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Maik the Mechanic
Get lost, jack frost

No matter if you decide to store your bike or ride through winter: In the cold months of the year, bicycle components require more care than usual – ranging from the chain via the brakes through to the tyres. Electric bikes even need some extra care. Maik the Mechanic explains how to prepare your bike for winter:

I STORE MY BIKE FOR WINTER:

» Thoroughly clean the bike beforestorage and remove dirt from the drivetrain components.

» Clean the chain, rear derailleur, front derailleur, guide pulleys and cassette and lubricate the chain. Shift through the gears and move the chain to the smallest rear sprocket.

» A well-ventilated, dry area is the perfect place for winter storage.

» Park your bike upright on the floor or hang it on a wall mount rack. Don‘t hang it vertically though, if possible. That‘s better for hydraulic brakes.

» If you decide to hang your bike vertically, it‘s best to check the brakes for air before storage and have them bled if need be.

» Regularly pump up the tyres, as they might get damaged when stored defl ated for a longer period of time.

I CYCLE THROUGH THE WINTER:

» Some people call them “wear and tear items”: Chain, brakes and tyres require special care during winter.

» Regularly and carefully clean and re-lubricate chain and sprockets using heavier oil, so that it won‘t get washed off in rain that easily.

» Clean your bike regularly with a bike cleaner to remove dirt and salt. Don‘t use a high-pressure water jet!

» There are special waxes and oils for bicycle frames that help preserve them and protect them from corrosion.

» Suspension fork: Be careful, at very cold temperatures (approx. 4 degrees below zero or colder), performance decreases,as the hydraulic oil thickens.

» Tyres: When riding in snow and ice quite often, you are well advised to use spiked tyres or at least winter tyres.

» If you have a display or on-board computer: Don‘t panic if the display is delayed. The response time of LCD displays slows down when it gets cold. If you store your bike outside: Remove the display.

» Rim brake pads might get covered with dirt, which may decrease braking performance. Regular cleaning of the pads and rimflanges might help though.

» In strong temperature fluctuations, condensation water might collect in the Bowden cables. When this water freezes, the braking and shifting system might fail.

I HAVE A PEDELEC:

» Batteries are sensitive to cold weather. Even though riding an e-bike in cold weather is not the problem, as the electric current generated while riding keeps the battery cells warm, you should use a neoprene battery cover during longer breaks.

» If the bike is permanently stored outside in temperatures below zero, it is recommended to remove the battery pack and store and charge it at room temperature. It‘s best to only fi t the battery to the e-bike shortly before the ride.

» Remove any displays or on-board computers from the bar.

» The battery pack of an e-bike should be charged between 40 and 70 per cent before storage. This also means that you should check the battery charge every two to three months and recharge the battery, if required.