Feature: Winterize your bike

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Kevin Barclay who races regularly in Scotland, and works for Vanilla Bikes in Cumbria, has some tips on ‘Winterizing’ your bike

Feature: Winterize your bike

Brought to you by Vanilla Bikes

It’s that time of year again, the days start getting shorter, the clocks go back and the temperature starts to drop. Getting through the winter in good shape with miles under your belt can massively improve your fitness when summer comes. Here’s some advice to help maintain your bike to allow you to keep enjoying riding throughout the winter.

One of the first things to consider adding to your bike is a good set of mudguards. If your bike has mudguard eyelets these should be easy to fit. There are mudguards available from crud which only need 4mm of clearance to fit your bike. They are compatible with disc brakes due to the new mounting system. Meaning no bike hasn’t been catered for winter! These will help you and your bike stay cleaner during your rides. These new Crud Roadrace Mk3 are suitable for race bikes, disc brake bikes and tyres up to 35mm wide tyres.

A saddlebag is handy to keep essentials needed on each ride. Items such as inner tubes, tyre levers and a multi-tool should always be in there. Storing these on the bike also means that you’ll have more space in your back pockets for your phone, gilet and food for your ride. Check out our range of saddlebags. A good idea is to keep your inner tubes in a plastic bag, as this will make sure they are protected while in the saddlebag. Check your spare inner tubes regularly to make sure they do inflate and don’t have any holes in them I It’s not the first time I’ve given out my spare tube because someone else’s spare was punctured!

Winter tyres
Heavier tyres with extra puncture protection work best in winter. No one wants to be changing a tyre at the side of the road at the best of times, never mind in the winter when the longer you are off the bike, the colder you’ll end up. Wider tyres will also help with comfort and extra grip on wet roads, which are to be expected at this time of year.

Brake pads
Due to all the extra salt and grit on the roads, brake pads take a battering in winter. They need regular checking to make sure there’s enough pad left. When checking, make sure there’s no grit stuck in the pads themselves that could damage your rims. See our range of brakepads.

Keeping the chain clean is one of the hardest tasks during the winter. This is made significantly easier with a good degreaser and chain cleaner. These will get your chain clean in 5 minutes and can also be used on the cassette, chainset and on the brakes as these get covered in dirt too. Chain checkers are available and measure the wear on the chain. These are handy as if a chain is changed before it is fully worn out, the wear on the cassette and chain rings will be reduced.

Due to the wet weather during winter, heavier lube is needed to keep the chain lubricated during your rides. A thin lube will be wasted and it will just get washed off by the wet roads. Choose your lube here.

Lights are vital during winter as there can be days where it is permanently dark. A good set will not only make you visible to cars they will show any potholes or problems ahead on the road. In the last few years, the size of lights have shrunk due to better battery technology. If you do a lot of your riding in the dark, having two lights front and rear means you can have one solid and the other flashing. The other benefit is that you’ll have a backup in case one should fail.

If the weather is really wet or the roads are icy, the best option may be to stay indoors and jump on the turbo. With a number of smart turbo trainers available, connecting your turbo up to many online apps has become easy. This helps makes turbo sessions more enjoyable, as now you can race others online. Ensuring you are still getting your training in while staying safe!

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