The leaves have fallen and the snow is flying, which means saying ‘see you later’ to our trusty mountain bikes. Is there a proper way of putting your bike to rest for winter? Is there anything you should do to ensure it is trail ready when the snow melts, and the leaves grow anew?
We’ve asked a few of our Retail Alliance Partners for their top tips on how to prep your bike for winter!
George Merrill, owner of Hitchhiker Bike Shop in Stowe, says the first thing to do is to…“clean it off! Your first ride of the season might as well be on a good-looking bike”. All that dirt, mud, and grime from your last rides of the season means your bike could be coated, so wash it off. Remember, when washing your bike- try to keep your suspension and drive-train clean with the right lubrication.
Luke Burgess, General Manager of The Rider’s Outpost in Waitsfield, said, “Drop your bike off for those big services you put off all summer so you could keep riding! Winter is the best time for mechanics to do a deep dive on your bike to get you ready for the next season”. Outdoor Gear Exchange’s Executive Director of Operational Sales, Chris Cartier, echoed Luke’s advice, “…your bike will thank you in the spring”. To prep for this service, George suggests noting all of the ‘issues’ you have with your bike and seeing if a post-season tune deal will fit the bill. If your bike needs a lot of love, ask your mechanic what they would suggest!
George suggests that before you put your bike away, note your fork and shock air pressure! It’ll make setting up your bike in the spring that much easier. Having these handy ensures your bike is riding as dialed in the spring as it did in the fall.
Vermonters are hardy, so the winter cold doesn’t bother us much, but Luke suggests that your bike may be cold if you are cold too.”Large temperature changes can destroy seals and tires.” Bring your bike into the warmth; your wallet will thank you later.
Last but not least, rotate and check your tires throughout the winter! Luke suggests checking tire pressure once a month. Deflated tires can degrade and damage the rubber on your tires in the long term. While you are spending time with your bike, make sure to give your tires a spin! If you have tubeless tires, this will ensure sealant doesn’t build up and you don’t come out of hibernation with a slow leak in the spring.
If you still have more questions on what to do to prep your bike for winter, visit your local bike shop! Their expertise is always worth consulting, and they may even have benefits for you as a VMBA member.