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Leaving bike outside in winter and storing it inside Everything you need to know

If you ride in winter then you may always be worried about leaving your bike outside in winter and if it will rust or not and other problems like will the sealant freeze in winter or not and brake fluid as well and what could be the possible ways to avoid all these problems.

Most of you guys will have problems storing your bikes inside in winter because of the low space in your apartments and many other reasons, I have had relatively similar problems and I did some research on the matter and decided to write on this topic.

How cold weather can affect bikes when left outside :

Cold weather can certainly affect your bike in winter but it depends on how the weather is in your area so here are some bike parts that get affected the most in winter.

  • Drivetrain
  • tires
  • chain
  • air pressure
  • braking fluid

How cold affects the drivetrain of bikes and how to avoid it :

Drive train of a bike is the most exposed part of a bike and in cold weather, the bike picks up dirt and mud far too easily because the humidity is so high and the high humidity these parts can get rusty quite quickly.

But you don’t need to concern yourself too much about it a good way to keep the drive train from rusting too quickly in winter would be to keep lubricating them more often than you would in the summer.

This is the easiest and quickest way to deal with this problem the lubricants should be able to protect the bike against any kind of rusting and freezing problems.

Make sure you use dry lubes for the winter season because wet lubes can freeze in winter and may not work very well in winter or snow.

How snow and cold weather affect the bike tires and how to avoid it :

No matter how tough or expensive bike tires are especially road and mountain bike tires rubber tends to contract in winter and the wear and tear of tires increases in winter.

A good way to keep your tires from wearing down too quickly in winter would be to keep them inflated and if you are riding your bike in snow riding them on low pressure would be better because they will provide much more traction and a better ride overall.

But when you are storing your bike make sure that your tires are completely inflated.

I also did an article on How sun affects mountain bike tires & covering it would be worse

If you are interested in reading more you can read that article afterward as well.

Why tires lose air in winter :

Tires tend to lose air in winter the main it’s not that the tires are punctured or there’s any damage to the tire its simply due to the fact that air condenses and contracts in winter which can cause lower pressure.

The amount of air in the tires remains the same but the pressure drops significantly in winter that can seem as though the tires are losing air in winter but in fact, it’s just that the air pressure got reduced.

So there’s no need to worry if you see your tires losing some air in winter it’s completely normal and natural but you should keep them inflated as I have explained above.

How cold weather affects the braking fluids :

The effects of cold weather on brakes are not that high in most regions but in some areas, temperatures can go over – 30C which can be problematic for Shimano braking fluid.

Sram uses dot fluid that has very high freezing and boiling point it’s much better than mineral oil which Shimano uses that can start freezing around that temperature or show signs of freezing.

So if you use SRAM breaks you shouldn’t be worried about break fluid freezing and for Shimano oil, I did an article on bike brakes fluids(Alternatives) & Freezing prevention in winter

You can check out that article for an extensive guide to all the things.

How to store the bike outside for short periods of time :

If you use your bike for commuting and just to move around the city quite often then storing it could be a problem and more than that if you have to store the bike for longer periods of time 8 to ten hours each day then it could be problematic.

The best way to store in those conditions would be to just leave a cover on the bike since you will be moving around too much there’s nothing better than a nylon cover.

winter will have some effects on your bike if there isn’t snow and rain in the area it won’t do much irreversible damage but in case you live in areas with snow and rain storing it inside would be better, just find a shelter if you can’t find space inside it wouldn’t be much but it would be better than nothing.

Direct contact from the rain and snow will damage the bike more.

How to store the bike outside in winter for long periods of time:

If you are in a pinch and you need to store your bike outside in winter which I don’t recommend here are what steps you can take to make sure that weather doesn’t impact it very much.

  • Find a space so that it’s under some kind of roof or shed away from rains and snow.
  • Lubricate the bike parts that need it (chain, cassette, derailer, forks)
  • Wrap these parts with the paper if possible
  • Next, wrap them in a plastic sheet
  • Throw a bike cover on it or any plastic sheet or even your bed sheet but cover it completely.

It’s important to wrap it in paper because if you wrap your bike with plastic sheets only or with plastic wraps the moisture will get to every part of the bike so a paper cover is really important it would make sure that any moisture that gets inside the cover will be held back by paper.

How to store the bike inside for longer periods of time :

To store your bike inside if you don’t own fancy bike stands to hang your bike on walls or your roof and you have very little space as well.

Just take the bike apart remove the handlebar, your bike pedals, and wheels, and just store it under your bed or in the corners of the house or your apartment or whatever you have.

Once you take apart the parts if you are unsure that it would be completely safe just take a paper sheet and wrap your parts in those paper sheets and nothing will happen to it, your bike will be as new as it has been.

Here are some questions and some important things that you should keep in mind when storing your bike or riding your bike in winter.

Will sealant freeze in winter :

No, Sealant will not freeze in winter under average temperatures I have seen sealants work fine under temperatures as low as – 20 C – -30 C but some of them might slow down and stop working properly or won’t seal as quickly as they used to.

I did a complete article on How long bikes tubeless tire sealant lasts & increase its life span

you can find all the information in that article about everything.

How often you should lubricate your bike in winter :

Lubricating your bike in winter is really important because the humidity is very high in the winter and it could result in the bike rusting very quickly.

Lubricating the bike can keep it in healthy conditions and smooth rides as well, you should lubricate your bike every 3-5 days in winter or after every wash, it would keep your bike fresh and rust-free.

Should you wash your bike in winter :

Yes, washing your bike in winter doesn’t have any negative impacts the soil in winter is usually wet and in snowy areas snow can get stuck to the bike as well.

Giving the bike a good wash every now and then in winter is a good idea and you should do it often after every ride if the tracks are wet and muddy.

Mud is one of the biggest reasons that the bikes get rusty not water so you should definitely wash your bike in winter.