If you want to keep your ride working smoothly and protect that precious Ultegra groupset from the elements, follow these eight tips to winterize your bike for the harsh conditions ahead.
Fenders1 of 9
If you're going to be out riding in winter weather, fenders are a must to prevent unnecessary damage to your frame and components. Using fenders will also keep the muck on the road off your backside, which can go a long way towards keeping you comfortable and dry.
This new fender from Topeak attaches to your rear seatpost for quick installation and removal, and also incorporates iGlow technology to improve visibility as daylight slips away.
Tires2 of 9
Racing tires probably aren't your best option when training in harsh weather conditions. Instead, use a wider tire that's puncture resistant (because changing a flat when it's 35 degrees out isn't fun) and has a tread pattern designed for riding on wet and icy roads.
This all-weather tire from Vredestein is a durable option made from the rubber used on automobile tires, and utilizes varying densities to maximize traction and puncture protection. It can also be purchased in a 25mm width, which can be run at a lower psi to make a flat from road debris less likely.
Brake Pads3 of 9
If you've had to descend a climb in wet weather, you are probably aware of two things: Carbon rims aren't ideal, and a normal brake pad can all but disappear against an aluminum braking surface.
To improve your stopping power in wet weather, use an aluminum braking surface and a pair of brake pads designed for use in harsh conditions. The BxP from SwissStop is an excellent choice because it improves how quickly you come to a stop no matter the conditions, meaning you won't need to switch back and forth.
Another option is to switch to a bike that's disc brake compatible, which will perform better in wet weather than rim brakes.
Frame4 of 9
The dirt and grime from the road can cause corrosion to your frame, ruining the most expensive part of your bike. To create a barrier and avoid attracting grit from the road, coat parts of your bike with car wax (trust us, it's an old-school trick).
While you can buy spray-on lubricants that will work in a similar fashion, they will probably require more frequent application. If you're planning on a long winter, applying car wax will do the job for months. Pay particular attention to the underside of the downtube and around the bottom bracket, which are common trouble spots. Car wax can also be used on components such as cranks and spokes, but be sure to stay away from braking surfaces.
Seat5 of 9
While synthetic materials won't be as much of a problem, if you're using a leather saddle during the winter it could take a serious beating and even ruin the shape.
Fenders should help keep some of the dirt and grime away from your seat, but it's also a good idea to protect leather saddles by coating the underside with a dressing. This will help it maintain its natural oils and keep it from attracting muck from the road.
If you're really worried about your saddle, a saddle cover is also an option.
Cables6 of 9
Water has a way of seeping its way into your cable housing, which over time can decrease the performance of your shifting and braking. Changing your cables regularly is always a good idea, and you can also use cable seals, which are popular on cyclocross bikes. Sealing your cables end-to-end will keep water and mud from affecting the performance of your bike, regardless of the conditions.
Lights7 of 9
Visibility can be an issue during winter, even during the day. While you'll want to make sure you use clothing with reflective material, a good headlight and tail light combo is also a must.
The new Garmin Varia smart lights are weatherproof and can be controlled from some Garmin GPS devices like the Edge 1000. They also increase and decrease brightness automatically as conditions change, and when used with two taillights it has the ability to signal left and right turns.
Chain8 of 9
While it will cost a bit more, a stainless steel chain is worth the investment if you plan to ride through the winter. They'll last longer and be less likely to rust.
In addition, it's also a good idea to apply a wet chain lube. It's water resistant, long lasting, and will keep your chain working like it should over your cassette and chain rings.