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  1. #1
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    Winter road salt question ?

    Hey there everybody. I have a question . What effect does road salt have on a bike ?
    I started commuting about a month ago and I plan on doing it through the winter. Will road salt destroy my aluminium mtb bike and the components like the cranks and disk brake system , derailleur etc. ?

  2. #2
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    Yes, salt will ruin your bike. It eats away at aluminum alloys, and rusts any steels.

    You will want to apply lots of lube to all moving parts. fenders are definitely a good idea. ideally, you want a beater bike for winter commuting. JM01 has a lot of good posts regarding winter commuting in Ontario. Try to do a few searches.

    this should get you started. be sure to check the links jm01 posted

    Road salt,should I be worried?

    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  3. #3
    MTB Rider
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    The damage to that wheel, is it not caused by wear from the brake pads & not salt?
    2008 Trek Fuel EX 8
    Oshawa, Ontario, Canada

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by revrnd
    The damage to that wheel, is it not caused by wear from the brake pads & not salt?
    Its a combination of both...the dirt and salt on the pads and rim caused the wheel to fail on the seam...

    It's rare for my winter commuters to last more than one season...last year that blue bike fell apart after 2 weeks...the cog set fell apart, the rim failed, the brakes seized, and the rear derailleur kept gumming up

    A couple of years ago, the free wheel on a Raleigh seized, I loved that adrenalin rush that riding a fixie in the snow gives you

    Just a long way of saying that salt will destroy the steel components on a bike surprisingly quickly...I used to rinse the bikes, but found that the water froze and seized the cables and any component that's supposed to move...keeping a bike in a heated garage also caused this...the snow would melt and then freeze when you took it out.

    Oil is the only thing that kept the chain and components protected and moving...I found that medium grade chain guide oil (chain saw bar oil) works best.

    ride safe

  5. #5
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    OK, I know this will sound really stupid... but I did a few winter rides on the road last year, and found that spraying the whole bike liberally with Pam cooking spray helped. Then as soon as I got home, I rinsed the bike with alot of cold water, let it drip dry for an hour or two inside my warm garage, and then took WD40 to areas where I needed to drive the water out.

    JM01, great tip about the chainsaw bar oil.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rear Admiral
    OK, I know this will sound really stupid... but I did a few winter rides on the road last year, and found that spraying the whole bike liberally with Pam cooking spray helped. Then as soon as I got home, I rinsed the bike with alot of cold water, let it drip dry for an hour or two inside my warm garage, and then took WD40 to areas where I needed to drive the water out.

    JM01, great tip about the chainsaw bar oil.
    Welcome

    But be careful with that WD40, especially on the chain...most of it evaporates and you end up with a rusty mess

    Also, I've found that rinsing a bike gets water in your cable housing that's almost impossible to get out. Every year I get a rear derailleur that won't shift because the cable is stuck if it rains and then freezes...

  7. #7
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    Oh, I never use WD40 on the chain. WD40 IS NOT A LUBE. It's only purpose is to drive out water from circuit boxes and stuff, which it works great for. Or as a solvent.

    I should have mentioned that most/all of the cables on that biked were sheathed/armoured (ie. Avid FlakJackets) which helped. I also used a needle & syringe filled with Triflow to get up & inside the ferrules and housing ends to fill them with lube. Then I excercised all the controls & cables to work it in and distribute the Triflow. That way, even if the cables pulled water & junk up and into the housings, it wouldn't stick around.

    The Pam works well for making mud cleanup easier too. In fact, I think I first heard about the Pam thing for mud on mtbr.com

  8. #8
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    I've been using Boeshield T9 (available at Urbane Cycle and Lee Valley, that I know of) for the last few years instead of WD40.
    It's a water displacer as well but leaves a non visible residue behind which helps displace water and salt the next time. I've been using it on the chain and exposed parts and on the frame around the cable bosses after a wet ride. I also take out the seat post if I've ridden in really nasty weather and spray some inside the frame down into the bottom bracket, then leave the post off to let some air into the frame to help dry it out. I've got a steel Kona Explosif which is on it's 3rd winter commuting season and it looks remarkably clean and rust free.
    Even this Boesheild stuff doesn't replace chain lube. I still like Phil's and have little bottles of it tucked away in corners at work and at home. The chainsaw stuff I shall have to try, but where do you get it?

    About disc brakes: I was using Avid mechanicals on the Kona and they worked great but became increasingly difficult to adjust. The inside pad has to be cranked in to account for wear and that adjustment knob pretty much siezed into place. I've pulled a cheap set of hydraulics (Juicy 3's) from another bike for this year but I think I shall still have to get into the habit of paying a bit more attention to them then I ever did with rim brakes. My plan is to remove the wheels and brake pads, then clean the calipers with a degreaser, rinse and spray with T9 ( If I do this once a month it will count as a great success )
    Cheers, Dave

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rear Admiral
    Oh, I never use WD40 on the chain. WD40 IS NOT A LUBE. It's only purpose is to drive out water from circuit boxes and stuff, which it works great for. Or as a solvent.

    I should have mentioned that most/all of the cables on that biked were sheathed/armoured (ie. Avid FlakJackets) which helped. I also used a needle & syringe filled with Triflow to get up & inside the ferrules and housing ends to fill them with lube. Then I excercised all the controls & cables to work it in and distribute the Triflow. That way, even if the cables pulled water & junk up and into the housings, it wouldn't stick around.

    The Pam works well for making mud cleanup easier too. In fact, I think I first heard about the Pam thing for mud on mtbr.com
    Something I've learned on the commute...

    ...if you need a quick lube for the chain or components, check out the garbage bin at gas stations. There always enough oil left in the disposed oil containers to do a chain or derailleur.

  10. #10
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    I did it once in the salt and rinsed my bike after.
    in the spring I noticed alot of the paint bubbling and rust.

    Don't do it if you like the bike, get a cheap very simple bike.
    Single speed, coaster brake, maybe.

  11. #11
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    Thanks a lot this is some great info, after reading all this I will definetly not be taking my newer bike out when the roads are salted. Actually I do have a very old MTB at home way back from 1994 , I just got so used to my newer bikes until I don't like riding the old one anymore however I think I am gona put back to use as my winter beater.

  12. #12
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    I heard a while back that a community (somewhere like cleveland or something like that) was trying a beet extract instead of the salt. It supposedly did a better job of clearing the roads, didn't eat away at metals and farmers could grow the beets giving them income and not having to mine for the salt. Never have heard anything else. you guys got any knowledge?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by fastale
    I heard a while back that a community (somewhere like cleveland or something like that) was trying a beet extract instead of the salt. It supposedly did a better job of clearing the roads, didn't eat away at metals and farmers could grow the beets giving them income and not having to mine for the salt. Never have heard anything else. you guys got any knowledge?
    I don't... but please, if you do find anything out about that, post back up. I for one would be willing to try that stuff out.

  14. #14
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    I have 2 old Norco mountain bikes for commuting, one has studded tires for the slippery days. I used WD-40 exclusively my first 3 winters, no drivetrain problems whatsoever, but I did spray it on daily and I'd try and give the bike a rinse every day. These were old bikes when I started, but they still don't look rusty. I think the big problem is the amount of gunk you get in the drivetrain - there's a lot of grit and sand in the slush that makes everything wear faster. I think thicker lubes might tend to let the gunk stick better.

  15. #15
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    Hey, I know this isn't entirely related... but seeing as we're talking about winter... I purchased one of these last year and it works magnificently for warming your breathing air without moisting or freezing up:http://www.psolar.com/id5.html


  16. #16
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    This is what those $99 Crappy Tire bikes are for.

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