love them or loathe them, mudguards are a winter riding essential both for your own comfort and for that of your fellow riders too.
What is sacrificed in terms of the clean lines of your well-tuned machine is made up for protection from the water, mud, and general grime which coats our roads in the winter.
Mudguards are a must in winter
Bikes with eyelets and the appropriate clearance (most likely to be machines geared up for winter riding, touring, and audax) will accept full mudguards, which provide the most comprehensive protection, while ‘race’ bikes without will require clip-on guards like the Crud Roadracer Mk3 mudguards, which will still do an excellent job and will fit almost any bike.
Stay out of the gutter to avoid the worst of the debris but we’d always advise switching from your supple summer tyres to a new pair of winter boots to keep rolling.
Tubeless tyres are worth considering for winter, with the use of a sealant protecting against small cuts in the tyre and the absence of an inner tube eliminating the possibility of pinch flats and allowing for lower pressures.
The nights have quickly drawn in and the clocks going back, if you are a commuter, will almost certainly mean at least one ride under cover of darkness.
What lights you choose to use will depend on where and when you will be using them – on lit roads during the urban commute or pitch black country lanes during early morning or evening training rides?
A good set of lights is vital – and they are well worth using year-round.
The Cateye lights are some of the best on the market for the price point.
Some cyclists curse the very thought of a saddlebag on a road bike but, in winter, the benefits are clear justification for breaking ‘rule number 29’.
(RULE 29: Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.)
Having a small saddlebag on your bike not only ensures you have the essentials to get you up and running in the event of a mechanical but also frees up space in your jersey pockets for food for a long base training rides and extra clothing.
A spare inner tube is no use without a pump – and fitting a frame pump to your bike ensures you’ll never be without it in winter.
The increased volume of a frame pump also means it’s likely to enable you to inflate your tyre to the correct pressure quicker than a mini pump.
Keep it clean
There are two unavoidable facts about winter riding – your bike will get dirty, and it will not like it. It can only take a short ride to cover glistening components in muck and grime, and wet roads covered in salt mean corrosion is a threat if you don’t regularly clean your machine.
A good old fashioned bucket of soap and water – and elbow grease – will go a long way but there is also an abundance of bike-specific cleaning products on the market to help you do the job. A degreaser and chain bath will make short work of mucky components.
Your bike is subject to a lot of abuse through winter so clean it regularly
Prevention is better than cure, as they say, and time spent giving your beloved steed a regular once over will serve you well in the long run.
Some essential maintenance checks are more obvious than others – the brake pads, for example, which only need a firm tug on the levers to check they are still in working order.
Your chain should really be cleaned and lubricated after every ride
The Specialized Diverge offers top performance both on-road and off
The road plus market is growing year-on-year too, providing off-the-peg bikes built to cope with all terrains. Not only does that make them ideal for the unpredictable winter weather, but it also gives you the versatility to head off-road should you desire to. See the recently-reviewed Specialized Diverge, for example, for an excellent bike both on the tarmac and off it.
These are some helpful tips to help you prepare your bike for the winter.
For more free advice, feel free to contact us on 01206 699837 or come in store.
Happy winter riding!
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