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eminva
01-21-2016, 09:35 AM
Hello All --

What do you do to clean and maintain the bikes you use for winter commutes? I have an old MTB I use for foul weather commuting, but after a few years, the drive train is completely rusted up and sadly I conclude it has died a warrior's death. I admit I was not fastidious about cleaning it after each ride, but Vienna is also extremely liberal with salt (good for being the only one who can get to work some days; bad for the bike).

Looking ahead, I will almost certainly want to keep riding through winter on some bike or another (and I should start a separate thread for that decision!), so what should I do to keep it in good mechanical order? Completely clean it after each ride? This is a bit hard to do for the morning end of the commute.

Looking forward to hearing what others do.

Liz

huskerdont
01-21-2016, 09:45 AM
Hello All --

What do you do to clean and maintain the bikes you use for winter commutes? I have an old MTB I use for foul weather commuting, but after a few years, the drive train is completely rusted up and sadly I conclude it has died a warrior's death. I admit I was not fastidious about cleaning it after each ride, but Vienna is also extremely liberal with salt (good for being the only one who can get to work some days; bad for the bike).

Looking ahead, I will almost certainly want to keep riding through winter on some bike or another (and I should start a separate thread for that decision!), so what should I do to keep it in good mechanical order? Completely clean it after each ride? This is a bit hard to do for the morning end of the commute.

Looking forward to hearing what others do.

Liz

If there's road salt about, I don't completely clean mine after each ride, but I do clean at the end of each day, then relube it. No rust.

Tania
01-21-2016, 09:52 AM
If there's road salt about, I don't completely clean mine after each ride, but I do clean at the end of each day, then relube it. No rust.

How exactly do you clean it? Do you use any special kind of lube over the winter?

I don't have access to a hose or have a private garage and my bikes don't fit in my tub. So far this hasn't been much of an issue because I don't actually really clean my bikes! I took my old cx bike to a friends to hose it off before I sold it (he did most of the drive train) and I used baby wipes once on the warbird...But, I actually really should clean my bikes.

huskerdont
01-21-2016, 09:59 AM
How exactly do you clean it? Do you use any special kind of lube over the winter?

I don't have access to a hose or have a private garage and my bikes don't fit in my tub. So far this hasn't been much of an issue because I don't actually really clean my bikes! I took my old cx bike to a friends to hose it off before I sold it (he did most of the drive train) and I used baby wipes once on the warbird...But, I actually really should clean my bikes.

Sometimes I'm lazy and use a bit of cut-off hose I have in the back, but when it's cold enough to freeze or if I want to do it right, I'll use a rag or a sponge with some (preferably soapy) water. I usually use a dry lube, but when there's road salt I switch to the wet lube. If there isn't time to do anything with the frame, at the minimum I'll do the drive train--perhaps a bit of extra lube but making sure to wipe it off. All my bikes are steel, so I also treat them (once a year) with Boeing's T-9, inside and out.

Edit: Rag w/soapy water is for the frame; degreaser on the drive train.

Writing is hard.

vvill
01-21-2016, 10:15 AM
Replace parts as necessary. Use cheap/durable/heavy (pick all three!).

My beater MTB has some entry level Shimano 7 speed RD. It needs a kick every now and then to go, but it's been through 4 or so winters and often stored outside when it's covered in grime. I finally installed a new cassette and chain earlier in 2015. Pete @ Bikenetic also sprayed some lube-y stuff into the shifter to give it a second life. If you use bar mitts you end up covering up shifters/brake levers so they actually don't wear much.

The FD, well, honestly I ended up just cutting the cable and getting rid of it. It was super rusty and solidly stuck. I put on a brake lever (no front shifter) to replace it. The rear cassette range is enough for most uses.

The other option is of course to rinse off the salt and dry after every ride - no chance of that happening for me.

My CX bike has also been used in similar circumstances, although I do clean it from time-to-time. I've had cables, BB, chain, etc. replaced more often than my road bikes but not an unreasonable amount. The Tiagra RD and CX70 FD still work fine.

DismalScientist
01-21-2016, 10:57 AM
Old MTB? 7/8 speed chains are cheap on the internet. Just replace it after the season is over. Alloy things don't rust and tend to survive the winter better.

hozn
01-21-2016, 11:06 AM
Except in very extreme circumstances, I never clean my bikes with a hose. I don't want water washing dirt into bearings. I brush off dry dirt. Sometimes I'll use a damp rag. IMO a hose is about as useful in bicycle maintenance as a hammer. (So they both have their place, but it's rare.)

In the winter time, I just lube my chain after slushy commutes. RocknRoll blue lube.

If I had a steel bike, I might care a little more and take a rag to the frame. But with aluminum, ti, carbon, you don't have to worry about corrosion from water/salt.

peterw_diy
01-21-2016, 12:17 PM
Boeshield T-9 on all exposed steel hardware as a prophylactic measure -- stainless will rust. Keep the chain well lubed. Wipe down rims and rim brake pads occasionally with a rag.

Vicegrip
01-21-2016, 06:29 PM
For me with all metal devices bikes to buckets. Get Salts off metal parts.
Brushing does not remove salts from where it is prone to the most damage. Dilution is the solution. H2O hurts few things on a modern bike. Mag chloride solution eats aluminum and many other near noble metals for lunch.
Even dried in place salts draw in moisture from the air and while wet will cause dielectric corrosion. This can cause normally resistant metals to be deeply eroded and even drives below the normally protective layer of AlOx that aluminum presents.
YMMV and I am only a N00b rider. I will wash a still wet bike off with a gentle flow of water if I have the chance. This removes a lot of crud and salts before they can dry and solidify. Slobber lube the chain often. Clean and lube the cables in the BB area.

hozn
01-21-2016, 09:44 PM
I defer to Vicegrip's understanding of alloy corrosion; I have no idea what I am talking about there. :-). [The internet said aluminum frames are for practical purposes not susceptible to salt+water corrosion because they build up a much thicker oxidization layer that effectively protects the underlying metal.]

I will say that in 25k miles on this titanium commuter frame I have had no corrosion issues and have maybe washed it twice with flowing water. But obviously ti is not aluminum. (I haven't had corrosion of the aluminum parts either or rust of stainless steel hardware.)

Vicegrip
01-22-2016, 03:53 PM
...and I to Hozn's experience with bikes. Ti is the bomb. It is a truly unique metal in so many ways and most ways are good too. The good thing is there is no truly "wrong" way other than perhaps pressure washing.

Aluminum is interesting in that it is not a very noble metal but is also resistant in its own way. The cool thing about aluminum is the "rust" aluminum exhibits is Hard and blocks Oxidation. A thin layer of Aluminum Oxide forms and unlike steel further oxidation stops. You can use electro chemical trickery and force the oxide layer to be even thicker (anodizing) and the aluminum will be even less prone to further oxidation. Some salts can act as a electrolyte in conjunction with less noble metals and set up an almost anodizing like action. This can burn through the AlOx layer and restart oxidation. Oxidised aluminum takes up more space than unoxidized aluminum and is real HARD. This can = strippped out fasteners, super stuck seat posts, crack issues and the like. YMMV.

GovernorSilver
01-23-2016, 09:02 AM
The good folks at Proteus told me hosing down the bike is fine as long as high pressure is avoided. They did suggest an alternative of using a bucket of Simple Green diluted in water for cleaning. They often get a lot of grit and junk on their bikes riding around the College Park area.