Winter. That time of the year, which, depending on where you live can mean a long time with only a few rides. In addition, water, salt, mud, and even snow, are elements that will make our transmission suffer more than usual. We will give you the best tips to prevent one of the most important parts of your bike from suffering more than it should.
The transmission of your bike has elements that suffer directly from the winter conditions, such as the chain, the cassette and the rear derailleur and others, such as the shifters, which may not be affected as much, and do not usually cause problems. The bottom bracket can also suffer the winter conditions by accumulating more water and mud than normal. Also, depending on the type of transmission you use, it may be more affected by lower temperatures than other systems. Conventional systems using cables, tend to be affected more, because the cable outers accumulate water inside and if not well lubricated they can rust, causing the gear changes to lose precision. In addition, this rust can reach elements such as the chain or the cassette, as well as the chainrings if you do not clean and oil them often.
Nowadays almost all cable operated gear systems, have a completely internal routed guide with a cover inside the frame, which helps stop water, mud and dust entering the cable outers. Other systems such as Wireless that do not use cables or electronic systems with non-mechanical cable, do not have this problem in winter conditions. In addition, the ROTOR 1×13 Road and ROTOR 1×13 Mountain transmissions, by not having cable operated shifting, but a hydraulic system, that will not experience changes in adverse weather conditions, will not have its smooth operation affected when winter comes.
The cold is especially aggressive on all the elements of the transmission. At ROTOR we always recommend cleaning the entire transmission after each ride (cassette, chain, derailleurs and chain rings) but in winter this should be done with more care and frequency, especially if it rains a lot or if you ride in areas with a lot of mud. In addition to using a good degreaser and a brush to remove dirt particles that remain in all corners of the transmission, it is important that the oil you use for the chain and other moving parts is of a greater density that lasts longer. These usually last for longer even if there is a lot of rain or mud. Regardless of the oil you use, you should clean the transmission better and more often and apply more oil, especially on the chain, than you usually apply in other seasons.
In the same way, if you have a BB30, Press-fit or similar type BB (anything that is not threaded), it is easier for the bearings to get dirty too. Both for the headset and for the bottom bracket, there is a special grease that is resistant to water more, which is usually used in boats. Once checked with the manufacturer of the frame and the bearings which the types of grease you can use, this type (which is usually blue) will better protect the bearings for use with water and dirt.
The smoothness and accuracy of the cables and outers for both the gears and brakes are also affected due to temperatures and water. In the same way that we commented to you that the transmissions in winter have to be cleaned and greased more often, the cables and outers as well. A good option is that when winter arrives, install new gear and brake cables and outers. This is going to help them work better and insure there is not too much friction. As we said before, if you are one of the lucky ones that you use a 1×13 ROTOR groupset, you will not have these kind of problems, since it is a system that does not use conventional cabling and the smoothness and precision are always the same regardless of the weather conditions.
Another very important aspect that must be maintained in perfect conditions in winter are the hubs bushings, especially in the rear wheel. High quality hub bushings such as ROTOR RVOLVER models have sealed bearings that prevent the entry of water and dust, but require more frequent cleaning and regreasing in winter, so that the bearings themselves are not damaged by the entry of particles like earth and mud. In addition, the freehub located in the rear hub in most brands, contain springs and pawls that engage when pedalling and normally the grease that keeps them working perfectly can turn more solid than normal and prevent them from performing correctly. In the case of ROTOR RVOLVER bushings the clutch system has much lower maintenance, as well as an easy disassembly to be able to clean and regrease all the internals.
In general, the main differences between summer and winter maintenance are two points; on the one hand the types of oil that are used. In winter you need a more viscous oil for the chain in order to last longer in cold and wet conditions. And on the other hand, cleaning and lubrication of all transmission components need to be done more often, so that the wear of the parts is not accelerated.