Keep on top of cleaning – This one sounds obvious but it’s the most important one. In winter your bike is going to come back from every ride covered in an array of things from dirty water, mud & salt to name but a few. The key area to keep clean is your drivetrain. Make sure that before and after every ride the chain is clean and shimmering. The best thing you can do is invest in a good degreaser to help keep the dirt and grime off. Re-lube after every ride and insure that your cassette, chainset and derailleur are all clean for a smooth ride.
Waterproof grease key bearings and stem – As winter sets in it’s a good idea to waterproof grease areas such as your top tube, bearings in the top and bottom cups (if they aren’t sealed) and cranks. This will help keep everything smooth and eliminate that irritating creaking noise that can set in, especially around the top tube.
Carry tools & tubes – This one isn’t winter specific, you should always be prepared for a problem whilst out and about but winter leads to more debris and thus more problems. It’s cruel but unfortunately a reality. Whether you are on the road or the trails more problems like punctures are likely to occur in winter. Always make sure you carry a saddle bag or supplies in a backpack including a multi-tool, latex gloves, two spare tubes, puncture repair kits and a quick release chain link to get you back home should your chain snap.
Lose the carbon wheels – Unless you have a lot of money to burn it’s best to lose the carbon wheelset during winter. During winter you’ll find a lot of grit will get in your brake pads and on your rims. Every time you pull the brake lever the grit will rub and grind on your rims causing permanent and irreversible damage. A solid pair of alloys will get you through the worst of winter and you’ll appreciate your carbon wheels even more when it comes to getting them back out in spring.
Invest in a solid pair of mud guards. – These will protect you and your clothes and are a must especially if you are a commuter. The first thing to do is check if your bike can take mud guards. If not, don’t despair there are still are a few options available to you. Ass savers attach to your seat and provide some relief but in heavy rain aren’t going to cut it. Also, Crud Road Racers, are mudguards designed for road bikes with tight clearances that don’t have mudguard mounts. They are cost effective, easy to fit and hug the silhouette of your wheels keeping you dry at all times. And your ride-mates will thank you for it!