No matter what style your bike is - whether it's an all singing and dancing full carbon road bike or your battered old commuter - you need to prepare it for the harsh elements of Winter.
Even if you don't commute or only ride occasionally, these few simple tips will help keep your machine running smoothly and avoid the breakdown of any cycle components.
1. Lube up
Ensuring your chain has an adequate amount of lubrication is essential for going out in the cold, but there are other parts of the bike that could do with some help too. The cold makes it more likely for moving parts to sieze up, so simply applying something like petroleum jelly to the mechanical parts can make a big difference. The springs of the derailleur are a perfect example, along with the springs inside your clipless pedals if they are open as many mountain bike pedals are.
2. Clean you chain often
If you go out in the Winter months regularly then you need to make sure your chain is attended to often. The increase in road debris and wet weather combine to make a rough road paste that will cover your chain and slowly grind down the cycling components if you don't clean it often enough. For the sake of 15 minutes every four or five rides, it's well worth it.
Mudguards are essential gear if you are part of a cycling club as nobody wants to ride behind someone without them and get covered in spray for four hours. Many road bikes come with eyelets for mudguards but if not then there are plenty of clip-on options available. Not only will this help keep your friends dry but it will help keep your backside dry and also keep a lot of road spray off of your chain and crankset - which will prolongue their lifetime if you ride often.
4. Clean your bike
Nothing looks worse than a bike that's covered in weeks of road grime, rain smears and sweat drops (or tear stains depending on how hard you push yourself). Cleaning your bike often will help keep it free of corrosive elements that can affect the paintwork and keep rust at bay. You don't need to strip off the components and bar tape, just spend 5 minutes after each ride hosing the bike down and cleaning off the muck. It's better to spend 5 minutes per ride doing it than waste an afternoon scrubbing the frame to remove old, stubborn grime.
5. Be prepared
If you ride often in Winter, you will puncture eventually. You may even puncture twice, so being prepared for this eventuality is paramount to safe riding and avoiding being stuck on a moor miles from home with no signal and no tubes. Take a couple of extra inner tubes out with you, along with a chain breaker and spare link or two, and make sure you have a pump as well as a CO2 canister if that's what you regularly use. The added weight will be no detriment to your training in the Winter months and the preparation could actually save your life.
You can find a range of cleaning accessories and products in our maintencance section, or check our our range of Cannondale road bikes to find an ideal Winter bike to keep your carbon fibre bike safe from the elements.