A Guide To Conquering Winter With The Cairn E-Adventure
They can of course be really horrible too. If you haven't prepared yourself or your bike, there’s nothing worse than trying to fix your bike in the cold and rain. Don’t worry though we’ve pulled together some really easy tips, tricks and recommendations to get you through this winter.
Winter brings mud and lots of it generally - swapping your tyres to a more aggressive tread will give you more control and drive through the slop. They generally offer slightly more protection from punctures too.
If you are planning on staying away from the mud it can still be a good idea to change your tyres to something more protected in terms of punctures resistance. It is well worth the few extra grams to not be fixing punctures in the rain.
Tubeless: Nowadays there is no excuse to not go tubeless, it is reliable, easy and cheap to do. It can allow the use of lower tyre pressures, increasing your comfort as well as all important wet weather grip. It is also going to have sealant inside so any punctures from small pieces of glass or a thorn will be sealed, most of the time, without you even knowing about it.
Top Tip - Don't want to lose that multi surface efficiency? Why not try a knobbly tyre on the front and a slicker/fast rolling tyre on the back?
It does not matter whether you call them fenders or mudguards. They are simple but oh so effective. You can get full, short, front and rear, just front or just rear, colour matched, reflective there are loads to choose from. It's personal preference and depends on how long you can put up with a wet butt or feet.
Here are a few preferred choices from the Cairn team:
- Mudhugger Gravel – The new kids on the gravel block with their recycled plastic MTB style half guards get rave reviews. They have brought all their MTB winter riding know-how over to drop bar bikes and are the closest you will get to the protection offered from a full fender. Super simple to fit and remove if you get one of those rare, clear days.
- Ass Saver type – These small plastic guards are light and easy to slip in a jersey pocket or bike packing bag. They are great if you get caught out in the mountains or when it is not raining but there might be standing water or spray.
- Full guards/Fenders – full fenders/guards dispute the old-fashioned look are the only way to stay nearly dry in the winter months. They will keep your butt, feet and hands dry at the very least. Dry extremities means it’s easier to keep your whole body warm. Guards are sturdy, easy to fit and available in a wide range of sizes, shapes and styles.
Top Tip - For really dry feet, on full guards get your self ones with large flaps. A few people are making replaceable ones now, or make your own.
Normally, electrics and water wouldn’t go together. Of course no need to worry as E-Bikes have extremely high IP ratings. That doesn’t mean they don’t need a little maintenance from time to time. The parts most affected are the contacts. These parts are sealed to the outside world but have an exposed terminal or connection. For example, your charging port or connection from the battery to drive pack.
- Make sure the battery contacts are clean, clear of mud, water, and any leftover dust from summer. Use a specific fast acting contact spray to make sure all is clean and going to work well. You can use any contact spray but there are some E-Bike ones already out there.
- It is also worth making sure the any mechanism and locks that release batteries and drive packs are clean and lubricated. Peaty's PT17 PTFE-Free General Maintenance Spray should do the trick. Its biodegrable, lubricates, protects and a great rust prevention. Make sure to keep it away or protect any disc brakes and pads before use.
Top Tip - Tooth and flossing brushes make great bike cleaning tools. They can get into the tight areas around motors, batterys and connectors.
General maintenance in the winter is essential. Your bike is going to get wet and muddy even if you are a dry-weather rider. Being able to clean your bike quickly and properly, is going to mean you're not outside in the cold and wet even more but also save yourself a load of money. One of the biggest mistakes is washing your whole bike every time you ride when you do not really need too. Here are some places to focus on:
- Drivetrain – Obvious but giving your chain a really good degrease, is really easy to do and will save you a fortune if done regularly. If you maintain your chain, you are maintaining all your drivetrain parts like chainring, cassette and jockey wheels. Get yourself a good chain cleaning tool and some brushes and get scrubbing. We would recommend Peaty's Foaming Drivetrain Degreaser for cleaning & Peaty's LinkLube All Weather for relubricaton
- Gear Cables – Here is a scenario you do not want. Block head wind, its raining, below 5 degrees plus the wind chill and oh, now your gears aren’t working. All can be so simply be avoided. Keep your cables moving freely and easily with some multipurpose spray or chain lube - you won't regret it. Gear cables are so cheap, and like chains if you maintain them and keep refreshing the inners, your outers will last longer.
Top Tip - When using degreasers and lubricants cover your disc brakes in a sandwich bag, to stop oil contamination.