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Thread: What is too cold for a bicycle?

  1. #1
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    Default What is too cold for a bicycle?

    At 8degF this morning, I chose not to bike this morning. Now, I likely had enough warm gear for me, but I wasn't sure when parts of the bike might not function so well or just snap (I know my lights would immediately tell me they need to be charged, regardless of their state inside my home).

    There are some plastic and rubber bits on the bike, metal can shrink, and grease/lube might not function optimally. I have been having some shifting problems as it is (but that might be more due to the lobster claws on my hands). What is too cold for the bike itself?

    (Edit) Oh, and the hydraulic fluid in my brakes. Loss of brake usage would be bad.
    Last edited by DrP; 01-31-2019 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Can't stoooppppp......

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    At 8degF this morning, I chose not to bike this morning. Now, I likely had enough warm gear for me, but I wasn't sure when parts of the bike might not function so well or just snap (I know my lights would immediately tell me they need to be charged, regardless of their state inside my home).

    There are some plastic and rubber bits on the bike, metal can shrink, and grease/lube might not function optimally. I have been having some shifting problems as it is (but that might be more due to the lobster claws on my hands). What is too cold for the bike itself?

    (Edit) Oh, and the hydraulic fluid in my brakes. Loss of brake usage would be bad.
    https://www.velonews.com/2015/01/bik...weather_358172

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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    I biked this morning. No problems. I also have hydraulic brakes.

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    I was reminded that my shifter cable needs to be re-greased this spring. Two years ago I got water in it and it I was stuck with a 1 speed until the temp went above freezing. Now its just a little, uh, slushy, below freezing.
    While I'm here... any suggestions on what type of lube I should use?

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    I have caliper brakes, and the caliper on one side locked a couple of times lately. However, I suspect that there was some water in the mechanism which has now evaporated, because it was fine this morning.

    With adequate clothing, I have never experienced a time when it was too cold to ride. As for the lobster claws, what I do is to have the "Extreme Cold" version of Bar Mitts on my handlebars. With ski gloves under those, I can go down to at least 0. And the ski gloves don't seem to interfere with shifting.

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    Coldest I have ever ridden in was 1 degree F. We are lucky in DC area in that it doesn't get into single digits much. Today I had on 5 layers (upper body), 2 balaclavas and a hat, winter cycling shoes with chem footwarmers, winter gloves with chem handwarmers, and heavy tights. I was very comfortable. It is never as bad as you think it is going to be. My face was a bit cold and uncomfortable but it got better as I rode. Biggest fear in cold weather is getting a flat tire cuz I find it hard to change with gloves on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    Oh, and the hydraulic fluid in my brakes. Loss of brake usage would be bad.
    I had problems with my hydraulic brakes last winter if my bike was left outside in freezing temps for more than 20 minutes. Bikenetic replaced the brake caliper, and the brakes have been fine since -- even on today's commute.

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    Thanks all!

    As per Drevil's link, it sounds like my brakes won't have issues (at least due to frozen/slushy hydraulic fluid) until a much colder temperature than I would like to be in. If I get water in my shifter cables, I might have issues. So the rear derailer cogs which appear to be plastic, but could be some other non-metal substance won't suddenly crack? Like micoglaces, a flat in really cold weather would be bad, but otherwise it sounds like I cannot use potentially damaging my bike as a reason to not ride in single digits or lower. But it might keep me on routes where I can more easily find a bike shop or public transit should a flat occur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cvcalhoun View Post
    As for the lobster claws, what I do is to have the "Extreme Cold" version of Bar Mitts on my handlebars. With ski gloves under those, I can go down to at least 0. And the ski gloves don't seem to interfere with shifting.
    WHAT??! Extreme Cold barmitts? Must investigate immediately!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFX_Hinterlands View Post
    I was reminded that my shifter cable needs to be re-greased this spring. Two years ago I got water in it and it I was stuck with a 1 speed until the temp went above freezing. Now its just a little, uh, slushy, below freezing.
    While I'm here... any suggestions on what type of lube I should use?
    if you got water in it more than a year ago and it's feeling funky, I'd replace the cable if not the cable + housing; grease won't remove corrosion.

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