Winter Bike TLC

You'd be amazed how much money you can save in the long run by giving your bike a pre-winter service and a little TLC during those long winter months.

Due to salt, diesel, swarf and general debris on our roads, and adding water in to the mix makes the perfect grinding paste to eat away at our pride and joys. What can you do about it? Ideally cleaning/wiping down your bike a couple of times a week and re-lubing it can pay dividends the other side of winter. Also keeping you tyre pressures at an optimal level can help minimise punctures, help with grip, prolong the life of the tyres and keep your wheel protected from the road.

The small amount of products you need you need to do this are easily available and just an hour of your time each week can saves loads in servicing/parts costs. Apart from bike specific oil and grease, you can use a few items from around the house or from the local shops. Baby wipes, clean rag(s), old toothbrushes, WD40 are a few of the items you can use, you just need the know how and time!

You can use our step by step guide below for more detail or pop by one of our stores to enquire about our Bike Kitchen evening where we can teach you the gaps in your knowledge. If you're ever in doubt about any mechanical issues with your bike, always ask your local bike shop for advice first before committing to a potential error.

What do I need, how long will it take?

1. Baby wipes

2. Clean rag(s)

3. GT85 or WD40

4. Bike Wash / Degreaser

5. Bicycle specific lube for either wet or dry conditions.

6. Bike specific grease.

7. Aerosol Degreaser (non teflon coating type) or Disc Brake Cleaner.

8. Wet & Dry super fine sandpaper.

9. Soft nylon bike cleaning brush(es) or household equivalent (old toothbrush, dust pan brush).

10. 1 hour of your time.

What am I cleaning, paying attention too?

1. Braking surfaces – Rims.

2. Brake pads – rim type.

3. Chain.

4. Cassette.

5. Chain rings / crankset.

6. Derailleurs/mechs, especially jockey wheels.


Method – Rim brakes

1. Use the baby wipes to clean the braking surface, this may take a few times round the rim using multiple wipes. Once clean, check rim surface for wear and tear. Rims have a limited amount of material, so if in doubt please ask your local bike shop for advice.

2. Now if you can, release the brakes so you are able to clean them using the baby wipes again. Removing any muck and debris suck in there. Once done, re-attach the brakes.

3. Optional step – you can now use the fine sand paper to rub lightly across the rim surface, to prep it for better bite.

4. Finally, wipe down the rim surface with a clean rag.

Method - chain/cassette/chain rings.

1. If you don't have bike wash / degreaser or access to outside water, you can use a bucket of hot soapy (washing up liquid, not to much as it contains salt!). Either spray bike wash on the drivechain (cassette, chain, chainrings) in good quantity or use a soft nylon brush to apply the hot soapy water. Once coated leave for a few minutes to start working.

2. Once the degreaser has had time to start working, use a soft nylon brush to scrub all the moving parts, if you have a bucket of water, frequently use this to wash off the muck that’s already come off the drivechain. If you have aerosol bike degreaser, use this to get any stubborn or hard to reach grime. Remember the moving parts are the whole drivechain and don't forget to scrub on the flipside of the parts

3. Once you are happy that you have removed as much grime as possible, gently sluice the washed parts with clean water.

4. Bounce the bike carefully to dislodge any standing water, tipping each end up to help aide getting as much out as possible.

5. Use your clean rag now to wipe the remaining excess water from the bike.

6. Attach the nosal straw to the WD40 or GT85.

7. Shift the chain into the middle of the cassette and middle or lower chainring.

8. Aim the straw at the chain from the rear of the bike and move the cranks backwards as you spray. You should only need to rotate the crank 10 times. Leave the solution to work.

9. Spray the straw end at the other moving parts including both mechs but try to avoid contaminating the breaking surfaces.

10. Return to the chain with a clean dry rag, hold lightly on to the chain with the rag and pedal the crank so you remove any excess WD40/GT85, Keep moving the rag about. Use the clean cloth to remove excess from the other places you sprayed.

11. Lightly lube the chain. You only have to lube the chain as it will coat the cassette and chainrings as you change gears. Apply the lube to part of chain that comes directly into contact with other moving parts. Do this by moving the crank arm backwards around 10 times and dropping the lube on the chain as it moves. Wait a few minutes and wipe off any excess lube.

There are much more tips but they would be better served in person, especially for disc brake systems. Ask in your local shop for best practices.