How to Maintain Your Bike in the Winter

Winter biking

Clean and Wax

One the first thing to do to maintain one's bike over the winter is, in the fall when it still warm, clean your bike thoroughly. Get rid of all the grit and grime and other things that will corrode your bike during the freeze/thaw of winter. When you give your bike a good rubdown and brush out all the cogs and gears, coat your bike in a good layer of car wax. Cover everything except for the chain and rims. If we put wax on the chain it will freeze up or become sticky in really cold weather. It will also squeeze out of the moving parts of your chain and not seep back in, speeding up the breakdown of your chain.


During the winter grease up all open holes or moving parts. This includes chain, derailers, pedals and break and gear line housings. It is possible to get special winter lubes for this sort of thing but is not entirely necessary. Constantly check and reapply your oil, for this is what's keeping out the sand and grit and salt that is going to corrode your bike. You can also use WD-40 on the very hard-to-reach places, but make sure it's not any gortex or high quality cable housing.

Constant cleaning

Make a habit of wiping down your bike at the end of each day. Try to get off as much grime as possible and stiff brush the hell out of your gears. A quick way to do that is just set your bike up, spin the wheel and pedals and drag the brush along.

Keep it cold

If the weather is constantly below freezing you may want to consider keeping your bike outside. This will stop water constantly being on corrodible parts of your bike and will also stop the freezing and thawing that cracks cable housing. If water gets in your cable housing, through a crack say, it will rust up your breaks or gears very quickly. And then there is nothing that you can do.

Tire inflation

Don't overinflate your tires. Because of the cold weather your tires will be at a lower pressure than when you bring them inside. You don't want to pump up your tires in the cold and then bring them in, warm up and explode. Also, a lower pressure in your tire will give you more contact with the road and thus more traction anyways.

Keeping the chain on

If the chain keeps coming off when you are riding, there is probably ice on the cogs of your gears. You can try chipping off the ice as well as riding on a big–big gear combination. This will keep up your chain tension, and keep it on.

There are plenty of other little tricks that you can learn for keeping your bike in good condition even in the winter. Keep looking online or talk to a bike shop repair guy, there is always lots to learn. Happy riding.