You already know that mountain bike maintenance is essential to keep your bike running smoothly for a long time. However, when we’re talking fat bike maintenance, and more specifically winter maintenance, you need to do a bit more.
In fact, riding in the snow is not worse than riding in the rain. However, riding in the salt, the calcium, the sand, etc. is. So that’s why fat bike maintenance is ultra important if you’re exclusively riding your fat bike in the wintertime. Same if you’re riding your bike all year round. Yes, you can ride a fat bike all year, not just during the winter.
Dry it Out After Each Snow Ride
The first and most important tips to remember, and apply, is to dry out your bike after each snow ride. Yes, after each ride. Every single time. I cannot emphasize this one enough.
Keep a towel handy, and make sure to wipe the entire bike thoroughly. Frame. Rims. Spokes. Brakes. Chain. Chainrings. Cogset. Derailleur. Cranks. Cables. Make it a ritual of your after ride. Your bike will thank you, and so will you. And, of course, after drying out your big baby, don’t forget to lube it up.
Talking about lube, it’s best to use silicone-based wet lube during the winter. It’s thicker, stickier, and water-resistant. Furthermore, it will better resist salt corrosion. However, wet lube attracts more dirt and grime than Teflon-based dry lube. So, remember to wipe it after each ride, and reapply some lube.
Basic Fat Bike Maintenance
While wiping your fat bike, you should take the habit of inspecting it. As you go, take a good look at every part. Look for cracks and wear. Also, make sure all the parts are in order and move as they should. Basic maintenance and inspection should be done regularly to prevent bad surprises.
If you’re only taking your fat bike out for the winter, after being stored away all summer, make sure it’s ready. You should do a quick tune up. Indeed, your fat bike maintenance should include a one-time thorough tune up before starting your season. Afterall, fat bikes are not much different than any other bike. They only need a little more attention.
A good fat bike maintenance program will include the maintenance of the drivetrain. Indeed, riding in the cold, the snow, the sand and the salt can damage the drivetrain faster.
As water and grime can penetrate shifter cables and housing over time, it’s important to replace them if they’re worn. This will improve your shifting and prevent them from freezing.
Also, take good care of your chain, as this is one part that has a hard life during wintertime. Metals, like carbon, will expand or contract with changing temperatures, which increase the chance that parts become frail in extreme cold. Furthermore, dirt and grime will accumulate faster in the wet, and wear out components more rapidly. Drying is essential. As well as a good scrub of your chain and drivetrain with a degreaser performed regularly.
Take Care of Your Brakes
Like with your chain and drivetrain, wet and grimy conditions will wear out your brake pads more quickly. So, checking them on a regular basis is a great idea to not have any bad surprises. You should also clean them gently to remove anything stuck.
Brake cables, as well as shifter cables, should be replaced once a year, depending on your riding habits. Water and grime will accumulate inside the housing over time, reducing their performance. So, replacing them, or at least cleaning them, will improve the fun factor by way more than their cost.
Have Fun Riding
Like for any bikes, fat bike maintenance is essential. However, the most important part of fat bike winter riding is to have a blast. And to do so, your bike needs to be in good working order, but you also need to be dressed for the weather. Don’t dismiss the importance of the proper clothing in the winter. It can make the difference between a great day and a miserable one. Same goes with a well-maintain bike. Now that you know how to maintain your fat bike, see you out there!
What’s your best fat bike maintenance tips for winter riding?
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