Mid Winter Bike Check | Road Bike Maintenance Tips

Mid Winter Bike Check | Road Bike Maintenance Tips


– The winter is a harsh time to ride, and nothing will bear
the brunt of the elements more than your bicycle. Follow this quick guide to keep your wheels spinning
sweetly this winter. So now that we’re inside
in the warm and dry, we’re going to take a little bit of time to run through a few of
the most common problems that you might expect to
encounter whilst winter riding. Because of course there is
nothing more infuriating than standing on the side of the road with a preventable
mechanical that could’ve been avoided had you just
spent a little bit of time looking over your bike. First thing’s first, we’re
going to check over our tires. Now in the winter, tires
take more of a battering than any other time of the year. Little bit of debris gets
washed into the road, certainly if you live
somewhere wet like we do here in the UK, so it’s really important
that you stay on top of any little bits of debris,
any little bits of flint, glass, or anything like that that may be washed into the
road and become ingrained inside of your tire. You also want to make sure
you stay on top of the health of the side walls of your tires. Because there’s more dirt around, there is more chance that
your tire will be rubbing on something on the side of your frame. Maybe you’re riding with mud guards, in which case there’s also, again, an increased chance that
your tire will be rubbing on something and wearing prematurely. Now that we’ve checked
our tires thoroughly, we need to check our brake pads. In the winter, they take
much more of a battering than at any other time of the year. Again, this is because of the debris that either makes its way onto the rim or onto the disc if you’re
wearing disc brakes. Now that we know our tires
and our pads are okay, we need to think about the
actual part of the bike which is driving us forwards,
and that’s the chain. In the winter, again,
because of all the debris that’s getting washed up off the road and the fact that we don’t
always clean our bikes when we should, it means
that the chain is going to be taking a bit of a battering. It’s getting a lot of
grinding paste in there, which is a little bit of
stone and dirt and water, and it’s turning into that
really thick, black gunk. And unless degreasing your
bike after every single ride, that is not going to do much to help the health of your chain. So simply check your chain to make sure that each of the rollers
is rolling freely. When you’ve done all of that and you’re happy that
everything’s spinning freely, you want to check that your
chain is not stretching and causing undue wear on other components of your drive chain. If your chain is overly stretched, you’re going to wear out your
cassette and your chain rings, and potentially need to
replace all of that at once. One item you can use to check
the health of your chain or the length of your
chain, is a chain tool. But simply, if you
don’t have one of these, and most of us don’t at home, trying to lift it off the chain ring to see how much play there is is one of the quickest and easiest ways to check how well your chain is wearing. Once we’re thinking about
moving parts of the bike, the next item that I will
be checking is my hubs. I’ll probably take them
out of the bike to do this and check to see if the bearings are spinning nice and freely. If you can hear any noise at
all, then it’s definitely worth taking them apart and adding
a little bit of grease after giving them a good, thorough clean. The next item that I would
consider having a look at would be my headset. The headset’s taking a lot
of force from the braking, a lot of force from the road vibration, and in the winter, it’s
not uncommon for the grime to work its way up and
inside of the bearings. So you’re going to want to make
sure that they are still spinning nice and smoothly. When I say spinning, you don’t
want to have your front forks steering as if it’s a 50 pence piece. And if you do have
externally routed cables, it could well be a good
idea to either remove them and replace them, or perhaps to spray a little
bit of water-repelling spray inside of the cable. You can do this simply by
spraying it inside the end of the barrel, which is
on the end of your cable. A little bit of WD40 or something similar is going to work wonders
on keeping your shifting and your braking nice and smooth. And last but not least before
you head back out on the road, don’t forget to re-lube that chain. So there you go, a quick
guide to keeping your wheels spinning sweetly this winter. If you haven’t already done so, check out more of our maintenance
videos just over there. Give this video a thumbs
up if you found it useful and make sure you
subscribe to the channel.