Bike maintenance and winter go hand in hand so we’ve put together a few of our top tips to keep you on the road ready for those summer smiles.
Little and often is the way to go
Through the winter keep up a regular regime of light servicing and checks to maintain overall upkeep of your bike and wheels. Ensure you use the correct cleaning products, for example the drive train and disc brakes require different care, and that the products you use are eco-friendly.
- Wheel related upkeep
Wheel specific servicing is also essential throughout the winter and means your wheels will still be going in the years to come. Refrain from jet washing wheels as this will risk compromising the bearing seals. After washing, complete a visual inspection of the bike and wheels, removing the end cap and axel so you can take a good look at the bearings. You want to watch out for any signs of water getting through the seals and/or brown-coloured rust. At this point you may want to consider regreasing the bearings. To do this, use a sharp point to lift the rubber seal on the bearing away from the body and expose the balls underneath in the bearing race. Apply a small amount of bearing grease and replace the seal. Just be sure to check that the seal is fully seated to keep that water out!
All Parcours wheels are fitted with upgraded bearing seals as standard, making them perfect for all year round use. This will ensure you maximise the service life of the bearings. Should they need to be replaced, our hubs use cartridge bearings that can be removed out as a complete unit and replaced..
For more information for bearing upkeep you can check out Kogel, they will be able to give in depth knowledge on this topic.
Top tip: To dry your bike following cleaning use a leaf-blower or hair dryer. This will help ensure no water is left behind to penetrate into the bearings and that they stay rust free!
For those riding rim brake, when servicing your wheels, it is important to remember to clean the brake track and pads. The brake track can be rubbed clean with a cloth using denatured alcohol. You might find that the brake pad has left a layer of residue on the braking surface. This won’t impact braking performance, but to remove it, we recommend using a cloth and acetone. Be sure to avoid letting the acetone come into contact with your rim decals though.
More importantly, you will need to remove any contamination which has built up on the brake pad itself. To do this, we recommend that you rub the surface of the pad which touches the brake track with a fine sandpaper (180 grit).
- Disc brakes
If you're running disc brakes, you don’t need to worry about a brake track on the rim. The pad contact moves to the rotor, so this is where you need to put your attention. Rotors need to be cleaned with either a specialist rotor cleaning fluid, or an isopropyl alcohol as these will avoid leaving any residue that might interfere with braking. When you clean your rotors, it’s a good idea to check for wear - the rotor manufacturer will provide guidance on recommended wear limits. To clean the brake pads, stick to normal soap and water to avoid contamination. You’ll need to be extra careful to avoid letting any type of degreaser come into contact with the brake pad, as this will likely mean you’ll need to replace the pad.
One of the major benefits of disc brakes is that they are designed for all year use so there is no need to change from your summer to winter wheels. With no wear to worry about on the wheel rim itself, just keep an eye on the wear in your brake pads and disc rotors.
Recommended winter servicing
At the end of the winter months, we would recommend having your wheels and bike serviced by a mechanic. This will ensure that any problems are sorted and you can just worry about riding your bike.
For the wheels specifically, they should be checked for radial and lateral true - this makes sure that there’s no variation or movement either side to side or in and out around the wheel. As part of this check, ask your mechanic to ensure that the spoke tensions remain balanced. If the tension balance is not taken into account, a perfectly true wheel may well start to pull itself out of true as the spoke tension begins to even out
All Parcours wheels are built with external spoke nipples to make sure they are easily serviceable if they do become out of true. We use Sapim CX-Ray spokes which are readily available from most local bike shops, should you ever find yourself needing a replacement. Before leaving the warehouse, all wheelsets are also put through a range of checks by one of our mechanics to ensure they are absolutely on the money before they reach you.
Keeping up training through the winter can be hard for a number of reasons but by following these maintenance tips, preventable mechanicals shouldn’t be one of those! For more winter riding specific tips for motivation, check out our blog here.