Harsh weather is hard on your bike, so it’s important to take care of it during the winter. While our workshop is always on hand to provide top notch servicing, getting stuck in with some home maintenance will prevent bigger issues from cropping up down the line. However, it can be hard to know where to start with home maintenance.

When it comes to efficient bike maintenance, experience counts for a whole lot. So, we had a chat with our very own workshop wizard Adam to find out his maintenance tips and tricks for easy winter TLC.

Chain Care 101

A spotless chain is crucial for a seamless ride and your bike's durability. Use a chain cleaner tool or a rag with degreaser to get rid of any grime. While it might be tempting after a mucky ride, try to avoid the mistake of lubing a dirty chain – clean it first! Regularly apply a high-quality chain lubricant after cleaning. Little and often is the key here, frequent maintenance to prevent oil and grime buildup will make your chain last a lot longer.

Replace Worn Cables and Housing

Don't underestimate the impact of worn or frayed cables and housing on your bike's performance. Upgrade periodically to maintain smooth shifting and braking. Opt for higher-quality stainless steel cables for a longer-lasting, smoother feel. 

Bonus Tip: If your gears are still acting up, check for a bent hanger. We’d recommend getting a professional to fix it, but diagnosing this yourself can save hours of headache, which leads nicely to our next point!

Keep a Derailleur Hanger Handy

Is your shifting feeling off? Your derailleur hanger might be bent. Save time and frustration by keeping a spare derailleur hanger or two in your parts box. It's a small investment, but it’ll save you lots of time, money and confusion in the long run.

Replace Pads Before It's Too Late

Winter elements accelerate brake pad wear. Regularly check and replace them before they wear down completely, as worn pads can damage rotors and compromise stopping power. Rim brakes will have wear limit markers on the pads, but disc brake pads will need to be removed and inspected, however this is a relatively easy job.

Bonus Tip: Keep rotors clean with disc brake cleaner and a fresh rag, avoiding any oil contact.

Invest in Quality Tools

Skip the cheap Allen keys; invest in quality tools. Ill-fitting heads can lead to rounded-off bolts, resulting in serious headaches down the road. Most of the tools we use in our workshop are from ParkTool, but of course there are plenty of other quality brands out there!

Use a Torque Wrench

Avoid damage and component failure by using a torque wrench. Tighten bolts to the correct torque specification to prevent over-tightening. They aren’t as expensive as you might think, and it's definitely more cost-effective compared to replacing broken parts, especially pricey carbon ones!

Embrace Mudguards

Okay, this one might not be a maintenance tip, but important nonetheless. Many cyclists will ride through winter without mudguards, but if your bike can take mudguards, put them on! They’ll shield your bike from road spray, preventing grime buildup to avoid wearing down your drivetrain and seized mechs. Plus, they keep you dry – a win-win situation.

Want to learn more about bike maintenance from the pros? Our monthly maintenance classes are a great way to get started. During our classes, we take a small group of riders through essential roadside repairs and basic home maintenance, covering topics such as tyre & tube maintenance/repair, tubeless roadside repair and long-term maintenance, emergency chain repairs and much more. Get your ticket for our next class here.

January 17, 2024 — Richmond Cycles