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How To Prepare Your Bike For Winter | Mountain Bike Maintenance

How To Prepare Your Bike For Winter | Mountain Bike Maintenance

– Winter is firmly on its way. Now, for most mountain bikers, that means a lot of wet conditions and more importantly, a lot of mud. So both the combination of mud and water together make this horrible grinding paste that can really knacker out your bike. So spending a bit of
time preparing your bike for winter beforehand can help everything last a bit longer. First off is making sure your bike is fully cleaned and it’s got a lot of
decent quality grease on it. So as well as the grease
lubricating the actual bearings and stuff on the bike itself, it also acts as a bit
of a defensive barrier to keep water at bay. In this example, this bike
is actually quite new, but still I’m gonna take the headset out and make sure the bearings are greased on the outside of the bearing itself, just to act as a bit of a shield. The internal of the
bearing should be fine, but this is a good
opportunity for you to check on your own bearings and see if they’re knotty, or they do need a bit of grease in there, or replacing. And of course there’s
a lot of moving parts on most mountain bikes, and the ones that are likely to take a lot of abuse over the winter are suspension pivots
and your bottom bracket. Your bottom bracket in particular, it has all the torque that goes through this from your constant peddling and it’s in the direct line of fire from the front wheel, so all the crap you ride through is gonna be thrown up directly there. So get your bottom bracket out, have a look at it, inspect the bearings, apply some fresh grease, make sure it’s all clean and ready to go. So as well as doing your headset and your bottom bracket bearings, you wanna make sure that you work around the whole bike systematically and just make sure that
anywhere there are bearings, they’ve got a bit of a
coating of grease on them, just to keep them protected for winter. Now, you don’t wanna go plugging any holes in your frame or such, because water needs to
be able to drain out. The idea here is just to
protect your bearings. So take advantage of those
holes when you do see them, after you’ve washed your bike and just put some WD-40 in the holes just to help sort of flush out any water that’s in there. And of course your seat post as well, is another entry point for moisture into the frame. So it’s a good idea to use some grease between your seat post and the frame. Of course if it’s a carbon frame, then you really wanna look
at an assembly compound, or a carbon specific grease that’s got the particles
in it for the grip. You don’t wanna use a
regular grease with carbon, just because it can be
bad for the carbon itself. Lights are a winter essential, so even just for riding
to work, college, uni, whatever you do, you’re gonna need some
sort of commuting lights. Get the best ones you can
afford, the brightest possible. This rear light, it pops out 75 lumens. Which doesn’t sound a lot, but that’s bright enough
to be clearly seen during daylight, so even on a dull day, having a light on is not a bad idea. Up front, a handlebar mounted light is a really sensible idea. This one, this is an Exposure Diablo, this kicks out 1,500 lumens. So that’s good enough for
off-road riding on its own. But if you’re a real
night-time specialist, and you fancy doing some
real off-road adventures, you wanna put something like
this on your helmet instead and get an even bigger
light on the handlebars. Now, Exposure light
goes up to 4,750 lumens. That’s like full beams
on your car, insane. In drier condition in the summer, you typically need to use a dry lube. Now it might sound a bit obvious, but dry lube, all it is, is a very minimal lubricant that attracts as little dirt to the chain as possible. Now this sort of lubricant is really good, but it does wash away easily, so when it comes to winter you want a decent quality wet lube. Now the difference is the wet lube is a lot thicker. So it can attract stuff to your chain, wears out your drive train, so it’s up to you to monitor this. So you wanna be reapplying every time you wash the bike, or sometimes in winter on longer rides, during the ride. But some wet lubes, in really cold conditions, I’m talking pretty extreme here, can thicken up quite significantly and get congealed. But you’ll find most lubes like this will be fine for the conditions that the average mountain biker will tackle in the winter. So most mountain bikes now have a front suspension fork and the key to making this
work really well for winter is simply by keeping it
clean and well lubricated. So at the very least, you wanna be making sure after every ride and before a ride, making sure your stanchion tubes, that’s the upper legs, making sure they’re nice and clean, inspecting your seals, making sure there’s no damages in them, making sure there’s nothing
sort of obstructing them. And of course, treating
them to lower leg service. So whether it’s doing it yourself, which is a very simple process, but if you don’t fancy doing that, most bike shops can do this for you for a very minimal cost. But there’s also
something else you can do. So the lower leg lubricant
that’s inside here is what helps the fork
slide up and down nicely. So something you can
do before going riding is flip your bike upside-down and then the lower leg
lube that’s inside there to keep those seals lubricated, will run back up into the top of the fork and that just helps cycle
things through a bit better. But you can also, if you roll back the garter spring on the top of the fork seal here, take an end of a cable
tie and just slide it into the edge of the seal and just apply some lower leg lube directly into the seals. Sucker your fork a few times just to help it suck in there. Give ’em a wipe and put
the garter spring back. That’s a nice little
way of just making sure they’re nice and smooth and you’ve got a bit of an oil barrier to help stop the muck getting in there. Shifting gears is something that we all take for granted when
they’re working really well, but it’s something that in the winter can often go wrong, and the simple reason for
that is cable friction. Cable friction’s caused
by water, grit and dirt that’s pulled into the system. On some bikes that’ve got
full internal routing, you’ll actually find you
might not need to do this for like a year or two at a time. However, what you really
should be doing before winter, and again in spring after winter, is just replacing an inner cable. It don’t cost a lot of money, pull ’em out, flush through the outer housing with a Lotus or light lubricant, a spray lube is perfect for this, and it’ll be smooth for winter. Depending on the conditions
that you ride in, you’re gonna need to consider some sort of tyres for winter. So generally that means something with a wider spaced tread so it
really cuts into the mud. If you’re not sure about the best tyre for the area you ride in, just ask a bunch of local riders and they’ll know what
hooks up really well. Of course tyre preference is a completely personal preference thing. Myself, I like a really open spaced, aggressive front tyre for maximum amount of control, but a lot of the trails
near the GMBN office, you actually have to ride on a bit of dirt track or bit of road to get to the trails, so I’m happy to kind of compromise on grip on the rear end and have something that
rolls a bit faster, and just maintain that front traction. Again, it’s a personal preference thing, you gotta find what works best for you, and just stick to it. Another factor to take into consideration, is tyre pressure. The harder you run your tyres, the less grip you’re gonna have. The lower you run your tyres, the more grip you’re gonna have. It’s that simple. You need to find your sweet spot. Aggressive riders don’t
really run lower pressure because they can roll
the tyres off the rim and burp them if they’re set up tubeless, so you do need to do a bit of research to find out what works for you. The lowest I think I’ve gone
on the front is about 20 pounds and out back, about 25. Keeping water away from the moving parts is absolutely key in your
bike working really well. So at the end of every ride in winter, you’re gonna have picked
up some moisture around, so give your bike at least a wipeover and use some water
displacing sort of lube, just to make sure it’s all flushed out. Apply this in areas around
your suspension pivots, around your chain rings,
your chain, your cassette, any areas like that that are likely to get standing water
that corrodes the bike. If you use your mountain
bike to commute to work, there’s something else in winter that can really wreck your bike, and that is the road salt. So please make sure you
look after your bike and always wash it, get the salt off there, water displacer is key, and then lube it properly afterwards. The unique combination of mud and water makes for a real horrible grinding paste that can take the sheen
off your paint finish. In particular if you wear knee pads, you’ll find that mud and
water soaks into them, and just by rubbing on the top tube here, you’re gonna dull down your paint finish. Get yourself some frame
protection kit type stuff, or a roll of 3M heli-tape. Some kind of front mud
guard’s a really good idea for mountain biking, but don’t get me wrong, this isn’t something to keep you clean, this is something purely to keep the mud out of your face, which
means you can ride faster. So, two main types, you get the really simple
flaps like this one, and you get the slightly bigger ones that are more like an extended fender. Now personally I prefer the shorter flap, because the mud around here is clay, so it’s really thick and it clogs up the bigger type fenders, but there’s a downside, these aren’t quite as good
for catching the spray that flicks back in your face. So depending on the conditions
you typically ride in, definitely have a look
at the different types of mud guard available to you. Again, these are great for thick mud, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes if you’re a
trail centre type rider, it’s a very thin sort of paste that just flicks up in your face, in which case you might
want to look at the fenders. Hopefully this video’s
given you some great ideas on how to winterize your bike. For some more winter related content, click down here for a video on how to service your bearings, really handy, especially on the note when I was talking about
putting some grease all around your bike. For five ideas on how to ride in winter, and why to ride in winter, click up here. Of course, as always, click on the globe to subscribe. It’s a brand-new video with great content every single day. And if you feel it’s been helpful for you, give us thumbs up.

100 comments on “How To Prepare Your Bike For Winter | Mountain Bike Maintenance

  1. Only thing I have to do to "winterise" my bike, is to put on the studded winter tyres, everything else is already in place all year round.

  2. Is hot as f where I live in south florida and it needs to stop, winter is a blessing we only get 2 months of moderate weather after it gets extremely hot

  3. Being a cold winter here but went riding every weekend rain hail or shine love the sport warming up you yangs Australia 😆

  4. DON'T spray WD40 or similar products on moving parts like bearings and !ESPECIALLY NOT! on your damper and fork stanchions! This stuff is designed to DEGREASE and the last thing you want to do is to contaminate your bearing or suspension fluids with a fckn degreaser! Normaly I really appreciate the GMBN tech vids but this one is filled with stupid "tips" which could cause great damage.

  5. I use a removable fender for the front that straps to the downtube. Catches some mud and water, but no issues with clogging.

  6. How can I grease a press fit bearing? I don't have the press fit tool, so if it's possible to do it without that tool that would be great.

  7. Wales never fails to deliver winter weather! These tips will definitely come in handy! Your bike looks sick too, the colours look rad. 👌👊

  8. It's still autumn here (dark and rainy), but when winter arrives, we'll get snow, so my bike will stay in my apartment.

    I have free services for three years, would you recommend me to get my bike there to get greased up and fully cleaned?

  9. #GMBN Beware, not in all countries you have all the products of WD40 that are suitable (or that are dedicated) for maintaining your bike.
    Here in #Israel, the only WD40 product that you can find is a corrosive spray used to loosens rusted parts, that frees sticky mechanisms.

  10. I think people go overboard with lumens, i ride with a 350 on my helmet and handlebar and that is plenty. You don't want it to look like its day light thats no fun. To see just enough and get spooked from the dark is better.

  11. Exposure lights really are excellent quality, they are truly fantastic lights and well worth the money, I highly recommend to absolutely anybody.
    Their rear lights too are about 3x as bright as most of the front lights I've seen, I've never ever encountered a rear light like it, truly excellent.

  12. Good vid but would be better if you showed cleaning the bike prior to 'winterising' the bike instead of using a new bike. Just a thought.

  13. #gmbn – Can you do a piece on the right clothing for winter riding? Not just super cold, but even medium cold as here in Alabama it can get into the 20's and 30's (F) in the winter. I haven't found the right clothing yet.

  14. #askgmbn I used to have a down tube mudflap that worked great. It seems they are hard to find and rarely do I see them recommended. Is there a reason for that?

  15. This is great for milder climates. But for colder locations it’s important to keep the front suspension topped off with antifreeze.

  16. Hey gmbn My Mtb coach says flipping the bike upside down messes with your disbrakes is that true? What should you do to your fork now?

  17. How to prepare for winter:

    1.Wax ski's
    2.Put bike in basement (you're not gonna see that for a while)
    3.Squats for the maximum mogul shred capabilities

  18. I think those tiny mud flaps are pretty ineffective at keeping your face clean, but they are invaluable at keeping said mud off your front shocks. (Listen to the Souf Efriken giving you lectures about mud… pah!) Love your work Doddy! Thanks!

  19. I might be wrong but wd40 is good to clean, I agree, but i think you shouldn't apply to any pivots or places that need lubrication, because it cleans and removes all the lubrication from those parts. If you apply it, then you need to reapply lubrication. Also, I use wax lubricant all year round, and it's the best thing! Cleaning you drive train is waaay easier! Squirt is good, but smoove is even better!

  20. In my experience of living in Kent which is the land of swampy clay I find that stuffing the bearings full of grease can actually make things worse. Bearings that get splattered for long periods mixes clay slop with the grease which if not ridden for a few days after a ride goes rock hard and then siezes up. The jockey wheels and those nasty PF30 BB are badly affected. The headset is usually ok but in the end I replaced the nasty PF30s with a proper Hope threaded sleeved alternative BB which is a lot more resilient. The only solution for the jockey wheels is to buy packs of bearings from ebay for next to nothing and replace them as and when required – but fit without the grease as then they last longer.

  21. #AskGMBN I noticed that when you were cleaning the forks you were rubbing along the length of the stanchions. I was always told to rub around the stanchions when cleaning to avoid putting scratches that parallel the travel and could allow lube to leak. Am I being overly cautious?

  22. This video could have been 30 seconds long
    "Spray everything with wd40 get some tyres that have a spread tread but not too spread and then get a mud guard"
    Good vid though

  23. winter is ending for Me and summer is beginning. wd40 silicon spray is a very good lubricant for the summer and the winter

  24. Good god do not spray wd40 over everything as he shows near end of vid, yes its a water displacer but its also a degreaser so if you want to get rid of all the lube, grease etc from moving parts do what he says but if you value your bike DONT.

  25. Hey Doddy! Here in Canada, "Winterising" your bike means storing it for a couple months… How about a video on that?

    Great Stuff, keep it coming!

  26. It makes no sense to grease the bearings from the outside. They outside rings stay in their position relevant to the adjacent parts and the inside is lubricated for the whole life of the bearing!

  27. I find it funky how wet and rainy weather is called winter. Trying to google winter cycling, I find awful a lot of videos from UK where it seems that you do not know what is winter. 🙂 Technically according to Dictionary winter is just "coldest" time of the year. But Id still find it more logical to speak about "how to set up your bike for rainy weather."

  28. Now in finland it is -7° and my brakes are freezing in these tempatures easily. The brakes are shimano br-m315. How could i prevent them for freezing?

  29. Please don't recommend “brightest lights” (especially mounted high – bars or helmet) without mentioning that they're an absolute pain for any cyclist coming the opposite way. Everybody who uses bright lights should remember to shade them with the hand if there's any oncoming traffic, like the low light for cars.

  30. we have a contest about christmas presents on our channel, perhaps you can have a look! 🙂

  31. If regular grease is bad for carbon frames, what should you do with all the suspension bearings or bushings in a carbon frame? The bearings are typically sealed, so if you grease the outside face, its going to contact the frame as it pivots?

  32. i use my bike to ride to work and this is the first year im using it in winter (living in Maine) and the idea of exposing my bike to road salt has been terrifying me.

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