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How to maintain your bike in the snow

Riding in the snow
Joe Robinson
9 Feb 2021

Avoid letting grit and salt damage your bike with this top tips from Crankalicious

Many parts of the UK are currently under a blanket of snow and while we'd advise against riding in treacherous conditions, even after the snow has melted its effects on your bike can continue long after the snowmen are reduced to puddles.

As we venture back into the great outdoors, we will find that the road surfaces are less than perfect, covered in grit, salt and all other kinds of grime which can be quite harmful to your bike.

Not only can this find its way into your drivechain speeding up wear and grind down components such as your chain and jockey wheels, it can also cause rust on alloy frames and even build up on rim and disc brakes dramatically reducing your braking power.

So to combat this damaging process, the team over at bike maintenance gurus Crankalicious has come up with six top tips to keep your bike singing through these trying times.

Six top tips for maintaining your bike through the snow

1) As soon as you’ve finished riding, rinse off the entire bike with a hose (not jet wash) or a bucket of water.

If you have time, a quick wash with a general purpose bike cleaner will make a huge difference. This should clear a lot of the gunk build-up on the frame and components but using a soft brush should shift more stubborn dirt.

2) Cleaning the drivetrain with a quality degreaser will clear off any lubricants which cause grit to stick to components.

To get the best results, let the product dwell for a couple of minutes, then agitate the dirt with a drivetrain brush (harder than one you would use for the frame) to allow for an easy rinsing.

You can also use a chain cleaning tool to obtain a deeper clean in the more hidden areas between the chain links. If you’re short on time, youy could wipe the chain down with a product like the Crankalicious Gumchained Remedy Kwipe (a handy single use, disposable wipe laced with Crankalicious chain cleaner).

Watch: How to clean your bike chain and drivetrain in just five minutes

3) Always lubricate your chain after cleaning! A wet chain can get rusty so, to protect it, wipe it dry, apply a decent amount of lubrication and wipe off the excess

Tutorial: How to clean and lube your bike for winter

4) Cleaning braking surfaces with a residue free brake cleaner will slow down wear on your rims or rotors. You’re likely to go through brake pads more quickly this time of year so it’s important to check these regularly and replace when necessary.

In the case of rim brake pads, picking out any embedded grit with a sharp object will prevent damage to your rims.

5) When your frame is clean and dry, use a purpose made polish to buff out any scratches (for matt frames be sure to use a matt specific frame cleaner) in which dirt can settle and where salt can eat into the frame underneath.

It also provides a good opportunity to check for any potential cracks or deeper scratches.

6) Prevention is better than cure! Applying a hybrid wax will add a protective layer to your frame. Grit and salt will also find it more difficult to stick to the super smooth surface making the frame easier to clean next time around.

A nano protectant will repel water where it would usually collect such as around the bottom bracket and on the underside of the downtube.

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