Summer is coming to an end and soon you'll be able to swap your mountain bike for skis again. However, before you send your bike off into a well-deserved hibernation, there are still a few preparations to make. After all, you want it to take you safely through the Flow Country Trail again come next bike season.
We asked mountain bike expert Michael from Intersport Rent in Bad Kleinkirchheim and summarised some important tips and tricks for ideal winter storage. Ready, set, go!
1. Rest, don't rust.
Give your bike a thorough cleaning after the last time you take it out. Dirt could become embedded causing wheel components to start rusting. But forget about the power washer! The high pressure will force the dirt/water mixture deeper into the bearings and sealings and, in the worst case, even damage the paintwork. A damp cloth and special bicycle cleaner are usually enough for thorough winter cleaning.
2. Trust is good, checking is better.
Did your bike carry you safely over hill and dale this season and boast an excellent braking distance? Great. To make sure it stays that way, you should have it checked regularly at a specialist sports shop. The mountain bike professionals check all wear parts such as brakes, screw connections and tyres, check the rear derailleur and lighting system, oil the chain and check it complies with the Road Traffic Regulations. For e-bikes, they also examine the motor, software, battery and display.
Note: Of course, you can also carry out minor repairs yourself. However, especially with e-bikes, you should always contact a specialist workshop - if you try to repair your e-bike on your own, you could void the manufacturer's warranty.
Another tip: Have your bike serviced before the winter break. As soon as the bike season starts again, experience shows that there's a big rush to get your bike serviced and the waiting times for an inspection appointment are somewhat longer as a result.
3. He who brakes wins.
Before storing your bike, tighten the brake levers and fix them lightly with a rubber band or cable tie. This way, less air collects in the brake system and the brakes remain intact. However, don't forget to check the brakes carefully before your first ride in Spring and to vent them regularly during the season.
4. Shift down a gear.
Set your bike to the lowest gear. This will protect your rear derailleur and prevent the springs from wearing out over the winter.
5. Build up pressure.
Give your tyres some air before winter rest and make sure they're pumped up enough – the maximum bar number is usually written on the tyre itself. If the tyre pressure is too low, the rim will press against the sidewall of the inner tube and can damage it. In the worst case, you won't just have to deal with a flat tyre in spring, but you might even have to replace it. In any case, we recommend that you regularly check the tyre pressure and move the wheels during the winter months.
6. Protected from the elements.
Your bike doesn't want to freeze either. It feels most comfortable in a dry, closed room, such as a cellar or garage. It's important that the storage space isn't exposed to large temperature fluctuations or even humidity. Depending on the space, you can store your bike either upright or hanging.
7. A greasy affair.
To protect your bike from rust and dust, you should lubricate all moving parts such as the chain and rear derailleur with special chain oil. Then shift through all the gears again to distribute the oil as evenly as possible. You can simply wipe off excess oil with a dry cloth.
8. On the back burner through the winter.
For e-bikes, it's essential to remove the battery and the bike computer. They're best left in a dry place at a temperature of 10 - 12°C and should be charged to about 60%. Caution: Never hibernate your bike when the battery is fully empty or charged, as this will damage the battery.
9. Don't forget your equipment.
After an adventurous season, your clothing will also appreciate a thorough cleaning. If it's really dirty, you can use special sports detergents and wash it on the delicate cycle. Remember to renew the waterproofing of certain garments after washing.
You should also check your protective equipment carefully for tears or damage and replace it if necessary. You can clean your bike shoes, helmet and guards with warm water and a mild detergent. Your equipment is best stored in a dry and cool place over the winter.
Everything done? Then we wish your bike a restful winter sleep and are already looking forward to the coming mountain bike season. Varied pumps, exciting steep curves and enjoyable tours are waiting for you in Bad Kleinkirchheim's bike paradise.
Finally, we have an insider tip for all mountainbikers from the Bad Kleinkirchheim region: Up to 31 October 2022 (after which you can make an appointment by phone) you can bring your bike to the service professionals at Intersport Rent Bad Kleinkirchheim, right next to the valley station of the Kaiserburgbahn, for a check-up.