Other Sports Magazine

Brace Your Bike, Winter is Coming

By Grindinggears


Everything seems a little bit different this year. After a summer of dusty trails and temperatures in their 20s (very rare in Wales) it appears as though things are about to change. The nights are drawing in, the thermometer is back into single figures in the morning and the rain has come.

Unfortunately this means that the summer is over, but luckily for us the run up to winter is prime MTB time. That is, if you’re prepared for it! Here’s a checklist of everything you need to get your bike winter ready:

 Winter Storage (If necessary)

I know there are a few of you who live in climates that make it impossible to bike in the winter, in which case you want to store it away. Make sure that your bike is stored in a dry environment, locked up and covered. If you can get it inside then that’s great, but a garage or shed should do the trick nicely!

Before putting it away make sure that it is nice and clean so that you don’t end up with rust spots or squeaky, groaning parts. If you want to make sure your bike is going to be double safe then give the frame a coating of GT85 spray – this will keep grime, dust and water from sticking to it while it sits there neglected all winter.

For Those Who Ride Through Winter


The men, women and children who brave the worst of the weather to get the best of mountain biking, we salute you! You are the pillars of this community who make us say MTFU, it’s only snow. You are the ones who drag us out of bed at 6am on a Sunday to go on a mudfest ride. It is you who we all want to be!

That said, it is also you who needs to take the most care of your bike during this time. Mud, rain and crazy cold temperatures can really mess with your bike and its components. To prepare for all this, there are a few vital changes you need to make:

Change your tyres

Brace Your Bike, Winter is Coming
Riding during the winter is a completely different beast to summer riding. Forget hardpacked dirt, here you will find mud, mud and more mud. Which is fun, unless you’ve still got those semi-slick, tightly spaced tyres on your bike. Grab yourself some winter tyres, with big spaced out knobs to really sink into the mud and ensure you get a grip.

Personally I like the Maxxis Minions

Charge your lights

The nights draw in quickly and the last thing you want to do is be stuck on the side of a mountain in the dark. make sure that you have decent bike lights and that they are fully charged before you head out. There are many debates over which are the best lights, but it all comes down to personal preference and budgets. A couple of the lights I’ve used and reviewed are:

  • Fluxient 3xU2 3000
  • Silva Trail Speed Elite 
  • Lezyene Mega Drive 

Use dry lube

Brace Your Bike, Winter is Coming
Wet lube is great on the summer as its one of those apply then forget type things, unfortunately during the winter months this can mean having gloopy awful gunk stuck to your chain. Making a simple switch to dry lube can prevent this nasty build up helping your drive chain last longer and leaving your bikes sounding less gritty.

Stick on a mudguard

While there is the whole “getting muddy is a part of mountain biking” argument here, what you can’t argue with is that you don’t want your suspension or other components becoming caked with mud. mud that is abrasive and can really damage your bike. A simple mud guard can protect you and your bike from some of the damage that gets dished out this time of year.

Regular, thorough cleaning

Now I’m not one for cleaning my bike, I’ll happily put it away after only wiping the drive chain down with an old towel. However, in the winter months I make an exception as filth gets absolutely everywhere! I don’t just clean the frame and chain at this point, I’ll take out the seat post and make sure much doesn’t get into the frame, get in between the cassette and chain rings, give the disc brakes a once over and even ensure the nipples and spokes have a thorough wipe down. 

Brace Your Bike, Winter is Coming

After a good couple of muddy sessions, I’ll even take things apart – it is simply amazing how dirt can get in every nook and cranny of your bike!

What to Wear

This should be pretty obvious, it’s cold so you wrap up warm. Get yourself a decent base layer and make sure you put plenty of layers on. When you’re riding up a mountain you’ll find yourself warming up pretty rapidly, so being able to take one or two thin layers off will be extremely beneficial.

I no longer believe in waterproof clothing, but if you do then investing in this is a great start. Things like overshoes, jackets and gloves will make the most difference to you when its freezing outside. Be sensible and dress for the weather which, by the way, is always a good thing to check before you head out.

Winter riding can be awesome fun, just make sure you look after your bike and look after yourselves!


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