Prep a Mountain Bike for Winter

Prep a Mountain Bike for Winter
Winter can be rough on a mountain bike, but if you take steps to prep your bike, you'll keep your bike in tip top shape. Some bikers use an older bike during the winter to prevent water or salt damage to their "good" bikes. How much prep and maintenance your bike needs depends on how and when you ride your bike.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Clean and dry your bike regularly during the winter months for optimal performance. Wet conditions like rain, snow or ice can wreck havoc on your bike. Washing, drying and lubing your bike often keeps it clean and rust free.
Step 2
Choose wide, knobby tires that can handle most winter conditions. You'll want studded tires if you plan on riding ice or slick, packed snowmobile trails. Deflate your winter tires to around 25 to 35 psi. You don't want them too flat or your tire can come off the rim.
Step 3
Opt for chain lube that works in cold temperatures. Some thicker lubes will goop up when it gets cold, so you should generally look for a lighter lube. Biking in wet conditions means you should clean and lube your drive train more often. Clean and dry the bike before applying any lube.
Step 4
Wax the outside of your bike's frame with some nonabrasive car or bike wax. This will help keep water, mud and snow from sticking to the frame and it protects the bike's look.
Step 5
Apply a rust protector to the inside of your bike's frame if you have a steel frames. These frames expand and contract with temperature differences so even taking your bike out of the garage on a cold day can cause moisture to seep into the frame.
Step 6
Check your brake pads regularly for wear. Salt, sand and other materials from roads and trails can build up quickly and wear the pads out more quickly. You can wipe a little Isopropyl alcohol on the pads occasionally to help prolong them.
Step 7
Keep your tire rims clean to prevent wear. You can also wipe some Isopropyl alcohol around the rims. Grit and sand can accumulate on and around the rims during the winter so you should check this area frequently depending on your riding conditions.

Article Written By Melissa Haveman

Melissa Haveman has been mountain biking, cross country skiing, and hiking all over the Midwest, as well as other parts of the world, for many years. She particularly enjoys writing about hiking with her dogs for various websites and regional publications

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