4 winter road bike tips

Make sure your road bike is prepared this winter

Neil Holman, mechanic with George Halls Cycle Centre, on the perfect preparation for your bike.

1. Wheel choice

If you use a second set of wheels as winter ones go for stainless steel silver spokes, as they’re especially visible in low light.

Also cartridge bearings in the hub will make them low maintenance. If you have the clearance on the frame and fork to fit wider tyres, 25mm or even 28mm make for safer cycling having a greater contact patch with the road.

Tyres like Schwalbe Durano Double Defence or Continental Gatorskins offer good puncture protection.

2. Mudguards / fenders

The SKS Raceblade range and the CRUD Road Racer mudguards will fit the majority of road bikes. They protect against road grime and salt — the most common cause for the rear caliper brake and front shifter to stop working. That stuff soaks into the pivot points and corrodes the alloy to the steel pivot bolts.

Guards will also stop water from spraying up into the lower bearing of the headset, without that protection the gunk could affect your steering and control.

3. Be seen

The cost of LED lights is so reasonable and many are USB rechargeable. In daylight, have them on a flashing mode to make sure you stand out. Fit two or more rear lights and always have one on constant and one flashing.

Some LED lenses have reflectors built in, otherwise you can normally fit reflectors onto the rear mudguard, seatpost or wheel spokes to give side-on presence when you’re crossing T-junctions.

4. Check your chain

Check your chain wear and change it if needs be. Nothing destroys a chain like wet roads and salt, so start afresh in the winter with a good quality one and keep it well oiled.

After a wet ride spray the bike down (except disc brake pads and rotors) with GT-85, WD-40 or MO-94 — all good water displacement sprays. Use a wet lube on the moving parts: chain, derailleurs and brake pivots.

If you can disconnect your cables rub some wet lube into the inner brake and gear cables as it keeps them running to a smooth and light action.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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