Take Your Nice Bikes Out in Winter?

5Thumbs Posts: 88
edited October 2012 in Road beginners
I've just bought my first road bike principally to improve myfitness for mountain biking and one of the things I had planned was to stick with it through the winter when the mud really becomes a pain for off-roading. Having talked to a few road bikers since I was surprised at how many people do not take their 'nice' bikes out in winter due to the corrosive nature of salt on the drive train.

This had never occurred to me :( .I'm in no position to buy an additional cheaper 'winter bike' but does this mean a lay up through the winter? I'd be interested in peoples experiences. Is it just a case of making sure you hose the bike down thoroughly after a rise on wet, salty roads?


  • It takes as long to clean a cheap bike as it does to clean an expensive one.
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    5Thumbs wrote:
    Having talked to a few road bikers since I was surprised at how many people do not take their 'nice' bikes out in winter due to the corrosive nature of salt on the drive train.

    Don't worry about them, I'm sure if you had turned up wearing a World Champ, KOM or Yellow Jersey they would have spat on you and shunned your advances :lol:

    It's a bike. You bought it for riding. It won't melt (unless you speak to the folk above and their posh, for best only carbon bikes) so just go out when ever you want and enjoy it.

    If it gets dirty....clean it

    If it breaks....fix it.

    If it melts....get a proper bike made from metal :P
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • Bozman
    Bozman Posts: 2,518
    Mine goes away as soon as the salt goes on the roads, i don't give a damn about the rain but salt gets everywhere and shafts a bike quickly. My mate does exactly the same with motorbikes, he's not going to rot 12 grands worth of bike just to look good over winter.
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    edited October 2012
    It takes as long to clean a cheap bike as it does to clean an expensive one.

    But you'd be less bothered about bits on a cheap bike corroding.
    More problems but still living....
  • Gizmodo
    Gizmodo Posts: 1,928
    I've had my "nice" bike 12 months now, actually it's my only road bike. I rode it all through last winter, cleaned it after each ride, and I still have every original component, no rust, not had to replace anything.

    My friend bought a cheaper bike and has had to replace wheels and BB because of water ingress, nothing to do with salt. So, if you buy quality and take care of it, in my experience it will last. Just get out ther and ride your bike.
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Gizmodo wrote:
    I've had my "nice" bike 12 months now, actually it's my only road bike. I rode it all through last winter, cleaned it after each ride, and I still have every original component, no rust, not had to replace anything.

    If you rode every day would you want to clean your bike after every ride?
    More problems but still living....
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    Mine will come out on dry roads, otherwise it will be spinning at the gym for me
  • Slack
    Slack Posts: 326
    edited October 2012
    It's only a bike! Has anyone seen a warning tag on their new bike when purchased to the effect of 'do not get your bike wet or dirty' or 'your bike will rot if it comes into contact with salt'??

    I used the same road bike for five years; it goes out all year round and in all weathers. It is always well maintained and cleaned. It still does the same thing it did when I first bought it.

    Only girls worry about this sort of thing.

    Anyway, to be honest, if I had a choice of bikes, the nicer one would stay indoors if it was wet out :mrgreen:
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  • Every day your mad
  • Ride hard
    Ride hard Posts: 389
    Well done 5Thumbs. Look at what you started!!

    All I can say on the subject is I guess everyone is different. I've had bikes costing £150, through to my current Ultegra equipped Cube worth well over a grand and I've treated them all the same - ie kept them as clean and well maintained as possible. However, even my slightly OCD nature won't stop me from cyling in the rain or other adverse weather conditions because as much as I love my steed, it's a bike and I bought it to ride and not to sit in my living room looking nice. However, if anyone else does that then I respect that too.

    The only weather conditions I personally wouldn't go out in is snow. Not because of the salt, but because it's dangerous - especially on the road I commute on.
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  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    Mine goes out 2, 3, 4 days a week all winter. It's made of carbon and has fancy-dan electric gears and half-decent wheels. Am I going to hide it away from October 1st until Easter to stop it wearing out? No way.

    Here's the deal. The frame doesn't matter. Frames comprise smooth surfaces that are easy to wipe down, and if you don't wipe them down the mud and the oil just sits on the surface until you do wipe it down. Unless you leave it for some number of years the frame will look like new when you do give it a clean. And next time you go out, if the weather's bad your bike will get dirty again. It doesn't matter.

    This argument that the drive train wears out quicker. Maybe it does a bit, but it's going to wear out anyway so it's the rate of wear that increases; there's not a change from not wearing the chain out to ruining it inside a week. Chains are consumables; you get at least 3-4 chains per set of cogs. Chains cost about £20. Who cares?

    Rims - a bit more contentious as the rims take all the brunt of it when a layer of slimy oil + carbon + grit + acid rain builds up on the rims then grinds them away when you grab a handful of brakes at every junction. So rims suffer more. But it's still relative, and in my position I can do 30+ mile rides and barely need to touch the brakes - the benefit of a rural location.

    For me the clincher is the reality that it doesn't rain every day from October to April and the council doesn't dump a load of grit & salt on the road every day for 5 months. Most days in England in Winter the weather is somewhere between bright & sunny, and grey & overcast, and sometimes it rains. So just like summer, only not as warm and it gets darker earlier. Why would you lock a perfectly good bike away just because it's a bit colder? If it gets wet tough. If it gets road-water all over the cogs, clean them when you get home. There's no way I'm foregoing the pleasure of riding a nice bike for 5 or 6 months just because it might get a bit dirty or because it might get 500 fewer miles out of a chain.

    Each to their own though.
  • Lightning
    Lightning Posts: 360
    My good, expensive, carbon bike goes out nearly everyday whether it's sunny or raining and it's fine. I only properly clean it when it's going to be sunny for a few days after a rainy one. And I do have a cheaper aluminum bike I could use instead, but I made that my turbo bike as I don't really want to ride it outside when I have a better one.
  • I guess it all depends on if you can afford more than one bike mostly I would think.

    Unless you have gym session of course,not the same though is it as getting out in the fresh air.
  • kentphil
    kentphil Posts: 479
    Stick some slick tyres on your mountain bike and use that in the winter. That's what I've done to my fully rigid 14 year old Kona.
    1998 Kona Cindercone in singlespeed commute spec
    2013 Cannondale Caadx 1x10
    2004 Giant TCR
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    newjumper wrote:
    I guess it all depends on if you can afford more than one bike mostly I would think.

    Unless you have gym session of course,not the same though is it as getting out in the fresh air.
    I've only got the one. Why buy a really good bike, then buy another that's not as good - or better - so as not to ride the other? N+1 is a fun slogan to put on web forums but reality is the bike I want to ride is the one in the garage, not the one in the shed that's not as good.

    OP - do what you want to do. Learn how to clean a gear-set properly and you won't have any problems.
  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    Only my commuter bike is made out of steel and that goes out whenever anyway, the rest are made out of parts which don't rust... as CiB says the rims are the only part that has a big material difference in wear in winter, so changing wheels might be wise if you care abot such things.

    Otherwise I ride whatever bike is appropriate.
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  • Sprool
    Sprool Posts: 1,022
    i'd feel happier putting road slicks on my mtb to battle through the winter and keep my road bike in best condition for the dry weather.
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    Of course not! You have a winter bike for that kind of nonsense!
  • 5Thumbs
    5Thumbs Posts: 88
    OP - do what you want to do. Learn how to clean a gear-set properly and you won't have any problems.

    err...as a mountain biker (new to road) you may be surprised to hear that I'm a dab hand when it comes to cleaning gear sets !

    What I'm not so familiar with is the apparent destructive properties of salt on expensive chainsets and the protective bahaviour that it seems to instill in some people with regard to their pride and joy.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,470
    I've got my 20 year old bike which was my only bike until 2 years ago which is supposed to be my commuting / winter bike but the rear mech and a downtube shifter are in need of replacement so I'm just using my newer bike at the moment. Whilst it's a carbon frame it only has a Tiagra groupset so not too bothered. I will change my wheels but then I was only intending using the pair I currently have on there for racing originally and they have stayed on there. Once my old bike is back on the road it will resume its commuting and winter training duties but that's more so I get to enjoy the feel of my newer bike when the spring comes rather than worrying about it getting a bit dirty. As for salt, we really don't have that many days of the year when the roads are gritted (at least not in the southern half of the country).
  • greentea
    greentea Posts: 180
    Whilst its true that salt on the roads (assuming they actually salt the roads-they dont always depending on finances!) can be bad for anything metal, it only really applies if you go for a ride, come back, leave the bike for a whole week without cleaning it.

    If you go out, come back and thoroughly clean the bike and components straight after every ride you will be fine. They key is to wash it after every ride and protect it with polish and WD40 or whatever you choose to spray on the chain and components. The salt wont do anything then.

    There are frame polish sprays that act as a barrier and anything being thrown at it slides off when washed. WD40 is an excellent spray on working parts.

    Ive owned a motorbike for 20 years and my last motorbike for 8 years, ive been out all year long, even in snow and ice and always cleaned it after every ride or at the very least got the worst of the crud off and sprayed the metal with WD40 and it still looks as good as new.

    If you do the same with your road bike you will have no problem. The people who have winter bikes have them because they want to have a winter bike, thats all it is.

    Ive got a full carbon and Ultegra bike and its as good now as it was when i bought it last year, and thats through rains, mud, sunshine. So dont worry about it and enjoy it.

    Oh, and invest in some decent brushes like the Muc-Off set for £18 on Amazon. If you're going to spend money then spend it on good brushes, micro-fiber clothes, WD40 and bike sprays.
  • Mikey23
    Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    My decision about whether to go out in the winter is based more on personal enjoyment than bike mechanics. Frinstance the weather has been rubbish down in the West Country for the last couple of days. I could have dragged myself out in wet and murky weather on dodgy roads. But I chose to go to the nice warm and comfy gym, hop on one of their new matrix machines, spin away to my hearts content while watching sky sports, do good sessions and go for a swim and spa pool afterwards rounded off with a cappuccino. Sure I miss the roads but not that much ...

    And my bike is still clean for the next dry day
  • Mikey41
    Mikey41 Posts: 690
    My roadie is now the only bike I use, and it will get ridden over the winter. It'll get a pair of mudguards shortly to keep the worst off if I get caught out. If it gets mucky, I'll clean it.

    It's only a bike, it won't dissolve if it gets wet.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
  • Get a nice Ti bike for winter.

    I have a litespeed, full ultegra and crudcatcher2 guards for winter and a Carbon felt F4 for summer.

    You only live how you live lads, not too flash, but flash enough to have no regrets.

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  • i have two bikes and yes, one is for winter (or poor weather) rides/commuting.
    simple reason for having a winter/commuter is that i ride in all weathers but riding in poor/bad weather means chances of coming off are higher than at other times ime, especially in winter, and i would much rather have an off on my winter bike than my race bike.

    Also, with the number of bike thefts going through the roof in this country, i dont fancy leaving a nice carbon bike outside work for 9 hours a day (despite having a good bike lock). But even if i didnt commute to work i would still have a second bike for riding in bad conditions.

    However, having two bikes has nothing to do with worrying about the elements destroying the bike, apart from causing an off.
    Just clean it after every wet ride & when training on salted/gritted roads and it will be fine.
  • I have a 2004 cross bike with 9speed Ultegra on it. It gets used mainly as a winter/crappy day bike and maybe gets a wash once a month at best.

    So far the shifters have some signs of corrosion, the mechs are original as are the wheels. Still rides nice and looks ok after a wash.

    But I do keep my good bikes in the garage most of the winter, mainly because I am too lazy to wash them after every ride.

    SuperSix Hi Mod Sram Red
    Super X Ultegra
    Tourine XT / XTR
    CX 1000 Disk Ultegra (Winter Hack)
    And an Empella SL Bonfire
  • I'll abuse my only bike all winter.

    As I use her for commuting I'll save myself enough fuel money over winter to renew her whole drivetrain come spring if I so wished. (More likely I'll treat her to some bar tape and a new chain/cassette.)

    Besides, I didn't buy her just to look at. (And yes I did use the term 'her' :oops: )
  • It's a bike. Ride it. The only reason I would have for having a 'winter' bike (and conversely a 'summer' bike that went into hibernation) is optimisation for the weather.

    But really you should just get a nice old steel racer. Everyone should have one anyway. You should be able to get a thoroughly nice one for under £200, if not considerably less than that. 531, sturdy wheels, 5-7 speed with friction shifters... A joy to ride, rock solid reliability (there is so little to go wrong), and possibly the classiest looking bikes ever made. :D

    I mean, how could you not want something like this!?

  • This morning I was in my LBS where I bought my (only) bike this time last week, buying stuff, including lights and gloves and various other shite. I said to the man, "I think I'll do a bit more research on mudguards - they're not the highest priority".

    [My highest priority had become getting a track pump yesterday, when I discovered that getting my tyre pressures from 85 to 100 with the little road pump I got with the bike involved more sweat and lactic acid than actually riding the bike.]

    Today, god was obviously listening, since sans-mudguards, I was 3/4 of the way round my route, when the sky turned from blue to black, and the heavens opened. Dripping and steaming, I got to a mate's house for shelter, and inspected the bike, which to my astonishment, didn't look too bad.

    It got a wipe down when I got it home, but I was encouraged to see that there wasn't a ton of black sludge in the drive train, and in a way relieved that I'd got over the first soaking - since it had to come someday.

    I can't afford a second bike, so I'll just have to enjoy the one I have.
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